Four Things To Ask When Shopping For Value-adding Wood Shutters

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The 2008 housing market is no one's dream. Prices are dropping, credit is tightening, and thousands of homes sit on the market, unsold. If you're like many homeowners, you're planning on staying put for a while. Maybe youre considering renovations to raise your home's value when selling time comes around again.

Did you know that exterior wood shutters are a cost-effective way to add value to your home or condo? Before you start shopping wood shutter websites and stores, however, ask yourself the following four questions. The answers to these questions will help you choose the best shutters for your home.

1. Are these wood shutter sets customizable?

When shopping for wood shutters, customization options might not be your first consideration. However, customization is actually paramount to the success of your shutter installations.

Every window is different. From house to house, window dimensions (height, width, and depth) can vary greatly. In fact, window dimensions can vary markedly even on the same house! The best quality wood shutter sets are those that can be custom-measured to fit your windows precisely. If you order pieces that don't fit snugly, you will have wasted your money.

Ill-fitting window coverings do not provide your windows with good protection from the elements. They are less likely to withstand rough winds and heavy rains, and are more likely to warp or sustain damage when exposed to a range of conditions that well-fitted shutters can withstand.

Customization is also an added value from the perspective of aesthetics. If you choose the wrong exterior decorations for your home, you will have lowered its value. Exterior aesthetics that look "funny" or "off" can negatively impact your home's resale value. Wood shutters that are tailored to suit your home's color scheme, structure, and architectural style, however, add value when it's time to sell.

2. Are these wood shutters made entirely of wood?

Make no mistake: shutters made from artificial materials and veneers are much, much cheaper than their real-wood cousins. However, paying more for your wood shutter sets early on can net you big rewards later. Genuine wood shutter sets last for decades. When properly maintained, they can outlast your house.

More importantly, genuine wood can withstand various types of rough weather, including wind, snow, hail, prolonged sun exposure, and heavy rains. By contrast, shutters made from artificial compounds warp and fail fairly quickly when exposed to the elements.

Ensure that any wood shutters that you buy are made from genuine, top-grade hardwoods, such as cherry, mahogany, cedar, or oak. If you're not sure, ask the manufacturer exactly what goes into each wood shutter set. If the response includes words like "compounds", "fillers", or "particle board", you should say, "No, thanks."

3. Are these wood shutters assembled using genuine mortise-and-tenon joinery?

Many wood shutter manufacturers use cheap glue, nails, or dowel rods in assembly. Conversely, a hallmark of top-grade quality in shutter-making is the use of mortise-and-tenon joinery. Mortise-and-tenon joinery is a time-tested way of fastening pieces of wood together; this assembly technique dates back to approximately 2,500 B.C.

To understand how this fastening technique works, think of how you'd plug a lamp into an electrical socket. The plug fits snugly in the socket; you don't need to glue it on or nail it in place. In mortise-and-tenon joinery construction, wood pieces are precision-cut to fit in the hollowed grooves of the pieces they connect to. Expert wood shutter craftsmen can create joinery so precisely that no other materials are needed to hold the shutter pieces together.

Since real wood outlasts glue, nails, or dowel rods, mortise-and-tenon joinery connotes quality.

4. Do these wood shutters come from a reputable company?

When committing to a large purchase like wooden shutters for all of your windows, you'll have the best experience if you research various manufacturing companies prior to buying. Some important questions to ask yourself are:

Does this company manufacture products in ways that I can agree with?
Are customer service representatives accessible and friendly?
Can I speak with expert craftsmen to determine my specific buying needs?
Will it be easy for me to place an order, to customize my order, to track my order, and to return my order, if warranted?
Have other buyers been satisfied with this company's products?

Before investing in wood shutters, research your options. Make sure that the shutters you buy are genuine wood, are assembled in a time-tested fashion, are customizable, and come from a top-quality company. An informed buying decision can help you enjoy the best return on your investment.
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