Watch CBSN Live

Dress Up Homes With Shutters

Window shutters have been around for hundreds of years. In addition to the practical aspects of providing privacy and protection from the elements, there is a wide range to choose from to enhance a home's appearance.

Danny Lipford, host of "Today's Homeowner," visits The Early Show on Thursday to show a variety of exterior and interior shutters for the home, including those that are used as room dividers.

Shutters were originally used on the inside of windows before glass to protect indoors from the elements and pests. In the 19th-century, they slowly made their way to the exterior of homes. People chose to use them not only for protection, but also for decoration. Since then, shutters have come a long way and are now available in a variety of sizes, styles and finishes.

Lipford says shutters can be used on the inside and outside of a home. Plus, they can be painted or stained -- depending on the overall look that you want to create.

The following are the shutters featured on the show:

Exterior Shutters

Exterior shutters are available in two styles -- fixed and operable. Fixed shutters are those that are attached permanently to the outside of your home. Since the shutters cannot be moved, they simply serve as a decorative feature to your home. Lipford says adding this type of shutter to your home can help increase its curb appeal by adding color and architectural accents. Operable shutters are hinged so that they can close over the glass of your windows. This type of shutter helps ward off intruders, provides protection during storms and protects you from the glare of the sun.

There are numerous options for shutter materials. Lipford highlighted a few of the most popular on the market.

  • Wood Shutters

    Wood shutters are the most common shutters on the market. They come in a variety of patterns. If you choose to use wooden outdoor shutters, they must be maintained properly for them to last.

    To enhance the look of wooden or composite shutters, many homeowners add shutter hardware. This hardware has evolved over the years into stylish shutter accessories. It is available in many styles and finishes.

    • Shutter Dogs: This type of hardware keeps the shutters open and attached to your house.
    • Ring Pulls: Pulls allow you to close the shutters from inside your home.
    • Slidebolts: Bolts that lock your shutters when they are closed.
  • Composite Shutters

    Composite shutters provide a great alternative to wood shutters. These shutters, which are virtually maintenance free, are custom manufactured from state-of-the-art PVC and thermally stable fiberglass.

    For more information, visit

  • Vinyl Shutters

    Vinyl shutters are the most reasonably priced shutters on the market. They are lightweight, easy to install and readily available in most home centers or even online.

    For more information, visit

  • Storm Shutters

    For those of you who are concerned about hurricanes or tornadoes, you may want to invest in storm shutters. These aluminum shutters protect glass from high winds and blowing debris. Storm shutters are available in several different types.

    • Colonial Shutters: These are hinged on the side, fold into the window and lock into place.
    • Rolling Shutters: The shutters roll down either manually or electrically from the top of the window opening (similar to a garage door).
    • Accordian Shutters: This consist of folding interlocking slats that move vertically on a track to cover your window opening.

    For more information, visit

Interior Shutters

Interior shutters are becoming more popular with homeowners across the country. Wooden "plantation shutters" with working louvers serve as interior window treatments that allow you to control both light and privacy. This type of shutter can be painted or stained and used on almost any type of window or door.

Lipford says a few of the benefits of wooden plantation shutters are that they require virtually no maintenance, enhance your home's resale value, consist of a one time investment and the insulation and reflecting properties of shutters help conserve heating and cooling costs. Faux wood interior shutters are also available from different manufacturers across the country.

For more information, visit

Approximate cost of interior shutters: $25/sq. ft. for a typical rectangular window

Salvaging Old Shutters

Many homeowners are finding clever ways of using old shutters that can be found at salvage yards. Lipford says one idea is to create a room divider or screen by taking several shutters and installing small hinges that enable the shutters to fold and be free-standing. Most of these shutters will require scraping and painting to improve their appearance. One way to accomplish this is to have a furniture refinishing company dip the shutters in a stripping solution that will remove all previous paint and/or stain. This saves lots of time and effort to provide a surface suitable for repainting or staining.

Maintaining Shutters And Approximate Costs

  • Wood Shutters

    While some people like their shutters unfinished, most people prefer to paint them. One shutter manufacturer, Vixen Hill, recommends using either a quality primer and top-coat or an oil-based stain. Oil based stains help keep the wood's natural tannin from bleeding through the shutter. The stain also allows the shutter to "breath," enabling moisture to move in and out of the wood. The part of the shutter most vulnerable to water is the top of the piece. To remedy this problem, Vixen Hill suggests either putting a coat of polyurethane on the area or adding a copper capping on the spot.

    Approximate cost $ 250.00/pair + hardware

  • Vinyl Shutters

    No maintenance is needed. The color is all the way through the shutter so there is no paint to chip or flake. The color of the shutter will not fade.

    Approximate cost: From $ 74.00/pair (based on a 16 ¼"W x 52"L sized shutter)

  • Composite Shutters

    No maintenance is required. You may want to wash them down occasionally. Shutters will not warp, crack, peel or flake.

    Approximate cost: $ 30.00/square foot + hardware. See your local dealer for more information.

  • Storm Shutters

    Just keep them clean and the hinges lubricated.

    Approximate cost: Varies. Priced by the window opening size.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.