Okay, after much shopping, deliberation, perusing magazines, consulting your friends and perhaps negotiating with your spouse, you have decided on plantation shutters for your window treatments. Congratulations! Now comes the hard part…where will you buy them? So many choices. Do I choose the cheapest? The most expensive? The company my friend used? A big box store? An online company? Here are some pointers to help you through the process.
ASK A FRIEND
Do you know someone with plantation shutters? Ask them specifics about their experience such as:
- how smooth the installation went
- how costly they were
- were they satisfied with the quality?
- have there been any malfunctions?
- have they called for service, and did they receive good follow up service?
Your friends and neighbors are the best source of which plantation shutter manufacturers to consider and which to avoid! We feel lucky that most of our new customers at
are referred by a friend.
FIND A COMPANY YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH
Buying plantation shutters is a process and usually takes several visits, phone calls and conversations, so choose a company that gives you a good vibe. Look for a clean, attractive showroom (although you may never get there if all meetings take place at your home). Choose a sales representative that you like – this person is also your window designer and needs to understand your tastes to help you choose the correct applications. Find a company with a good reputation and a good track record. The last thing you want to do is write a check and then cross your fingers that you’re not getting swindled.
GO SEE THE FACTORY
Plantation shutters are a major investment in your home, so top quality is imperative. Let me tell you why. CHEAP SHUTTERS WILL BREAK. GOOD QUALITY SHUTTERS WILL NOT. If the shutter company cannot show you that their products are manufactured in a state of the art facility using 3-dowel construction, extra-long staples, and top quality primer and paint, RUN! You’d be amazed how many of the companies advertising shutters make them in someone’s garage or storage unit using substandard materials and the wrong equipment.
Please, please, please buy plantation shutters directly from the manufacturer! If you buy custom shutters from a
big box store
, guess what? They are not made by the store, they are made by a plantation shutter manufacturer that might be in the next county or might be in China. Guess who will be able to service these shutters if you ever have problems? Probably nobody. You don’t want to risk that.
If you are considering
buying shutters online
and installing them yourself, I only recommend that to people who consider themselves to be expert trim carpenters or know an expert trim carpenter with experience installing shutters. Even then, you want to consider how the online company handles problems and follow up service. Ask a lot of questions.
FIND OUT ABOUT THE WARRANTY AND FOLLOW UP SERVICE
Sorry to repeat myself, but CHEAP SHUTTERS WILL BREAK. GOOD QUALITY SHUTTERS WILL NOT. I run the Customer Service department at
, and part of what we offer is repairing shutters that we didn’t make. Let me tell you, I’ve seen some terrible shutters out there! It’s shameful what some companies are selling. Inferior wood that warps, cheap plastic connectors, shutters that come apart at the corners, ugh! And where are those companies now? Out of business. What is their warranty worth now? Zippo. Be sure you find out what will be covered by your warranty if anything should go wrong.
Let’s face it, though. It’s possible, maybe even likely, that your shutters will need some follow up service. I get calls all the time about oops situations. Here are my favorites:
- My dog chewed on the louvers!
- My husband keeps hanging his pants on the shutters and knocked out the louvers!
- My son drove a golf cart through the window and ruined the shutters!
Those are extreme, but there are more normal situations, too, like wanting to change the paint color, louvers not staying open, or a staple coming out of the tilt rod. Does the plantation shutter manufacturer have a service team who can handle these requests? Will you have to wait six weeks for an appointment? When you want service, you want it now, right?
READ YOUR CONTRACT CAREFULLY
Go through your contract line by line and make sure that all of your windows and doors are properly represented. Check for:
- number of panels in each opening
- louver size
- options such as hidden tilt rods
- paint color
RELAX AND ENJOY!
If you made it through the process and feel great about your decision, you will be able to sit back, relax, and count the days until your beautiful new plantation shutters arrive.