This half-moon shape is commonly called a “Sunburst”. If it is wider than it is tall, it is also called an “Eyebrow Arch”. By opening the louvers you can achieve spectacular effects with natural light while protecting your privacy.
The louvers in a sunburst or eyebrow arch are fully functional, but must be adjusted by hand (since the louvers do not all move in a straight line). For natural light with privacy, open the sunburst louvers while keeping the shutter louvers closed.
The wooden piece at the top of each shutter panel is called a Top Rail. While the top and bottom rails are normally the same size, they don’t have to be. The sizes can vary according to your preferences. Both top and bottom rails normally have a lip called an ogee (pronounced OH-gee) which allows the louvers to overlap the rails and prevent light leakage.
The cross bar between the top of the shutters and the bottom of the sunburst is called a Transom. It provides a finished look to the set, and also helps to stabilize the top of the shutter panels.
The wooden piece on each side of a shutter panel is called a Stile. The Stile which fits against the side of your window is rectangular in cross-section, but the one which meets in the middle can be “rabbeted” so there is an overlap to block light. Each stile has a decorative “bead” molded along one edge.
The rod which connects all of a panel’s louvers is called a Tiltrod. It allows you to quickly and conveniently adjust the louvers. A tension screw (not visible in the diagram) keeps the louvers at the desired angle until adjusted again.
The wooden piece at the bottom of each shutter panel is called a Bottom Rail. Along with its partner at the top, the rails are biscuit jointed and glued for strength. While they are often the same height, bottom and top rails can be different sizes to meet the ‘Custom’ look you are trying to achieve. Each piece of rail stock is selected from quality American poplar hardwood and inspected to insure it is resistant to warping and twisting.
A divider rail is a horizontal wooden section that adds strength to the panel and an opportunity to operate the louvers above and below the divider independently.
The quality, poplar hardwood louvers swivel on nylon pegs, and a special tension screw (not visible in the diagram) allows you to change the adjustment tension from time to time so they will stay exactly where you put them. Today’s popular “Plantation Shutter” sizes are 2 1/2", 3 1/2" and 4 1/2". The size you choose does not affect your cost.
Solid poplar hardwood components are used throughout. Years of experience have convinced us that this is far and away the best choice for movable louver interior shutters. A true hardwood, it is light weight, strong, and very stable.
warping are very minimal. It is virtually resin free and more durable than softwoods like pine or cedar. Shutters made from Solid Poplar hardwood will not sag under their own weight like those made of synthetic materials or heavy woods like oak, maple or basswood. As a testimony to its reputations for straightness and stability.
Unlike most shutter manufacturers, we never use finger jointed, filled, pressed, or veneered wood pieces in our shutters. These can separate or telegraph through the finish causing an unsightly appearance.
Our experience with other woods and shutter materials has been as follows:
OAK – Very heavy. Adds lots of weight to window jambs. Screws require pre-drilling. Not suitable for painting. Louvers tend to warp.
MAPLE – Very heavy. Adds lots of weight to window jambs. Screws require pre-drilling. Louvers are hard to tension uniformly.
BASSWOOD – Mills and paints well. Suitable for staining. Soft—chips and scratches more easily. Widely available. Less costly—best used for millwork and trim that is nailed in place. Generally results in lesser quality shutter.
CEDAR – Mills and finishes nicely. Color varies greatly for staining. Very soft and tends to dent and scratch easily. Staples do not hold well.
ALDER – Very satisfactory. Our second choice for shutters. A small tree so mostly short lengths available, thus unable to fabricate tall shutters without finger joints.
SYNTHETICS, PLASTICS and
VINYL – Many incorporate "WOOD" in their name, but most contain little or no wood at all. Made from mostly stock size components. Few custom options available. Come in standard white colors. Cannot be stained. Look and feel like plastic. Relatively new products so limited customer satisfaction experience. Less costly to manufacturer.