I had a long, informative conversation with Erin Smith of Lynn Cove Foundry, one of our oldest and most prolific manufacturers. I asked her if there were certain questions they received regularly about shutter hardware. She broke it down into a logical series of questions clients can answer to hone in on the right shutter hardware package for their project.
Do you want to open and close your shutters, or do you want them to just hang there?
This is a pivotal question. A large percentage of homeowners want the architectural look of shutters, but don’t need them to be able to close over the window for protection.
Storm shutters and shutters that’ll be closed in harsh weather need to be built and mounted precisely so they fit exactly over the window. They require functional and sturdy hardware.
Keep in mind: Functional shutter hinges and pintles are only visible in the closed position.
If the shutters need to “look” functional but protecting against storms isn’t an issue, there are many options. You can use functional hardware to hang and adorn them. You can also surface-mount the shutters to the house and install decorative hinge fronts to make the shutters look like the real thing.
For fully functional shutters, you’ll need hinges and pintles to hang the shutters; shutter dogs to hold them open; optional ring handles to pull the
shutters closed in a storm; and a bolt to lock them closed.
Decorative shutters can have all the same hardware as functional shutters. Or for a more budget-friendly installation, you can use bullet catches to mount the shutters, a few pair of dummy hinges, and a shutter bolt. Once you’ve decided if you need functional or decorative shutters, the next questions help refine what you’re looking for.
Where do you live?
Shutter hardware is available in stainless steel, corrosion-resistant aluminum, and wrought and carbon steel. All of these materials function well, but the differences among them are vital.
Coastal or other corrosive locations: Exterior shutter hardware installed on coastal homes will be barraged by salt, water, and sunshine. Steel hardware will begin to rust almost immediately. The best choice for coastal shutter hardware is stainless steel or aluminum hinges and pintles.
Non-corrosive locations: Areas of the country that aren’t exposed to highly corrosive air have the option of all three types of shutter hardware material. Each of them is powder-coated for additional rust resistance.
What is your budget?
Shutter hardware budget ranges in price depending on the material used. They increase in price from carbon steel to rust-resistant aluminum to stainless steel.
Using the choices you’ve made from the previous questions (geography, functional versus aesthetic), you’ll know what you need and then can focus on what you want.
How much does shutter hardware cost?
A functional shutter hardware “set” would include enough for one window with two shutters: 2 pair of hinges, 2 pair of pintles, a pair of shutter dogs, and a shutter lock or bolt. This would range from $140 for a complete carbon steel set, up to $200 for stainless steel.
A decorative shutter hardware set would include (at a minimum) 2 pair of dummy hinges, a pair of shutter dogs, and a shutter lock or bolt. It might also include hidden bullet catches to mount the shutters to the house in a way that protects against rot. These sets can range from $100 up to $160.
What look are you going for?
A final consideration is simply: what do you want your shutters to look like? Shutters are a wonderful way to personalize your home and play up the architecture of your home.
You might have a period home that you’re excited about adorning. Or you might have a gorgeous hacienda style home and you don’t need the shutters to open and close, but they can have lovely pull rings and a selection of clavos nails to really accent your window.