SHUTTERS (the inside story)
Shortly after we started our business in 1983 we decided to introduce a significant new product, California Shutters to our range and were prepared to spend some time investigating the quality, nature and suppliers of shutters. New dealers were popping up everywhere, and we believe that many only had a superficial knowledge of what they were actually selling, which unfortunately is still the case today.
Originally most shutters were manufactured in Canada, but due to their increased popularity and price competition, a great percentage is now sourced either direct from China or using Chinese-sourced components. This has also meant a decline in the quality of the product, which is another reason why we did extensive research.
Shutters are a higher priced window covering, and as such, we believe the client needs to be aware of the options available in terms of what material they are made of, construction methods, appearance and longevity. Some companies will only promote one or two types of wood(usually Basswood) and generally these are in the ‘cheaper’ price bracket. We understand that many clients are price sensitive, but they need to be aware of what they are actually getting for their money. Many of the cheaper end companies are selling a product that has 1/8″ membrane of Basswood or PVC on the outside, then filled with MDF or Urea Foam!! Of course, the client can’t see this, but when the shutters need to perform, eg facing the sun, that’s when they buckle or warp!
Throughout our years of research we encountered some astounding anomalies in the information pitched to clients by ‘salespeople’ selling shutters. The quality of the product, both the materials and the construction, varies greatly. In reality, there are very few companies selling shutters that had experience, knowledge and some sort of longevity in the industry.
We dealt with one local manufacturer for a number of years but found their quality was dropping as as they tried to lower their costs in order that there shutters would could be priced more in line with the poor quality imports. Their quality suffered significantly so we looked around an eventually came across a another local manufacturer that had started as a family business in the early 80’s. They sold only to Designers and Architects, which to us ensured a quality product. They provide intensive training, together with an awesome technical department, detailed written information and an expert installation team.
We learned that you get what you pay for. We decided to uphold our quality, keep ourselves competitive but staying true to the value and quality home owners expect.
We would prefer if homeowners call us for their shutters. But if not, I recommend you ask how long they have been in business, what species of wood they use, if they are made locally, what type of finish do they use, are all wood components hand sanded (including the edges of the louvers), are the tops and bottoms of the frames painted, do they use mitered corners on frames and finally – what is their warranty.