Shutter Buying Guide part 1

What am I actually buying?

Samples vs reality

Make sure you see what you are buying and look at the sales person’s samples. Take pictures if that makes you feel more secure as you don’t want them showing you a great window shutter and then install an inferior quality one. Make sure they bring that same sample to the installation. They may say they have sold you an all wood shutter yet have installed a wood panelled shutter with an MDF frame which cost them 15-20% less. They may show you an ABS shutter and then install a cheap, inferior vinyl shutter.

Get the sales person to show you how the shutter is manufactured with samples demonstrating what you are getting. If they don’t know how can they be certain that their product will stand the test of time

A little bit of work can save you money and frustration. Make sure that the measurements the sales person takes are actually the ones they use to calculate the price. Measure the window recess yourselves.

Does the sales person know their onion?

Ask the sales person if they have fitted shutters themselves. If not, how can they guarantee that the measure they carry out will take account of the intricacies of your window. How many windows are square, have a level sill or have a dado rail that runs into the recess? If they don’t fit shutters themselves then quite often you need a 2nd appointment for a surveyor. We provide the home consultation and the survey in one visit. Read our reviews. Our home visits are made by experts with fitting experience.

Get the sales person to show you how the shutter is manufactured with samples demonstrating what you are getting. If they don’t know how can they be certain that the product they are selling will stand the test of time.

Marketing smoke and mirrors

Watch out for clever marketing. The same shutter that is sold in B&Q is also marketed by a well-known interior designer and a national shutter chain. It’s a simple branding job.

Being told you are buying basswood shutters. There is no basswood – the wood is from the American Linden Tree. And if you are buying basswood it is no guarantee of quality. The best guarantee of quality is to buy a shutter from a reputable shutter retailer with good reviews selling a reputable brand. We sell the No.1 shutter installed in the USA and there 1 in 7 windows is dressed with a plantation shutter.

Warranty - So you have been offered a 25 year warranty and yet another company only offers 3. The 25 year warrantied product must be better. Wrong. The fact is that a well-made shutter from a reputable manufacturer will last a very long time. The 25 year warranty never covers everything – read the small print. Just marketing again.

Just Buy The Best

A good quality shutter is no guarantee of a great install. The quality of the shutter is just half the story. You need a good home design consultation which takes into account how you will use the shutters and then a quality install. Check-a-trade, google reviews and Feefo are great ways to see independent reviews from consumers about the shutter retailer.

Chinese Shutters are Rubbish

It’s made in China so its rubbish. Wrong. The best shutters are made in China. Fact. The shutters we use are the best selling shutters in the USA. The factory sells over $500m of shutters a year and that’s manufacturing price not retail. The shutters made in the UK are from parts manufactured abroad and then assembled in the UK. A mechano types of shutter rather than a made to measure built from scratch.

We are not tied to any one manufacturer and we also sell UK made shutters and these are great if you need shutters in a hurry.

MDF shutters are poor quality. Wrong – they are well made but do have some down-sides in that they are heavier than wood and not good in moist environments. They are also shiny and don’t have the flat finish of a painted shutter. The people most likely to tell you they are rubbish will be selling you a shiny, vinyl shutter.

Promises, Promises, Promises

Lead times. Promised you 8 weeks. Make sure they are willing to back that up in writing. If not then the likelihood is you will be waiting 12 weeks or longer. We deliver in 8-9 weeks - fact. Only if CADS are involved or you are ordering a sale will it take longer.

You pay a deposit and the shutters are not installed. Yes – it does happen. Google the company, google the business owner’s name. Has he had other companies that are no longer in existence? This really is a basic check and buying from a national is also no guarantee. Yes – large companies can go to the wall. Pay the deposit on a credit card if you are in any doubt. The 3% surcharge most companies charge is a small price to pay.

The Great Shutter Co are leading window shutter and blind specialists, covering Winchester, Dorset, Portsmouth, Southampton, and other areas in Hampshire