Monday, April 30, 2012

The Leading Edge of Shutter Design

Stanfield Shutter has always been on the leading edge of shutter design and style. Many of the designs currently used in shutters were developed right here at Stanfield Shutter. Because we have always been at the head of the shutter industry many of our customers have asked why we don’t promote the supposedly revolutionary hidden tilt rod or “rodless” design. The following is a comprehensive response to that question and provides multiple concrete explanations why we keep the standard tilt rod.

First, a standard tilt rod is made of solid hardwood. This gives the standard tilt rod strength, durability, resistance, and rigidity. Hidden tilt rods are usually made of thin aluminum, steel, or plastic. The metal hidden tilt rods have a tendency to bend and crimp because they are so thin and they are only held in place on one side instead of both sides. The plastic hidden tilt rods have problems becoming inflexible and brittle under the intense sunlight causing them to break. Either way, a plastic or metal hidden tilt rod is inferior to its standard wooden counterpart.

Second, in order to attach the hidden tilt rod to the louver the back side of the stile must be routed out to allow a place for the hidden tilt rod to rest. This exposes the pins upon which the louvers rotate. Exposing the pins reduces their strength and durability. It also exposes them to sunlight damage which can cause them to become brittle and break just like the plastic hidden tilt rods. 

Third, since the stile is routed out the shaft of the louver pins must be made longer than normal. The longer pins do not retain the same tension strength and resistance as their shorter counterparts. The longer pins are also not as strong because more of the shaft is exposed which causes them to break more. 

Fourth, the hidden tilt rod, which is placed only on one side of the shutter panel, causes an unbalanced
distribution of force across the louvers. This reduces the functionality of the louvers and causes the
louvers to close unevenly.

Fifth, in order to attach the hidden tilt rod to the louver a nail must be driven through the hidden tilt
rod and into the very edge of the louver. This particular position is a weak point on the louver which results
in nails splitting the louver blade or nails not holding properly and working their way out. If the nails
work their way out they will at least damage the back side of the stile when the blades are rotated and at
worst will split the louver apart requiring the replacement of the louver itself.

Sixth, we are creatures of habit. We eat the same way, tie our shoes in the same manner, and we
open and close our shutters in the same way. If the shutter does not have a standard tilt rod we must use
the louvers themselves to rotate the shutter open and closed. Individuals tend to use the same louvers each
day. Those louvers weaken over time and eventually break which requires their replacement.

Seventh, shutters are purchased not only for their longevity and quality, but also for their architectural
and aesthetically pleasing design. Part of a shutter’s architecture is the tilt rod in the center of the
panel. Without it the shutter takes on the appearance of a blind. It begs the question why anyone would
spend more for a shutter only to get the look of a blind instead. Shutters are a status symbol. We want
people to know we own shutters. But how will they know you purchased shutters if they look like blinds?

While Stanfield Shutter has the capability and expertise to produce the hidden tilt rod shutter we
strongly discourage it for these reasons. In the end, the choice is always left to the consumer and we will be happy to provide you with whatever shutter design you prefer.