Victorian Window Shutters

Victorian  Shutters

are very popular nowadays but they can also be quite expensive too.
When looking for Victorian Shutters you should consider having new solid shutters made. All too often many home restorers or renovators look to buy original Victorian shutters to put into their period property. This approach has many pitfalls and not least of these is it’s time consuming, so what are the pitfalls of buying original shutters.

Top Ten Reasons NOT to Buy Original Victorian Shutters

  1. Not many original shutters for sale to start with
  2. Cannot find the right size
  3. Nearly all are damaged in some way
  4. Far too expensive
  5. No original hardware to go with the shutters
  6. The original colour has been stripped
  7. Simply cannot find enough to complete a project.
  8. They don’t all match from room to room
  9. You don’t have time for salvage yards
  10. There is the extra cost in refurbishing the shutters

Repaired Victorian Shutters – Painting Is Required

As you can see from the top ten list, there can be obstacles to overcome when going for the original Victorian shutters route. The main problem that I came across was the fact that none of the shutters I could find were the right size. It may be OK if they are slightly over sized (on all sides) and you could trim them down to fit. But if you are under sized it’s almost impossible to add new material and make it look original. It may be OK to add new wood if the shutters are going to be painted because the repair work will not be seen. Otherwise if you are looking for the natural wood finish, the shutters need to be the correct size.

So what’s the alternative?

There is the alternative of having new shutters made. I know this may sound scary, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Most people will think of Joiners or Cabinet makers when they look to have custom made Victorian style shutters. This is the most expensive route that also has it’s own pitfalls, like how good is this guys skills, will he be on time and will the price go up before completion?

The quickest and easiest way to get new Victorian Style Shutters is to contact a specialist shutter manufacturer. Yes that’s right there are still specialist that manufacture solid panel shutters just like the Victorians did. Because they are experts they will make your life a lot easier, and it really is easy.

5 Steps To Get New Victorian Shutters.

  1. Research the companies online
  2. Get quotes from 5 companies
  3. Invite 3 companies to your home for detailed measurements and see samples
  4. Order your shutters from the company with the best materials for a “fair” price (not always the cheapest)
  5. Sit back while the shutters are made and installed.

Now obviously that is just a summary of the process but believe me it really can be that simple.



What are solid shutters for windows?

Wooden solid shutters for windows are shutters without slats that Plantation Shutters have. They are more like Victorian or Georgian Shutters, you can think of them more like shutter doors because they resemble a door in the way they are manufactured.

Picture of Solid Shutters for Windows

Solid Wooden Window Shutters


They commonly have the left and right stiles with top and bottom rails and in it’s simplest form a single mid-rail for added strength to prevent twisting, as shown in the image on the left.

Each top and bottom section is a ‘Panel’ as in solid panel shutters.

Many later shutters had more panels to most common number of panels is 3 as shown in the image below. The larger the leaf (shutter door) the more panels would be required to keep the proportions and visual appeal correct.

Along with the number of panels the Victorians varied the style of the panels to make the shutters a little different. Most shutter panels tend to be moulded panels but there are also raised moulding and just raised panels.

Larger view of this image



Image of Solid Shutter Facia Holes

Solid Shutter Facia Holes


Because solid window shutters offered great black out, some of the simpler shutters had view holes cut into the top facia panels, this would allow a tiny amount of light into the room. That would allow enough light to get access to the shutters, otherwise a lighted candle or other lighting was required.


How Victorians Fitted Bi-Fold Solid Shutters

Picture of Bi-Fold Solid Shutters. Click for larger image

Bi-Fold Interior Shutters – Click for larger image

The Victorians were used to repairing and installing shutters but nowadays most Victorian homes have had their shutters removed, that’s if they had any to start with. So what would you do today?

You’ve got yourself a  nice Victorian Villa with no shutters but you want to reinstate them. There are no traces of the original shutters and the shutter boxes have gone too. Where do you start?

A good starting point is to look at the image of Bi-Fold Solid Panel Shutters on the left.

It shows an interior view of sliding sash windows with solid shutters hung in two leaves (shutter doors). The shutter and flap on the right are closed and the other shutter and flap are folded back into the boxes as shown in the plan view fig. 212. See here for more research

The shutters have moulded panels on the side exposed to view during the day; The back of this shutter and the back flap are bead flush, this is what you see when inside the room when the shutters are closed across the window with the moulded panels visible from the outside.



Solid Panel Shutters Are Not Solid.

Solid Panel Shutters are often referred to as Victorian Shutters but they could be shutters from any era not just Victorian.

Batten and Board Shutters

Batten and Board Shutters

As the name suggests they are made up of panels of solid wood. Technically speaking they were originally board and batten shutters, made up from boards laid parallel together, with a batten fastened across the top and the bottom to tie everything together.

The board and batten shutters were made from English Oak in most cases although cheaper woods were used later on.

These shutters were used in more modest homes.

Solid Panel Shutters and Oak Panelled Walls

Picture of Oak Panelled Wall with Solid Panel Shutters

In the more affluent homes the solid panel shutters appeared and they were designed to fit in with the Oak panelled walls of the period. In order to save cost around the Georgian times pine was being used, being faster growing and cheaper to buy despite the transportation costs. The window shutters were painted to fit in with the décor and therefore the colour of the wood was less important.

Nowadays many home owners are taking down their original Victorian Pine Panel Shutters then dipping them in caustic soda to strip all the paint off. They think having the plain pine wood on show is the original feature. This is not true, all pine shutters were painted and only the early Oak shutters were stained or left original. So please paint your shutters 🙂

Traditional Exterior Shutters

Traditional Exterior Shutters

Exterior Shutters

Most of the earliest shutters were fitted to the outside of the windows and these exterior shutters were generally a simple board and batten type shutter.

In Georgian times the shutters became a little more detailed using panels that mimicked the panelled walls of the great homes in that period. In this picture of external panelled shutters you can clearly see the fastening bolts and the hardware used to tie them back to the wall when open. I’m trying to find more information on the shutter furniture (hardware) because like the shutters very few good examples exist today.

Here is an article on the Wiki site relating to shutter hardware, it’s very informative but there are no images so it’s difficult to imagine some of the items being described.

The solid panelled style changed very little right up to the Victorian period except the Victorian shutters were fitted to the inside of the home and they were being fitted to smaller homes in the suburbs.

Victorian Shutter Boxes were used to conceal the shutters when folded back (open) normally to the left and right of the window.

Victorian shutter Boxes

Drawing Showing The Shutter Box Layout

The Victorians used other methods to conceal their shutter, a less popular method was to have sliding shutters. The drawback with this method is the space required on either side of the window to accommodate the shutters.

One method was to have shutters that go up and down in the same manner as the sash window. The shutters would drop down into a concealed box in the sill and down through the floor. Over the years this method was used less and less due to poor maintenance and the shutters sticking and being difficult to raise.

The folding or bi-fold shutter became the de-facto standard method of installing Solid Panel Shutters