Monthly Archives: October, 2015

Wood Shutters or Vinyl: Things You Need To Consider Before Deciding

You’ve made the decision of installing shutters? Well, congratulations! You know it’s for the best. Shutters will help with enhancing the exterior styling of your home. However, once you get down to the task of finding the best window shutters for your home, you will realize that there are a wide variety of choices to make. One of those choices is to choose the shutter material most suitable to your house and the area you live in. Let’s talk about two of the most preferred shutter material choices:

Wood Shutters

The classic choice of shutters is in wood that most people prefer. Wood gives the home a classic, traditional feel and generates a feeling of completeness. These kind of shutters are available for any window size and you can also custom order different styles according to your preference. You can paint the wood any color you like as well. However, wood may need to be taken extra care of and may wither in extreme temperatures. Chipping is also likely and the shutters might thus need to be repainted frequently. But if a little hands-on maintenance works for you well, you should opt for wood. Of course, increase the longevity of wood shutters by installing metal top caps to ensure moisture doesn’t seep into the end grain of the wood.

Vinyl Shutters

Vinyl shutters offer a great alternative to wood boasting many benefits. For starters, you will find that vinyl shutters cost less than their classic counterparts and don’t peel, fade, crack or deteriorate like wood does with time. Vinyl shutters are thus more maintainable, and along with looking good on the outside, can also be used inside the house near sinks, swimming pools and showers- all the places where you know wood wouldn’t last very long. Vinyl shutters are also by far easier to install because they are lightweight and non-functional. You simply need to attach them to the exterior wall and the installation is complete.

The Choice Is Yours

Where one shutter material helps give your home an elegant look, the other is easier to maintain and longer lasting. In the end, the choice to install either is yours, depending on what aspects you prioritize. When choosing between wood and vinyl shutters, consider the climate of your residence area and your home style. Wood suits traditional homes more while vinyl shutters are best for a more modern looking home. That is one way to make the choice if everything else things fail to point you in the right direction.

Remember that purchasing shutters, no matter how menial or easy a task it might seem, entails a lot of planning. You don’t want to waste your money by installing the wrong kind of shutters that can’t withstand the weather. Choose the shutter material, style, color as well as any accompanying hardware carefully in order to spend your bucks wisely and invest in good home infrastructure that pays off later. You know, a better looking home fetches a better price.

If you’re looking for wood or vinyl shutters, we stock an extensive variety of both materials and styles. Call our toll free number (1-800-734-8368) today to get in touch with our customer representative who can guide you to make the right choice for your home.

What Are Your Style Options When It Comes To Shutters?

Like every other thing that contributes to home furnishing, shutters are available in different styles as well. Since the prime purpose of using shutters today is to enhance the outlook of your home, you must consider your style options carefully. Do you know the pros and cons of the different styles vinyl outdoor shutters and wood shutters and when you should choose one style over another? Let us help!

Shutter Styles

The three most common styles of shutters are louvered, raised panel, and board and batten shutters. Let’s take a look at each separately:

Louvered Shutters: Louvered shutters are one of the oldest and most popular shutter styles. These shutters have horizontal slats that allow controlled amount of light and air to pass through even when closed. Louver shutters can be installed for both decorative and functional purposes and either choice makes them an ideal option.

Raised Panel Shutters: This is a popular shutter style in New England, and gives the home, a timeless colonial look. Raised panel shutters mimic the raised panel doors and are most suitable for installation in places where you need privacy. They can also block sunlight which makes them ideal for your room in case you’re not a morning person. They are easy to install, economical and require minimal maintenance, making them a preferred choice for homeowners.

Board and Batten Shutters: A popular design trend, which was previously meant for farms and barns, the board and batten shutters give the home a rural appeal. Vinyl board and batten shutters are the preferred choice if you want to use shutters only for decorative purposes, and they are economical as well.

Choosing the Right Style for Your Windows

So now, after you are clear about the three basic styles that shutters are available in, you must decide which style is best suited for which kind of windows.

If you live in a traditionally styled house and like to maintain your privacy, operable panel shutters might be your best bet. These allow you to shut out the outside world when you want some solitude. Paneled shutters can also provide security by making the window difficult to access from the outside and can help to protect your expensive furniture from the harsh rays of the sun.

Most other types of windows and modern looking houses work well with louvered shutters. When installed with operable hardware, this style can provide the best natural alternative to air conditioning – outdoor breezes. Louver shutters in the closed position block direct sunlight, but still let air and indirect light pass through so they can keep the interior of your home cool when there is a light breeze to take advantage of while minimizing the greenhouse effect.

If you’re looking for shutters for more of a rustic country feel, consider board and batten shutters. Originally, such shutters were used to cover openings in farms to keep the animals protected until glass became an economical option. Today, these are widely used as a popular home exterior decoration item.

By far the best way to choose which style of shutters is right for your home is to take a walk or drive around your neighborhood to see what your neighbors are doing. After all, you wouldn’t want to be the only one in your neighborhood with raised panel shutters when the other houses all have louver shutters.

At www.ShutterContractor.com, you will find a wide variety of all kinds of shutters available to decorate your windows and enhance your home’s exterior appeal. For more information about our products or for to obtain guidance to make the right choice, talk to one of our customer representatives today. Our toll free number is: 1-800-734-8368

Tips for Choosing the Right Exterior Shutters for Your New Home

Installing shutters in your new home should be a no-brainer. But are you aware of the ins and outs of selecting the best exterior shutters for your home? Exterior window dressings such as shutters can favorably enhance the look of your home from the outside while offering increased protection from the harsh heat and sunlight. Many homeowners like yourself today are aware of the decorative as well as practical benefits of shutters. So before you move into your new house or while you make renovation plans, make sure you keep the following guidelines in mind while choosing shutters:

 

Is There Enough Window Space

When installing shutters, you need to make sure there is enough space on both sides of the window for the shutters to open up. Windows that are too close to the corner or don’t have much side space, aren’t always suitable for shutters because they shouldn’t be sticking out or overlapping the corner. Space between windows also needs to be considered before making the decision, as any two windows shouldn’t be too close together. There should be enough space between adjacent windows for the shutters to open up without touching or overlapping.

What’s Your Window Size

Another important aspect to consider when choosing exterior shutters is the size of the windows. It helps determine the height and width of the shutters you would need. The height of shutters should equal the window height inside of the window trim while the width of one shutter should be half the width of window. The idea is that the shutters, when closed, should cover the window completely as any gaps wouldn’t look aesthetically correct.

What Style You Must Go For

Once you have determined that there is enough space to install shuttersh and the right size for them, the next important thing to consider is the style. Styles are majorly influenced by the other homes in your area but other things such as the level of protection for windows, aesthetics, and your personal choice also play a role.

If you live in a humid area, you might choose to install louvered shutters; these shutters facilitate better airflow, helping to keep the house cool. Similarly, for colder climates where snow might potentially damage glass windows, solid,paneled or battened shutters may be your best bet.

What Shutter Hardware to Choose

After you have settled on a style, you must choose the right hardware to accompany your shutters. First of all, consider the climate in your area. If you are near the ocean, you should choose aluminum hardware, otherwise you can go with carbon or stainless steel.

Next, you should consider the offset required to install your shutters so they will swing freely. Hinge offset is the amount of distance protruding from the exterior wall. Knowing which hinge offset you need is just a matter of finding the amount of throw required. The throw is the distance the shutter will need to travel away from the exterior wall between the fully open and fully closed positions. Don’t forget to take the thickness of the shutter into account when the shutter is in the open position – there needs to be enough clearance to prevent butting up against the exterior wall. You can typically find the offset of the shutter simply by dividing the amount of throw by 2.

After you have chosen your hinges, you can select from a wide variety of shutter dogs to keep your shutters securely in the open position, pull handles to help you operate them from the inside, and slide bolts to keep them securely closed.

Whatever choices you make, we at www.ShutterContractor.com stock a wide selection of quality operable shutters and shutter hardware. You can order via phone at 1-800-734-8368. We offer free shipping on all orders within the continental United States.

Should You Be Concerned When Selecting Exterior Shutter Hardware?

Every homeowner who wants to improve the aesthetics of their home and raise home value knows the importance of exterior maintenance and upgrades. An inexpensive and trending way to raise the curb appeal of your property is by installing exterior shutters. However, after you are done deciding the shape, color, style and material for your shutters, do you spend some time considering the kind of hardware to purchase for it? Most homeowners ignore the importance of the right kind of hardware that should accompany the shutters.

 

Why Exterior Shutter Hardware Matters?

As vast as the variety is in shutters, hardware variety is no different; the kind of hardware you choose should also complement your home style among other things. For example, if you are ordering board and batten shutters, hinge straps would be your best option to complement them, although they do look fine with other kinds of shutters too. Hence, when buying hardware, make sure it looks good with the kind of shutters you are ordering.

Here are some suggestions to make your hardware shopping for shutters easier and appropriate:

Consider the Climate

The type of climate can cause your shutter hardware to erode or damage before time. You don’t want to invest your money only to find out that the hinge straps need replacing after a month. If you live near the ocean, consider buying stainless steel or aluminum hardware that doesn’t get easily affected by the salt in the air. For other types of weather, you can still opt for a powder coating that helps protect hardware from rust.

Choose sturdy hardware, always

You must absolutely not rely on low quality or less sturdy hardware of any kind. Make sure any hardware you purchase and install is study enough to withstand and support the weight of shutters, in order to avoid any unpleasant accident or injury. If the shutters you have installed are long and you think a single hinge strap won’t be enough to hold them, don’t mind adding an extra one. Pintles are another vital piece of hardware for your shutters, helping to hold them together. Always make sure you choose quality hardware.

Consider Shutter Hardware to be an Investment

The hardware variety for shutters does not just end at the kinds of hinges available to hold shutters to the exterior wall. There is a variety of other things as well which help the shutters behave such as shutter dogs (also known as holdbacks) which keep the shutters in the open position, slide bolts to keep them firmly and securely closed or keep them protected from snow or rain with shutter top caps. Don’t think of these additions as a waste of money, rather an investment which will keep help protect your beautiful shutters as well as your home and keep them from getting unnecessarily damaged.

You can find a wide variety of shutters and its accompanying hardware at our store. Feel free to call us at our toll free number: 1-800-734-8364 and receive your order promptly. Whether you are installing new shutters or are looking for a fresh start with your existing ones, exterior shutter hardware from us can help.

Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Choosing Shutters

Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Choosing Shutters

Are you in the market for custom shutters and you are confused about how to measure? Shutter buying is far from rocket science, but getting the correct measurements or shape often leaves homeowners in stress. Some end up making the mistake of ordering the wrong size or incorrect shape to fit their windows, and that in most cases, is only because of lack of research and forethought.

 

The Origin of Shutters

Shutters have remained an exterior decoration to enhance curb appeal for decades. As decorative shutters help to boost a home’s perceived value, it is no surprise that they have been around for quite some time. Earlier, shutters were used to cover wall openings of any kind, thus protecting the interior from harsh weather, intruders, or animals. This is the time when windows weren’t yet invented. After glass windows, the use of shutters changed to protect the fragile glass, and today, they are used more as a decorative feature than a protective one.

However, due to the fact that there are no standard sizes for window openings it can be challenging to get the sizing right when ordering custom shutters.

Ordering the Wrong Shutter Size

Some homeowners make the mistake of ordering the wrong shutter size, which makes them a less-than ideal fit for the window. Shutters that end up being longer or shorter than the windows don’t look very appealing. The best fit is to the exact size of the window, and the width of a shutter should be half the size of the inside casing of the window. Remember that getting the shutter size right could make the difference between an addition that adds value to your home or one that subtracts value.

Ordering the Wrong Shape

Ordering shutters in haste can lead to you overlooking the simple fact that the shutter shape should match the window shape. Although quite obvious, it is worth mentioning to help you avoid this mistake since a lot of people still do. Rectangular shaped shutters aren’t usually the best fit for arched windows for example, but you may have seen this happen from time to time if you have ever observed window shutters. Before ordering, make sure you double check your window shape and check for the corresponding shape of shutters before ordering.

Installing Them Incorrectly

Fortunately, installing decorative shutters is really easy, so most people manage to install them correctly. However, one common mistake is to neglect to leave a 1/4” gap between the window frame and the shutter, which doesn’t allow the shutter to expand and contract with changing weather conditions. Another common mistake is to attach the shutter to the surface using wood blocks, which if left untreated will rot away rather quickly.

You can avoid making these mistakes by browsing through our installation and measurement guide on our website or call us on our toll free number (1-800-734-8368) for guidance and advice. We make our best effort to ensure our customers order and install their shutters correctly.

Choosing a Color for Window Shutters

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Window shutters come in a variety of styles and materials, the best part being that you can order custom shutters for better suitability and home appeal as well. That means, among other things, you need to choose a color for the shutters, which like all other color choices can be a challenge. Some people procrastinate about the color until they finally settle on one. It’s not easy. Should you go bold? Should you keep it light? The same shade as the exterior or a contrast? These are just a few thoughts that cross the mind of every homeowner who goes shutter shopping.

Here are a few tips to help you decide the right shutter colors that help make a statement:

 

Traditional or Contemporary

When deciding on a color for the shutters, consider the look of your house. Is it more traditional or contemporary? Traditional colors like the classic white, black, or even grey, complement traditionally styled homes well. On the other hand, if the exterior styling of your home is more modern, you can consider going bold with shades such as vibrant blue or bright red. A pop of color on the shutters sure helps uplift the exterior look of the house.

What Color Is The Home’s Exterior?

Along with the style of your home, when choosing the right shade of color, consider the paint on the exterior walls. Your color choice for shutters should complement it or blend in rather than stand out oddly. Also, take the variations in color of the home’s exterior in different light conditions into account when settling for a color for your shutters. Light contrasts typically work well, helping the windows look prominent and stand out, elevating the curb appeal of your home.

What Color Is Your Window Trim

Window trims and shutters bump against each other, so it’s important to consider the color of your trims as well. Many homeowners choose to paint the trims and shutter the same color, making the window look like a single piece. However, you can also choose a different color that complements the window trim color to help the shutters appear distinct. If your window trim is white it will generally not be a factor when choosing the color of your shutters.

A Quick Word of Advice

After you have taken these considerations into account, you should be able to land on a few reasonable top choices. However, the final choice of color can still be difficult. We recommend that you head to your nearest paint store and select paint chips matching your top choices. Put them against the photos of your home to decide what looks best.

You can also tour your neighborhood for some color inspiration. Looking at other people’s shutter colors will give you an idea about which colors stand out well and which don’t. It should be enough to help you make your choice. You can always contact us at our toll free number (1-800-734-8368) and we can help you make your shutter choices as well as deliver high quality shutters of your choice right to your doorstep.

Five Ways to Improve your Site’s Ranking (SEO)

Follow these suggestions, and watch your website rise the ranks to the top of search-engine results.

  1. Publish relevant content

    Quality content is the number one driver of your search engine rankings and there is no substitute for great content. Quality content created specifically for your intended user increases site traffic, which improves your site’s authority and relevance.

    Identify a keyword phrase for each page. Think about how your reader might search for that specific page (with phrases like “mechanical engineering in Michigan,” “best applied physics program,” or “Michigan Tech degrees”). Then, repeat this phrase several times throughout the page—once or twice in the opening and closing paragraphs, and two to four more times throughout the remaining content.

    Don’t forget to use bold, italics, heading tags, and other emphasis tags to highlight keyword phrases, but don’t overdo it.

    Never sacrifice good writing for SEO. The best pages are written for the user, not for the search engine.

  2. Update your content regularly

    You’ve probably noticed that we feel pretty strongly about content. Search engines do, too. Regularly updated content is viewed as one of the best indicators of a site’s relevancy, so be sure to keep it fresh.

  3. Metadata

    When designing your website, each page contains a space between the <head> tags to insert metadata, or information about the contents of your page. If you have a CMS site, the UMC web team will have pre-populated this data for you:

    • Title Metadata

      Title metadata is responsible for the page titles displayed at the top of a browser window. It is the most important metadata on your page. For those with a CMS website, the web team has developed an automated system for creating the meta title for each webpage.

    • Description Metadata

      Description metadata is the textual description that a browser will use in your page search return. Think of it as your site’s window display—a concise and appealing description of what is contained within, with the goal of encouraging people to enter.

    • Keyword Metadata

      Keyword metadata are the search phrases that people type when they want to find your page. You’ll want to include a variety of phrases. However, don’t get greedy: if your list becomes excessive, the browser may completely ignore the data. As a general rule, try to keep it to about 6-8 phrases with each phrase consisting of 1-4 words. A great example would be “computer science degree.”

  4. Have a link-worthy site

    Focus on creating relevant links within the text. Instead of having “click here” links, try writing out the name of the destination. “Click here” has no search engine value beyond the attached URL, whereas “Michigan Tech Enterprise Program” is rich with keywords and will improve your search engine rankings as well as the ranking of the page you are linking to.

  5. Use alt tags

    Always describe your visual and video media using alt tags, or alternative text descriptions. They allow search engines to locate your page, which is crucial—especially for those who use text-only browsers.

These are only a few of the many methods for improving your search engine ranking. If you want to learn more, we recommend the following resources:

U.S. government, Federal Reserve System and The U.S. Treasury

As part of  service relationship, the Federal Reserve System

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sells and redeems U.S. government securities such as savings bonds and Treasury bills, notes and bonds. It also issues the nation’s coin and paper currency. The U.S. Treasury, through its Bureau of the Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing, actually produces the nation’s cash supply and, in effect, sells the paper currency to the Federal Reserve Banks at manufacturing cost, and the coins at face value. The Federal Reserve Banks then distribute it to other financial institutions in various ways. During the Fiscal Year 2013, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing delivered 6.6 billion notes at an average cost of 5.0 cents per note.

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