Glossary of Plantation Shutter Terminology

This is a guide to plantation shutter terms and their definitions. This will cover the most common terminology and descriptions you’re likely to come across when learning about plantation shutters.

Plantation Shutters are a solid window treatment, that does not contain fabric-type materials. Plantation shutters are made with operable louvers of various sizes; 2 ½”, 3 ½”, or 4 ½”. The louvers are used to control light, provide privacy, and allow for a nice view outside. The popularity of plantation shutters has increased for decades. The following is a glossary describing the various parts of a plantation shutter. Various types of materials are used when manufacturing plantation shutters.

Wood: The two types of wood most commonly used in manufacturing plantation shutters are basswood and poplar. Our Salem Wood Shutter is made from all wood components.

Poly: Many manufacturers use a form of poly (PVC) to make their plantation shutters. Our Premium Poly shutter is made from all poly components. Our Salem Hybrid Shutter is made from a mixture of wood and poly components. 

Plantation shutters can be designed to fit windows in several different configurations. 

Single Hung: Full-height shutters that cover the entire window opening.

Café: Shutters that cover half of the window opening.

Double Hung: Two separate sections of shutters, a bottom half and a top half, in a window opening.
Louvers (also known as slats) are horizontal pieces that allow you to adjust the amount of light you want in a room. They are constructed with wood, poly, or aluminum-reinforced poly. The width of louvers we offer comes in three sizes. 2 ½” (2” view), 3 ½” (3” view), and 4 ½” (4” view).
Stiles are the vertical, upright sections of the shutter that connect to the top/bottom rail and hold the louvers in place.
The horizontal piece at the top and bottom of a shutter panel. This rail gives the shutter its form, stability, and structure.
A Divider Rail is a stationary horizontal rail at the desired location (normally lines up with your window sash). The purpose of a divider rail is to allow you the option of leaving all the louvers open or closing a portion of the louvers for privacy. It is also used for extra support for wider and taller panels.
The split tilt is when the tilt rod or Clearview strip is cut at a desired location to operate the louvers in independent sections. It serves the same purpose as a divider rail without having a stationary rail.
The tilt rod is the vertical rod used to tilt the louvers open and closed.
Clearview Shutters are constructed with a metal strip connected to a notch at the end of each louver on the back of the shutters. The strips are attached to the side of the shutters that the hinges are on. These are available with divider rails or split tilts.
A sliding track system is for sliding glass doors or large openings. This system allows your panels to slide past each other and are installed on tracks.
This term refers to shutters that are mounted within the casement of the window with either hinges (direct-mount) or with Z frames (used on drywall windows to give them a trimmed look). Inside-mounted shutters need enough window depth for the louvers to clear the glass on the windows.
Outside-mounted shutters are mounted on your window trim. These are beneficial for homeowners who have limited to no recess depth available or for windows that tilt in for cleaning.