Security Shutters: The ultimate guide 2020
A shutter’s multi-functionality makes it a useful fixture that not only adds tremendous value but also creates an appealing aesthetic to a home. However, with so many options to choose from, making a decision on which shutter to install can be a little overwhelming. Before we delve further, it is crucial to establish your motivations for installing them.
Would they serve as an additional safety measure?
Perhaps you’re renovating and like the look it lends to your home, maybe you’re tired of curtains and want a change. Fortunately, with modern, innovative advancements, security shutters give you the best of both worlds and have become the go-to option. They offer beautiful sleek designs together with robust safety features so you do not have to compromise on your protection or the look and feel of your home’s design.
Where To Install
If you’ve decided to get security shutters, it is important to review your home and decide where you want it installed. Do you want them on your windows only or do you want them on both your windows and doors? Would you want it on the outside or inside? Another consideration is space, this may influence the type of design and may change the design you had in mind but these are matters easily resolved when consulting with an experienced, reputable company.
The next and most important part of the process, is researching suppliers. Create a list of no less than 3 companies that specialise in security shutters. Go over each company’s product(s) and make notes, on the following:
- Longevity and expertise – How long has the company been in business? A business’ longevity is a good indication that they are stable and have the necessary industry experience to do the job at hand, furthermore, there is a good chance they will still be around years down the line should you need any repairs or additional work done.
- Company track record – It is important to read the supplier’s customer reviews on various platforms such as their website, Facebook page, Twitter page, Google, Hellopeter, etc. These reviews give insight on the company’s track record and customer service.
- Guarantee or warranty – What guarantee / warranty does the company offer on their product – This information is very important, especially when investing in a permanent fixture. Review the Terms and Conditions and find out what is covered by the guarantee or warranty, is it fulfilled by the company supplying the product or by a third party? Find out what could invalidate your guarantee or warranty, for example, using your own contractor to carry out the installation instead of the supplier’s recommendations could compromise your guarantee or warranty.
- Lead time – How long will the supplier take to prepare and install the finished product? Most suppliers should be able to provide you a timeline, however, if one requires customisation, make allowance for additional lead time.
- Safety features – Can their security shutter handle the punch or more importantly a sledge hammer? This is the defining feature that separates a regular shutter from a security shutter. It is imperative to note that no protective measure (burglar bar or security gate) is 100% impenetrable, realistically, the only criteria to look at is the length of time it takes before your security is breached, therefore, an important factor to consider is its strength.
What is it made of?
Currently, a top quality shutter is made from aluminium. Aluminium is a widespread metal that is lightweight and strong, good quality aluminium can take up to 190 Megapascals of pressure. Aside from its strength, aluminium is a versatile metal to mould intricate designs with and provides a really smooth finished product, furthermore, adding an approved powder coater to the manufacturing process, creates a protective durable finish to ensure the components are more resistant to impact, chemicals, moisture, ultraviolet light, and extreme weather conditions. The powder coater diminishes the risk of cracking, chipping, scratching, corroding and fading. Leaving your finished product looking beautiful for longer. So, if you are looking for a strong shutter, get an aluminium one.
When reviewing safety features, strength is not only dependent on the type of metal but also on the overall design and quality of mechanisms to provide a strong, functional streamline product, as the saying goes “A chain is as strong as its weakest link” the same applies to your security shutter. Investigate its assembly. A good quality product should ideally comprise of the following:
- Thick frames
- Tamper proof stainless steel parts (hinges, tracks etc.)
- Long-lasting fixings (screws and bolts etc.)
- Tension rods, thickened walls and internal structure supports for added stability, strength, and security
- Quality reinforced louvres that maintain its strength whether open or closed when locked in place
- Concealed internal louvre driving mechanism for improved security and a neat uncluttered finish with no metal components blocking the view
- Flush-fitting, tamper and strip proof stainless-steel cylinder and bolt lock systems
- Locking pins or rods that engage simultaneously at both top and bottom. The locking pins / rods vary in length, depending on the supplier
- Tamper-proof anti-lift frame protection
- Pre-treated against corrosion and powder coated
Please bear in mind the above list provides some of the key components to look at, there may be additional features to consider that are unique to the supplier’s product, some have patented locking systems or patented louvre designs which are aimed to provide a secure seamless fit. What could be useful is looking at some video demonstrations of attack tests to see how some products on the market fare.
Security shutters can fulfill a variety of functions such as:
- Privacy – Closed louvres provide 100% privacy which is a crucial feature for window dressings throughout the home particularly bedrooms and bathrooms. Tilted louvres ensure privacy while still allowing in natural light and ventilation thus essentially eliminating the need for curtains or blinds.
- Security – A valuable feature to highlight is that one can transform the look of your home by replacing bulky burglar bars and security gates with security shutters thus creating a more elegant and streamlined design.
- Control light – Adjusting the louvres can create perfect natural lighting indoors while simultaneously blocking direct sunlight that can damage home furnishings. Completely closing your louvres will block out natural and artificial outdoor lighting which allows one to sleep more soundly. This versatility is generally not offered by other fabric window dressings such as curtains and blinds which are either open or closed.
- Temperature control – Shutters are great at reducing extreme temperature variations during the winter and summer seasons. In winter the cold air is trapped between the panel and the window, and conversely in summer the hot air will be trapped in the same way.
- Ventilation and air control – Natural ventilation assists with cooling indoor temperatures, keeping a healthy circulation of fresh air and maintaining hygienic conditions. Adjustment of your louvres, allows you to direct and control the amount of ventilation while leaving windows and doors open.
- Maintenance and cleaning – Fortunately, cleaning and maintenance is relatively easy. Cleaning will help preserve the integrity of the pre-treated corrosion and powder coating on your shutter and consequently prolong it’s longevity. Generally speaking, minimal maintenance is required, however, if installed outside, it would need to be cleaned and lubricated more regularly particularly if situated close to the ocean. To get the best results, it is always recommended to follow the manufacturers maintenance instructions.
When it comes to designs there are a number of standard options and colours to choose from, however, if you require customisation, it is important to know whether the supplier or manufacturer can cater to your needs. Below are a few of the standard configurations on offer:
- Configuration and size – Keep in mind that functionality is the main priority, however the choice of configuration is also influenced by the space, size and shape of the area it needs to be fitted in. Inquire with the supplier if their product comes in standard sizing or if they are custom made to fit your specific size dimensions.
Most suppliers offer the following configurations –
(Before making any decisions, it is best to consult with a few companies for advice.)
- Hinged – Comprises of a perimeter frame and shutter panel which is hinged off the perimeter frame. They are designed to be kept closed, and the blades tilted for light control and privacy. Hinged panels are the most commonly specified for standard windows. Some suppliers or manufacturers may provide variations of this configuration.
- Bi-fold – The main appeal of this configuration is its ability to fold away from an opening giving you a completely unobstructed view. They are made to stack against one another like a concertina effect in either direction and the panels overlap so no light can come through them. They are versatile and can be made to sit at either 90 degrees to the opening so that light and air are let through while still maintaining privacy, or they can be made to sit flat against the opening. Some suppliers or manufacturers may provide variations of this configuration.
- By-pass or sliding – This configuration features a multi-track system that allows one panel to slide behind the one next to it. This configuration is perfect for use in areas where there isn’t enough space to stack bi-fold shutters. They can also be set up to slide behind each other with the blades open to allow light in. Some suppliers or manufacturers may provide variations of this configuration.
- Colours – Most suppliers or manufacturers supply their product in a variety of industry standard colours, some may, at an additional cost, offer custom made colours. For the most part the standard colours on offer are –
- light grey
- dark grey
From an affordability point of view pricing is an important factor, which is why it is really important to do your research as this will ensure you’re getting all the safety and functional features within your budget. Another consideration when keeping to a budget is calculating how many window and door shutters you need, and if you want them all fitted with security shutters.