A shutter panel swings opened and closed on a hinge, like a door, and has moving slats that open and close to control the light when the panels are closed. Holding everything in place on your shutter panel are the stiles. Stiles are the left and right vertical rails that hold the slats in place and connect to the solid top and bottom rails to comprise your shutter panel. Let’s look more at why this is important and what this means for the design and operation of your shutters.
Anatomy of a shutter, from page 10 of our technical specification sheet.
> > Shutter Glossary
Looking at Shutter Stiles in Detail
As you can see in the illustration above, there is solid material surrounding the movable slats (aka louvers) on each shutter panel. The top and bottom rail sizes vary depending on the height of your window and the slat size you select. The left and right vertical stiles are a set 2” wide per side regardless of material, style, or size ordered.
Why is This Important?
The standard 2” width of stiles is our factories’ recommended thickness for durability and structural integrity of your shutters over time. The size of these cannot be modified as this would result in a less stable product.
Knowing the width of the stiles is important because this will help you determine a couple of key design factors –
1) checking recess depth to determine which frame and which slat size you can use and
2) how many panels per shutter you want for each window opening.
Checking Recess Depth
Each slat size has its own requirement for the amount of recess depth needed in order for the slats to fully rotate open and closed without hitting the glass or any obstructions in the window opening. The requirements are all noted in our step-by-step measuring guides.
Measuring Guides >>
Recess depth can be measured from the edge of the wall or trim surrounding your window back toward the glass or nearest obstruction (crank handle, alarm sensor etc.). However, keep in mind there is a 2” wide solid stile on each side of the shutter panel, so a small lock or alarm sensor located less than 2” from the sides of the window opening would not obstruct your slats from operating.
In addition, if measuring for an outside mount, keep in mind you will have your outside mount shutter frame plus the 2” stile before any moving slats, so if you are mounting on top of an existing trim, this will help you calculate where the slats will start moving, so you can ensure you’ve selected a frame deep enough for your chosen slat size to fully operate without hitting the trim or any other obstructions.
Choosing Your Number of Panels
When you enter the width for your shutter order, you will see options for the number of shutter panels that can fit within that shutter unit for each window opening.
The more panels you have, the narrower each panel will be which can be beneficial if space is tight or you are going for a more traditional, colonial style design.
The fewer panels you have, the wider each panel will be which lets in more light and offers a more modern look.
The minimum width for a single panel can be as narrow as 8” to 10”, while the maximum can range from 26” to 35” depending upon which material you choose. This offers great flexibility in your design choices and knowing that the stiles are always 2” wide, this can help you determine how much solid material would be in each shutter unit, and how wide your slats will be.
For example, on a 30” window, with 1 single panel, there will be 4” of solid material for the 2” stiles on the left and right sides, leaving about 26” wide slats.
If you opted for 2 panels for that same 30” wide window, each 15” panel would have 4” solid, meaning a total of 8” solid material in the opening, and slats about 9” wide.
Do I Still Need a Frame?
Yes! Stiles are often confused with the shutter frame. While each panel is held together by the stiles on the left and right sides, the full shutter panel must be hung with hinges either directly to your window casing, or to a shutter frame.
While it is possible to order panels only, it is not recommended, as the shutter frame will make for an easier installation, keep the panels leveled and squared for proper alignment and overall better longevity along with being more aesthetically pleasing.
> > Why Are Frames Important? Do I Need One?
Think of stiles and top/ bottom rails as the solid border holding your shutter panel together, but the frame is what gets mounted to your window opening and what your panels hang inside of. Additionally, the magnets at the top/ bottom of the panels catch onto the frame to keep your panels closed.
In conclusion, stiles are important as part of the nuts & bolts that hold your shutter panels together, and they are important to get to know in detail so you can make other important decisions regarding your shutter design.
For help with any questions on shutter terms, design, measuring or installation, our helpful shutter experts are just a phone call or email away!
This post was brought to you by Yasmeen, one of The Shutter Store USA's experienced shutter consultants. Get in touch today for more advice on finding the perfect shutters for your house. If you're still unsure and have any questions, our friendly team of shutter experts are a call, chat or email away! Upload a picture of your window with your order or send it in to our support team for help designing your perfect shutters. We are here to help!