How Do Plantation Shutters Open and Close?

Yasmeen 1/8/2021 9:53:18 AM Benefits of Shutters
Plantation shutters give you most flexibility of any window treatment in terms of privacy and control over how much light enters the room. You can rotate the slats open and closed and create separate sections of moving slats by using mid-rails. You can also choose how many shutter panels you have in each window opening and how those panels open.


How Plantation Shutters work?

Our shutters are designed as most shutters on the market, with the slats (also called louvers) closing fully flat in the upwards direction. While you can rotate the slats to point downward, the fully flat closure will occur by pushing the slats closed in the upwards direction.

This design to open and close shutters provides you the optimum light blockage and privacy. No one on the outside of the home can peer in through the slats. The slats overlap one another by about ½" creating a seal that blocks light and insulates your home.

If you have a central tilt rod, all the slats will be connected to one another by that rod and you can use the rod to push the slats open and closed. You can also add a mid-rail to separate the upper and lower sections of the slats for separate control. This way you can keep the bottom closed for privacy while letting in light from the top.

Central Tilt Rod vs. Hidden Tilt Rod >>

If you have a hidden tilt rod, the slats are connected by a thin metal rod in the back of the panel, hidden off to the side near the hinges. You will turn the slats by hand. Since they are still connected by the hidden rod, you can move just one slat and all other slats on that rod will move in unison.

For windows over 42” in height, the manufacturer may split the hidden tilt rod to allow you separate control of the upper and lower slats, and for overall structural integrity so you do not have too much weight on one rod.

You can specify a desired “split tilt” location if you want the hidden rod split anywhere other than at the center. You can also add a mid-rail with the hidden tilt option, but the split tilt option gives you the same functionality as a mid-rail without having a solid rail separating the upper and lower sections.


How Plantation Shutter Panels Open and Close?

Our shutters come with a frame, unless you specify “panels only”. The shutter frame mounts to your window opening, and your shutter panels hinge onto the frame. If you opt for panels only, you will align the loose hinge side directly on your window casing to match up with the hinges on your shutter panels.

Why are Frames Important?

Plantation shutter panels have the ability to swing open a full 180 degrees (as long as there are no obstructions in the room such as furniture or faucets that may get in the way).

Based on the width of your window opening, you will be given a choice of how many panels can be fit into the shutter unit. If you have one single panel, you can choose whether to have the hinges on the left or the right side. This way you can be sure the panel swings away from any walls, adjacent windows, or obstructions you wish to avoid.


When you have two panels, you can opt for one left & one right so they open out from the middle like a French door, or you can have both panels fold in one direction.

For a three panel configuration, one shutter panel will operate independently, and you can choose which side has the solo panel and which side has the bi-fold panels.

With 4 panels across, it is best to split them in the middle to evenly distribute the weight of the panels and prevent sagging. This would mean 2 panels bi-folding to the left and 2 panels bi-folding to the right.


For a windows around 60” wide or more, you may choose up to 5 or 6 panels. When you have 3 panels hinged to any one side, they will tri-fold in an accordion-style, collapsing into each other and then swinging open. This can be more challenging to keep the panels all properly aligned over time, and if you have a central tilt rod, the rods on the 2nd and 3rd panel of the tri-fold will face one another and prevent the panels from folding completely flat against each other.

Should I Choose Less Panels or More? >>

For Full Height shutters, the entire panel will open as one spanning the full height of your window. With tier-on-tier style you can specify a divide point so that the panels are split, doubling the number of panels per opening. This way you can swing the full upper tier open while leaving the bottom tier closed.

Full Height with Mid-Rail versus Tier-on-Tier >>

As you can see there are plenty of options for how plantation shutters open. You can keep your slats partly or fully open to control visibility and light-entry. When opening your panels, you can leave them partially open, or swing them the full 180 degrees. This allows you freedom to block as much or as little of your window as you want, which no other window covering can do!


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 plantation shutters for your home. 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!