Adding a mid-rail to your full height shutters can give you some of the same design benefits of café style or tier on tier style shutters. At the same time, you keep the structural benefits and ease of installation of our full height shutters. We try not to play favorites, but you can’t blame us for favoring this popular & functional style!
Benefits of Full Height Shutters with a Mid Rail
Full height shutters
are the easiest style to install. Fully framed, the shutter frame gives you a perfect square / level frame to ensure proper panel alignment. Magnets at the top and bottom of each panel catch the top and bottom frame pieces respectively to keep the panels closed. Hinges along the sides of each panel support the weight of your panels.
While café style
covers only the lower part of your window, which is great for privacy while keeping plenty of sunlight coming into the room, they can be more challenging to install. With the frame only around the left, right and bottom, the tops of the panels have no framing for support which can pose challenges especially for wider windows.
Tier on tier style
shutters, though fully framed, are split so the upper and lower panels open independently of each other. With more panels comes more adjustments necessary to keep the panels aligned over time. The top tier relies only on the top frame piece while the bottom tier relies only on the bottom frame piece for support. Gravity can inevitably cause the top tier to droop over the bottom tier with the panels needing to be lifted and pushed into place to close properly.
By adding a mid-rail to your full height shutters, you can operate the slats above and below the mid-rail independently from one another. This allows you to have the privacy at the bottom, and still get plenty of light coming in through the top, without any of the or installation challenges that could come from café or tier on tier styles.
Aside from the design function of separating the upper and lower slats, mid-rails also add stability to your panels making them sturdier and longer lasting. This is especially true for tall windows, and a mid-rail is actually required on any window taller than 71”. You might even opt for two mid-rails to create 3 separate sections of slats on extra tall windows.
Where to Add Mid-Rail & How to Measure
You may have decided you want to add a mid-rail, but you may not be sure exactly where to add it. The easiest way to decide is if there is any sort of natural divide or obstruction that you wish to cover / hide with the mid-rail.
If you have a double hung window, you may want to align your mid-rail with the divide between the upper and lower sash. Perhaps there is a lock or crank handle in the middle that you want to cover so it does not obstruct your slats from rotating open and closed (or even just to hide it for aesthetic reasons).
If there is no specific divide or obstruction that you need to align the mid-rail with, you can simply divide the height of the shutter in half to place the mid-rail at the center of the shutter. Sometimes you may prefer to go 1/3 or 2/3 of the way up depending on how large a section of slats you’d like to keep closed or open at any given time.
To measure for your mid-rail, you will simply want to measure from the bottom of the shutter up to the center of the mid-rail. Mid-rails are about 3” tall. Keep in mind, if you have a bottom frame piece below your window opening for an outside mount shutter, the mid-rail height will need to include the width of the bottom frame piece as well.
Inside Mount Measuring Guide >>
Outside Mount Measuring Guide >>
Try to leave at least 20” or so between the mid-rail and the top or bottom of your shutter. Because of the height of the solid rails, this is a good rule of thumb to ensure that a few slats can fit in between the mid-rail and the top or bottom of your shutter unit.
The factory may adjust your mid-rail height slightly up or down from the specified location, as the height of your window along with your chosen slat size may not allow for the mid-rail to be placed at the exact requested location. These slight adjustments can be made at the factory’s discretion. If the factory needs to make a major change to the mid-rail height, we will contact you to review and approve the change prior to production.
As with any shutter design questions or concerns, our shutter experts are here to guide you every step of the way. Still not sure what style is right for you or where to place your mid-rail? Send us a photo of your window for assistance. Be sure any existing window coverings are moved out of the way for your picture, so we have a clear view of the window opening. Let us help you design your perfect shutter!