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Do you need help with finding the right design for your interior or exterior shutters and doors?  We can help.

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Stave Core Doors & Shutters

Most of the shutters and doors we make here at Kestrel, both interior and exterior, are built out of solid, kiln dried wood without the use of any laminates.  We can do this as the wood species that we use, American Basswood and Sapele Mahogany, are dimensionally stable and react minimally to changes in humidity.

So what happens when you want doors or shutters made from a different species of wood that is not as stable?  If we were to make our doors and shutters out of solid woods like Hard Maple, Birch, White Oak and Red Oak, while they would be beautiful they would also be likely to warp.  Especially when made to the sizes of doors or larger windows.

This is where Stave Core enters the picture.

What is Stave Core?

When 2 or more pieces of wood are glued together the chance of warping drops dramatically.  This is because if any of the boards try to warp they end up “fighting” against the other boards and are held straight.  The only problem is that the glued up boards don’t look as nice as a single piece of wood.  So, you take those glued up pieces of wood ( that are now very, very stable ) and glue a solid, but thinner, piece of wood to each face and to edges as well.  This is what stave core is:  Thin strips of wood, laminated together to make them extremely stable, then covered in pretty much any wood that you want.

Mahogany stave core door stile

Mahogany stave core door stile

This photo shows a cross section of a Mahogany Stave Core door stile.  The front and back faces of the door stile are 1/8″ thick Mahogany and the edges are 3/4″ thick Mahogany.  These are wrapped around several smaller pieces of poplar.  All of these are laminated together to make a super stable stile which ensures that the interior door made from these will remain straight.

What are the Benefits of Stave Core Doors

Stability.  Using stave core for the stiles ( the vertical frame pieces of the doors ) will make sure that your doors will not move over time from changes in humidity.

Over-sized doors are not a problem.   This ties in with stability but the idea is that by using stave core for the stiles, and even the rails, you can have doors that are much larger than normal.

Eco-friendly.  Stave core is made up of smaller strips of wood that would otherwise have been discarded.

Lighter weight.  The cores of our stave cores are made from Poplar or Pine which are both lighter in weight than the hardwoods used on the outside of the stave cores.  This helps to keep the overall weight down.

Fixed louver sliding doors made with Mahogany stave core stiles and rails

Fixed louver sliding doors made with Mahogany stave core stiles and rails

media center louvered doors built with Maple stave core

Maple doors, built with stave core, cover a corner media center in this Hawaiian home.

 

Fixed louver sliding closet doors made with Hard Maple stave core

Fixed louver sliding closet doors made with Hard Maple stave core

Click here for a quote on Kestrel Wood Closet Doors.

Click here for a quote on Kestrel Wood Interior Shutter.

If you would like an option for stave core doors just make a note of that in the comment section of our quote request form.

Using Exterior Shutters & Doors on your Outdoor Living Space

Something that we have been seeing more of in the last couple of years has been the use of shutters and doors to create more usable living space.   We see shutters and doors being used as windbreaks on decks and around pools, forming the walls of gazebos, cabanas, outdoor showers and even fully enclosing porches.

Plantion shutters used to block the sun on the outdoor lobby of this Dude Ranch

Here operable louver shutters are combined with roman shades to control the light on the porch lobby of this Dude Ranch.

Exterior Shutters as Windbreaks and Sun Screens

Louvered shutters, both operable and fixed, do an excellent job of blocking the wind and Sun.  These are usually mounted with hinges or fixed in frames.  Another common installation method is to make a simple wood frame with a groove to allow the louvered shutters to slide back and forth.  The benefit of the hinges or slide are that you can easily move the shutters out of the way if you want an unobstructed view.

If you are looking to drastically reduce the amount of wind or sun consider alternating between louvered shutters and a solid style shutter like a raised panel or tongue & groove.  Alternatively if you are looking to block the sun or wind in only a single place on your porch you can always create a mini frame to hold the shutters in that spot and leave the rest open.

Gazebos and Cabanas

Plantation shutters areused to enclose this Gazebo overlooking Puget Sound.

Plantation Shutters on a Gazebo overlooking Puget Sound

 

Just like louvered shutters can be used as windbreaks and sun screens on a porch they can be adapted to stand alone structures like gazebos and cabanas.  There they can be used to create walls between the posts and roof supports and even provide security.  If hinged they can be opened up to create “windows”.  We often see louvered doors added to cabanas to provide privacy as a changing room or outdoor shower.

If only a little bit of ventilation is needed choose a style like our louver over tongue & groove.  This gives the extra protection and sound insulation from the true tongue & groove boards while still providing some air flow.

 

Operable Louvers v.s. Fixed Louvers

  • Operable louvers allow you to adjust how much of the wind and sun is blocked so that you can completely shut out the Sun, wind or rain and then open it up for more gentle breezes.   If you have particularly strong winds you may need to attach a simple latch to keep the louvers open or closed during blustery days.
  • Fixed louvers will deflect the Sun, wind and rain but still allow a steady flow of air.  This is helpful where there is a concern for overheating and a need for constant circulation.  Since the louvers are fixed these are best hinged or in sliding frames.  That way they can be opened up when you want.

The best thing to do is to go where you plan to add exterior shutters and doors and think about what you want to block.  Is it the sunlight, wind, your neighbors house or just the outdoors in general?  Do you want to the shutters to cover the entire area or just a part?  Will you want to be able to remove or open the shutters or do you prefer them to be fixed in place.  Going through these questions will help to narrow down what will work best for your home.  If you are still not sure what will work best give us a call, an email or use our online chat.

Exterior shutters and doors on a pool-side cabana

Exterior shutters enclose this pool-side bar and cabana.

operable louvered door on an outdoor changing room

An operable louvered door is used to close of this outdoor changing room.

operable louvered shutters act as a windbreak on this second story porch

Operable louvered shutters act as a windbreak and privacy screen on this second story porch.

arched shutters block the wind in this breezeway

Arched, fixed louvered exterior shutters were used to block off one side of this breezeway between buildings.

Reproducing Exterior Shutters for Historic Homes

In the last 24 years we have reproduced many exterior shutters for many historic homes and buildings.  While some shutter details were consistent to style or location of the homes others had feature that made them unique.  When we look at an historic project there are certain things we need to consider.

Historic Reproduction Exterior Shutters

What details on your Exterior Shutters need to be matched?

To begin with, almost any detail can be matched.  We have matched custom cutouts, raised panel and louver profiles, stile and rail dimensions, shutter thickness, through-tenons, lead capping, horns and more.

As far as what details you NEED to have matched … this will vary as the answer depends on many factors including personal preference, historical requirements and even funding sources.

If your home is on the national registry of historic places you should check with your State Historic Preservation Officer.  They can direct you to the information you need regarding reproductions.  Local historical societies can also help and should be checked as they may have different requirements from the state.

If your home is not on the national registry then what is matched is really up to you.  We have done homes where the new shutters matched every detail to nothing at all.  Sometimes as long the shutters look appropriate to the home the preference is to go with a completely different style of shutter.

In other cases the cost of the exterior shutters is being covered by a government grant and everything needs to be matched.  The arched shutters shown at left are a good example of that.  The original shutters, from an octagon house built in the mid 1800’s, had been made an inch too short.  Because of the source of the grant money we had to make sure that the new shutters were made an inch too short as well and then tack on a piece of wood at the bottom.  We did offer to make them to the correct size but that was turned down as that was not how the original shutters had been made.

Matching the original Exterior Shutters

The General Maxwell Headquarters at Valley Forge national Park prior to Kestrel Exterior Shutter Restoration

The General Maxwell Headquarters at Valley Forge national Park prior to Kestrel Exterior Shutter Restoration

Of course the thing that helps the most in matching older shutters is having the original shutters in the first place.  Even if they are in poor condition we can still learn a lot.   In some cases the originals were destroyed years back so no one really knows for sure what the exterior shutters looked like.   For cases like this we rely on any old photos that the current owners have found.  If they have no photos then the next places to turn to are the historical society and other local homes from the same time period.  Since many of our exterior shutters designs are based on traditional styles our standards can usually blend right in with what is needed for a historically accurate home.

If the originals can be found the best thing is to send us a matched pair so that we can take accurate measurements.  Even with the originals in hand it can be a bit tricky.  Sometimes we find that the shutters had been trimmed down at some point to allow for new windows or storm windows being installed.  Other times the shutters have started to fall apart and the only thing holding them together are the dozen or so paint jobs that have been applied over the years.

Kestrel Reproduction Exterior Shutters installed on The General Maxwell Headquarters at Valley Forge National Park

Kestrel Reproduction Exterior Shutters installed on The General Maxwell Headquarters at Valley Forge National Park

Even without the originals we can tell a lot from photographs.  We may not be able to get minute details but we can still make sure that the overall look of the shutters will match what was once there.

The cost of reproduction exterior shutters

There is no way to guess at the pricing without seeing what we are matching.  Since our exterior shutter specifications are based on historic designs, quite often there is no additional charge.  Certain details, like matching the width of rails or stiles, are really just a one time setup cost.  If you only need 1 or 2 shutters it may not be practical but when spread out over several shutters the setup costs are minor.  Other features, like matching decorative trim or the shape of a raised panel, require special cutting knives to be made.  Here again the price may be a bit prohibitive for only 1 or 2 shutters but reasonable for an entire house worth of shutters.

The best way to start with getting a quote is to send us a list of sizes, some photos or drawings and letting us know what you would like us to match.
We will probably go back and forth a few times to make sure that we are quoting you what you want.  Then we will be able to send you some quotes, pricing out the different features as well as some options that will lower the cost.

Regardless of what you are looking for in the way of Exterior Shutters, give us a call or send us an email.  We will be happy to work with you to make you what you want.

Can I Use 2 Different Styles of Closet Doors Together?

Simply put…Yes.  While we make doors that are a combination of different styles ( louvers over panels, mirrored over bead board, operable louvers over fixed louvers and more ) you can also use different types of doors in the same opening.

Reasons for Mixing and Matching Door Styles

Combination of Colonial Raised Panle and Mirror Sliding Doors

The most common reason to consider combining doors with different styles is if you are using mirrored closet doors.  Sometimes an entire wall made up of mirrors can be a bit overwhelming.  The doors to the left show how a single, central door was made with a mirror while the outer doors are a more formal raised panel design.

Below is another example.  Louvered doors were needed for ventilation in the closet.  The homeowners, however, wanted mirrored doors to help with getting ready in the morning.  By using both styles of closet doors they were able to get exactly what they needed and wanted.Louvered Closet Doors with Mirrors

What Styles of Closet Doors to Use

Any style of closet door can be mixed with another.  Really the best thing to do is stand in front of your closet and think about how it will be used.  For example, will it be used for housing equipment that might need ventilation or maybe sound proofing.

Next, think about how you want the closet doors to look.  Louvers for a more relaxed or beachy/Caribbean feel.  Tongue & Groove or Beadboard to make things look taller.  Flat panels for a Mission style home.  Whatever look you are going for you can then mix the different styles of closet doors to get that look and the use that you need.

If you are not sure what styles will work, you can always give us a call, send us an email or start an online chat. We are happy to help.

What Are Faux Louvered Doors?Faux Louvers vs. Fixed Louvers

With fixed louvered doors the louver blades are fixed at an angle and spaced far enough apart so that there is a gap.  This is so they provide privacy while still allowing airflow.  With Faux lovered doors the louver blades are shaped like a chevron and stacked.  This gives you the look of fixed louvered doors while blocking sound and airflow as well as sight.

Applications for Faux Louvered Doors

Since faux louvered doors give excellent privacy some of the applications are for guest room doors, bathroom doors and maintenance doors.  Keep in mind, however, that since faux louvers block all air flow they should not be used where ventilation is required such as around air handling, refrigeration and  media equipment.

Available Sizes & Costs

As with all of our other designs of shutters and doors, our faux louvered doors are available in any custom size.  We offer faux louvers in 3 different sizes; 1.7/8″, 2.1/2″ and 3.1/2″.  All of which can be installed as hinged, bifold, sliding or pocket doors.

tri-fold louvered doors

 

custom size door quote

 

If you are not sure if faux louvered doors will work for you please ask. Give us a call, send us an email or start an online chat. We are happy to help.

 

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