#1 – Deal With a Company You Can Trust
The single most important factor in buying window treatments is the company you deal with. The quality of the product, follow-up, warranty, and the installation are all dependent on the quality of the company you choose. Take into account the following:
Longevity – It’s always best to deal with a company that can prove its reputation through a long list of satisfied customers. Not all companies are created equal.
Size – Smaller companies simply lack the buying power to provide you with a competitive price. Plus, they can’t afford the cost to research and develop new products.
#2 – Read the Warranty
The warranty itself should cover both the product’s materials and the labor to build and install the window treatment. And get it in writing. No matter how great the guarantee sounds, if the company goes out of business, it will be worthless. That’s why it’s so important to do business with a company that has an established reputation and is large enough and financially strong enough to stick around for a long time.
#3 – Measurements and Layout
In order to get an accurate quote, a skilled estimator should come to your residence and take precise measurements. Any company that gives you a cost over the phone is doing so just to entice you. Almost without exception, the cost will go up when they actually come out to your house.
#4 – Factory Direct is Best
Make sure you deal with the company that actually builds the shutters. This assures that you will get accurate answers and timely responses. It also assures you of factory-direct prices.
#5 – Quality Installation
Shutter installation is just as important as a shutter’s construction. Most shutter companies use subcontractors to install their shutters. Using a company that does its own installation insures that one company will be responsible for everything. This increases accountability and allows the company to carefully monitor every step of the process.
#6 – The Desired Look
Plantation shutters come in two primary finishes – stained wood and painted. If you like the painted look, use Polywood shutters. Polywood is made from a polymer that is finished with a baked-on acrylic lacquer that will never crack or peel. It is the best finish in the industry. If your current décor uses a lot of wood, a wood stain might be the preferable choice. Basswood is best for this purpose as it takes a stain with even coverage and has an attractive grain.
#7 – Budget
Don’t get caught by the price games many window treatment companies play. Many like to tout the lowest cost per square foot but they charge extra for frames or add-ons that you end up needing. In the end they’re really not a bargain.
#8 – Quality Materials
Plantation shutters are made from a wide range of materials. They basically fall into three categories: Solid Wood, Wood Composites, and Synthetic.
By far, the best material for shutters is the synthetic product called Polywood. Sunburst Shutters developed the Polywood Shutter, now the hottest selling shutter in the world. Shutters made from Polywood are virtually indistinguishable from painted wood shutters but will never warp, fade, or crack the way inferior products usually will. Polywood, a solid polymer product, has the look and feel of wood but offers superior strength and insulates 70% more efficiently than wood shutters. Beware of shutters made from hollow materials, vinyl, composites, MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard) or inferior synthetics.
#9 – Construction
Besides carefully considering the material, a savvy buyer also needs to scrutinize the shutter’s construction. Some of the basics include the use of tension pins, which make sure the louvers remain tight, and using stainless steel, epoxy coated staples, which never come out. Some better-made shutters utilize either dowel pins or mortise and tenon construction to hold horizontal pieces (rails) to vertical pieces (stiles).
#10 – Independent Testing
All window treatment companies claim to have the best product. For this reason, choose a company that uses independent testing to verify its claims. Treatments should be tested for durability, heat resistance, fading, cracking and insulation properties