Shutter Speak: Your Guide to Shutters – Part 1

Can you picture your new shutters when you close your eyes? And you can’t wait to order them?

But when the sales consultant comes round to measure your windows, he starts using words you’ve never heard before and suddenly, buying shutters becomes more complicated than you thought it would be.

Relax! With this guide, you’ll soon know a tilt rod from a louvre. And you’ll know what to ask the manufacturer to get the shutters of your dreams.

Let’s start with a brief explanation of the three different types of shutters we manufacture at House of Supreme.

Shutter Materials & Types


Shutter WoodenSolid Wood Shutters

We use Obeche for our wooden shutters; solid West-African wood with a natural sheen and attractive grain.

The material is perfectly suited to our climate. These shutters are less likely to split, crack or warp. Still, wooden shutters are better suited to interior applications such as bedrooms, lounges and dining rooms.

Wood adds warmth and comfort to any space through its colour and texture. And natural materials are always popular in interior decorating.

Bear in mind that wooden shutters can be pricey. Even if the raw material is cheaper than aluminium, it’s the skill and time required to turn a chunk of wood into a finely crafted shutter panel. But at House of Supreme, our wooden shutters are the same low price as our Decorative Aluminium Shutters.

Decorative Aluminium ShuttersShutter Aluminium Bathroom

Made from high-grade, locally extruded aluminium, Decorative Aluminium Shutters will last a lifetime. And unlike wood shutters, you can use them in bathrooms and kitchens or enclose a patio. That’s because aluminium has a naturally high resistance to corrosion.

They’re easy to clean and, aside from a yearly service that we recommend for all our shutters, don’t need much maintenance. Of course, they don’t have all the features of our Security Shutters, but they do fulfil all the functions of top-notch window treatments:

  • Control light and airflow
  • Create privacy
  • Insulate against cold, heat and noise
  • Add value to your home and lifestyle
Security Shutters

The features that add strength and security to these shutters include:

  • Tamper-proof locks with a stainless-steel cylinder and bolt lock system
  • double-core louvres reinforced with steel pins and,
  • thickened walls

Security Shutters are a window treatment that doubles as a security feature. You can still control the amount of light and air entering a room and they protect your home and family.

Our Security Shutters are every bit as elegant as our Decorative Aluminium Shutters. And they’re made from aluminium, which means they’re easy to care for and low maintenance.

Now let’s move on to some shutter terminology you should know.

Shutter GlossaryShutter Panel Diagram


Shutter Stiles

These are the vertical strips on either side of the louvres. The louvres rotate between the two stiles and attach to the stiles with louvre pins.

Top Rail & Bottom Rail

The rails are horizontal panels found above and below the louvres. Their purpose is to add structure and stability to the whole shutter panel. On Wooden Shutters, which have a Tilt Rod, you’ll see a small notch in the top and bottom rail to accommodate the rod.

Tilt Rod

The tile rod connects all the louvres. When you move the tilt rod up or down, all the louvres move together.

For a clear view between each louvre, you can opt for a Hidden Tilt Rod. With a hidden tilt rod, you only need to adjust one louvre as they all move together. For a more contemporary look and no rod to spoil your view, choose shutters with a hidden tilt rod.

Mid Rail

This is a horizontal panel that divides the louvres into top and bottom sections. You can open and close the louvres of each individual section. And this gives you more control over the flow of light and air.

And mid-rails add stability to extra-long shutter panels.


Louvres are what make shutters – shutters.   They’re responsible for the distinctive look of shutters.

But the true purpose of their elliptical shape is to control the flow of light and air into a room.


The shutter panel mounts to a frame, and the frame attaches to your window. The frame fits either inside the window recess or around the outside. The shutters hang from the mount.

Depending on whether you need an inside or outside mount, you’ll need Z-Frame or L-Frame. We’ll go into more detail on the different frames in another article.

The frame gives your shutter panels a place to hang from and completes the look of your window treatment.

Ring Pulls

On bi-folding shutter panels, ring pulls make it easy to move panels into the desired position. And they add a decorative touch too.


Flush Bolts

As the name suggests, flush bolts are there to keep your sliding shutter panels aligned when you close them.


Security Shutters – Added Features

Security Shutters have extra features to those mentioned above.  Some of the features you’ll find on our Security Shutters are:

  • A secure stainless-steel cylinder and bolt lock system
  • Hidden, flush-fitting tamper-proof lock with a double internal latch mechanism

Other features such as the tension rods and double-core louvres reinforced with hardened steel rods are hidden from sight. Your consultant will explain each of the security shutter features when they meet with you.

Putting It All Together

Now that you know all the different parts that make up a shutter panel, you’ll want to know how they fit together. In our next article, we’ll take a look at some different shutter configurations.

In the meantime, you can always schedule a consultation with one of our sales reps. With branches all over South Africa, we’re the shutter specialists to call to get the ultimate window treatment for your home. Get in touch with us today and let us show you how shutters can transform your space.