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10 things to know, and ask about the installation of your plantation shutters

If you are shopping for plantation shutters in the Denver area these are the things to ask about the installation and the installer

While the product quality of the plantation shutters you choose is important, the installation is just as important

Unfortunately, most plantation shutters sold in the Denver area are sold by a salesperson, not the company owner, and rarely by the person who is going to install them.

   

At Just Plantation Shutters it is just the opposite, I meet personally with every customer and I also install all of the shutters we sell

 

Salespeople are paid to make the sale, they know what they have been told or have read but rarely have ever actually installed a plantation shutter, this is why there are so many re-orders in this industry.

Doing it right the first time means having a complete understanding of not only the features of the product but the features of the installation and most salespeople just don’t have that knowledge.

This is why you need to know the right questions to ask.

Ask the installer if they are going to use a nail gun to install your plantation shutters

NO NAIL GUNS

 

Who is doing the installation?

The typical business model is plantation shutters are sold by a window decor retail store. The owner normally owns the store and may work in it daily in some capacity or be an absentee owner. 

When you make an appointment for someone to come to your home they usually send the salesperson to your home. The sales persons is usually not the owner, usually has never installed anything and usually sells mostly other products, drapes and blinds, with plantation shutters being a small percentage of their business. 

Installation of plantation shutters are mostly by third parties who are hired as an independent business to install. They are almost never an employee of the company you purchased from. 

 

Why does it take so long to get them installed after you buy them?

Above is one of the reasons, you bought them from XZY Window Fashions here in Denver and they sub the installation out to another person. When its is time to get your shutters installed, they don’t tell their employee what day to do it, they request the installation from the independent installer and have to get on their schedule which sometimes adds another week or two if not more. The more people outside whom you bought them for the longer it takes to do everything.

 

If you are meeting with a salesperson, have they ever installed a plantation shutter?

Likely the answer 100% of the time is going to be no. Salespeople sell things they rarely have risen up from the ‘field’ of installers. Installers know the nuts and bolts on how something will or won’t work, whether it will or will not fit based on who measured it.

Tech installing plantation shutters

 

Who actually measures my windows for the plantation shutters you will order?

About 80% of the time the salesperson will not and is not actually doing the measuring for your actual order. Any measuring they do is usually just rough measurements to come up with pricing so they can make the sale and get the deposit and get paid for the sale.

A few salespeople will actually know how to measure for the final order, but many times once they get your check for the deposit sooner or later they are going to reveal that you have to make another appointment with the “installer”. I put that in quotes because sometimes it will actually be the installer who measures, but most of the time it is not. The actual installer usually never sets foot in your house until the day of the installation.

But regardless your order is delayed and not going to be sent in for production until that real measure is completed with the more knowledgeable person, which could be 2 more weeks depending on how soon your can meet. (Another reason it usually takes 8 to 12 weeks for you to finally get your units installed.)

 

At Just Plantation Shutters it is just the opposite, I meet personally with every customer, I measure everything at this first meeting, no second meeting is required

 

Does the salesperson even know enough about plantation shutters?

As I said, most salespeople sell a lot more blinds or drapes than plantation shutters in a window decor store. If their salesperson goes on 10 sales calls that month, 9 of them are for blinds or drapes. So they are always having to get back on track for shutters, remembering all the many, many details that need to be applied to get these expensive customer-built and custom-fit units to actually install properly once they are at your home and you are dealing with the installer for the first time.

This is why once you meet with the actual person who does the actual final measurements customers get the news of :  “Umm, that frame style you were sold doesn’t work with your windows”, or “How did you want me to make this work with these windows?”, or “Did the salesperson tell you that your tilt out to clean windows won’t function with the units they specified for you?”.

Unfortunately, this is how it works, the salesperson sells, and the 2nd measure person knows a lot more about the actual details of the product and discovers the problems.

Composite plantation shutters in traditional style

Keep in mind this is actually at least better than the worst-case scenario when the actual installer is telling you the bad news which happens all the time. But in this case, the units have already been purchased and built and you’ve waited 10 weeks already for them to arrive and get on the installer’s schedule. 

Now the installers is telling you to contact your salesperson. You’re now starting over, with another appointment, another measure and another 10 weeks of waiting for the replacement. And hopefully, it is that easy and doesn’t turn into a he-said, she-said problem and everybody is pointing fingers at each other and you the customer are stuck in the middle with a half-installed home, with windows missing their blinds for the next 10 weeks because the first thing the installer did was remove and broke up all your blinds when they arrived as the first step of the installation.

 

How much experience do they have?

Installation is not a simple process, windows are always out of square, frames need to be shimmed, and panels need to be properly installed to open and close correctly. Louvers need to be adjusted. Problem-solving and good carpentry trim skills are required.

It typically takes an installer a minimum of 500 units to get totally proficient, that can be about 6 months to years worth of installations depending on the market. I can’t tell you the number of shutters I have seen installed on a bank of windows where they don’t even line up with each other. The eye will spot these defects, a good installer knows these things and will discuss them with you. Actually, it should start with the salesperson recognizing any issues like this and discussing these things with you during the initial consultation.

This is considered precision finish carpentry work and is why even Window Companies don’t want their people removing plantation shutters and call us to do it.

A customer can have many thousands of dollars invested in their purchase. That day of installation will determine how well their shutters function and last over their life. Ask about their installer’s experience so you get the proper installation of your purchase.

 

At Just Plantation Shutters I do all my own installations, I offer the personal touch and follow through from initial consultation to final installation

 

Have they installed any specialty units before?

Most projects have more than just window units, there are slider units for patio doors, fixed panels for french doors, bi-folds and many others. These units are less common and installed less often, so many techs don’t have a lot of experience with them, and the special expertise they require. Ask specifically if the tech has experience with your specialty units. Those types of units usually are the most expensive and take the longest to remake so you want somebody who is used to handling them.

French door plantation shutters perfectly installed

 

What is the warranty on the installation?

Most Denver area homeowners I deal with will ask about the warranty of the shutters but rarely asks about the installation warranty. Proper installation means it’s either been done right or it’s been done wrong, there is no in-between, and there is only one right way to do the installations. Any reputable company should be offering you a lifetime warranty on the installation. 

A red flag is when they don’t give you a lifetime warranty on installation, that’s usually because they don’t do the installations themselves and are relying on the warranty that the 3rd party they hired gives them and they pass on to you, which is typically nothing.

Are they certified?
Every manufacturer has a very specific set of guidelines to be followed to ensure the very best customer experience of the life of the shutters. An installer must follow these specific instructions to avoid any issues with the manufacturer’s warranty.

I do a lot of repairs around the Denver area and I can’t believe the number of shortcuts that I’ve seen and the problems they cause. Everything looks great when it’s first installed, the difference is what is happening in 5 years? Those shortcuts always come back and the homeowner gets stuck with them after the salesperson is long gone.

 

NO NAIL GUNS, EVER

This is the biggest and the worst trend that has come to Denver. Every year, I run into more and more plantation shutters that have been installed with nail guns.

Your shutters are a large investment and they should be treated as so. Everyone is looking to save money, but the installation of your plantation shutters should not be one of them.

Properly installed units are installed with screws so that if there is a problem down the road, or you decide to replace your windows or a window is damaged the plantation shutter can be removed and then reinstalled.

Screws can be backed out, nails from nail guns mean damage or destruction to your shutters. The heads are small and buried in the frames, the only way to back out a nail gun nail is to drill it out. And that is if you can find them. We don’t putty over screws for this reason.

The inside of your frames are not viewable, they are hidden as such this is not a place where you are trying to pretty things up with putty. This is a utilitarian place like under the hood of your car. You want to see the screws so you can find them to remove them when you need to.

Ask the installer if they are going to use a nail gun to install your plantation shutters

Installing with a nail gun benefits the installer through a much quicker installation, saving up to 50% of the time it takes for a certified installation with screws. It also benefits the company that sold you the shutters as it is cheaper to install them with nail guns.

Everyone wins but the homeowner, they will pay the price down the road.

When I get a call from a homeowner who needs their shutters removed and reinstalled because they are upgrading the windows the first thing I ask them is to look inside the frames and tell me if they can see screws. If someone used a nail gun the price of removal is at the least doubled and we have to have a discussion about damage. 

All because the installer took a shortcut. Do not let anyone install your plantation shutters with a nail gun.

 

Why is the trend going up for nail gun installations?

Composite shutters are more and more popular, however, some manufacturers use the word composite as a generic term to help sell their cheaper shutters that have a wood/MDF interior with a plastic coating. They call them polywood, or faux wood or use other terms like that, but they all have a wood-based interior, whether it is pressed pulp wood, or pressed sawdust.

These pressed sawdust interiors keep the cost down of their composite shutters but the interiors have such little structural value that screws don’t work well, the installer can’t even back a screw out if he needs to during installation without the interior crumbling, so they shoot them with nail guns.

 

If you want to know more read
The 12 reasons our plantation shutters are the best you can buy in Denver

cross section of Norman Shutters

Pressed sawdust inside their composite plantation shutters

solid resign composite

Solid through body color resin in our composite plantation shutter

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I look forward to answering any questions you might have about plantation shutters or talking with you about scheduling a free estimate in your home