Just Plantation Shutters

Just Plantation Shutters of Denver Logo

How much do plantation shutters cost in the Denver area?

...and what you need to know

What google says…
A quick google search revealed a lot of answers that are all over the place. A website called homeguide said that plantation shutters should cost a homeowner $200-$350 per window, but doesn’t talk about how big or small the window is. Is that a small window? A large picture window? They continued to list installation costs separately even the cost of a tube of caulk. However, I don’t know of any Denver area firms that are breaking out such items, and the vast majority include installation costs in the final price, because most consumers buying plantation shutters also want them installed.

Another website, angieslist said the average price is $55 -$330 for what they label the ‘average’ window of 16″x20″. A 16×20 is a typical standard size of a photographic print you would hang on your wall, I don’t know of many Denver homes with 16×20 windows… that’s probably about 1/3 the size of a typical Denver home’s windows. They also refer to teak shutters??? and about costs for hiring a handyman to install them, which again could work I suppose in some situations, however, plantation shutter manufacturers have certified installation programs to ensure customer’s warranties are not invalidated. I can’t imagine handymen going to shutter installation school, but anything is possible. Again, most good firms in Denver are going to include installation with a certified installer (hopefully their installer).

The 3rd website I found was homeadvisor, they gave a square foot range from $20-$45 per square foot, which out of everybody so far at least they are getting into a realistic range, however, they continue to calculate that the average interior shutter per window cost would then be $45 to $420. My calculator quickly reveals even using their pricing estimate, they are figuring an average window is starting at 12″x12″ ? That’s about the size of a ship’s porthole.  Most manufacturers have minimum shutter panel sizes and that doesn’t even qualify for the smallest shutters any manufacturer would ever produce.

Further, they go on to advise you how to find a good contractor to install them by the hour with the average plantation shutter taking 2 hours to install so an additional $200 per window. This would mean a good contractor could install 4 plantation shutters in an eight hour day. I realize that you might not know that much about plantation shutters at this point as you’re reading this article to find out more about them, but let me tell you, if an installer was only installing 4 shutters per day, they wouldn’t be employed very long, and further more I’ve never met a ‘contractor’ that was going around installing plantation shutters, they are usually GCing remodels and additions.

So, unfortunately,  the internet gives us a really wacky and useless range of numbers from people not actually in the plantation shutter business.

Some Reality

Average size window
There is no average-sized window in Denver, window sizes depend on not just the whim of the architect who was involved, but the age of your home as things changed over time, newer homes have larger windows, larger square footage homes have larger windows. In the typical house, the windows range tremendously in size from room to room.

Installation Costs
In Denver, the vast majority of shutter installations are done by the same company that sold you the plantation shutters and the cost of installation is included or rolled into the price of the plantation shutters. It is rare for installation to be done by a 3rd party and also rare for installation costs to even be discussed.

Plantation shutters are unique custom-built window coverings specifically manufactured to each window they are to be fitted on. They aren’t something typically installed by an outside source or a handyman.

Cost Factors

Typically engineered / composite shutters are a bit cheaper than solid wood. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages and it is typically not a blanket one material fits every customer’s needs. Let’s not forget that there are even more materials than just wood and composite, there are even plastic or vinyl shutters, they serve a market, however, the average homeowner is not going to be pleased with these lightweight and flimsy shutter materials so we leave them out of the equation here.

white composite plantation shutterSolid wood plantation shutter

Window Size
I think you have the idea now that window size is variable and the greatest factor in the cost.

Window opening and frame sized measurements. Depending on a few different factors the style of your shutters will include a frame around them or not, some measurements will only include the existing rough window’s opening dimensions and others will incorporate the actual width and height of the included frame that will surround the shutter panels. These factors can add or subtract a few square feet for each window.

Type of window
The base price model is factored on a typical square or rectangular-shaped window. Arches, angled tops, french doors etc, will all add dramatically to the price by factors of 2X, 3X or more.

Arched plantation shutters Highlands Ranch

As you have read, some manufacturers require a certified installer to allow the manufacturer’s warranty to extend to the customer’s shutters. Farming out the installation to 3rd parties or un-qualified tradesmen may lower the installation costs but could do harm to the consumer.

Your best bet is always to have the installation included in the total project price. In other words you want the company you’re buying your shutters from to do the installation.

Warranty is two parts, the warranty of the plantation shutters themselves and the warranty of the installation. The better the warranties the more value you are getting.

The two main pricing methods

Grid pricing
Some companies use a grid pricing where the base price is computed by multiplying the width x height and looking up the resulting number in a grid of boxes which average out pricing into steps, where for instance a 30″x60″ window may be in the same grid box as a 31″x62″ window. The prices are in steps, sometimes to your advantage where a slightly larger window is the same price as the slightly smaller one, however, when your window measurement puts you into the next tier of pricing because it’s 1 square inch larger you suffer a bit.

Square footage pricing
This is the preferred method for pricing, the base price is determined by the actual measurement. This is the most accurate pricing and removes the issues of tiered pricing and the customer gets exactly what they are paying for. But again as in all pricing methods the variable can be in the final shutter, framed or frameless can affect the final measurement.

Addendums are the different charges for different types of styles of plantation shutters, for instance, bi-fold type panels versus a single panel, where the bi-fold might be an upcharge of 10%.

Different companies have many different addendums, we try to always inform and consult with our customers to their final goals and let them know if there is a less expensive way to still attain what they are looking for, and avoid an addendum. However, we are not fond of addendum pricing in the first place and avoid having them as much as possible, allowing us to provide our customers with a simpler price structure that gives them more value and satisfaction.

Overhead & Efficiency
This is something that you won’t hear many companies in the Denver Area talk to you about, simply because it’s their weakness. Companies with large showrooms have higher overhead and must pass on these costs to each customer through their higher pricing. 

The truth is a decorator showroom is filled with 90% of items that aren’t plantation shutters, drapes, curtains vinyl blinds etc are all competing for space while all you’re interested in is the small plantation shutter display in the back corner of the showroom with a couple of panels on display. 

A company that brings the showroom to you and lets you look at samples in your living room and see how they will look on the actual windows they will go on, not only has lower overhead but is more convenient and a better way to see the product.

Efficiency gains which translate to lower prices and higher competence are provided by specialization. A company that specializes in just plantation shutters has a higher degree of efficiency as they are doing the same thing over and over again and are experts at one thing instead of being generalists at many things. The old saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” is unfortunately very true. Being a specialist eliminates that.

How much?
Okay, first we need to specify the general size, type of window and shutter materials. So let’s go with a typical Denver slider rectangular window, no arches, nothing fancy, 50″ Wide by 50″ tall, (17 square foot window opening) and price out the lower-cost option plantation shutters which would be an engineered composite material in white, with a front tilt feature and 3 1/2″ louvers.

DIY (do it yourself) $400-$600
This is going to be the lowest-priced option, you’re going to measure yourself, order from an online website and install them yourself. You should expect to see pricing $400-$600 for the shutters, you do the installation and of course, you’re responsible for the correct measure to order them. Delivery in 3-8 weeks to your door.

Full-service specialized plantation shutter company $500-$700
A company like Just Plantation Shutters that only sells and installs interior shutters you should expect a price range of $500-$700. Same window, same specs but installation is included, a life-time warranty on the product and the installation is included. As you can see pricing is very similar to the DIY option but you do nothing but meet with a consultant in your living room and pick out what you want, and everything is taken care of for you.

The difference is low overhead, no fancy curtain showroom to carry the expense of, and add to each product, the consultant is qualified to do everything in one visit. Installation is typically 3-4 weeks.

livingroom with fireplace

Window Covering Showroom $700-$1200
This is your old school way people used to do this, you go to their showroom and see a small plantation shutter display, you choose what you want, then you set an appointment for the designer to come to your house, go over everything again, then do a rough measurement and quote you a price from $700-$1200. Then typically you set another appointment for the installer to come out and do a real measurement because the designer isn’t qualified to do final measures. Sometimes there is a price adjustment because the installer points out installation issues the designer isn’t aware of and the product has to be adjusted. Then the installation is the typical 8-12 weeks.