Our 2nd story shutters won't fit w/ our porch brackets. Help!

babs711April 6, 2012

I just don't know what to do. I've tried working through this myself but am out of ideas. I'm just so tired of thinking.

OK...on the plans of our New Orleans home, there were 4 brackets placed to fit under the 2nd story porch overhang to be above the four lower porch columns. It's very "New Orleans". A little less than two weeks ago, I went to an architectural antiques place and selected four brackets. I paid for them and they were going to fix them up and add molding to the sides, etc and get them ready.

A day or so later, our architect and builder and I were onsite looking at the length of them with the ceiling, etc. The builder measures between the windows and says there is only two inches between each shutter for brackets! Two inches! Most large brackets...these are five feet in depth and two feet in height...are 3-4" wide. Ours are 3 1/2. I asked if they can be shaved down. Nope...did you know wooden brackets have metal inside? Me either...until now!

So now we have a huge dilemma. There were working shutters on the architectural plans. There were also four brackets shown on the plans...with the notation of the style being "verified by owner":

Since that was the case, the assumption was that things would work in the end. Here is a fuzzy pic of where we are now. We are doing squared porch railings upper and lower with fatter railings on the second story above where the columns are.

Since the windows we used are pretty flush with the Hardie Plank, it seems that our only options for hinges are offset hinges. IF we had more of a recessed window (like brick houses do), then we could mount a hinge on the brick perpendicular to the window and butt the shutters right up against the window and gain two more inches between.

The only other options are to have them LOOK like operable shutters but not really operate and then have them moved inward toward the window. No one would know but us that they didn't operate. Of course, the one or two times a year when we evacuate, we couldn't close the shutters. DH HATED this idea and said absolutely NOT. He said if we're paying for the hardware then we're going to use the hardware and it's part of the look of our house and that's why we put it on the plans, etc.

Another option was two put only two brackets on the ends of the porch. This isn't a good idea to me either. It compromises the whole look of the house and makes the brackets seem like afterthoughts.

Another option is to do 17" shutters instead of 18" for the 36" windows to where you can't tell from the street that they're narrower. BUT those few times when we WILL close them, there will be a 2" gap. So we would have to come up with some kind of a rigged solution to that gap when closed. *sigh*

This just sucks all the way around and there is NO FIX that I can think of. We need shutters that will sit flush to the window glass and not be offset so that we can have four inches between the two windows. But since our windows are so flat to the house, I don't see how to achieve that and have it look good. And we need all four brackets to keep with the architectural feel of the house. I don't see how to do both. Yet I don't see how to give up one without losing part of the house. And the exterior of the house is kind of a big deal. Can anyone please help me think of something? Anything?

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How frustrating! I can't imagine where you even found brackets that were 5ft deep by 2ft high. I'm not surprised tho that they have metal inside since they were probably made to be true structural supports instead of merely decorative.

Since that roof section seems to be staying in place just fine without bracket support, it looks like your brackets just need decorative. If so, you don't need any metal inside.

I know you already paid for those brackets and I'm sure they weren't cheap. But, since you want your shutters to be operable, the only other option is to get/make brackets that will fit into the space you have available and that CAN be done. You just need to find someone with the skill to duplicate the style in wood but make it thinner.

Are the brackets fairly simple in design or very complex (lots of scroll work)? Obviously, the more complex they are, the more it will cost you to get thinner duplicates made - but a really good millwork shop can duplicate just about anything. I've linked to one place in California that I'm pretty sure could make you whatever you want.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blue Ox Millworks

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 5:20AM
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I agree with bevangel. I would have brackets made. Can you make them shorter so they go above the shutters instead of in between? It wouldn't have to be much. What does your architect think>

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 8:52AM
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Sophie Wheeler

The obvious solution from both a functional and style standpoint is wrought iron brackets. They are easy enough to make and add in that NO style quite well--and they can easily be the size needed. The place that is doing your wrought iron railings can probably fix you up. Forget the wood!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 10:10AM
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You guys are right. I'm going to go back the architectural salvage place and beg and cry and plead with them and see if I can get my money back. I'll go Monday. Hopefully they'll be reasonable. This is so frustrating.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 11:26AM
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It never would have bothered the Victorians to have the shutters open as far as they could against the brackets and just stop. They accepted that the shutters ("Outside Blinds") were just an appurtenance, and as long as they could function (close tight to keep the sun out) it mattered little how they looked when open. You can spot them all the time "half open" against inside corners, porch cornices and columns, etc.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 5:54PM
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I agree. The only issue with that is the brace that holds the shutter opened. I don't know how that would even work if we did that. During storms or a windy day, those braces that hold the shutters opened are there for a reason. On that one spot between those windows, we would have no brace to hold those shutters opened and to the house so they would be banging against the house nonstop, right?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 6:43PM
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So, just use the adjustable rod-style shutter operator. It can hold the shutter at any point.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 8:44PM
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Casey, what is the actual name of that hardware? Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:55AM
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Apparently the old-style shutter stay is no longer made; I searched long time.
But this casement control would work, provided you used longer screws, and flied a flat onto the bar where the open position fell so that it could not slip in the wind. I have used this particular unit on casements, it is very well made.
The old-style hardware was forged steel/iron and used a L-dog rod with a hinge mount screwed to the shutter, and a sill bracket with a series of holes the same diameter as the dog to receive it in an open or closed position.

Here is a link that might be useful: casement stay

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 9:03PM
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