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Top Tips To Choose The Right Shutter Hardware

Whether you're building a new home, having one built for you, completely re-modeling an entire house, or simply sprinkling a few updates throughout, you may consider adding shutters. They can be completely utilitarian in nature, if you like. Or, as is frequently the case, faux shutters are used to enhance a home’s exterior appearance. In addition to the correct style of shutter being used, the topic of shutter hardware will definitely come up – and it's an important topic, to say the least.

Here, we will explore a number of considerations to remember in order to pick the appropriate hardware for your shutters. The following categories will be included:

  • Adding Acorn Holdbacks
  • Visibility
  • Shutter Thickness
  • Cladding
  • The Age of Your Home
  • Seeking Professional Guidance 

We’ll also cover a number of other topics including exterior shutter hinge types, how shutters close, and explore some hardware that would be most appropriate for your house.

Shutters and Hardware in General

How a home’s aesthetics are impacted by the appearance of shutters depends largely on color and style. However, the chosen hardware and its installation also contribute greatly. Though seemingly a very small detail, hardware can influence the authenticity of your home dramatically.

Ideally, you want historically accurate and architecturally correct hardware on your shutters. There is a wide range of installation methods and styles to choose from, too. What looks good on the shelf or on your computer screen may not be the right option for your shutters and your home.

Here are some things to think about when and considering shutters and hardware for your home.

Adding Acorn Holdbacks (or something similar)

Your first question may well be, "What on earth is an acorn holdback?"

Decorative holdbacks are used for shutters that are considered on the tall side (5 feet or more). An S-holdback is a good example. They don't hold the top of the shutter. They sit low on it. To prevent wind vibration, you may not get enough strength from one holdback. So, to help anchor the shutter, behind it, you might consider adding acorn holdbacks. This also helps discourage potential scratching and prevents movement. Yet, the S-holdback on the front – and the look of it – is not affected by these hidden anchors.

If this specific product is not available through your hardware dealer, inquire as to whether or not they have something that serves the same purpose. This is merely a suggestion for a problem that can arise with shutters. There may be other "rear anchor" solutions.


When looking at the shutter from the front or back, do you want the hardware to be visible? This is an important determination. For example, for front-exposed hardware, compared to an L-hinge, you will find a strap hinge more appealing. This is particularly true if three hinges are on the shutter. It's less important to worry about hinge style if only exposed to the rear, however.

Strap Hinges for Shutters - 1 8/14 Inch Minimal Offset without Pintles

Shutter Thickness

For proper shutter/hardware operation, the type of offsets required will be impacted by the shutter’s thickness. When choosing hardware, you must think about how thick the shutter is to ensure that it will properly close. In relation to the pintle and the hinge, calculating the shutter's thickness can be done in a smoother manner with the assistance of an expert. If you're speaking in person to an expert about the shutters for your home, so they can account for window trim and brickmold, bring pictures of your home's exterior.


Influenced by both style and material, on different types of cladding, shutters sit differently. Why? Because how the window is installed – and the hinge that is most appropriate – is impacted by them. For example, brick homes require brickmold hardware attachments. The shutter must be able to lay outside on the brick when it's open, and close into the window’s recess. This is assured through the use of the right hardware. Hardware is also available to accommodate trim board and lap siding, among other materials and styles.

The Age of Your Home

If the style of your home is vintage, the authentic look can be greatly contributed to by selecting the right hardware. A side bolt, for example, can add an old-time appearance while helping to keep shutters closed. Rat-tail holdbacks and S-holdbacks also contribute an historic vibe. What's more, older homes frequently use shutters that, in the open position, sit back at an angle. Today's homes' shutters lie flatter. So, you must take into consideration how varying offsets of the pintle and hinge will impact the manner in which your home's shutters sit.

Seeking Professional Guidance

There is no one better to turn to if you have questions about your shutters and hardware than the professionals at Wild West Hardware. When it comes to hardware, we know our way around! Some online sources which handle the sale of hardware – such asWild West Hardware – welcome inquiries concerning rustic hardware that is customized. Imagine having one-of-a-kind hardware on your shutters – no one else will have anything like it!

How Do Your Shutters Close?

When referring to how shutters close, there are two options. They can close…

  • Covering the window frame completely – outside mounted
  • Fitted within the frame of the window – inside mounted

Whether your shutters are outside mounted or inside mounted will help determine the type of hardware you need. But don't let the "inside/outside" terminology fool you. All shutters referred to here are mounted on the exterior of a building (there are, for the record, those which are specifically designed for interior use).

Inside Mounted 

Particularly in regions prone to storms or high winds, the most common type is inside mount. High winds are less likely to lift inside mounted shutters. You can use edge mounted hinges or surface mounted hinges if you have a wood window frame that provides the needed depth to hold your shutters. If your home is stone, vinyl, or brick, you'd be better off with surface mounted hinges.

Acme Mortise Shutter Hinges
Edge Mounted Acme Mortise Hinges

Shutter Hinges - Curved Offset Butt Hinges - 3 Inch x 5 Inch

Edge/Surface Mounted Butt Hinges
Clark's Tip Surface Shutter Hinges - WeatherWright Coated - 1 1/4 Throw
Surface Mounted Clark's Tip Hinges
Strap Hinge for Shutters - Spade Tip - 9 1/4 Inch - Minimal Offset
Surface Mounted Strap Hinges
L Style Shutter Hinges - NY Style Set - 3/4 Inch Offset Set
Surface Mounted L Style Hinges


Outside Mounted

If, within your window frame, there isn't enough depth in which the shutters can set, your best exterior shutter securing option may be an outside mount. If, when closed, no window frame will show, you may be happier with a surface mounted hinge. In most cases, these will be plate or strap hinges. Here are some quick guidelines regarding window materials, hinge positions, and hinge types:

  • If the material for your window opening is wood, and you have inside mount shutters, the recommended hinge type is an edge mounted or surface mounted.
  • For brick material, an inside mount, surface mounted hinge is recommended.
  • For stone material, inside mount, surface mounted, again.
  • For vinyl, inside mount, and once again, surface mounted is recommended. 
  • Surface mounted is also recommended for stucco (veneer) and other materials if shutters are outside mount.


The area on which you will install the surface mounted hinges should be inspected. For mounting exterior shutters and to determine the needed type of pintle, here's some advice:

Lag bolt pintle is the recommended type for the following surface mounted hinge material:

  • Stucco (veneer) 
  • Vinyl
  • Stone
  • Brick
  • Non-flat wood
Lag Pintle Mount for L Style Shutter Hinges
Lag Pintle Mount
L Style Hinges
Long Lag Pintle Mount
Long Lag Pintle Mount
L Style and Offset Strap Hinges

Plate pintle is recommended for flat wood.

New York Shutter Hinge Pintle - 1 1/2 Inch Offset

Hinge Types

Very basically speaking, there are four main sizes and shapes when it comes to shutter hinges:

Acme Mortise Shutter Hinges
Edge Mounted or Mortised
 New York Shutter Hinge Pintle - 1 1/2 Inch Offset
L Style Shutter Hinges - NY Style Set - 3/4 Inch Offset Set

Angle or L-Strap
Strap Hinge for Shutters - Spade Tip - 9 1/4 Inch - Minimal Offset
Straight Strap


A further breakdown includes edge mounted and surface mounted.

  • Edge mounted – also referred to as mortise hinges, these are placed closest to the window on the exterior shutter. They look exactly like what they are: door hinges.
  • Often installed on the back of the shutter, surface mounted shutter hinges will frequently be L-strap, straight strap, or plate shutter hardware. With either a lag bolt pintle or a plate pintle, they mount onto your house.

Faux (Fake) Hinges

Why would someone use hinges that aren't real? These are for homeowners who don't want what they feel is the excessive cost of real shutter hardware, or the hassle of installing it. But they still want a decorative shutter hinge look. As long as you don't plan on closing and opening your shutters, feel free to install fake decorative hinges.

Bronze Faux Strap Hinge for Shutters Made from Cast Aluminum

Parts of a Hinge

Hinges are relatively simple. They consist of three basic parts:

  • Pin – This narrow cylindrical shaped plug, also referred to as a pintle, is placed through the hinge knuckle’s hollow center. (Hinge leaf protrusions are hollow. So, the knuckle created by them is, therefore, hollow, too.) Inserted through the knuckle’s center, the pin is a rodlike component that is used to hold the leafs together.
  • Knuckle – This hollow tube, sometimes referred to as a node or a loop, runs down the hinge’s middle. Rather than being a separate part, the knuckle is created by the joined-together hinge leafs. When joined, the protruding ridges of leafs interlock, and this creates the knuckle. This is the joint spot of the hinge.
  • Leaf – This is a moving plate that rotates with the connected workpiece. Two leafs are usually contained within a hinge (with the exception of flag hinges). A surface or workpiece is joined together with another, courtesy of these rectangular shaped plates. To support fasteners or screws, they typically have holes. Through these holes (and to the workpiece/surface beneath), fasteners are driven, in order to install a hinge.

Check out (click) thishinge parts illustration by Wikipedia for further clarification.


Although, even if you use hardware made from sturdy, long-lasting material with minimal maintenance needed, it never hurts to keep your hardware in good condition. Occasionally, you may want to rid the hardware (and your shutters) of dirt, dust, and pollen. With a soft cloth and mild soapy water, the job can be done relatively easily. Note: a heavy bristle brush, ammonia, or strong detergents should not be used.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

When it comes to shutters, there are a handful of mistakes that occur on a pretty regular basis. Let's look at those in hopes you can avoid them.

Mishaps involving hardware:

  • Roaming tiebacks (rather than off to the side, it's recommended that tiebacks are installed along the shutter’s bottom edge)
  • To the wrong side of the shutter, people sometimes screw their straps
  • To entirely the wrong spot, people sometimes mistakenly place their hinges

Missing shutter capping:

  • For top-notch installations, this necessary part should never be overlooked. At the top rail of your shutter, a protective metal roof (shutter capping) should be installed as an insurance policy. Otherwise, you can shorten the lifespan of your exposed shutter.

Improper shutter sizing:

  • Remember, even if you don't actually open and close them, shutters should be the right size and shape to cover your windows, if you actually did close them. 

Confusing functional and fixed:

  • Will your shutters be purely decorative or historically accurate? In addition to fitting the window properly (if they were closed), you need to think about the installation of your shutters. They mount in two ways – functional (opening and closing with hinges) or fixed (permanently mounted to the side of the house). This is a personal preference but can also depend on your window casings’ specifications, the material used for the exterior of your home, and more.

Incorrect material choice:

  • Granted, you can go to most any big-box store and pick up quick-fix vinyl shutters. They’re easy to install, inexpensive, and come in a vast array of colors. Put them up – and you’re done. That is, until they are exposed to the elements and wilt, crack, or fade. If you're trying to improve the aesthetics of your home's exterior, don't cut back here!
  • A step up from vinyl, composite wood shutters are only marginally better. In moist climates, they’re susceptible to bowing and sagging. Compared to real wood, design versatility is less as well.
  • Endurian (think PVC), so that it looks more like wood, can be specially milled. These shutters offer superior durability and structural integrity, high quality, and spectacular finish options. They can be customized precisely to your needs, so historical accuracy is no problem.

Now You Know the Right Hardware – Where Can You Get It?

When you're looking for hardware for your shutters, look no further than Wild West Hardware. We carry the following types, one likely being perfect for the job:

Since 2002, Wild West Hardware has been making, designing, and selling unique hardware products, including wrought iron rustic hardware. As you can see, we have a vast array of items from which to choose. Whether you need something utilitarian or decorative, you can use our hardware on furniture,carriage house doors, garage doors, shutters, cabinets, gates, and much more. We sell to celebrities, the movie industry, major theme parks, millwork operations, building contractors, architects, interior designers, home owners, and renters.

We pride ourselves not only on our customer service but offer high quality, hard-to-find hardware in the widest online selection.

Got more questions about purchasing shutter hardware? Looking for something specific? You can call us at 833-994-9378. We are happy to be of assistance.