When was the last time you walked through a mall, shopping district, or open market after hours? You might have noticed the colourful metallic doors and ‘walls’ sealing the shopfronts. Maybe you’ve spotted something similar on the windows and garage doors of suburban neighbourhoods. These are roller shutters, and they have lots of benefits, both in terms of security and aesthetics. Roller shutters come in bright, beautiful colour options, and lots of these powder-coated hues have additional layers of protection against rain, harsh weather, and ultraviolet solar rays. Some are reflective as well, for temperature control.
From the security stand-point, roller shutters are frequently made of strong, multiple layers that are tough enough to resist the physical force of a sledgehammer. So if you reinforce your windows with roller shutters, burglars can’t ‘break’ their way in. Roller shutters have padlock slots, both on the inside and the outside. Some brands can even resist forest fires, though if you want them to stay dry during summer showers, you may have to pad the bottom with rubber feet to keep the water out.
In areas of the house (or shop) where security and privacy are essential, interlocking shutters are best. Their individual slats overlap so when the shutters are closed, there’s no light (or curious eyes) peeking through. For easy raising and lowering, your shutters can be hooked up electronically, allowing you to operate them by remote. Still, despite their overlap, these roller shutters remain flexible and lightweight, so you can yank them by hand when the power is out. Just make sure your electrician installs them properly, so you can bypass the circuit and operate them without electricity. Otherwise, they’ll be stuck open or shut until power is restored, and that can be a security risk on a dark, disconnected street.
Domestic shutters are frequently insulated. Each slat has two outer panels of aluminium or PVC, with a layer of insulated foam between. This adds to the physical stability of the shutters, making it harder to pierce or ram through them. It also lowers your heating bill in colder months and your cooling bill during summer. Aside from the insulation foam, the gap between the window frame and the shutter serves as insulation too. The air pocket slows heat transfer, keeping warmth in and cold out when you need it. This is the most popular design of roller shutters for household use.
For alfresco spaces like patios, indoor-outdoor kitchens, or certain types of storefronts, you want security and privacy, but you also want natural light. This helps you cut down your electricity bill, because having the lights on throughout can be a quick-rising expense. In such cases, you could go for mini-view shutters. They’re just like regular shutters, except the metal/PVC portion may consist of a single layer. And each opaque part is connected to the next by a slat made of see-through plastic. The slats are still strong enough that you can’t push through them, but they have the added benefit of allowing light through.
See-through shutters can also be helpful as a privacy screen at a poolside, or – if you’re brave enough – for an outdoor shower. They’re most commonly used for toolsheds and work-spaces. They can also be used to fence in an outdoor space, creating an extra ‘room’ without the expense of specialised construction work. The clear polycarbonate portions of your shutters vary, so you can talk to your shutter supplier about the ratios you would like. You’ll get 50mm of metal and 1.5mm of tinted plastic, but you can request alternate measurements.
Rolling shutter grills
Of course there are times you want ventilation in addition to light, so you can opt for shutter grills instead. In this design, the see-through portions aren’t sealed with plastic. Instead they’re open gaps or ‘holes’ that allow the free flow of air. These grills are mostly metal, and you can pick standard sized, medium, or regular grills – the size here referring to the space of the gaps. Whichever type of rollers you select, their strength belies their flexibility.
All types of shutters, from see-throughs to security grills, are designed to easily coil into a cosy roll and tuck into a pelmet box. The box itself is located out of view, so your shutters, whether open or closed, remain neat and discreet. The smooth side guides ensure your grills and shutters move up and down in a consistent, unfettered manner. Plus, they add to the value of your property, so consider having them installed, pick the right ones for your needs, then find a skilled installer to make sure they do the job right.