Frequently asked questions
DO YOU REALLY MAKE YOUR OWN SHUTTERS IN THE UK?
Yes we do. In fact we've had our own production facility right here in West Sussex since 2001. But it doesn't end there! As the industry has developed, so have we...
From those early days of the late 90's working with one of the most respected companies in the United States, themselves making shutters since 1954! we broke the mould in 2001 when we introduced shutter production to the UK providing truly bespoke hardwood solutions to a then infant shutter industry. Since then, and despite the explosion of the Chinese market, we are proud to still be one of the only truly independent shutter companies able to offer this exclusive range and service.
The higher volume supply and extended range of materials utilised through imports does have it's place but for us, the important thing is that quality is
never compromised. No matter which range of shutters we provide for you, with our unique industry perspective no other company can provide the level of service or diversity of products that we can.
DO YOU HAVE A SHOWROOM? WHERE CAN I SEE YOUR PRODUCTS?
You can come and visit us by all means but better than that, as long as you fall within our working area, why not let us bring everything to you.
Possibly the most important aspect of your investment in shutters is how they can be fitted and how you envisage using them! A combination that sometimes needs some expert advice and innovative, lateral thinking.
By taking advantage of a no obligation survey you can see first hand the impact of a certain louver size, or a certain configuration right there in the comfort of your own home. What could be better than that!
WHAT ABOUT LEAD TIMES?
This will largely depend on the range or specification that is required. We generally have the fastest lead times available anywhere in the UK when it comes to our own Premier Sussex range and depending on order size, has been as short as a week!
For imports from Asia, standard shipping provides orders back to the UK in approximately 8 weeks. This can vary depending on order specification and you will be advised if your particular order would be affected with extended production times.
There is however the additional option of a preferential airfreight service which will see the same imported orders back with us in as little as 2 - 3 weeks (again depending on specification).
In any event, this service will reduce standard shipping times by approximately 4 weeks so please ask if time really is "of the essence" for your project.
WHAT OTHER MATERIALS ARE YOUR SHUTTERS MADE FROM?
This largely depends on your requirements. Specifications and budgets can often determine which ranges are suitable and therefore, which material is used. Our own Premier Sussex range is manufactured from premium quality Basswood in it's entirety (shutter panels and mounting frames).
Our White Label (imported) Collection of finished shutters provides entry level pre-finished shutters manufactured from MDF through to combinations of hardwood panels with MDF mounting frames, through to very lightweight hardwoods and finally to beautiful, solid White Teak. This collection also includes a fully waterproof ABS material for high humidity areas such as showers, wet rooms or bathrooms, additionally providing 304 grade stainless steel hinges for peace of mind.
Our specialist Summit Hill imports from the US are generally manufactured from Poplar. The great thing about this extraordinary wealth and diversity in our product range is that no project need miss out, whatever your requirements may be!
WHAT COLOURS ARE AVAILABLE?
For Premier Sussex the sky's the limit! We literally have no restriction on colours. If the range is obscure or is just a totally "off the charts" bespoke match then we may require a sample to match to but our colour matching service is the most accurate available. Think of it like this, when you have a colour scanned by the larger DIY stores, their spectrometer will scan and then find the closest match in it's database to that colour. When our supplier scans a sample, their spectrometer will provide the "ingredients" to create the colour that it's "looking at". It doesn't get any more accurate than that!
With imports, colour options depend on the range selected. There are 5 standard whites / off whites at the entry level Balfour (MDF) range and also with the Portland (waterproof) range. There are almost 30 "extended" colours for our Chatham, Compton, Pelham Shelbourne and Wentworth ranges and an "any colour" option for Pelham, Shelbourne and Wentworth ranges. 21 beautiful, rich wood stain finishes are also reserved for the Shelbourne and Wentworth range of hardwood shutters. The "any colour" option for imports incorporates Farrow & Ball colours and Dulux trade colours.
HOW LONG IS YOUR WARRANTY?
Provided full payment for goods and services has been received, we provide the following warranty:
For new shutter installations in respect of:
Workmanship, warping, twisting / wind, finish, hardware failure, louver operation, closure (outside of permitted tolerances), alignment, satisfactory folding operation and manufacturing defects for a period of
For blinds in respect of:
Workmanship, warping, twisting, finish, mechanical operation or failure covering tilt, raise / lower, fabric integrity and manufacturing defects for a period of
2 years or as provided by the specific manufacturer under their individual terms and limit of liability.
For Services in respect of:
Re-installations / Refurbishments / Re-Finishing (existing):
WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR MATERIAL FROM?
Our hardwood comes from FSC certified forests in Eastern Russia. We've sourced Basswood from the US and Canada in years past however our current stock from this region has proven to be outstanding in all critical respects. (Read our quality control FAQ to see why!)
In truth, as much as we would love to use British timber, it is just not possible as this species is not native to the British Isles. Basswood though, is still regarded as one of the principal materials seen in high quality shutter production and after 17 years, we can vouch for that.
HOW ABOUT QUALITY CONTROL
Quality control starts the moment our stock is felled. Our supplier's processes for milling, drying, machining, preparing, sealing and priming are some of the most rigorous and reliable "human" processes we have ever encountered!
Forestry & Storage:
Firstly, the newly felled timber is stored for 2, yes
two months in covered but open to air storage bays before anything at all is done. This natural and prolonged storage process allows the timber to acclimatise without stress before a single production cut is even made. The trees themselves are of much higher quality than other sources we know of. Place of origin playing a major role in the stability and quality of the final stock we use. The climate is largely free of the damaging toxic environmental issues faced elsewhere. Trees are grown for longer before felling allowing nature time to "build in" inherent strength and stability.
The Drying Process:
After initial settlement, the stock is milled into planks for initial kiln drying. This is the most critical process and importantly does
NOT utilise automated kilns. Incredibly, the process is monitored every hour, of every day of every week of every month by humans! A skilled group of operators who's only job is to monitor and adjust the drying time based on how the stock is reacting to the drying process. This process alone provides outstanding accuracy and consistency of the final product in respect of moisture content control and stability.
Next, the stock is cut into short sections and then, using undustry leading joinery processes, is laminated back into longer sections with differing grain orientation to provide the most stable and balanced sections for final profiling and machining. The importance of this part of the process cannot be over emphasised. Stability and balance are possibly the most critical requirements when it comes to producing what are essentially quite small sections of timber. By diligently carrying out these important processes, we create stock that is super strong, is greatly enhanced and protected from warping and twisting and provides greater joint strength than even straight cut timber itself.
Once the profiles are run, the stock is machine sanded to fine tolerances and inspected for defects at every stage. All stock is then rigorously hand sanded, yes! hand sanded to produce the finest finish we have ever seen.
Sealing and Priming:
Only after all these perfectly synchronised processes are complete is the stock then sealed. This seal coat is an additional guarantee against moisture returning to the stock helping to ensure that stability is not compromised during transporation and final stock storage.
The final touch is the multicoat UV stablised primer coat. Providing the resilient, solid, perfect base for your choice of top coat which is carried out by our in-house production team ready for another perfect installation!
Packing and transportation:
Once the stock is ready for shipment, each piece is carefuly packed and bundled using environmentally protective packaging. Smaller bundles means less vulnerability to damage during transportation. These bundles are then boxed and sealed ready for their journey to our factory. Only then, do we begin making your shutters!
WHO WILL INSTALL MY SHUTTERS?
There are two options for installations.
We can provide your shutters to you on a mail order basis for your own or a third party installation. Or, if you are within our operational area, we can install them for you. For your peace of mind, all our installers are permenantly employed members of staff. Experienced and time-served, your order is truly in the safest hands possible.
THERE'S SO MANY OPTIONS HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT ONE FOR ME?
This is a great question and yes, there are a number of fundamental choices and options to go through but don't panic! As your shutter professional, it is our job to ensure that every decision you make is educated and well thought through.
Sometimes the window itself may dicate the best solution but, we will generally always discuss the relevant options that relate to your particular project and we'll nearly always start with the basic principles of how best to divide the width of each window and what impact a particular louver size or configuration choice may make before detailing and finalising the exact specification that encompasses every area of concern you may have.
Finding out what is important to you is the most important thing to us!