Shutter Tracks: Accordion Shutters Explained

Accordion shutters, a popular choice for hurricane protection, are a type of window covering designed to withstand high winds and prevent breakage of windows during severe weather conditions. These shutters are named for their design, which resembles the bellows of an accordion. They are typically made of metal, such as aluminum, and are mounted to the outside of a building on tracks. The term ‘shutter tracks’ refers to the metal guides that the shutters slide along when they are opened or closed.

Understanding the intricacies of shutter tracks and their role in the functionality of accordion shutters is crucial for anyone considering this type of hurricane protection. This glossary entry will delve into the specifics of shutter tracks, their design, installation, maintenance, and more. It will also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of accordion shutters, and provide a comprehensive understanding of this type of window protection.

Design and Functionality of Shutter Tracks

Shutter tracks are an integral part of the design of accordion shutters. They are typically made of the same material as the shutters themselves, often aluminum, and are designed to withstand the same harsh weather conditions. The tracks are mounted to the top and bottom of the window or door frame, and the shutters slide along these tracks to open or close.

The design of the tracks allows for the shutters to be easily opened and closed, either manually or with the use of a motor. When the shutters are not in use, they can be folded away neatly, taking up minimal space. The tracks also allow for the shutters to be locked in place when closed, providing an additional level of security.

Types of Shutter Tracks

There are different types of shutter tracks available, depending on the specific needs and preferences of the homeowner. The two main types are single-wall and double-wall tracks. Single-wall tracks are typically used for smaller windows, as they are less robust than double-wall tracks. They consist of a single track that the shutter slides along.

Double-wall tracks, on the other hand, are more robust and are typically used for larger windows or doors. They consist of two tracks, one for each side of the shutter, providing additional stability. The type of track chosen will depend on the size and location of the window or door, as well as the specific needs of the homeowner.

Installation of Shutter Tracks

The installation of shutter tracks is a critical part of the overall installation of accordion shutters. The tracks must be securely mounted to the window or door frame to ensure the shutters can withstand high winds. The installation process typically involves drilling holes into the frame and using screws to secure the tracks. It is important that the tracks are installed level and straight, as any deviation can affect the functionality of the shutters.

While it is possible for a homeowner to install shutter tracks themselves, it is often recommended to hire a professional. This is because the installation process can be complex and requires a high level of precision. A professional will have the necessary tools and experience to ensure the tracks are installed correctly.

Considerations for Installation

There are several factors to consider when installing shutter tracks. One of the most important is the material of the window or door frame. Different materials, such as wood, vinyl, or metal, will require different types of screws and drilling techniques. It is also important to consider the location of the window or door. For example, windows or doors that are close to the corner of a building may require a different installation technique than those in the middle of a wall.

Another consideration is the size and weight of the shutters. Larger, heavier shutters will require more robust tracks and a more secure installation. It is also important to consider the local building codes and regulations, as these may dictate specific requirements for the installation of hurricane shutters.

Maintenance of Shutter Tracks

Like all parts of a home, shutter tracks require regular maintenance to ensure they continue to function properly. This typically involves cleaning the tracks to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated. This can be done with a soft brush and a mild detergent. It is also important to regularly check the tracks for any signs of damage or wear, and to replace any parts as necessary.

Another important aspect of maintenance is lubrication. The tracks should be lubricated regularly to ensure the shutters can slide smoothly. This can be done with a silicone-based lubricant, which will not attract dirt or debris. It is also important to regularly check the screws and other hardware to ensure they are tight and secure.

Common Issues and Solutions

There are several common issues that can occur with shutter tracks. One of the most common is the shutters becoming difficult to open or close. This is often due to dirt or debris in the tracks, or a lack of lubrication. In these cases, cleaning and lubricating the tracks can often solve the problem.

Another common issue is the shutters not locking properly. This can be due to a misalignment of the tracks, or a problem with the locking mechanism. In these cases, it may be necessary to adjust the tracks or replace the locking mechanism. If the problem persists, it may be necessary to consult a professional.

Benefits of Accordion Shutters

Accordion shutters offer several benefits. One of the main benefits is their high level of protection against hurricanes and other severe weather conditions. They are designed to withstand high winds and prevent breakage of windows, which can lead to water damage and other issues inside the home. They also provide an additional level of security, as they can be locked when closed.

Another benefit of accordion shutters is their ease of use. They can be easily opened and closed, either manually or with the use of a motor. This makes them a convenient option for homeowners, particularly those who may not be able to manually lift heavy storm panels or other types of shutters.

Drawbacks of Accordion Shutters

While accordion shutters offer several benefits, they also have some drawbacks. One of the main drawbacks is their appearance. Some people find them less aesthetically pleasing than other types of shutters, such as colonial or Bahama shutters. They can also be more expensive than some other types of shutters, particularly those made of less durable materials.

Another potential drawback is the maintenance required. As discussed earlier, the tracks need to be regularly cleaned and lubricated, and any damaged parts need to be replaced. This can be time-consuming and may require the assistance of a professional.


Shutter tracks play a crucial role in the functionality of accordion shutters. They guide the movement of the shutters, allow for easy opening and closing, and provide stability and security. Understanding their design, installation, and maintenance is important for anyone considering this type of hurricane protection.

While accordion shutters have some drawbacks, such as their appearance and the maintenance required, they offer a high level of protection against severe weather conditions. They are a popular choice for homeowners in hurricane-prone areas, and with proper care and maintenance, can provide reliable protection for many years.

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