Shutters or no shutters? – Building & Renovating – Expats Portugal Community Forum
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Shutters or no shutters?

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(@itexpert7)
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Joined: 2 years ago

Hello everybody,

Buying a big house, completing in January.
It's in quiet area, small road leading to only 4 houses.

It has simple external white aluminium leaf shutters on most windows and doors.
But some glass sliding doors have no shutters. Lots of small windows with no shutters also.

I will replace all windows & doors, as they are over 25 years old.

In the UK we don't use shutters, even though burglary is high (I remember, 4% chance a year on average!). In Portugal where crime is much lower, how come most houses have shutters?

Even though the house is in a very quiet area on a private road and I will install good alarm and 8 camera system, is it best to have shutters?
If yes, I would go for electric ones (no idea of the cost though), as can't imagine having to open and close up to 20 windows every day manually.
Alternatively I could opt for laminated glass for the new windows/doors, which is very difficult to break (need an axe apparently!)

What do you think?

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(@blaze451)
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Joined: 1 year ago

Apparently the norm in summer is to leave the windows open for air and the shutters closed for shade. Shutters are also often used for security plus most properties don't have A/C so it would be too hot to have windows closed at night. And they help keep bugs out. So if you have A/C installed then you prob can dispense with them and  go for the electric ones to help provide shade when needed plus some privacy/ security.

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Ask our Expat Consultant
(@thomasribatejo)
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Joined: 6 years ago

The primary function of shutters on Portuguese homes is temperature control, rather than security (although of course they can provide that benefit, too).  They keep out sunlight and heat in summer, and reduce entry of cold in winter.

Shutters should ideally be external rather than internal.  If they are roller-blind type, then ensure the box is itself insulated, otherwise you have a weak spot in your overall insulation at those points.  It's preferable for them to be white, rather than coloured (and especially, dark colours should be avoided) in order to better reflect light away.  (The simple white leaf shutters currently present sound logical - small windows, notably if not hit by the sun, may have been seen as not worth the cost; and the sliding doors thing may have been about convenience of movement, perhaps.)

It's common to find properties aimed at non-Portuguese people to have large, south-facing windows with no such protection - people are sold on the views, and if coming from more northerly climes, the good weather, without realising the impact.  Even if heating/cooling costs are not important, intense, regular sunlight will age materials and contents much more rapidly.

Watch what Portuguese people do, in properties occupied year-round.  Shutters are opened during bright times of the day at this time of year, and otherwise closed.  In summer, they're often open a bit at night, and perhaps more until mid-morning, then shut through until the heat of the day is well past.  Less-used rooms may see shutters permanently closed.

So, from a comfort perspective, I would recommend shutters, externally, and white, on pretty much everything, including glazed doors (although small, bathroom-type windows may not really be justifiable).  From a security perspective, certainly they add complexity to entry, so have some added value if the property may be unoccupied for extended periods - remote villas in the Algarve often seem to be targets, as compared with rural Portugal as a whole.

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(@martin)
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Joined: 17 years ago

i sold one villa, new owner didnt lilke shutters as she liked "lots of light". So she took them off in the bedrooms which were south facing. No doubt with temperatues in summer in the 100 farenheight range and the bedroom even hotter -  she would no doubt regret that choice

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Premium Club Member
(@itexpert7)
Joined: 2 years ago

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@martin 
But in the summer South facing doesn't get sun, as the sun is straight up in the sky. In the summer the low sun is East facing (morning) and West facing (evening) sun.
In the winter where the sun is low like these days, south facing no shutters is fantastic, all the sun comes in.

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Community Member
(@martin)
Joined: 17 years ago

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Posts: 2679

@itexpert7 

well if you do not want shutters then do not have them, i think you will regret that choice in July and August - yes leave them open in winter for the sun

perhaps when you look around and you see all the villas around you with shutters they are not there cus they look nice,

with ref to your comment about theft, you may notice certainly in the algarve many non shutter windows have burglar bars. In fact i have been robbed 4 times. twice from the car and twice from villas. 

 

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Premium Club Member
(@itexpert7)
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Posts: 278

@martin 
Wow, you got burgled in your house? In the Algarve?
Could you elaborate if you don't mind, so others can learn from your misfortune?

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(@martin)
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@itexpert7 

not only my misfortune many others have been "done", trust me the criminal mind will always be able to find a way - eg with ref to comment about burglar bars - two ways "in" were to plug into an outside socket and use an  angle grinder or to use car jack to bend them open. 

best advice to protect your house - get a dog

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Premium Club Member
(@itexpert7)
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@martin 
Thank you. Is this the reason most houses in Portugal seem to have noisy dogs barking at all times? The fear of crime?
I can't understand how the owners can sleep when their dog(s) bark outside their windows?

Did your 2 burglaries happen on houses with shutters and bars? Any alarm and cameras?

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(@blaze451)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 519

@itexpert7 get an electronic dog alarm, that way you don't have to feed it...well ok you feed it electricity but at least there's no picking up poop.

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Community Member
(@martin)
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@blaze451 

and if the electric goes off???

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(@blaze451)
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@martin batteries, solar panel 😀 What if the dog turns out to be useless and just hides /runs away, or makes friends with the burglars. what if your out walking it when they break in...so many what ifs. Just dig a moat with drawbridge and fill it with pirhanas. 🤣

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Community Member
(@martin)
Joined: 17 years ago

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Posts: 2679

@blaze451 

 

indeed twas a time when you buy aligators in pet shops in the algarve and was told people in alentejo used them as "guards" ...Of course when they got too big wonde what happened - baragems are great spots!!

yes indeed you can only do your best, as stated above criminals know how to break in more than you will ever know

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VIP Member
(@jonesdn2020)
Joined: 2 years ago

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Posts: 1988

@martin We are happy living in Lisbon on the 2nd floor with no lift. Between the locked entry door and our front door, it seems like Fort Knox. Nobody, not even burglars want to move stuff up and down these stairs.

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Ask our Expat Consultant
(@thomasribatejo)
Joined: 6 years ago

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Posts: 442

@itexpert7 the shutters help with noise reduction, too 😉

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Community Member
(@martin)
Joined: 17 years ago

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Posts: 2679

@itexpert7 

yes happened with shutters - no alarm and no cameras

problem is if alarms go off no one even pays attention.

and knowing how the gnr work if you presented them with a colour 3d pic they wouldnt do anything...easier to stand by road and catch cars and trucks for missing bits of paper

yes sure dogs is the reason for so many have them as prevention of crime....and disgusting the way they are kept on a chain in outside kennel for all their lives.

keep in mind so many many villas are empty  9/10 of the time. eg one urbanisation with 150 villas there , but only three villas had owners living there all year - theives dream. Plus keys float around from mad to gardener to pool man, little control of who has what

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(@jonesdn2020)
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My mother's home in Lake Havasu City. AZ has them. It gets to 124 degrees F in the summer and 32 degrees F in the winter. We stayed there for 18 months prior to moving to Lisbon and they make a huge difference in temperature control. They also have added noise, security, and light control benefits. We could make the home like a cave and sleep into our hearts content. They were the manual ones with a handle crank. 

We have them in our apartment in Lisbon with the strap control. They are serving the same purpose as the ones my mom has. We have AC and heat, so we do not bother leaving the windows open and the shutters partially open for temperature regulation. We would prefer not to rent a place without them. We love being up until 1am and with all the shutters closed have no idea when the sun is up.  

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