Traditionally windows, shutters and doors in Bermuda have been constructed of wood, and are either painted or varnished.
They look great but it can take a great deal of maintenance to keep them looking that way.
The harsh climate of humidity, sun and salt air is hard on wood and paint.
It does not take very long before the paint colour fades, and then the paint peels or the varnish blisters and the wood is always in danger of attracting termites.
If spending your free time stripping, sanding and painting or varnishing wooden surfaces is not your idea of a good time, maybe it is time to look at the alternatives to wooden windows, doors and shutters.
You can now get windows and window frames in aluminium or PVC.
They are virtually maintenance-free and do not need painting.
They are designed so that either side or top hung shutters fit them perfectly.
Most even come with energy-efficient glass to help keep the hot out and the cool in.
Shutters also come in PVC and aluminium, with many colours available and if none of the stock colours fit with your colour scheme, custom colours can be ordered.
These PVC and aluminium shutters rarely need to be sanded or painted and are designed to look like traditional Bermuda shutters.
They even come in bi-fold for larger windows and can also be custom designed.
Exterior doors are now available in fibreglass or aluminium and come pre-hung in the frame.
They come with or without windows in them and can even be custom designed for you.
All the hardware, including deadbolt locks, is usually included with the door.
If you live where it is prudent to have additional storm protection for your windows during heavy storms, consider installing either accordion or roller shutters for storm use.
They give great protection from flying debris.
Another option for additional storm protection is polycarbonate panels.
They are fairly new and fit over your windows like plywood, and are just as durable.
One advantage is that they are see-through so natural light would still be available during a storm — great for when the power goes out in the daytime.
Don’t forget to upgrade your outdoor gates as well.
You can keep the entry to your property looking fresh and cared for with gates made of recycled plastic.
These are actually more durable than wood and will not require the care that wooden gates will.
Many of the suppliers of these kinds of windows, frames, doors and shutters will also install them, and some are even made locally.
All come with good warranties, guaranteeing that you will be pleased with your new maintenance-free windows, doors and shutters for years to come.
Michele Smith is managing director of OBM International/Bermuda. Contact 278-3550.