Window Box and Shutters - Frequently Asked QuestionsCedar Products FAQ
1. Can your PVC window boxes and shutters be painted?
Yes! Our PVC window boxes are perfect for painting. They have a matted finish to them which allows them to hold paint exceptionally well without peeling or fading. Because of that they look like wood as well instead of shiny or plastic looking. To paint our window boxes or shutters simply apply two coats to the outside using a brush and/or a roller using the desired color. We recommend Sherwin Williams Pro Industrial Multi-Surface Acrylic Latex paint in an eggshell finish, however you can use any exterior latex paint. No primer is necessary and remember to leave the inside of the window box unpainted if you will be placing soil and water in direct contact with the inside of the box. You can paint a couple inches down with a brush if you'd like. We are not currently offering our boxes factory painted, however, feel free to order in white and paint yourself.
2. Does the window box have to be painted?
No, feel free to leave our PVC window boxes unpainted. They come standard in a bright white color. Versatex cellular PVC is #1 for longest warranty against fading. An inferior grade of PVC or vinyl will fade over time. We offer a 15 year warranty straight from us, the manufacturer, allowing you the peace of mind of leaving them unpainted for many years.
3. Do your window boxes or shutters come in colors or do you paint them for us?
All window boxes ship out in white, however an option to the Charleston window box painted in black at an extra cost is available. At this time we do not offer to paint the boxes other colors, however, many customers will paint themselves, often with leftover shutter paint or siding paint to get an exact match to their homes. If you have a painter, contractor, handyman, installer, or handy neighbor then they often may paint and install for you (See questions 1 and 2). Our shutters on the other hand are available in 20 various colors to choose from. If you are ordering shutters in a painted color and want to get a window box painted in the same color, that is our only exception for painting window boxes other than the color black. Call for details.
4. Do you make custom window box lengths and custom shutter sizes?
Yes, we make custom window boxes of every size possible up to 16 feet in length. If you don't see a particular size on our website or in our shopping cart area, it doesn't mean that we don't do it, so give us a call. The chances are we can make that custom window box for you in that length. We can also customize height and depth/width of the boxes as well, so let us know if you need a taller or wider box. Our shutters are also customizable. We can not only customize the width and height of the shutters, but we can also customized fine details such as the width of the outer rails or the size and placement of the panels.
5. Are your window boxes and planters self-watering?
We offer an option to make each and every one of our window boxes and planters self-watering. Our method is with the use of one of our patented "water reservoir" systems that will provide enough water to last 1-2 weeks for your plants. Water reservoirs are great in that they are completely concealed within the box and sit on the bottom. There are no hanging wires or tubes and you can only see them when you are standing directly above the box and will only see the top opening of a pipe in the corner. They are great for people with a busy lifestyle or for vacations. Some customers may also use their own irrigation system or tie into their sprinklers by working directly with a local irrigation company instead.
6. Do you make custom planters and window boxes?
Yes, we can also make our window boxes taller or shorter to meet your specifications or longer. The costs are very sensitive to the size of the planter and the amount of materials used. So adding 15% extra height for example is often reflected in the price going up by similar amounts. For this reason if you have a budget you are working with it may be a good idea for us to run several quotes with variations a couple inches bigger or smaller than what you think you need. Call us and we can give you a free quote on a totally custom window box. We make an entire line of standard PVC planters as well as commercial sized planters.
8. Do you make window box liners out of PVC? Do your window boxes need liners?
Yes, we get many requests to make PVC liners for customers, give us a call and we'd be happy to give you a free quote. Although our window boxes function as their own liners, ie you can plant directly in them, from time to time it may be desirable to use a removable insert to plant in hard to reach spaces. We have both light duty window box liners and inserts which act as removable inserts to our window boxes as well as architectural grade liners made out of thicker materials for more heavy duty applications. We make a stronger version of the liner as well with a structural cap and short feet. These are our higher grade Modern planters and Modern window boxes which are backed with our lifetime warranty guarantee.
9. How do your window boxes drain? Will they leak dirty water?
All of our window boxes have drain holes in the bottom. We place a 5 hole pattern every 18" along the bottom of the window box. Our window box drainage system works extremely well and is a perfect match for the home gardener. For indoor use, we can even make them without drain holes but this does cost extra as we use a special epoxy resin to super seal the inside seams to make them indoor rated. For draining purposes for your outside window boxes and planters you will want to do one of two things on the bottom to help filter out dirt so that you have clean water coming out the bottom. 1. Put a thin 3/4" tall layer of pea gravel on the bottom. This traps soil in the box while water wiggles down and out the bottom. 2. Lay a thin strip of black landscape fabric (aka weed block fabric available at a local Home Depot or garden nursery) on the bottom. This works like an outdoor coffee filter letting water through while trapping soil. Either method works just fine or do both if you want extra (do the fabric first then gravel on top).
10. Do your PVC window boxes have to be taken down in the winter?
No, our cellular composite PVC window boxes are made from high quality Versatex PVC that is resistant to all weather conditions. Many of our customers enjoy being able to decorate their window boxes during the fall with pumpkins, squash, and red foliage during the winter with evergreens and ribbons. Here is a link to our gallery for Fall Window Box Ideas and Winter Window Box Ideas you can steal. The concept behind our window boxes is that they get installed to the house and never need to be maintained or taken down. Our window boxes outperform other window boxes made from other cellular PVC's, fiberglass, and vinyl materials. They are the ultimate low-maintenance "better than wood" window box solution.
11. How do your window boxes install? How do your exterior shutters install?
We recommend installing our window boxes in the safest and most durable manner with the use of lag bolts through the back of the box. Because our boxes are made from solid material you can easily pass a lag bolt through the back for the ultimate installation. Other hollow vinyl boxes cannot use this method and are forced to use clips and braces which can bend, warp, shift, or break causing the window boxes to lean or tilt. Many custom may even wish to use a support bracket underneath but may find this problematic due to the fact that studs under the window are often NOT symmetrically placed. Window boxes over 48" in length will often need to support 100+ lbs. and it is very important that the window box is firmly secured to the house for years to come so that they never shift or fall and so that they remain level and always drain properly. Our window boxes can also be installed on deck railings and fences to give you deck rail planters . Our exterior shutters can be installed one of two ways. 1) They can be directly screwed into the house and 2) they can be placed on hinges so that they have a more upscale look. Composite PVC shutters use 3 hinges per shutter.
12. How long should my window box be?
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend that you get a window box that matches the width of your window or the length from the outside of your left trim to the outside of your right trim around the window (assuming you have trim around the window). By doing this the vertical lines on your window box will line up with the vertical lines on your window or window trim. Also, this will make installation easier as all windows are framed out with studs that run to the floor and these studs are the ones covered up by the trim adjacent to the window. So including the trim in your measurement may help make the install process a little easier. If you have shutters and the window is on the smaller side you should consider adding 4-6 inches to balance the window. Make sure your shutters don't hang too low to do this, though. Click to see pictures of how we recommend to measure for window boxes.
13. How tall and how wide should my exterior shutters be?
There are two ways to size exterior shutters. 1) Generic sizing means just getting the same width shutters on all your windows regardless of size. This is usually a width like 15", but sometimes 14" wide to save money. 2) Custom sizing means getting a shutter whose width is half the width of the window (up to 22" wide) and whose height equals the height of the window. Some windows can be rather long and this may not be fully practical. For this reason we recommend getting proportionally larger shutters for windows over 36". For example, putting custom shutters on an 8 foot wide window we would recommend getting 22" wide shutters instead of 4 foot wide shutters even though the 4 foot measurement is half the width of the window. Read more on how to measure exterior shutters for your window.
14. Should I get standard or XL sized window boxes?
A standard sized box is sufficient if you just plan on planting flowers, however, some customers may wish to upgrade to XL sizes as well. There are two situations where this is recommended. If you have a larger or two story home, then it is often advised to upgrade to maintain proportions. Also, if you plan to plant more than just flowers such as evergreens, shrubs, and other deep rooted plants, then this will often be a good idea. Still not sure? Try taking a roll of paper towels and rolling them out to the desired length, then cut with scissors. Tape the paper towel section beneath the window and view from the street. You can experiment with different lengths or fold the paper towel to different heights such as the 8" for standard or 10" for XL boxes. Take pictures, compare, and see what looks best.
15. Are your PVC window boxes and exterior shutters protected from the sun?
Yes, we use Versatex PVC with titanium dioxide (TiO2) technology that maintains the structural integrity of the PVC and keeps it white for a long time. It has built in UV protection and because it is made from the thickest PVC on the market, it will not warp or twist like other vinyl and PVC window boxes. Versatex PVC is rated #1 among all the cellular PVC's for UV protection, fading, and structural integrity. Our exterior shutters are also made from the same material and offer all the benefits and protection as well. Additionally, we insert a full length strip of stainless steel along the entire length of the shutter to give them further strength and rigidity and back them with a lifetime guarantee against warping.
16. What is the quality of your PVC window boxes and exterior shutters?
All of our boxes are individually handcrafted by our carpenters rather than made in a mold and they are made from high-end no rot solid cellular PVC material of 5/8" thickness. They also ship out Fully Assembled and are backed with a lifetime guarantee not only against rotting but the construction as well! It is literally built like a finished piece of furniture so no assembly is required and the construction is second to none. Architects and builders love it because it is a beautiful product that looks just like wood and homeowners love it because it's maintenance free. PVC window boxes have many advantages over wooden window boxes, fiberglass window boxes, vinyl window boxes, and composite window boxes. Unlike wood which rots and unlike vinyl products which are hollow and made cheaper, our window boxes and shutters are made from solid materials that won't crack, warp, sag, bow, split apart, or rot on you. You can leave them out year round, including winter without fear of cracking from temperature swings and water expanding as it turns to ice which can crack other materials. Also, vinyl and other plastics are usually non-paintable, whereas cellular composite PVC material can be painted with exterior latex paint if you need a color to match your home.
17. Are your PVC window boxes and exterior shutters solid?
Our PVC window boxes are made from solid PVC and are light weight. Other manufactures use thin or hollow double-walled material that can warp, crack, twist, and bend over time and potentially cause the window box to fail or be less durable than desired. Many hollow window boxes cannot be left out during freezing temperatures or they can crack, however, our window boxes are designed to go up year round.
18. Can your window boxes be placed on rails?
Yes, ANY of our window box styles can be used with our hook systems to hang over rails. We offer a wide range of deck rail hooks and clips to fit most rails. We make some that hang over the rails with hooks and we also make the ones that sit atop rails. For our "rail top planters" we do require that your rail be flat, solid, and able to screw into. Our standard ones fit 3.5" and 5.5" wide solid rails that can be drilled into such as wood or composite, but not rounded rails or hollow rails that can't be drilled into such as vinyl, fiberglass, or aluminum. If you have a flat, drillable rail that is different than 3.5" or 5.5" we may be able to make a custom rail top planter to still fit your rail as we can adjust the spacing of the under strips or "straddle strips" beneath the box to accommodate wider or skinnier rails.
19. Can you custom make exterior shutters and architectural brackets and gables?
Yes, as the manufacturer we have full control over design and fabrication meaning we can copy any blueprint or drawing. We currently offer a full line of structural cedar products for your home to add curb appeal. These are structural cedar brackets, cedar corbels, cedar gables, and cedar braces. After you get your window box be sure to check out our cedar curb appeal accents for your next curb appeal project.
20. Why are your cedar architectural brackets made out of cedar instead of PVC?
Actually we make them out of both materials. Our PVC architectural brackets are superior in no rot capabilities however, many of our clients use our brackets for intense structural applications holding up large sums of weight. For this reason we also offer a set of cedar corbels, braces, and brackets to handle these tougher situations. Please keep in mind that we do not structurally rate our cedar items or custom items so you may need to consult with an architect, contractor, or builder first who can speak with us to determine if you are getting a correctly sized bracket for your situation. Unlike our cedar corbels, braces, and brackets which are made from solid timbers, 1/4" lag screws, and outdoor wood glues and have a structural element to them, our cedar gables are for Non-structural applications in all situations. They are still made from solid cedar timbers, lag bolts and glue, but should not be used in any way to support your roof.
21. What is best way to clean the window boxes and planters?
It is recommended to spray the window boxes and planters with a high pressure tip hose nozzle and clean them with hot, soapy water once a year. It is to use a pressure washer, but usually a high pressure tip nozzle will suffice. Products like bleach can be used safely on our window boxes and planters as well in conjunction with a pressure tipped nozzle. But you may find that hot, soapy water is more effective.