What is a mid rail, and when should it be used?

A mid rail is a dividing rail that separates the top portion from the bottom portion of a shutter panel. Mid rails are required for panels that are over 72” tall (for both Highprofile and Weatherwell product lines). Before we dive in further, let’s take a look at the structural makeup of a shutter to ensure we are properly addressing mid rail need and placement.

Structural Makeup of a Shutter.

Shutters are manufactured using several structural components and several operational components.

  • Rails - which are located on the top and bottom of the panel
  • Mid Rail - is a dividing structure horizontal rail (if required)
  • Stiles - which are located on the sides of the panel
  • Blades – Which are the operational component

The top, bottom, and mid rails are secured to the stiles utilizing a mortise and tenon joint. This forms the main structural basis of the panel.

The blades are then encased within this frame, designed to rotate for light control and privacy.

The design nature of the blades when in a closed position, may give the appearance of a solid unit, but in fact, the blades do not add structural stability to the shutter panel.

This is the main reason the inclusion of a mid rail is critical once the panel has reached 72”.

Drawn below shows a structural breakdown of a shutter with the inclusion of a mid rail.

Where to place the mid-rail.

When ordering a panel that is over 2” tall, dealers will be requested to specify a mid rail position within the set specifications.

Being that the mid rail is a solid horizontal section of the shutter unit and does not rotate, it should be placed in front of existing storm bars or obstructions such as handles, for example, in the window or door opening.

But if the opening does not have pre-existing rails or obstructions, placing the mid rail in the wrong position may obscure the customer’s view.

It is important to be aware of the view and living arrangement of the room to ensure you place the mid rail in the best position.

The below picture illustrates ideal and less ideal positions of mid rails.

The majority of large sliding doors and windows will have safety stickers attached to the glass to identify and prevent people from walking into the doors once closed. They are usually positioned 60” off the ground, and this size is regularly selected as the mid rail position. However, if the client entertains seated, it may impair their external view. If this were the case, one option would be to lower the position of the rail as pictured above.

Consistent mid rail positions.

Another important thing to take into consideration when quoting for shutters is keeping your mid rail positions consistent where possible.

You may have several size windows within the same room that require mid rails, and once again, it is always best to try to align your mid rails, taking into consideration the client's external view.

Understanding where the best place to put a mid rail not only provides a better solution for your customer, it also adds to a positive sales experience for your customer. Your customer will remember the salesperson who went the extra mile to educate them on the correct solution.

If you have any questions about mid rails or need assistance with a particular job, don’t hesitate to contact your TWO Sales Rep.

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