Exterior shutters that actually move are becoming more popular in the US; while many homes still have decorative shutters that don't do anything, more homeowners are opting to install shutters that block sun and rain from coming into the home while allowing the window to remain open. However, unless you want to go outside every time you open, adjust, or close the shutters, you've got a problem: the window screen. And if the windows in question are upstairs, then you've got to find a way to access the shutters from inside.

Choose Motorized Rolling Shutters if Possible

If you're not looking for a particular style of shutter, look at motorized rolling shutters. These roll up and down along tracks installed next to the window; you operate them using levers or push buttons inside the home. These are common in some European countries and work very well when you want to shade or block the window while allowing the glass panes to remain open. These usually have one wide shutter per window, rather than having two installed on the sides, and they don't interfere with the screen at all.

Try Retractable Screens

Most windows have stationary screens that are made of mesh stretched between frame edges, and these screens are rather annoying to install and remove. Instead, change out the stationary screen and replace it with a retractable screen. These are similar to the invisible retracting screen doors you find in some houses. When you want to reach the shutter panels outside, open the screen, adjust the shutters, and then pull the screen closed.

Stick With the Basic Method

If you don't want to use retractable screens and do want to have exterior shutters that look more traditional, rather than installing motorized shutters, you can always stick with the basic method of opening and closing shutters by going outside and closing them there. For upper-story shutters that aren't accessible from the ground or from a balcony, you can buy extension poles and attachments that allow you to push and pull the shutters closed. These also allow you to move the louvers on louvered shutters to adjust for sunlight and rain. You'll want the shutters to have latches that are easy to handle with grip attachments; when you choose the shutters, look for larger latches that are easy to spot and grab.

You can have usable exterior shutters on windows that have screens. Speak with shutter installers about combinations they've seen and whether they have additional models that offer more options. Keep both bugs and bad weather out of your home easily by installing exterior shutters and keeping that screen on the window.