Materials form the foundation of everything in your home, from the structure itself to the decorative accents. If you want your home to look great for a long time, you need to make sure it’s built with high-quality materials. It’s that simple!
There are many options when it comes to shutter materials, but not all will deliver the same combination of beauty, durability and longevity. Some options might be friendlier to your budget at the outset, but they won’t necessarily offer the best value in the long run.
Let’s take a look at some common shutter materials and decide which is the best choice for you.
Exterior shutters have been around for centuries. Still, despite the modern proliferation of synthetic building materials, the aesthetic appeal of real wood has never gone out of style. Wooden shutters remain the gold standard, due to their elevated look and exceptional performance.
Shutters are crafted from a number of different wood species, each offering a classic beauty that’s warm, inviting and incredibly versatile. If you’re looking for sturdy, high-density wood shutters that will stand up to the elements over time, it’s best to go with a premium species like western hemlock.
Western hemlock is a lovely type of lumber with a rich golden color and clear vertical grain. It looks great with both stains and paints, and its workability allows for tremendous design flexibility. Western hemlock that has been kiln-dried reduces moisture exposure and expansion risks. It also resists termites, making it a top choice for building stairs, flooring, doors, siding — and, of course, custom shutters.
Authentic wood shutters made from Western Hemlock can be expected to last 20+ years, with proper maintenance. It’s recommended to apply a fresh coat of paint on wooden shutters every 4-6 years.
Composite wood shutters are a popular choice for budget-conscious homeowners who desire the traditional look of real wood and some freedom to create their own custom shutter designs.
Made of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), which combines various wood particles with resin, composite wood shutters are strong enough to withstand the rigors of inclement weather. They also resist decay and insect infestation.
While composite wood shutters don’t offer all the customization capabilities of genuine wood shutters, they are available in a number of different styles, shapes and sizes. They can be finished in a wide range of colors, milled with a variety of decorative cutouts, and hung with functional hardware.
Composite wood shutters typically need replacement every 15 to 20 years, so if you prize appearance and economy, these shutters are a sound investment.
Vinyl shutters are the least-expensive and most readily-available option on the market, but when it comes to looks and longevity, they rank far below composite wood and genuine wood shutters.
Constructed from hollow shells, vinyl shutters have a flimsy, plastic appearance. They’re very limited in their design flexibility and cannot be installed with functional hardware. They’re prone to warping and cracking when exposed to the elements, and their color is likely to fade or even bleed over time.
Although vinyl shutters might last between 15 and 20 years, they’re likely to lose their aesthetic appeal long before that.
There’s a lot to consider when embarking on an exterior design project. You want to squeeze the maximum amount of curb appeal out of your budget, but you don’t want your home’s amazing new look to fade in just a few short years.
When it comes to selecting a shutter material, you can never go wrong with the real thing. Genuine wood shutters are sure to delight your family and attract compliments from the neighbors for years to come.
If you love the look of wood, but you’re looking to keep costs down, composite wood shutters might be your best bet.