Plantation shutters feature a series of adjustable louvers to allow air and light to enter the home while maintaining a sense of privacy and security. Often used outdoors, these shutters can serve a simple decorative purpose, or may be fully operational, designed to protect against storms and changing weather. While wood has long served as the most popular material for plantation shutters, vinyl and other synthetics now provide greater options for homeowners in the market for new shutters.
Strength and Size
Because the natural strength of wood is much greater than that of vinyl, wood plantation shutters come in a much greater variety of shapes and sizes than their vinyl counterparts. According to Bay Home and Window, vinyl shutters can’t be manufactured any larger than 29 inches wide because the vinyl isn’t strong enough to cover this span. Even if your windows are smaller than 29 inches in width, many large vinyl plantation shutters require divider rails or other support members that may interfere with the traditional look of the shutters. If you have large windows, stick to wood plantation shutters to avoid problems with sagging or bending louvers.
When it comes to vinyl plantations shutters, what you see is what you get. These shutters come in a limited variety of neutral shades, and can’t be painted, stained or refinished. Wood plantation shutters, on the other hand, come in a large variety of species, finishes and colors. They can be painted or stained to change their appearance as needed to suit changes in your decor, or simply to give your home a new look.
Vinyl shutters serve as the optimal choice in areas prone to high moisture, such as basements, kitchens and bathrooms. This material won’t warp, swell or peel regardless of humidity or moisture levels. While wood shutters are stronger than vinyl ones, they are susceptible to moisture damage, and may not be the best choice for moisture-prone areas. Wood shutters also may suffer damage from insects in certain areas, while vinyl shutters are immune to this type of damage.
Crunch the Numbers
When it comes to buying plantation shutters, vinyl represents an economical choice, particularly when compared to more expensive wooden shutters. Purchasing vinyl shutters may result in savings of 10 to 30 percent over wooden shutters, according to Shutter Elite.
While many vinyl plantation shutters are designed to resemble their more expensive wood counterparts, the quality of this faux-wood finish can vary significantly between different models. Viewed up close, some vinyl shutters are easy to distinguish from wood, and simply can’t come close to the classic warmth and appeal of real wood. Before you buy shutters, visit retailers to view various models and materials in person to understand the differences in quality you may encounter. Whenever possible, order shutters only after you have examined product samples to ensure you understand exactly what your new plantation shutters will look like.
**Article byEmily Beach, Demand Media**