Types of Shutter Materials
Plantation shutters can be made from a variety of resources. Wood, Poly (Synthetics), MDF and Plastic Vinyl are few materials that shutters can be made from. Study the materials below to help decide which would be best for your application.
Plastic Hollow Vinyl- Made from an extruded hollow vinyl, the parts snap together and make a light weight shutter. Cannot be painted or stained. Often called the Lego Shutter by the way the plastic components snap together. Hollow Vinyl Louver Pictures 1, 2 & 3.
Pros: Cheapest and fastest shutter to manufacture.
Cons: Plastic Tilt Bar parts break easily, in hot climates vinyl softens leading to sagging panels and louvers. Deep scratches cannot be fixed. Restricted to smaller panel sizes.
Wood: Shutters can be made from a variety of woods including, basswood, poplar, alder, cedar and other exotic woods. The most popular choices are basswood and poplar because of availability and price. Poplar is a harder wood than basswood but a majority of wood shutters are made from basswood. Cedar, alder and exotic woods are considered the hardest woods and are used in higher end plantation shutters. Can be painted or stained.
Pros: Nothing more beautiful than a natural stained wood. Can make larger panels.
Cons: Wood can warp, loose tilt rod staples in soft wood and louver tension loosens over time but can be tightened with adjusting screw.
Synthetics (poly): Synthetic is fibers that have been processed, compressed and molded into solid shutter components. It makes the most durable surface and best insulating of all shutter materials. Can be painted but not stained. Synthetic Louver
Pros: Durable surface, great energy efficiency and low maintenance.
Cons: Louvers and frames in larger panels can slightly bow in hotter climates. Restricted to smaller panel sizes.
Synthetics co-extruded with aluminum (poly): Same as the synthetics but strengthened with a co-extruded aluminum core. This co-extrusion makes the strongest, most durable surface and best insulating of all shutter materials. Can be painted but not stained. Aluminum Infused Synthetic Louver
Pros: Strongest Shutter, largest panels most durable surface, great energy efficiency and low maintenance.
Cons: No stain finishes available
MDF (medium density fiberboard): The MDF is wrapped in a colored plastic wrap. Medium density fiberboard is sawdust and glue compressed into shutter components. The components are then wrapped with a thin colored plastic wrap. MDF A.K.A. - Composite, Hybrid or Fauxwood. Cannot be painted or stained.
Cons: Made from the same materials as cheap furniture, plastic wrap can delaminate in humid areas, MDF crumbles around screw holes. Restricted to smaller panel sizes.