Faux-Wood Versus Real-Wood Plantation Shutters

Custom-made plantation shutters (which got their name because they were used in large plantation homes in the South) are distinguished by their louvers and divider rails. They are becoming increasingly popular in home décor as an alternative to draperies and can actually be financed into the purchase of a home.
Wooden custom-made shutters were around long before manufacturers began to make imitation versions from other materials. Now consumers are faced with the decision of whether to choose real or faux wood. Faux (or fake) wood shutters are simply those made out of anything besides wood. Some are made from vinyl or other synthetic material, while others are what is called composite wood, made of medium density fiberboard, which is chemically engineered wood broken down into fibers.
While faux wood plantation shutter doors are generally less expensive, is it worth it in the long run to pay less or to spend the money on the real thing? There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Advantages of Real Wood for Plantation Shutters
Real-wood shutters are the most durable and have the highest strength-to-weight ratio. While they are usually more expensive, they do tend to last longer; therefore, they are more cost-effective. For people who plan to be in their home or office for a long time, or those who just want to add value to it when they sell it, real-wood shutters are generally the way to go.
Real wood can be used for larger panels. A wider panel (more than 30 inches) made out of synthetic material will sag. It can also be painted or stained in a variety of colors, whereas synthetic materials are limited to shades of white and beige.
A common misconception is that real-wood shutters require more maintenance. However, they are just as easy to clean and maintain as their synthetic counterparts.

Advantages of Faux Wood for Plantation Shutters
The biggest advantage of faux wood shutters is generally the cost. Synthetics can run 10 to 30 percent less than wood. They might be the best choice for nurseries or children's rooms, which may have a change in décor more often than other rooms.

In areas where the shutters are going to be subjected to moisture or steam, such as bathrooms or kitchens, real-wood or composite-wood shutters can warp, crack or flake, and the finish can be damaged. Therefore, a vinyl or poly shutter would be preferable. They are also better in humid areas where the windows are open a lot. Note that moisture - not heat - is the problem. Although some people believe that wood will warp in the heat, that is not the case. However, real-wood shutters would not be suitable for exterior use.
This type of shutters requires no or little wood, so consumers concerned about unnecessary use of natural resources may prefer the vinyl or composite shutters.

There is no one right answer for everyone, or even for every room. The important thing is to look around and ask questions. Shutters are a big investment, and a critical part of any home or office design, so this is not a decision to be made lightly.

Reach out to a local bay window shutters manufacturer to find the right style to fit your preferences.
Shannon Hodges is Director of Marketing at Eclipse Shutters. Eclipse Shutters is an Atlanta-based custom shutter provider with a network of licensed fabricators around the country. Their company has grown to become the number one shutter selling company in North America and largest manufacturer of tailor-made plantation shutters. Eclipse Shutters was established in 1992 and offers customers fast delivery and a 25-year warranty. Learn more about plantation window shutters at
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