Ultimate Guide to Understanding Shutter Surface Styles

Table of Contents

It can be confusing when you are choosing the best shutters for your application in your home or business. There are three main choices of wood, vinyl and composite surfaces. Understanding the composition of each, their similarities and differences can help you to make an informed decision that you will love.

A Guide to the Different Shutter Surface Styles

There are benefits that each surface style brings to the game because of the varying construction techniques. What you are trying to achieve is the correct style to meet your decor as well as being the most functional for your space.

Wooden Shutters

Wooden shutters are manufactured by using a mortise and tenon joint process to make them exceptionally strong with a study structure and prevent warping. Wooden shutters can be made to fit any size and shape window exactly and you also have choices of custom sized stiles, rails and louvers. In regard to color, you have a choice of any color possible to match your interior decor, or a wood varnish finish to highlight the beauty of the natural wood grain. Wooden shutters are loved for being long lasting, durable and the ease to repair them when they become damaged in some sort of manner. Period pieces properties often use wooden shutters although they look just as dazzling in modern decor of any home. They are also a great choice for commercial properties with high traffic areas and they are perfect for any irregular shaped window. In terms of pricing, wooden shutters sit in the middle to high bracket, which largely depends on your selection of materials and finishes. Most wooden shutters are about 3/4 to 2 inches thick at the widest point, giving them their structural integrity and durability. However, this also makes them very heavy on very large windows and this is not usually advised. Wooden shutters give you an appearance of natural warmth and wood grain in any space.

Vinyl Shutters

Vinyl shutters are manufactured with closed cell composite technology which gives them good strength and stiffness and great insulation properties. They are made from PVC or polyvinyl material. Vinyl shutters can be custom made to fit any window no the size or shape, however the size of the louvers is pre-set without many options to customize them. The upside to this fact is that they are manufactured very quickly so you won’t have to wait long before they are installed in your home or business. In terms of color, vinyl shutters are usually available in neutral colors, which are added to the plastic mixtures and it hardens with the plastic. When you choose to have them custom made, you can even have fabric strips attached to the louvers for a truly stunning appearance in any space. The most obvious benefits of vinyl shutters is that they are 100% waterproof and can be used in damp areas such as a basement, laundry room or bathroom without worrying about warping from the moisture. This type of shutter is easy to clean and the prices sit in the low to medium end of the pricing bracket. Vinyl shutters are generally about 1/4 inch at their thickest point, which makes this type lighter than wood to put less stress on the areas of attachment on a window. In terms of appearance, vinyl shutters are modern and simple with a matte finish to fit in any space.

Composite Shutters

Composite shutters are a mixture of wood and PVC or basically partially wood and partially vinyl. They are often called faux wood or engineered wood and are manufactured of wood that is MDF wrapped in a PVC or vinyl coating. They are very study while also being weather and humidity resistant. They are a very affordable alternative to wood shutters. This composition gives you strength and durability from the wood portion but adds a layer of protection from humidity, so they won’t warp as easily as wood. You have the same color choices of varnishes to highlight each louver or having them colored any tone imaginable when they are painted to match your trim, accent color or decor style in any space. Quality composite shutters look just as good as real wood shutters and you get all the possibilities in your choice of painted colors or neutral shades to match your decor in any space.

Benefits of Plantation Shutters

No matter which shutter surface you choose for your indoor plantation shutters, you will reap several benefits over other types of window treatments.

A Permanent Addition

Plantation shutters are a permanent addition to any home or commercial space. They may not actually add much to the sales price of a property and they don’t guarantee a return on investment, however the curb appeal helps to sell residences and office much faster. The permanency of any type of plantation shutters allows them to be included in all appraisals, unlike any other type of window treatments.


You are in total control of the light and temperature when you buy custom plantation shutters. Many have the ability to open only partially if desired or you can swing them away from the window with ease to allow all the light in and have an unobstructed view of the great outdoors.


When you close all of the louvers on a plantation shutter, it gives you a superb insulating barrier while trapping unwanted temperatures next to the window instead of entering the room. This can add up to some serious energy savings over the course of a year.

Low Maintenance

Plantation shutters have wide louvers that are very easy to clean by a simple wipe down on both sides. Vinyl shutters can be removed from their hinges and because of their lighter weight, they can be sprayed down for a very thorough cleaning every so often.


All plantation shutters provide your space with the classic and modern look to convey a permanency like no other window treatment can. No matter if you decide on natural wood or a painted style, they all have a distinctive look that says welcome home.

This comparison on plantation shutter types can help you to decide which type will best suit your needs and your space. They all three are exceptional in many manners and look timeless and classic in all styles.

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Bobby Nakamura

Third-generation of Naka's legacy, Bobby brings over 30 years of industry experience, a passion for design, and a love for food and travel.

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