Materials for Building Window Shutters

Types of Window Shutters Used In Home Construction

By Mark J. Donovan

Window shutters come in two basic materials today, wood and synthetics (a.k.a. vinyl). Shopping for building window shutters can become overwhelming due to the wide variety of construction methods, styles, colors, and materials used to construct them. All of these factors influence the window shutter costs, as well as their expected longevity. Summarized below is review of the various types of building window shutters, including wood and vinyl based types.

Poplar wood is a common material used for building wood shutters. It’s easy to mill, screw, and glue. Also, the wood is tight grain and has low resin so it’s ideal for painting.

Due to mineral streaks it is not recommended to stain poplar wood window shutters. Poplar wood is cheaper than other types of wood, however it is still a fairly heavy and dense wood.

Oak wood is another material that window shutters are constructed from. Oak shutters are very heavy due to the density of the wood. Oak wood is also more difficult to mill, screw and glue. Pre-drilling is a must when screwing oak wood window shutters together. Oak also has the tendency to crack and warp over time. Consequently painting is not an option with oak window shutters. They must be stained.

Maple is similar to oak in terms of pros and cons. Like Oak, Maple is a hard wood that makes it difficult to mill, screw and glue. Maple shutters are also very heavy.

Cedar wood shutters are fairly common and are both water and insect resistant. Cedar wood mills easily, however Cedar is soft and can be easily damaged. In addition, screwing them together can be difficult as the wood can split easily. Due to the fact that Cedar is a very stable wood it is ideal for painting. Due to the various wood shades in Cedar, staining can yield uneven colors.

If you prefer using wood shutters then Basswood shutters are your best option. The Basswood tree can be found from Canada all the way down through the eastern coast of the United States. Basswood yields the highest quality and most durable wood shutters that can be constructed.

Shutters produced using Basswood are known for being extremely straight and have a even texture, making them ideal for painting. The fact that Basswood is low in resin and tanning there is little concern of oils bleeding through the paint. If you prefer to stain, because of Basswoods even grain it also stains well. Basswood is also easy to mill and accepts glue and screws well. It’s also a very dimensionally stable wood that resists warping and twisting after drying out.

Pine wood shutters are probably your cheapest wood shutters. They are made of various types of pine species and grades of wood. They also have the tendency to warp and twist over time.

Vinyl window shutters, also known as poly or plastic window shutters, are used commonly in new home construction. They are inexpensive and come in a limited number of standard colors, e.g. white and black. They are surprisingly heavy and are known to sag over time due to their sheer weight. They also cannot be stained.

For more information on Installing Replacement Windows and Interior Window Trim

  • See the Installing a New Window Ebook from  The Installing a New Window Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to remove an old window and install a new one. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.
  • See the Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook from  The Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to install interior window trim around a window. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

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