There has long been a debate (mainly in in the States – so it will arrive in the UK soon enough) as to whether one should opt for wood shutters or shutters made from plastics (commonly called fauxwood shutters). Lets assume we are for this instance looking at interior shutters, not exterior, we will address them in a different article, wooden or plastic shutters?
So, how to decide between wood and plastic shutters?
If we begin from an ethical perspective with environmental policy to begin with, we know that hardwoods can be harmful to the environment if not correctly managed, and we know on the whole plastics are more energy hungry in production. So, from a purely production based ethics point of view, wood shutters have the upper hand. Well hold on a moment, if the shutters are made from non FSC woods, or composite woods, we’re not so sure.
As we know trees are the lifeline of our planet, absorbing carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen. If wood is sourced from non FSC plantations, we’re likely to be using stock which will not be replenished, we’ll be involved with large scale transportation and likely replenishing stock of trees. Not so pretty now. And, with composite woods, like MDF or glue based layered panels of wood, we’re adding insult to injury with extra ingredients as well as intensified production energy requirements. So, lets aim high, lets choose wooden shutters, from FSC or other industry standard recognised sources, and lets assume we’re not going for composites.
Lets get back to the wooden shutters in a moment and look at the durability of window shutters made from plastics. Sure, they take a lot more energy to produce, but they must be more durable right? Well, it’s questionable but possible! If you look after plastic or wooden shutters, keep them maintained like you would your car, we here at cheap shutters are convinced you can get decades of service from either. We’re not in a position to provide a definitive answer on plastic shutters, as they are a relatively new phenomenon. However we know for a fact there are shutters installed inside and outside homes made from wood which are over 100 years old. Think Provence, think London Café culture windows. Plastics are notoriously hard wearing if you buy reasonable quality, so we get a feeling, like double glazing, you’re going to have long life, without the blown glazing to content with. PVC is durable if nothing else.
So, we’ve got wood which can be durable, hard wearing and if properly managed from environmentally sound suppliers, and we’ve got plastics which can last a long time as well but are slightly less sound ethically.
The final decision may come from a design perspective. Shutters are all about bringing your interior to life. Using plantation shutters can be statement in it’s own right, assuming the design is there, then colour can play a big part. If you are wanting a true grain, wood is clearly going to be hard to beat. We’re not aware of any plastic shutters which come close to wood grain effects, not like some of the sliding door companies out there. On the whole plastics are a little more restrained in colours, so you’ll be opting for your standard whites etc. If you want wooden grain, texture or personalised colours, you’ll be erring towards wood again. It is sometimes hard ot spot the difference between wood shutters and plastic on white shutters, from a distance, but from close up you will surely be able to tell, come on, anyone can tell. Might not bother you of course.
I guess the final piece of the pie is the cost. On the whole, (but not always with all the special discounts around on shutters these days) plastic tends to come in a little cheaper than wood per square metre. Not always, check with your chosen shutters supplier. You may also find that if you are ordering custom shutters (you should at the crazy prices they are available) then plastics may be produced slightly quicker than wooden shutters.
So lets summarise the benefits of wooden or plastic shutters:
- more design options
- ethical production (if sourced correctly)
- individual style
- Slightly cheaper to buy on the whole
- Quicker to manufacture – quicker to deliver
If you are the kind of person who rips out the old, and slaps in the new, plastics will definitely do the job assuming you want white or other plain colours. If you tend towards the ethical – keep the old and restore / repair where possible, and want a more natural and authentic touch, then wood is the way to go!
We really hope this has helped with you choosing your cheap shutters!