Plantation shutters have become one of the most popular window coverings used in a lot of homes across the United States. They are timeless; they add elegance and beauty, as well as function. Plantation shutters are also one of the most sought after window covering in today’s energy conscious home fashion market, from a simple modest condominium to regal estates. Furthermore, they work well with any style, from contemporary to more traditional design.
Back in the 19th century, plantation shutters were being used as window coverings for plantation homes to protect against the cold winters and oppressive summers of America’s southeast. To this date, they still offer the same protections to a lot of homes. When they are closed, they offer warmth, privacy, and protection from the summer sun. Opened, they create open, spacious quality without sacrificing even the most breathtaking views. One quality unique to shutters over other window coverings is their ability to architecturally open a room while actually adding brightness through ambient light reflection. Furthermore, it is very easy to maintain and clean, and can be used for any types of window sizes, even those odd shaped windows, as well as patio doors and French doors. They can be used with draperies overlapping on each side for a more traditional look, or leave it on its own for a more contemporary look.
The biggest drawback for most consumers is the price range, especially in homes that have multiple windows to cover. But there is good news to those budget conscious consumers, plantation shutters now come in different types of materials and construction quality. There are wooden shutters that can be very expensive and more high maintenance; on the other side of the spectrum, there are synthetic composites that are lower in price, offering the same designs (sometimes even look like wood), but requires lower maintenance. There are varying performance levels that need to be considered when choosing the materials for shutters. There are some materials that are designed to work best on wider windows and doors while other materials may be a better choice for the environment (example in damp environment- the best choice is the synthetic material as opposed to wooden which will warp overtime).
Aside from materials and functions, plantation shutters come in different shades and colors. Wooden shutters can come in pre-finished with different stains or pre-painted in different colors. The synthetic shutters also come in varying shades of white as well as different shades of brown to mimic real wood. Still, the most common color of choice is white, since it never goes out of style. There are different styles to choose from when it comes to the moldings and size of slats; depending on how wide you want the slats, they can vary from 2 to 3 ½ inches wide. Also there are two choices as far as opening and closing the slats, there are tilt rods to use to open and close the slats, some narrower windows can be left without tilt rods for a cleaner contemporary look. Care should be taken when using slats to open and close not to put too much tension to prevent sagging or breaking.
Some Comparisons of Wooden and Synthetic (PolyDesign) Plantation Shutters:
1) Wooden shutters tend to be more expensive and take longer to manufacture than the synthetic or poly shutters. Wooden shutters can be more expensive due to customization and raw materials needed to produce wooden shutters. Poly or synthetic are made of recycled materials that can help in conservation of natural resources.
2) Wooden shutters can splinter and warp, synthetic or poly shutters do not.
3) Synthetic or poly shutters can scratch overtime.
4) Synthetic or poly shutters cannot be painted over or re-stained. Sure you can try but it will not look the same. Wood, on the other hand, can be stripped then refinished or repainted.
5) Wooden shutters can be used on wider windows and you would not have to worry about sagging, unlike synthetic or poly shutters.
6) Limited slat sizes for synthetic shutters while wooden shutters can be custom made to all widths and sizes easily.
You have to also consider factors such as window sun exposure, size, and moisture. There are advantages and disadvantages to using either of the wooden and synthetic shutters; you would need to do your research before making your choices, otherwise, if you choose wrong it can be costly! Whether you choose wood or synthetic plantation shutters, make sure to take proper care of them; this way you will surely enjoy your shutters in the years to come.