What Makes the Best Plantation Shutters: Vinyl, Basswood, Poplar, Maple or Another Hardwood?
Plantation shutters are an excellent choice for high quality, attractive and functional window treatments. If you are considering buying plantation shutters, no doubt you quickly learned of the myriad of choices that are available to you.
Plantation shutters can be purchased as stock units or you can buy custom interior shutters to fit your windows. And then there is the construction material – among the most common materials used include vinyl, Basswood, Poplar, Maple and a variety of fine hardwoods. And not surprisingly, each material brings different levels of quality and price ranging from vinyl shutters to custom wood plantation shutters. So which is the best choice for your home?
Plantation Shutter Construction Materials
Here is a summary of the pros and cons for the most common interior shutter materials:
Vinyl Interior Shutters
Some of the most affordable interior shutters are made from vinyl.
While vinyl interior shutters will not warp and typically don’t require a finish, there is an undeniably synthetic look and feel to them.
The advantage to vinyl is it presents the most economical solution and is widely available.
However, vinyl shutters are among the lowest quality on the market and don’t offer the warmth or beauty of wood plantation shutters. And if you are considering vinyl interior shutters, remember that affordable does not always mean value.
Wood Plantation Shutters: Basswood and Poplar
Basswood and Poplar are two of the more common woods used to make interior shutters. Basswood and Poplar are technically hardwoods. But as hardwoods, they are light and relatively soft compared with other hardwoods such as Maple or Oak.
Basswood takes a finish well; it can be either painted or stained. Because Poplar’s color is not uniform, ranging from white to green to almost purple, it should be painted only and never stained.
However, when considering wood plantation shutters made of Poplar or Basswood, one should be aware that both are very soft and susceptible to dents and dings. In larger openings, Basswood and Poplar shutters frequently require additional reinforcing or extra rails or stiles for rigidity. The overall width or height of your window treatment may also be limited.
And finally, research the shutter joinery method. Because Poplar and Basswood shutters typically represent the mid-market pricing and quality range, often times the joinery of these interior shutters is inferior to higher quality shutters. For example, you should look for products where the rails are joined with reinforced dowels.
Hardwood Plantation Shutters: Durable and Beautiful
True hardwood plantation shutters, such as maple, represent the highest levels of quality and value in today’s plantation shutters. While the initial cost is sometimes higher than a comparably sized Basswood or Poplar shutter, the manufacturing quality is generally superior and there is greater likelihood that your Maple shutters will outlast shutters made from more affordable materials.
In addition to the increased durability and longevity of quality wood plantation shutters, solid hardwood shutters provide greater aesthetic appeal, whether stained or painted. The natural beauty and grain pattern of the vast array of hardwood species presents a limitless palette of design and style for your hardwood plantation shutters. Plus you can select the wood species and finish to match your existing décor.
High quality hardwood plantation shutters will also be custom made to precisely fit your exact window opening. And with a professional installation, your interior shutters will look like they were meant to be there, enhancing the beauty of your room.
The Best Material for Interior Shutters
When it comes to beauty, versatility and durability, no other material can match a quality, dense hardwood such as Maple. Other outstanding choices are Walnut, Mahogany, Oak, Cherry and Alder. While quality hardwood shutters may cost more initially, the lifetime value of your shutters will far exceed that of cheaper alternatives.