Matching Your Exterior Shutter Material to Your Needs

Walk through a neighborhood, and you are likely to see exterior shutters in a number of styles and colors. You may also notice they come in a number of materials. When you are selecting shutters for your home, it’s important to consider the material they are made from. The material you choose will impact how long they last and whether they are usable or purely decorative. 

Here are four of the most common materials used for outside window shutters. 


In recent decades, vinyl shutters have become a standard feature on many new homes. They are lightweight and easy to manufacture. They also cost less than wood or composite shutters. This makes them a favorite of home builders who want to add shutters without expense or trouble.

These shutters are made by applying a thin layer of colored vinyl over a mold. They are hollow inside as a result. They often have a plastic look to them due to this method of construction. 

Unfortunately, vinyl shutters are the very definition of cheap exterior shutters. The reality is that you get what you pay for. Vinyl deteriorates in the sun. That means within a few short years, it will start to fade and crack. It cannot be repainted or repaired, so the only option is to replace it when it starts to look awful. 

Vinyl shutters cannot be hinged. That means they cannot be used to protect the window from intruders or rough weather. 


Wood is a common choice for traditional exterior window shutters. The material is easily available and can be crafted into a number of shapes and designs. The shutters are solid and substantial. The wood can be painted in any number of colors or can be left natural to enjoy the grain of the material.

Because the shutter is solid, it can be hinged. This allows the shutters to close, protecting the home from weather and intruders. Wood shutters also last longer than vinyl. 

The biggest issue with wood exterior shutters is the material’s natural tendency to rot over time. The end grain of the wood can start wicking water up into the fibers. This can cause the wood to swell. It can also lead to the wood starting to rot. Moist wood is also a natural home for mold and termites, and wood can swell, split and crack as it ages. 

Wood Composite

A modern alternative to natural wood is composite exterior shutters. Made from wood fiber material, such as MDF, the shutter is encased in vinyl or PVC for protection. These look and feel like real wood, but they resist moisture and rot much longer than real wood. Due to its rot resistance, a wood composite shutter can last as much as twice as long as a natural wood one.

The wood composite shutter is solid, so it is easy to hinge and use to protect the house.

The downside to wood composite shutters is that they are still made of wood. While the construction does protect the wood fibers longer than natural wood, it still doesn’t prevent moisture infiltration and rot from developing in time. They can also split and crack like natural wood shutters. 

PVC Composite

Exterior house shutters made from PVC composite offer the look of natural wood without the drawbacks. They are made from stainless steel reinforced cellular PVC, which will not split, warp or rot. They are solid inside, making it possible to install hinges for easy opening and closing. 

You can get PVC composite shutters in a number of pre-painted colors. You also have the option of getting them unpainted so you can add your own custom color. There are a range of styles and sizes available, making it easy to find the perfect match for your home’s exterior. 

The exterior shutters for windows that you choose should enhance the look of your home while being of the highest quality. If you want to learn more about PVC composite shutters, take a look at our online catalog. You are also welcome to call us at 888-505-7715. 

Author Bio

Matt Buquoi works at, a company that offers premium-quality, no-rot flower window boxes, exterior shutters, cedar gables and outdoor planters at affordable prices.

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