Figure 1 - Exterior window shutters
Now you should have a good idea of all the exterior shutter products available on the market today. Keep in mind that all of these products will serve you well and you will be happy with your purchase if you take this information and apply it to your situation and needs.
You can now choose from the inexpensive, exterior vinyl shutters that are long lasting, have a 40-year warranty, require very little maintenance and provide a traditional look. The vinyl shutters are molded; and yes, they are lightweight and up close look like a plastic reproduction. However, if you stand back 5 feet, they look great. They can be ordered in any of 17 colors and if you want to paint them, they are available primed and ready to paint. So, if you can see past the fact the vinyl shutters look inexpensive up close are not operable; and if you can appreciate they are available in louvered, raised panel and board and batten styles, you will have a low-cost solution to making your home beautiful. HINT: By the way, pick one of the standard colors so you will not have to paint the shutters every so often. Remember, low maintenance gives you more time to play!
The next choice would be the new composite, mid-priced shutters. Composite window shutters are a solid-back product, have a 5-year warranty, architecturally accurate and available in over 20 colors. Yes, you can order them primed and ready to paint. The composite material is the latest in space-age materials that won’t rot, warp, split; and the bugs don’t like the taste of them. They are solid backed so the mud daubers and bees won’t like to live there. You can use optional hardware to make these operational for that “real” shutter look and function. The composite window shutters are available in colonial style louvered, raised panel, board and batten and can be ordered in a Bahama style hinged at the top to provide shade and rain protection for open windows. Looking for that tropical ambiance? Bahama shutters are a good choice. The composite product is very low maintenance and will remain beautiful for a long time.
The finest and most expensive choice is the true fiberglass/composite shutter which is architecturally designed and built to make the most discerning Historical Society member smile broadly. The real cost for this product is inexpensive when you consider the low-maintenance requirements, the 20-year warranty and the fact they can double as a real storm shutter. The fiberglass shutters can be ordered as a storm shutter approved under the latest SBCCI engineering standards. Of course, most of us don’t need that level of protection but do value the ability to close your shutters for security purposes. Available in over 20 colors and 12 styles, you will have all the choices possible to meet your needs. Arches, louvered, raised panel, board and batten and Bahama styles are a few of your choices. You can replace your worn-out wood shutters and proudly show off your new fiberglass/Composite shutters that are low maintenance. Imagine, instead of painting those old wooden shutters every other year, you’ll have time to improve your golf game.
Aluminum shutters have evolved in recent years to provide a reasonably priced replacement for wood shutters. The aluminum colonial louvered and Bahama shutter styles have enjoyed approval by many Historical districts as the costs and maintenance levels have increased for wood shutters. The aluminum shutter products are strong and can meet the most stringent hurricane engineering standards. They are relatively low maintenance and can be powder-coat finished in 100’s of colors. They have a 3-year warranty. The aluminum shutters can be arched and at extra cost, can be designed as raised panels and even Board and Batten styles are available. I believe the Composite and Fiberglass shutters are a better choice than aluminum where a true traditional look is demanded.
The standard of the industry has been the wood exterior shutter produced in red cedar, pine or other exotic woods and is available in every possible configuration imaginable. Louvered, raised panel, board and batten, mixed louver and raised panel, arched, 1/4 arch lazy arch, Bahama, Bermuda, etc. You name it, and it has been made from wood. Wooden shutters are initially economical to purchase but considering the paint requirements and the overall maintenance cost, it makes the wood shutters the most expensive to purchase and own. The versatility and design capability makes wood the only choice in many custom design situations.