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Choose the Right Exterior Shutter Material

Windows and shutters
Shutters add an undeniable charm to a home, while also providing a key form of protection for those who live in storm-prone parts of the country. Those whose homes already contain shutters can add to the value of their property by investing in new shutters.
Of course, to derive the maximum benefit from your new shutters, you must choose the shutter material wisely. Unfortunately, many homeowners fail to recognize the various options available — let alone their relative strengths and weaknesses. This article takes a closer look at the pros and cons of three common shutter materials.
1. Wood
Shutters have an inherently nostalgic appeal, harkening back to an age before glass windows were a commonplace feature of all homes. Those who want to best capture the traditional aesthetic of exterior shutters get the best results from wood. No other material enjoys the same natural color variations or grain patterns as real wood.
Wood shutters allow you to easily sync up with your home's existing color scheme, since they can easily be painted in a virtually limitless range of colors. Those who prefer to embrace the natural beauty of the wood may simply apply a clear coat of sealer.
Homeowners should expect to pay more for wood shutters than for other varieties. In addition, wood shutters require vigilant maintenance. If the paint or sealant becomes cracked or excessively degraded, moisture soon leads to wood rot. In addition, high humidity levels may cause unprotected wood shutters to swell up or expand in unsightly ways.
2. Vinyl
Those who don't mind compromising on aesthetics may find vinyl shutters a great fit for their home. Unlike wood, vinyl requires relatively little upkeep as the years go on, being immune to the ill effects of humidity and moisture. Unlike wood paint, vinyl does not peel or chip. However, vinyl shutters do face a potent enemy in the form of ultraviolet light.
UV light rays cause the polymers used in the creation of vinyl shutters to undergo a form of degradation known as oxidation. Oxidation causes microscopic cracks to form in the vinyl. Over time, these cracks undermine the structure of the shutter, while also leading to aesthetic flaws such as fading and a chalky appearance.
Oxidation reduces the lifespan of vinyl shutters compared to well-maintained wood shutters. Vinyl shutters have another key drawback in the form of a limited color palate. Nonetheless, many homeowners consider these disadvantages a reasonable trade-off, given the much lower price point and upkeep efforts associated with vinyl shutters.
3. Composite Shutters
Those who appreciate the low cost of vinyl shutters but simply cannot accustom themselves to their appearance have another option in the form of composite shutters. Manufacturers create composite shutters using a combination of processed wood, fiberglass, and PVC. The outside of the shutter also receives a high quality factory finish.
Composite shutters mimic the appearance and style of wood shutters to a much greater extent than vinyl. Yet the composite material boasts a much greater durability than natural wood. Mold, rot, and even termites pose little problem for composite shutters. The dense nature of composite also makes these shutters great for boosting energy efficiency.
The density of composite can cause problems in some cases, however. Because the shutters have a greater weight, they require more heavy duty mounting hardware. You may also find that, like vinyl, the color palate of composite shutters cannot rival that of wood.
Exterior shutters add both charm and value to a home. To learn more about what shutter material would make the best choice for your home, please contact Greenville's experts at American Classic Shutters.