Not All Shutters Are Created Equal

Updated: Apr 19

There are many different types of Plantation Shutters on the market today. Their respective sales pitches, along with sometimes intentional misrepresentation, can lead to understandable confusion with those seeking to simply purchase good shutters at a fair price. In this blog I will explain the differences between the shutter types to help those looking for plantation shutters make more informed decisions.


Plantation Shutter types:



Hollow plastic


Hollow Plastic Plantation Shutters

Made of plastic components that are hollow. Cannot be painted or stained. Limited frame styles.Tilt rods, both front and hidden, are made of thin plastic and are prone to breakage. These shutters require 2 shutter panels to be installed in any window over about 26″ wide. Breakage to the tilt rods can be repaired but if the louvers sag the shutter must be replaced as repairs are not possible.

Look & feel- cheap and flimsy, toy like.

Limited lifetime warranty.

Price – Usually (but not always) at the bottom end of the cost scale. Name brands tend to be on the high side. Serious consideration should be given to the potential problems described above. Low value.


Composite (MDF)


Usually made with a base material of medium density fiberboard (MDF) covered with a shrink wrap like thin plastic film. Cannot be painted or stain

MDF Plantation Shutters

ed. Limited frame styles.Tilt rods, both front and rear, are usually made of thin plastic an


d are prone to breakage. These shutters require 2 shutter panels to be installed in any windo


w over about 26″ wide.The plastic film can delaminate over time, exposing the underlying MDF. If delamination or louver sagging occurs the


shutter must be replaced as it is not possible to make repairs. Sagging louvers are so common in these shutters that it is known in the industry as “The Shutter Smile”.

Look & feel – Generally good looking shutters although somewhat flimsy to the touch. Plasticy feel. Serious consideration should be given to the potential problems described above.

Limited lifetime warranty

Price – Ranges from medium to most expensive. Name brands tend to be on the high side. Medium value.


Solid plastic


Solid Plastic Plantation Shutters

Made of solid PVC or other plastic. Can be painted in any color but not stained. Limited frame styles. Tilt rods, both front and rear, are made of durable solid plastic. These shutters require 2 shutter panels to be installed in any window over about 26″ wide unless aluminum reinforced louvers are used at an additional cost.

Look & feel – Generally good looking shutters although somewhat flimsy to the touch. Plasticy feel. Limited lifetime warranty

Price – Medium. High value




Solid wood


Solid Wood Plantation Shutters

The gold standard of plantation shutters. Can be painted or stained in any color. Unlimited frame styles. Stronger and more durable than any of the other shutter types. Louvers can span as much as 38″, allowing a single shutter panel to be used instead of 2 as in the other shutter types.

Look & feel – Beautiful. Solid and strong. The authentic richness of the wood comes through.

Limited lifetime warranty

Price – comparable to the name brand composite shutters. High value.


A word about warranties


Most shutter manufacturers provide limited lifetime warranties but this is not necessarily an indicator of build quality nor durability. It is simply a marketing tool, in spite of the known durability problems with some shutter types. The warranties offer some protections but, as a practical matter, who wants to go through the process dealing with the selling company if problems arise after the shutters are purchased and installed in your home? I have some of these problem shutters in our showroom. They all came out of houses where people called us asking if they could be repaired. Unfortunately for them repairs were not possible and the shutters needed to be replaced.



I do hope I have shed some light on some of the issues between the different shutter types so that someone shopping for plantation shutters will have an easier time making informed decisions before making the purchase.


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