Shutters are a timeless addition to any home, especially in the south. Beyond the benefit of adding curb appeal, shutters can also protect your house from weather damage and theft. While style and color are important to consider for your overall aesthetic, you also have to make decisions regarding what your shutters are made of. Read on for everything you need to know about finding the best material for exterior shutters on your home.
Style vs. Function
If you’re wondering, “What material should my shutters be?” There’s no straightforward answer. Your home and what you hope to achieve with shutters will guide you towards the right option.
For some, shutters are a stationary add-on for style and design purposes. Others want shutters with hardware for functional use. We will always recommend functional shutters due to their versatility when it comes to benefits. Perhaps you’re looking for an extra layer of privacy or protection from theft. But did you know that shutters can also provide insulation to keep your home warm during the winter? Likewise, shutters can help keep your home cool in the summer by keeping sunlight out and allowing a breeze in. Finally, and perhaps most importantly in the Gulf South, shutters provide an extra layer of protection during hurricanes.
But no matter the reasoning for adding shutters to your home, you will typically choose from the following materials:
- Wood or wood composites
All of these options come with different pros, cons, and things to consider. Keep reading for an in-depth discussion on each of these in order to determine the best material for exterior shutters on your home.
Powder-coated aluminum shutters are the best option for the majority of our clients in the Gulf South. Why? Aluminum is the best material for exterior shutters when it comes to hot and humid climates, not to mention hurricane-prone areas.
After more than 60 years in business, here’s what we know to be true about aluminum shutters:
- No rotting, cracking, or warping due to sun exposure
- Proven protection against hurricanes and other weather events (with storm-rated options)
- Highly-customizable to fit your style, including RollGard options
- Easier to maintain than wood shutters, while still providing a classic look
- High level of quality at an affordable price
- Easy to operate, including manual and automatic options for opening and closing
Further, many people consider aluminum to be the best material for exterior shutters because of their longevity. This option will last anywhere from 20 to 30 years (or another 30 years if stripped and recoated) for an affordable price.
If you don’t live in the Gulf South region, wood may be the best material for exterior shutters on your home. This is a great option in dry climates where humidity damage isn’t a factor. For some homeowners, the traditional look of wood shutters is appealing, but it’s important to know they require a bigger budget and more maintenance. Compared to aluminum options, wood shutters can cost twice as much.
If you do choose wood shutters, look for ones made from eco-sustainable materials, such as cedar. Cedar is often considered the best wood for shutters because it is less likely to warp or twist, but it also helps insulate the home, protecting it from extreme heat or cold. Other wood shutters to consider include Redwood, Mahogany, or Louisiana’s state tree, Cypress. Remember, ongoing maintenance is critical to maintaining the integrity of wood shutters. They must be painted or stained, as well as sealed on a regular basis
Looking for the classic style of wood without the price tag? Wood composite shutters are more affordable, but won't last as long as real wood. They're typically made of engineered wood that is wrapped in a vinyl or PVC coating. Some high-quality wood composite options can be fairly sturdy and weather resistant.
When you’re on a tight budget, it can be tempting to consider vinyl shutters, but we generally don’t recommend going this route. While they’re the least expensive option, they will have issues over time that may cost you.
Here are some of the vinyl issues we’ve seen over the years:
- Sagging, especially in large installations
- Plastic looking appearance
- Yellowing or staining
All of these problems can be difficult to repair, which ultimately leads to a shorter lifespan. As previously mentioned, this is why we generally don’t recommend this type of material. However, the best exterior vinyl shutters will be fully vinyl for extra support. Avoid hollow PCV shutters with finished end-caps.
LAS Manufacturing Process
Strong Enough For the Gulf South
At LAS, we design and install shutters built to your home’s specifications. That means they’ll be beautiful, functional, and tailored to fit your needs.
Because we’re based in New Orleans, we know exactly what you need when it comes to protecting your home. Come hurricane season, you can have confidence your house will have protection. We offer shutters that comply with:
- Florida Building Code Impact and Wind Ratings
- The Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) standards
- The American Society for Testing and Materials (or ASTM) specifications
Using powder-coated aluminum allows us to create shutters that can also withstand heat and humidity. We have spent more than 60 years living and working in the Gulf South climate, which is why we know exactly how to ensure our products will last.
Leave it to LAS
Whether your goal is weather protection or a touch of elegance, LAS can bring your dream home to life. We offer a variety of styles and materials in order to achieve what you’re looking for. Our promise is to provide shutters that stand the test of time with exceptional customer service along the way.
If you're looking for shutters in the Gulf South, but don’t know where to start, call LAS. We handle every step of the process from design and manufacturing to installation and service. Our team will listen to your ideas, share a bit of our own knowledge, and provide you with a free estimate.