Today, shutters are more popular than ever, so it is no wonder many new manufacturers are trying to grab a piece of the business. The most notable example is the introduction into the market of vinyl compound shutters. There are some intriguing advantages to these vinyl shutters versus traditional wood shutters. But beware: Many of them are just poorly made shutters at a cheap price. There are numerous differences among the major brands. This article will explain the critical differences and help you decide whether wood or vinyl shutters are right for your decorating projects.
Wood's the Real Thing
There are several reasons why you should avoid vinyl shutters altogether. Most people simply prefer real wood just as they prefer clothing made of cotton or wool instead of polyester and diamonds instead of cubic zirconium. For a warm, traditional look, North American hardwood is the best way to go.
There also are some important limitations to vinyl shutters. They usually are made only in white and off-white colors, so you cannot match woodwork. Staining them is impossible. Currently there are no manufacturers making vinyl shutters for arched, angled and other specialty shaped windows. Because they are fabricated by machines, the frames cannot be customized for mounting in windows with shallow depths or to go around obstructions like cranks and security devices. Some vinyl shutters are cheaply made with inferior components and poor workmanship, and should be avoided simply for that reason despite their lower cost.
A Vote for Vinyl
Quality vinyl shutters definitely are worth considering. The inherent advantages are numerous. Even the best vinyl shutters cost less than quality wood shutters, although not by much.
The more important advantages are practical in nature. For instance, vinyl shutters will not crack, peel, fade or deteriorate like wood. They are ideal for humid areas like solariums, shower enclosures and near Jacuzzis and sinks. Because they are moisture resistant they are an excellent choice near a swimming pool, or even the ocean's corrosive saltwater.
They are easier to clean than wood, and those that are solid color impregnated will not show dents or scratches making them ideal for a child's room. Their delivery time usually is half that of a true custom shutter. Choosing the Best Vinyl Shutter
Look for these important features when comparing different brands:
Aluminum reinforcements throughout all major stress points, especially on the hinge side of all panes, to prevent warping and "vinyl creep." Sleek louvers and frame to maximize view. Ability to adjust louver tension to prevent floppy louvers. Made from high quality outdoor-grade compound for durability. Opaque louvers and rails. Some are too translucent making them appear less like wood and allowing too much light to enter the room. Thick wall structures for strength. A choice of decorative frames. Solid tilt bar mechanism for easy and long-lasting use. Multiple louver sizes. Uniform rail sizes for aesthetic consistency. Louvers close up or down for infinite control of light and view. Heavy-duty three-leaf hinges to prevent wobbly, sagging shutter panels. No unsightly notches on frame. Lifetime warranty.
Whether choosing wood or vinyl shutters, you are likely to be extremely satisfied with their function and beauty. With such a disparity of quality among the different brands, however, be sure to do your homework to make sure you select the right shutters for your decorating projects.
Jay Steinfeld is owner of Laura's Draperies, Bedspreads & More, a full service shop-at-home window treatment establishment at 6135 Kirby Dr., Houston, TX 77005. He can be reached at (713) 520-7100; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.