Timber, aluminium or PVC? How to choose the right material for your shutters

Timber, aluminium or PVC? How to choose the right material for your shutters

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Posted by Alyka Admin on 04 Oct 2021

A comprehensive guide to choosing the right shutter material for long-lasting, well-functioning, trouble-free shutters for your home.

There are many things to consider when choosing the right shutter material for your home. If you’ve started researching, you may be a little confused about all of the options available.

For some more information, you can check our guide on plantation shutters here. An ill-informed decision on shutter material can be a costly one, resulting in your shutters looking bad, operating poorly and requiring replacement before their expected life. 

At Decor Blinds & Curtains, we’ve been selling shutters for over 15 years. We want to help Western Australians pick the right finishing touches to their home, so we’ve put together a simple guide to selecting the right shutter material. We’ll focus on the three primary types of shutters materials: Timber, PVC and Aluminum. 

Want to know more about our range of shutters? Find out here

Timber Shutters

This is where it all began, plantation timber shutters. The reason timber has been used for so long in making shutters and continues to be the material of choice today is simply because it works. If you want the ultimate window treatment for presentation and functionality, it is hard to go past plantation timber shutters. Not only do they simply look amazing in any setting, but they also give you complete control over privacy and light. 

The first thing to know is that there are many, many types of timber available. As direct importers of plantation timber shutters for over 15 years, we can share our experience, so you don’t have to learn the hard way.

The rumour that all timber bows is simply false. The correct selection of timber coupled with how its processed, dried and stored will determine its stability. 

What to ask your supplier when purchasing timber shutters

Is the timber Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) from a renewable plantation?
While this doesn’t affect the performance or look of your shutter, we are all concerned for the environment and want to know that we are making environmentally responsible choices that ensure the protection of old growth forests.

Can the timber be grown in Australia?
Believe it or not, this is one of the very key components in knowing whether the timber will remain stable and perform well for years in our Australian windows. If the tree cannot be grown in the Australian climate, it will simply not withstand our dry heat.

Is the timber kiln dried or air dried?
This is imperative for end performance. Air drying timber is the only way to ensure the timber has completely dried and will remain stable. Kiln drying is a sped up process that means moisture may remain in the slats, and it is this moisture that causes problems when the product is made and in the window. 
 

So what timber is best? 

At Decor Blinds & Curtains, we only use Paulownia timber because it ticks all of the boxes above plus:

  • It’s marine grade timber which means it is light and stable. Stability means that there is no bowing while the light weight makes it easier for the user to open and close panels. This also reduces dropping on hinges which occur in heavier shutters materials.
  • Because of Paulownia's stable properties, all slats are manufactured as a complete length. This means no finger joints, which are short pieces of timber fixed together to make a longer piece. These joints are common in timbers such as Bassword and create weak points in the slats resulting in paint cracking and breakages
  • Paulownia is technically classed as a weed in the United States because it grows so fast at a rate of 20 foot per year. Simply one of the best renewable timbers in the world!
  • Paulownia is a non-oily timber which means there is no oil seepage on the slats. This can be common in timbers such as Pine and is evidenced via the yellowing of slats and discoloured sections.
Still not sure whether timber shutters are right for you? Our friendly team can help. Get in touch to schedule a free design consultation. 

PVC Shutters

Another opinion for your shutters is PVC.They are also moisture resistant due to the aluminium reinforcing making them an excellent option for your wet areas.

PVC is substantially heavier than Timber or Aluminium, so it’s best to minimise its use to wet areas and opt for other materials for living areas and bedrooms. Using heavy shutters materials in shutters means the hinges will be under load and ‘drop’, making opening and closing of your panels difficult over time. It also means the panels cannot be manufactured as wide, which means more panel breakup in your window.

One disadvantage of PVC is the environmental footprint, as it is made from chemicals and toxins. Some people are also concerned about the use of PVC in their homes due to gases that can be released when it is heated to a specific temperature.

What to ask your supplier when purchasing PVC shutters

Is the PVC slat manufactured with an aluminium core for stability?
That’s it! That is all you need to know the answer to, as this will determine the performance and longevity of your product. PVC bows at temperatures of 77 degrees and does not revert to its former shape. Therefore it's critical to use slat that has been reinforced with an aluminium core to ensure stability. 

The quality of aluminium core used varies greatly in the market. Some suppliers opt for no core to maintain the lowest price, resulting in a very poor quality shutter that will not last long. Here is a photo of how they can vary. Ask your supplier to see the internal PVC slat they use so you know what you are getting.



Still not sure whether PVC shutters are right for you? Our friendly team can help. Get in touch to schedule a free design consultation. 

Aluminium shutters

Aluminium shutters are a good choice for home exteriors. In addition to being durable and easy to clean, some brands are also designed to provide greater home security.

Things to consider when choosing Aluminium shutters

  • Blades on Aluminium Shutters cannot be re-tensioned.
    This means they close poorly, sacrificing light and heat reduction and compromising privacy.
  • Blades on Aluminium Shutters can rattle when the window is open.
    This is also in large part due to their lack of a blade tensioning system.
  • Overall finish is different compared to Timber and PVC ones.
    The biggest complaint we hear about Aluminium shutters is the plastic end caps used on the slats, which can be very noticeable with certain colours.
  • Aluminium is a poor insulator compared to timber.
    Due to its high thermal conductivity, the shutters frame is more likely to lose high levels of energy. As such, aluminium is not a great option to consider in Perth weather conditions.
The single biggest reason clients engage us to change their Aluminium shutters from other suppliers to timber window shutters is because they can no longer put up with the rattling or loose slats on their Aluminium shutters!!

Timber shutters: the best choice for your home

So, in summary, the original material choice for plantation shutters is still the best – timber. More specifically, Paulownia timber window shutters will result in a beautifully finished shutter that will maintain optimum condition for many years to come. If you have a high moisture area or other need where you feel PVC or Aluminium is a better solution for you, then ask your supplier the above questions, so you know what you are getting. It will save you time, money and heartache in the long term.

Want to know more about which shutter material is best suited for your home? You can schedule a free design consultation here
 

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