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What Material is Best For Plantation Shutters?

Plantation shutters are an investment in your home. The benefits are adding value to your property, reducing energy costs, reducing allergy impacts and updating the look and feel of your home, including its street appeal. There are many materials to choose from and all suppliers will tell you their materials are the best. Plantation shutters aren’t all the same and it can be confusing with so much choice.

Luxsol has come up with a guide to help you get the best product for your situation.

Shutters are made using timber such as Poplar, Basswood, Paulownia, Cedar, White Teak, Aous and then alternatives such as Aluminium, MDF and PVC. In order to get the best result, it is best to consider materials that are fit for their purpose and suit the area they are being fitted in. For example, it would not be ideal to leave MDF exposed to moisture constantly, as it will absorb water, expand and fail.

PVC Shutters

Polyvinyl chloride is a polymer. If you’re in the market for plantation shutters, you will notice many retailers selling this product. Some suppliers claim to use carbon fibre and to have low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), which may or may not be true, but we strongly advise to research these claims.

PVC is a heavy material and what we’ve seen over time is the over-specification of the panels. This can lead to panels dropping once they are opened, due to their weight. Because the material is heavy is it not self-supporting over wide spans. Despite the many claims of thermal efficiency PVC is not as thermally or acoustically efficient as timber, but it is more thermally efficient than aluminium.
Luxsol’s PVC product Poly100 has undergone material testing to internationally recognised REACH standards. The test show Poly100 exceeds all Australian standards and importantly can be verified. Luxsol Poly100 shutters use aluminium inserts to provide the stiffness required. The material is finished with multiple coats of water-based paint, which removes visible extrusion lines and gives a pleasing high-quality furniture-grade finish.

Combination Material Shutters

Many combination products use timber framing, which gives you a wider selection of frames but does not address the biggest problem with timber used for window furnishings, that being water.

Luxsol has developed an exclusive combination Poly100 frame and high moisture resistant timber louvre. Nexus50 is Luxsol’s great option where performance is required with wider panels and where you have a problem window, e.g. you leave a window open and there is the likelihood of moisture getting in. These situations should exclude materials like MDF and some timber species that can be moisture compromised.

Nexus50 has the benefit of reducing the weight of the product and eliminating the risk of moisture ingress with the use of a synthetic material frame, which is the part that gets exposed to moisture. The timber used for the louvres is Paulownia, which has a very high strength-to-weight ratio and is water-resistant.

Paulownia is also exceptionally stable and withstands warping, breakages and deformations.
Nexus50 is a great alternative to PVC and more cost-effective than timber. You get the best of both worlds, moisture resistance and less weight.

Paulownia Shutters

Paulownia is a timber known for its high strength to weight ratio, making it an ideal timber for plantation shutters. It is also one of the best insulating timbers for thermal and acoustic efficiency due to its less dense nature compared to PVC and other denser hardwoods.

Paulownia timber is strong and smooth, which makes it ideal for window furnishing. Paulownia can be air-dried fast and retains little moisture. The timber itself is water-resistant, exceptionally stable, and withstands warping, breakages, and deformations. The timber has light grain characteristics and low existence of blemishes.

Luxsol has developed Durawood100, which is the 100% Paulownia timber shutter. It is also a renewable resource. This is a great option and amazing value for money. Combining light weight, insulation and acoustic properties and available with options such as Luxsol’s Invisible Tilt rack and pinion system so no external connecting rod is visible.

Basswood Timber Shutters

Basswood is a resilient hardwood often used in high end furniture. Basswood is light and an easily workable type of wood. It is the choice for many woodworkers to produce lightweight wood products. Basswood is an odourless and fine-grained wood used for veneer, plywood, musical instruments and window shutters and blinds.

Basswood is the species of wood that started the massive growth in plantation shutters when it was first imported over 25 years ago in Australia. Basswood is still a big seller for discerning customers who are looking for “window furniture” rather that the cheapest material available. Basswood is lighter than PVC and provides better thermal and acoustic insulation qualities.

The wood machines and paints beautifully. Luxsol’s Woodland100 uses 100% Basswood. Apart from the quality of the wood, the panels can be spanned wider than PVC and it is a renewable resource grown in sustainably managed plantations.

The advantages of using timber

Timber products are renewable, recyclable, waste efficient and biodegradable. Timber is energy efficient in its production and use. Timber is light and strong to build with and healthy to live with and provides the following benefits: carbon is stored in timber; better thermal and acoustic insulation; renewable; non-toxic; biodegradable; easy to clean; natural material.

Timber plays a role in addressing global warming through its energy efficiency in production and sustainability, being a renewable resource.

Aluminium Shutters

Aluminium is mainly a choice for outside given its poor thermal insulation properties.
Some of the areas to pay attention to are plastic end caps, which can degrade over time. Poor quality stainless steel, which despite its name can rust of not high quality.

Colour Options:

Shutters come in a range of standard colour choices, and most can be customised for a surcharge to almost any colour. Only timber gives you the option of choosing stains as a décor choice. Basswood and Paulownia have the benefit of their natural colour, and enhance using environmentally safe stains.

Maintenance:

Shutters are not high maintenance but do require care just as washing your car prolongs paint life. Basic dusting and a wipe with a damp (not wet) cloth is all that is needed.

Insulation:

Insulation is an important consideration for everyone. In terms of the most effective to least effective insulation choose timber over all other materials and PVC over aluminium internally.

All plantation shutters help insulate homes by slowing the heat transfer from the sun in summer to inside your home and from your heating in winter leaking the stored energy to outside. This is done by creating essentially an air pocket much like double glazing. The denser the material the less well it will insulate. To keep your home cool in the summer and warm in winter, shutters are a great addition to your home.

Décor:

Plantation shutters enhance the look of your home offering functional benefits like insulation as well as increasing the value of your home. Studies have shown homes fitted with shutters generally achieve a better value than those without. Something to think about when evaluating the cost versus investment value. Shutters are timeless and make a home look stunning.

It is worthwhile doing your research and not just buying something because it is cheap. As the saying goes “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

This is relevant for your plantation shutters. All materials have their benefits and negatives. There isn’t a one size fits all perfect plantation shutter material that’s appropriate for all windows. It’s important you deal with a professional company, particularly one that can substantiate the claims they make

Plantation Shutter Material Overview:

Luxsol has a Good – Better – Best product range to make things simple. If you would like to know which type of window covering is right for you check out Luxsol’s shutter range or reach out via our Contact Us page and we will put you in touch with one of our shutter specialists

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