27 Oct

Should I buy wood or plastic external decorative window shutters?

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So you have decided to add external decorative shutters to your home. Great news! But with the various options available perhaps you have come at a cross roads deciding which material would best suit your needs?

In the past it would be safe to assume that the majority, if not all, external shutters were built from wood. But the development and improvement of plastic in recent years means that shutters made from this material have become more popular.

exterior of front of a house

So with both options now widely available you may be left with the question: do I choose wood or do I choose plastic?

Clearly there are differences between wood and plastic and certain factors to consider before you decide which you would prefer to purchase. To help you decide we have listed the pros and cons of each. It is important to mention that we are focusing entirely on external, decorative shutters. Internal shutters and operational shutters are for another article. 

Wooden shutters


  • Are a natural material.
  • Can provide an authentic wooden look/ wood grain appearance.
  • As long as the wood sustained is from a reliable FSC approved source then you can be sure you are not contributing to the destruction of natural forests.
  • Ideal for use in conservation areas or listed buildings where plastic may not be permitted.
close up redwood louvre shutter


  • Depending on the type of wood used they can be expensive.
  • Wood is a natural material and cannot be installed without sufficient weatherproofing being completed.
  • Will require regular upkeep and maintenance. It is also unquestionable that even with the best weatherproofing wood will eventually rot and need to be replaced.
  • Wooden shutters can take quite a long time to build so are not ideal if you want a very quick turnaround.
close up redwood texture

Plastic shutters


  • Some plastics (such as Polypropylene) are environmentally friendly as it is an infinitely recyclable material.
  • Using plastic instead of wood saves trees and protects forests.
  • Plastic shutters do not require weatherproofing or painting before installation as many plastic shutters are available in various colours where the colour is within the material so can be installed immediately. 
  • Maintenance free and will not rot so effectively plastic shutters are a lifetime investment.
  • Polypropylene plastic decorative shutters are flame retardant.
  • Easy to clean. Plastic shutters do not require any special cleaning agents and can be easily cleaned using just soapy water and a hose.
  • Are less expensive than wooden alternatives so are more budget friendly.
  • Current technologies and the overall development of plastic shutters over recent years mean plastic shutters these days look every bit as good as wooden shutters.
  • Easy to install and lightweight. With some basic tools and a little DIY knowledge, decorative plastic shutters can be installed just by aligning them correctly in position and fixing to the wall using either screws or shutters spikes.
  • Polypropylene coloured shutters are built with Ti02 (Titanium Dioxide) to prevent colours from beaching in the sun.
  • Can be built quickly and provide a quick turnaround for those who need them fast. 
window with blue shutters and flower box


  • May not ideal for use in conservation areas or on listed buildings.
  • If you would prefer a painted, smooth finish then Polypropylene shutters may not be your material of choice as they have a wood grain finish to them.
  • Some may not like the look of plastic over wood.
  • Some styles are thinner and more compact in look over a chunkier wooden shutter.
window with white louvre shutters

We certainly cannot tell you which option would work better for your home but we hope our list helps. Take into consideration the look, the area or the style of your property; you might find that one works better than the other. Or perhaps either plastic or wood is an option for you and the final decision is purely down to personal taste. Either way adding external, decorative shutters to your home can really enhance the overall look and add an extra bit of charm.

If you are thinking of purchasing external, decorative shutters take a look at our ranges here. With both plastic and wood options available we know we will be able to help!

About Claire Tibbitts

Claire Tibbitts

When it comes to subjects about shutters and louvre doors Claire is passionate about creating interesting and informative articles. If you need advice or inspiration on a shutter or louvre door related subject send us a message and Claire will try her best to help!

If you need advice or have any questions about shutters or louvre doors contact our team on: sales@simplyshutters.co.uk
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