Faux Wood Shutters or Real Wood Shutters – What Should I Buy?
Although the popularity of different window treatments are cyclical, and products like Roller Shades and Roman Shades are currently very desirable, Shutters have been and remain the most sought after treatment by Arjay’s customers. There is even the proposition by some people in the real estate business that Shutters increase the value of your home, because once installed, they become a fixed element of your home and therefore would have a positive influence on an appraisal. Realtors also say that when potential home buyers see shutters in a home they always say “Ahhhh Shutters!”
With all the important things to consider like, frame styles, louver sizes, mounting locations and operational features, what would the most commonly asked question by those shopping for shutters be? Hands down it is “Should I Buy Faux Wood Shutters or Real Wood Shutters?” Given the fact that it is very difficult to tell the difference between the two different materials, even when they are being scrutinized by a professional, it is a very good question! So, If you are in the market for shutters and wondering which material makes best sense for you, here are some things to consider.
What is Faux Wood?
To begin with lets assume that everyone knows that the word “faux”, in its literal translation, means “fake.” The often time mispronounced word is French in origin and is pronounced “foe” – but sometimes people will call Arjay’s asking “do you carry any of those fox wood shutters?” When referring to the word faux, as it applies to shutters, it is a general catch all word that could mean that the material used has some wood in it and is blended with synthetic materials; or it could be all synthetic material with no wood. It might also have a lamented coating over the material that is painted or the color of the shutter could be blended right into the engineered material. Although different manufacturers use a variety of methods to formulate their materials, most all Faux Shutters look like painted wood – and they are more durable than wood. Other than hollow vinyl shutters, which are also very durable but will not pass for real wood, most of these products behave the same and the consumer should look to the viability of the manufacturers and their respective warranties.
What Color or Finish Am I looking For?
When I say it is very difficult for even a professional to tell the difference between faux material and real wood, let me qualify that a bit more – I am referring to comparing painted faux wood to painted real wood. On a number of occasions I have been in someones home where I had to examine the shutter components very closely to determine what the shutters were made of – and I do this for a living! If you are considering a painted wood shutter in your home vs. a stained wood shutter, the faux material will be virtually indistinguishable from the wood. If you want a stained wood shutter, in my opinion, there are no faux options available that replicate real wood. So the first thing to consider when weighing wood against faux is “do I want Painted Shutters or Stained Shutters?”
For the most part, faux material is heavier than wood so if your windows are very large, you may want to discuss the downside of installing Faux Wood Shutters in big windows with your Designer. You might be thinking “why would I care if the shutters are heavy if they are being installed around my windows – its not like I have to carry them around?” The challenge is that very wide windows require a series of panels to be connected to each other, and the weight-stress placed on the hinges might cause the shutters to droop. This may not be a problem if you only plan to use the louvers to open and close your shutters – but if you plan on opening your panels to stack them up against the wall, you should consider the manufactures recommendations before selecting a faux material and plan on the side of caution. Your Arjay’s Designer will lead you in the right direction.
The Final Decision
If the size of your windows will allow a faux material, and you are looking for a painted shutter [i.e. white or off white], I can see no reason why anyone should not select Faux Wood Shutters – they look just like wood, are generally less expensive than wood and are more durable than wood. If your home demands a stained wood color, natural wood makes best sense because faux stained wood falls short of the real thing.