Shutters - Popular Choices
Exterior and Interior shutters
Shutters have dressed windows throughout history; from colonial times to the present day. Shutters began life on the inside of windows (before glass became readily available) as a form of protection against thieves, pests and the great outdoors. However, today shutters are more commonly seen on the exterior of buildings and are used for both decoration and security.
Whether you install shutters inside or out; you'll find a wide range of sizes and styles available, all of which can be painted or stained to complement your existing décor. Internal shutters are generally made of wood and designed in the colonial style; proving a combination that is both decorative and allows you to efficiently control the amount of light entering a room. Because they are kept well-clear of the elements, internal shutters require very little maintenance.
External shutters can be divided into two categories: fixed and operable. Fixed shutters serve a merely decorative purpose, whereas operable shutters can be opened, closed and fastened. External shutters are made from a variety of materials, although wood remains the most popular choice. However, wood isn't the most logical choice as it's susceptible to the elements and is likely to warp or split if it isn't looked after properly (something which needs to be taken into consideration when budgeting).
Vinyl shutters provide a robust and affordable alternative (you'll also find them referred to as 'composite' shutters); however, they don't appeal to everybody's aesthetic yearnings.
Metal shutters or frames
External shutters are made from a wider range of materials than internal shutters, though here also, the most popular ones are made from wood. Wooden external shutters do however need to be carefully looked after as exposure to the elements means the wood will warp and may split over time. Initially they are fairly economical, but maintenance over the years will bump the price up making wood shutters the most expensive to own.
A good alternative to real wood, and a fair bit cheaper are composite shutters. These look like genuine wood but are in fact made from PVC and as such require little maintenance. They won't split or warp, and don't contain anything the bugs will find tasty.
Vinyl shutters are the cheapest on the market and fairly easy for a DIY enthusiast to install. They look traditional but if you get up close it's easy to tell they're not real wood. They may be cheap to install but won't last as long as other types of shutter so investing in them may be a false economy.