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Wood vs. Poly: Which Plantation Shutter Material Suits Your Needs?

So, you have decided on plantation shutters to decorate your windows.  Your next decision is whether to choose shutters made from natural wood or man-made poly materials.  Your friends are giving you conflicting information – some say wood, some say poly, and quite frankly, you don’t know which way to turn.  Here is an easy point-by-point breakdown of the pros and cons of each, so that you can choose the plantation shutter material that’s right for you and your home.

Plantation Shutter MaterialWood Shutters


  • Natural beauty.  Let’s face it, nothing compares to the natural wood grain, rich color variations, and sheen of real wood.  At Naples Shutter, we use poplar and basswood, because of their outstanding durability and beauty.  Check out the stunning examples in our web gallery.
  • Unlimited color choices.  Wood shutters can be painted any color under the sun.  Most clients choose to paint their shutters the interior trim color of their house.  This helps the shutters fit in seamlessly with the décor.
  • Staining available.  If you prefer the look of stained shutters, then wood is the right choice for you.  We can custom match the stain of your trim, cabinets, or furniture so your shutters blend in perfectly.
  • Stronger & Lighter in Weight.  Wood is stronger than poly, yet lighter in weight.  This allows for greater durability, but it also means that you can have a larger panel size with wood shutters.  Why? Because the weight of the poly can cause the shutters to “sag” on the hinges if they are made too large.  Why does panel size matter?  Well, it determines if you can cover your window using only two shutter panels or if you need to use four panels.  Most people prefer the cleaner look of two when possible.
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty.  At Naples Shutter, our wood plantation shutters come with a limited lifetime warranty, guaranteeing the quality, workmanship, and installation for the life of the shutter.  Our service team is always available to make any adjustments or repairs you may need.


  • More Expensive.  Wood shutters are more expensive than poly shutters, but the difference is not dramatic.  We recommend comparing both products.
  • May need repainting.  Like any painted surface in your home, the painted finish on your shutters will age over time.  With normal conditions, you probably won't need to have the shutters repainted for about 15 years.

Poly Shutters


  • Durable, long-lasting finish.  Poly material is very tough and durable, and will hold its color throughout the lifetime of the product.
  • Less Expensive.  Poly is slightly less expensive than wood, so if wood plantation shutters are out of your budget, definitely consider poly.
  • Moisture resistant.  Some windows are in areas that are prone to moisture, such as garages and lanais.  Poly is a good choice for these areas, because it is not prone to warping when exposed to moisture and humidity.


  • Weight.  The poly material weighs more than wood, so a shutter made of poly is much heavier than a wood panel.  Why does this matter?  Well, more weight puts more pressure on the frames and hinges holding the shutter in place.  If the panels are made too large, they can sag and fall out of square.  That’s why Naples Shutter limits the size of poly panels so they will perform correctly.
  • Limited color choices.  Poly shutters are available in either white or off-white.  While these colors are perfectly acceptable in the majority of situations, clients wanting to match their trim color exactly or wanting a unique paint or stain color should consider wood.
  • Limited panel sizes.  As we mentioned above, the maximum size of a poly shutter is smaller than that of a wood shutter.  This means that you may need more shutter panels to cover an opening with poly.  Some clients are fine with this and some prefer the cleaner look of fewer panels across their window opening.

Don’t Forget About PVC!

Now let's not forget a very important “cousin” to poly panels, and that is the PVC shutter.  As you probably know, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a plastic widely used in construction because of its durability and light weight.  PVC is the perfect material for shutters that will come in direct contact with water, such as a shower.  PVC shutters will have a distinct shiny, plastic look, and would not be most people’s first choice for their living areas, but they are a great solution for wet applications.

The Bottom Line

So with all of that said, which plantation shutter material is right for you?  Well, at Naples Shutter, we have coached over 40,000 satisfied clients over the last 30 years through this decision and here’s what we have learned from our experience.  Wood plantation shutters are the preferred material for the vast majority of clients and give years and years of beauty and flawless operation.  However, if price is a limiting factor, poly shutters are a close second.  Poly is durable and attractive, and if you are willing to accept limited color choices and panel sizes, it may be right for you.  Either way, your Naples Shutter product expert will evaluate your home and your situation to make the recommendation that’s right for you.

Check out our Wood vs. Poly Demonstration here.


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Topics: Plantation Shutters, Wood Plantation Shutters, plantation shutter material

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