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What’s The Best Wood For Exterior Shutters?

When you try to think of options for the exterior of your home that add elegance and security, what's the first thing that pops into your head? For us, that's shutters! Deciding to put exterior shutters on your home can be a fantastic investment. There is only one hard choice that has to be made for shutters. That choice is which type of wood they should be made out of! We have researched everything about shutters to help make the choice easier for you!

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There are several different types of wood that are commonly used for exterior shutters. These woods need to have some specific qualities for them to do this job well. Here is a list of commonly used wood types for shutters that each brings something a little different to the job:

  1. Basswood
  2. Redwood
  3. Poplar
  4. Oak
  5. Cedar
  6. Cypress

Shutters give the exterior of your home something extra. They give it a classic look while helping to make your home safer. To do these two jobs well, you want to pick a wood that is up to the task. Many types of wood don't work well for exterior shutters because of a flaw in them. Keep reading below to learn about how each type of wood performs as exterior shutters!

Low angle view of wooden shutters in modern house, What's The Best Wood For Exterior Shutters?

Considerations Before You Pick A Wood Type

To pick a type of wood that will do a great job as your exterior shutters, there are a few things for you to think about. First, you should consider the availability of the wood you want. Different areas have different types of wood readily available.

You also want a low-maintenance wood that you can easily customize. The last thing you want to deal with is having to maintain shutters every weekend. You also want your shutters to look great, so you might consider how the wood looks naturally. 

Performance is arguably even more important than looks for your shutters. Depending on your area, many different types of bugs like to infiltrate and deteriorate wood. So it's essential to consider bug-resistant options. Considering the weight of the wood could also save you some significant pains.

Something else to think about is the versatility of the wood. Maybe you want something that can go well inside and outside of your home. Durability is probably the most important thing to consider. You need a would that can hold up against the elements. 

Open wooden window shutters on a french farm house

1. Basswood

Basswood is one of the most common types of wood used in exterior shutters today. The reason for that is its high availability, durability, and lightweight and easy to work with. It may not have the highest durability of all the wood types, but its overall qualities make it great for shutters.

Basswood is also quick drying and very easy to glue. It is, however, not naturally bug resistant, so it will need to be treated for that.

The cost of basswood exterior shutters varies depending on your area and where you get them. They are usually on the lower end of the cost spectrum because of their high availability. Basswood exterior shutters can cost anywhere between $15 - $30 per square foot. In Texas, for example, Lone Star Blinds have them available starting at $22 per square foot for finished shutters. 

2. Redwood

Redwood is also an excellent choice for exterior shutters. Its incredible natural beauty and color make it sought after for shutters. It is also very durable and resistant to warping and weather conditions. Another bonus with redwood is that it is naturally bug-resistant. So with these shutters, you can worry a little less about bugs damaging them.

It is also often more decay-resistant than some of the other wood options. The biggest drawback for this type of wood is most likely availability. 

The price for redwood shutters differs wildly depending on where you look. A California-based company like Larson Shutter offers a pair of these shutters for $50 to $70. Other companies throughout the U.S. are more expensive, ranging from around $100 to $150 for a pair of redwood blinds. 

3. Poplar

Poplar is another common wood choice for exterior shutters. It is widely available and is easy to work with and paint. However, the natural properties of the wood make it unsuitable for staining. It is also a bit heavier than some of the other options on the list. It is still durable and weather resistant, so it will last and do its job well. 

Since poplar is another widely available wood, it is also on the cheaper end of the spectrum. Again prices do vary depending on where you look. The Shutter Shed has unfinished poplar shutters starting around $15 a square foot. 

4. Oak

Oak is a wood that is renowned for its strength. Because of that, oak shutters do exist, but they have a few more limitations than some of the other woods. Oak is very durable but can still warp over time. Oak's strength also comes with added weight that makes installation more difficult. They are also not very suitable for painting and customization. 

With the high strength of oak also comes fairly high prices. Choosing such a strong hardwood does cost more than most of the other options. Estate Millwork has oak shutters for around $350 to $380, depending on the style you choose. 

5. Cedar

Cedar shutters are another very popular choice that is often chosen, like basswood. This wood is very resistant to warping and is very suitable for finishing and painting. It's a very low-maintenance wood that, like redwood, is also decay-resistant. Cedar also has a lower chance of shrinking over time. 

While more widely available than some other wood choices, cedar is still pricier than basswood and some other option. This is due to the added benefits that cedar has over those other wood options. It is also a little less available than other options. Home Depot has cedar pairs of shutters for around $200, depending on the style chosen. 

6. Cypress

Cypress exterior shutters are widely used in the southern states. This is because of their ability to protect from bugs, moisture, and decay. It is also more widely available in the south. Cypress is similar to cedar in its structure and is even a little harder. 

Cypress exterior blinds are a more costly option. Estate Millwork has them for around $400 a pair. This, of course, depends on the style you choose. 

More Exterior Shutter Questions

Low angle view of wooden shutters in modern house, What's The Best Wood For Exterior Shutters?

There is more to exterior shutters than choosing a type of wood. You also have to decide on a style of shutter. Another thing to think about is whether you want your shutters to be painted, stained, or left natural. Here are some other questions to consider before choosing your shutters. 

Best Wood For Board And Batten Shutters?

Board and batten refer to a specific style of shutter. These shutters are made with vertical boards placed up against each other with no space in between. Then two or three horizontal boards are placed along the width of the shutter for strength.

While they can be made from different woods, cedar is the most common for this shutter style. This is because it combines strength and ease to work with. 

Click here to shop for cedar board and batten shutters on Amazon!

Best Wood For Painted Shutters?

When choosing a wood type for shutters that you plan to paint, you want to focus on the durability of the wood. With staining, you would want a wood that has a more attractive look. When painting, the look of the wood doesn't matter because you're coving it anyway. Because of this, the best choices are most likely basswood, pine, or cedar. 

Can I Use Pine For Exterior Shutters?

Pine shutters are widely available on the market. Pine has many of the same qualities as the other wood types above. It can have some troubles with wood glue, however, due to its natural resin and properties.

Pine is also not usually chosen for its natural beauty like some other choices, so you may want to plan on painting them. It is commonly available for shutters, so it's another easy-to-find wood. 

Should Wood For Exterior Shutters Be Pressure Treated?

This idea is relatively debatable in the shutter world. Some say that pressure-treated wood is suitable for shutters because of its cheaper price and weather treatment. Others state that once you start cutting and customizing pressure-treated lumber, it loses some of its durability and weather resistance.

Some say that you also have to wait for pressure-treated wood to dry out before you can paint it, which can take several months. It might be best to talk to the different wood suppliers in your area to make your decision.

Best Materials For Exterior Shutters 

There are some other options for your exterior shutters other than just different types of wood. Poly and vinyl are also materials that are used for shutters. There are also composite materials that contain wood along with some other things like PVC.

Generally, the only benefit these faux materials have over wood is the price. They are usually much more wallet-friendly than wood. They are a decent cost-friendly option but tend to get damaged and wear out much faster than their wood counterparts. 

Final Thoughts

When choosing a type of wood for your exterior shutters, you have many different options. Before you go down the list, you should ask yourself some questions that affect your shutter choice. You should think about where you live. You may need a wood that's better at moisture or bug resistance.

The finished look of the shutters is also a big concern. The best practice is to find out exactly how you need your shutters to perform and then find the type of wood that's the best match. Lastly, you have to sit back and admire your extra stylish home!

For more shutter know-how, make sure to click on the links below!

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