Technology of Plantation Shutters a visual guide

Cheap Versus Quality Plantation Shutters

Bench Seat with Window Shutters

If there’s one window treatment to reign supreme, look no further than plantation shutters. In this blog post our shutters specialist, who’s been styling and installing shutters for years, shares her inside knowledge to help you make smart choices about your plantation shutter needs. Discover what plantation shutters are made from, what timber is most suited to the application and her thoughts on the cheap v quality plantation shutters.

The clean lines and soft lustre of shutters work incredibly well in any type of home and space. A simple design that has stood the test of time, offering both style and practicality. Plantation shutters provide excellent control of light and heat, as well as being tough enough to endure the elements.

Today, we are spoilt for choice with options for creating the perfect look in our homes. The choice of compositions can be overwhelming and hard to know what suits you best. As 4th generation curtain and blind store owners, som of the most common questions we’re asked about shutter include:

  • What are plantation shutters made from?
  • Which timber is the best for plantation shutters?
  • What is the cheapest plantation shutter option?
  • What are the best quality plantation shutters?

Here we break it down to help you make sense of it all.

Unusual shape window with custom made plantation shutter

What are plantation shutters? And why are they called ‘plantation shutters’?

Traditionally a Plantation Shutter was a shutter constructed from plantation-grown timbers. These days it seems to be a generic name for all timber shutters. However, most timber shutters are still made from plantation grown timbers such as ours.

What are plantation shutters made from?

Timber shutters are made from many timbers including Poplar, Basswood, Pheonix wood and Western Red Cedar. There are now many other materials used to manufacture shutters including Aluminium, PVC and MDF.


As one of the straightest of hardwoods, Basswood is strong and does not warp, making it a great option for timber for shutters. Basswood has tight pores and fine uniform texture with an indistinct grain. This means it can be sanded and painted or stained to a very smooth and consistent, high-quality finish. Basswood is a fast-growing tree, native to most of the northern hemisphere. Responsible forest management balances growth throughout the logging process, making Basswood a renewable resource, with the U.S growing almost twice the amount as it harvests.


Poplar is an extremely dense hardwood and is therefore suitable for plantation shutters. Poplar timber takes paint or stain very well due to its fine pores, resulting in a smooth finish for timber blades. It is also a highly stable wood. Poplar is extremely resistant to expanding and contracting in extreme temperatures, – necessary for Melbourne’s famous 4 seasons in 1 day! Poplar is very fast growing and one of the most sustainable and popular options available.


Also called Phoenixwood, Paulownia is a hardwood that is extremely lightweight. Phoenixwood, which offers a rich natural gran showing both depth and character. Phoenixwood also offers one of the highest strengths to weight ratios among all types of wood and non-wood shutters. Native to China and readily found across Asia, Paulownia is an extremely fast-growing tree, making it a less expensive timber. It is a great option if you want a timber shutters at a lower price point.


Woodlore plantation shutters are the world’s best seller. Woodlore features an exclusive patented medical-grade safe polypropylene coating with a UV inhibitor. Renowned durability, strength, and simplicity they resist peeling, cracking, chipping and yellowing. Woodlore is more stable and robust, and stronger than solid wood shutters, free from any of wood’s naturally occurring imperfections and has a higher resistance to heat damage such as warping, sagging, and cupping compared to PVC or vinyl shutters. It is also big on safety, VOC safe, and CARB P2 complaint about off-gassing.

Normanby Ultra shutters

Ultra is made from 100% super-premium selected hardwood sourced from multiple tree species, taking the best part of each type of tree. Made with 30% more wood, Ultra is bigger, stronger, and more solid and robust. With 30% more paint, followed by multiple hand sanding and finishing, Ultra embodies quality not unlike the finest heirloom furniture, displaying a contemporary elegance that will impress friend and neighbours. Normanby Timber Shutters use the Industry’s number 1 most robust shutter hinge.

Skinny Long Bathroom Window with White Plantation ShuttersPVC Shutters

If you have a low budget for shutters, you can choose PVC shutters, which are cheaper than wood shutters. Vinyl is durable, able to resist scratches, humidity, moist weather and water. PVC shutters are lightweight, so larger windows need dividing rails to help provide additional structure to the material. Best suited to smaller windows.

Aluminum Shutters

Aluminum is a relatively strong material that is perfect for outdoor use. Aluminium shutters look just like timber shutters and can have locks added for security. They are a very durable option.

Want to buy Australian made plantation shutters?

Unlike 10 years ago, most plantation shutters are made overseas now. However, we do have some Australian made options if you prefer Australian made.

What is a sustainable timber and where is it sourced?

Sustainable timber is a responsible product as it replenished.

Timber can be sourced from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and China.

Five Panel Bay Window with Plantation ShutterWhat should I look for in a good quality plantation shutter?

  1. Reinforced engineered stiles
  2. Recessed Magnets: this eliminates the gap between the shutter panel and shutter frame
  3. Superior paint finishing
  4. Quarter Sawn Wood Louvers: Not the cheap flat sawn louvers, these have a tighter grain for more resistance to cupping, twisting and warping
  5. Sustainable timber
  6. Invisible tilt: A gear-driven system built into each stile that tilts the louvers flawlessly with precision tight control.
  7. No questions asked warranty for peace of mind

How do you clean plantation shutters?

Shutters are easy to wipe down – you can use a duster, soft brush on a vacuum or damp cloth for regular maintenance.

How can plantation shutters help to reduce heating/cooling costs?

Plantation shutters are heat efficient – they sit very close to window glazing and are a solid piece of timber in the closed position. You can also adjust the angle of the shutter blade to reflect/ deflect the sun’s rays while still allowing light.

Corner Window with White Plantation ShuttersHow long do timber shutters take to install?

Ordering to installation is a 6-8 week process.

What colours do timber shutters come in?

Nicholls Interiors shutters are available in a range of standard, personalised and Dulux matched colours, these timeless shutters are painted with quality waterborne paint, an eco-friendly and considered the healthiest paint finish for your home.

Where did planation shutters originate?

Originating in ancient Greece, early stonemasons used marble to create window coverings that were fixed. The louvre system was designed to allow maximum airflow without the harshness of the Mediterranean sun. Using marble was an effective, strong solution to withstand the dry north winds of the Aegean sea. As time passed, timber replaced marble and the shutters were developed with the option to move, allowing the user to alter their light and shade, and direct the airflow, perfect for the hottest afternoons. The design trend spread globally and was prominent in Southern American architecture, once the Spanish colonised the region, giving the shutters their famous name.

Plantation houses of the time were for the very wealthy and aristocratic and functioned as grand homes and farmhouses.

What next?

Book a consultation with one of our Melbourne shutter specialists. During your consultation, our expert team will advise you of the best shutter style for your space. Bay windows, awkward shape windows and even out of reach windows. We will be able to provide a quote for several configurations and materials, allowing you to make an informed choice. Our measure and quotes are completely free of charge.

We look forward to creating something wonderful with you.


See also:

Plantation Shutters Inspiration Gallery
Recent Plantation Shutter Installation
What Types of Shutter Suit My Home