If you are in the process of shopping for exterior shutters for your home, you're likely to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices on the market. You can choose from vinyl, faux wood, or real wood shutters, for example – and those are just your options for materials! Factor in color, shape, style, finishing – and of course, price – and you've got a lot of decisions to make.

Exterior wood shutters are superior

Wood has several inherent advantages over other shutter materials. It is more durable than either vinyl or faux wood. Synthetic materials can age quickly when exposed to the elements. Frequent sun exposure and heavy precipitation can cause synthetic shutters to crack, peel, or fade. While synthetic materials are often cheaper in the short term, they can become quite expensive over the long haul if they need to be replaced frequently.

Real wood shutters are also more customizable than other types of window coverings. Expert mill workers can saw, carve, and shape wood slabs into a wide array of shapes and styles. By contrast, vinyl can not be easily tailor to a home owner's specifications. And, unlike synthetic shutters, real wood shutters can be stained or painted to match precise tones and shades. Or, if the homeowner prefers, the shutters can be finished to highlight the grain and cut of the wood.

Wood exterior shutters are also incredibly energy efficient. They can be purchased from manufacturers that specialize in woodwork, and can be hand-made. These shutters are free from cracks, gaps, or surface irregularities. They can be shut firmly against the home to keep the heat, humidity, and precipitation away.

Questions to consider before purchasing wood exterior shutters

1. How much shutter can I afford?

Cost is one of the largest factors in home improvement decision-making. The shutters you want and the shutters you can actually afford might be very different.

It is important to be mindful of long-range costs as well as short-term costs. Over time, real wood shutters are more cost effective than those made from synthetics.

If you can not afford to purchase the shutters up front, it is often possible to work out a payment plan with the manufacturer. You may also consider putting the shutters on a low-interest credit card so you can pay off your purchase in monthly installments.

2. Which exterior shutters suit my home best?

Choosing the wrong style and color of window coverings can be as disastrous as painting a home loud colors, or filling a yard with ridiculous decorations. Determine the predominant color scheme of your home's exterior, and learn what historical period the architecture hails from (or, dates back to).

If your house is a white Colonial home, for example, board-and-batten exterior shutters painted in a bright color might suit it handsomely. However, if you live in a brick Victorian, your house might look best with subtly colored or stained Bahama shutters.

You may feel uncomfortable deciding which shutter styles, colors, and shapes suit your home best. Ask your wood shutter manufacturer! The staff of a reputable company can usually make design recommendations. Superior exterior shutter manufacturers can often render pieces from sketches or AutoCAD drawings you provide, and talented designers can even improve upon your ideas.

3. What size should my exterior shutters be?

Shutter measurements are determined by three factors: the length and width of your windows; the style of shutter you choose, and the hanging technique that the chosen style requires. (For example, fixed shutters are measured differently than those intended to be opened and closed.)

It can be difficult to measure yourself yourself, so ask a friend, your partner, your neighbor, or a shutter expert to help. It is important for the measurements to be accurate, too. Ill-fitting shutters can make your home look shabby, and can cost you dearly in the long run if they need to be trimmed or re-sized.

Real wood shutters are lovely additions to home or condominium exteriors. By being mindful of price, style, composition, and craftsmanship, you can ensure that you will be making an investment that will serve you well for years to come.

Article originally published at Source by Jane Muder