When considering plantation shutters, one of the first choices a homeowner must make is "From what material do I want my shutters built?". There are many reasons that wood makes the best choice for a plantation shutter. We would like to take a moment to help you identify what to look for in a quality wood shutter.
There are many different types of wood used in the plantation shutter industry. The popularity will often times vary from region to region. For instance, incense cedar, alder, basswood, and even saguaro cactus wood are used in the Southwest and Northwest regions. In the Western regions window openings tend to be larger, calling for a lighter wood to maintain structural integrity once the shutters are installed. The woods used must also hold up to the intense sun, dry heat and lack of shade. In the Midwest, Aspen and Maple are commonly used. In the North and Southeast regions, basswood and poplar are widely used. Cottonwood which is a species of poplar is also used. Even though it has some distinct characteristics, such as a strong, musty fragrance, those who use it just call it poplar, which can be confusing. While there are many woods that are suitable for plantation shutters, these are the most cost effective and sustainable.
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Another trick to remember is not all grades of wood are equal. A common practice in the industry is to substitute a cheaper grade of the wood. A company may tell you they use poplar and they promote it as superior, but then use the #1 common grade which is cheaper for them. The #1 & #2 common grades will have more knots, imperfections, and curvature. It may also not be properly pre-treated to prevent any further movement in the wood which can later translate into warping. We promote and actually use North American/kiln dried woods. Chances are if you receive a low estimate, you are not getting the proper grade of wood.
Additionally, there are suppliers out there in the industry selling companies, designers and builders imported, untested woods and marketing them as basswood, both in ready-to-assemble components and ready-to-install form. How do we know? Because they approached us. What this means is that there are people telling you they use basswood and have no clue that they are really giving their customers an unknown type of imported wood instead. Or maybe they do? At Elite Shutters of Georgia, you get the wood you order!
Here's a tip: If you receive a delivery time of six to eight weeks or more, there is a good chance the product is arriving via cargo ship from the pacific rim, either in component form to be assembled and painted here, or already manufactured and ready to install. We quote delivery time three to five weeks from the order date.
A premier choice of woodworkers and furniture makers for centuries, maple's natural properties make it a benchmark wood for plantation shutters. The strength of maple far surpasses that of poplar and basswood. Maple's strength and stability allow for a larger, wider plantation shutter than is common in the shutter industry. This gives homeowners more flexibility in shutter design.
The Southeast market was predominately a basswood market until the 1990's. Poplar, which is our mid-grade line has been used in the industry here now for many years and has a proven track record to be a good and reliable source for the environmental conditions here. Although we offer a wide choice of woods, most people choose poplar for painted shutters and sometimes the basswood for stain applications. Of course some companies promote one wood over the other. If you get confused, we can help to educate you, not sell you. Basswood is our least expensive option, then Poplar (our most popular) and then maple which is our high end product. Although Maple is at a higher price point, it is considered the best wood for shutters in the industry.
Poplar wood is a class of hardwood that is medium-to-soft in density. Poplar is domestically harvested, chiefly in the Eastern United States. Poplar shutters are a good value; the highly workable wood can be shaped into a variety of pleasing designs. Poplar shutters finish beautifully. Poplar's excellent workability and staining properties make your interior shutter options endless.