What Are The Basic Differences Between Wood Vs Composite Exterior Shutters?

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I have to say a few things to make sure everyone is on the same page. Classic wood and composite wood exterior shutters are not the same. Apparently, there are still people who are not aware of the differences between wood vs composite exterior shutters.

So, instead of blasting everyone with a wave of explanation email, I thought it would be best to just write an article on it.

wood vs composite exterior shutters

What Are The Basic Differences Between Wood Vs Composite Exterior Shutters?

Why are composite shutters also wood

Composite shutters are sometimes mistaken as classic wood by beginners because it is made out of recycled wood dust. The wood dust is basically any recyclable wood parts being ground to dust then used as material to exterior shutters making

In the processing phase, people will add glue to the mixture to condense and harden the wooden particles, then treat it with zinc borate. As a result, they are not really wood anymore. Although some properties still remain the same, I get how the confusion came to be.

Weight difference

As mentioned, glue is added during the processing stage, and sometimes the manufacturer might add a little extra something to enhance the material further. It is the additional “little something” plus glue that add more weight to composite exterior shutters.

Resistance to rot

Anyone would know that prolonged exposure to sunlight or highly humid atmosphere would cause the wood to rot.

Since composite exterior shutters are also made of wood, so naturally they will have the same issue. However, the added zinc borate as a chemical treatment to the mixture causes composite shutters to have increased rot resistance.

They will still rot eventually, but composite exterior shutters are highly likely going to survive for a couple more years compared to classic wood.

Pricing misconception

Chances are, you might already have heard it from someone claiming classic wood to be more expensive.

They are not lying but a quick look-up on the internet or at your local suppliers, and you will see it is not always the case.

Classic wood exterior shutters made from the most expensive wood are of course more expensive. However, if you compare budget wood exterior shutters with well-made composite exterior shutters, composite will be the one that deals more damage to your wallet.

You are not the only one

Composite exterior shutters are hard to differentiate from classic wood exterior shutters even for veterans.

You might expect them to be different after the chemical processing and adding other substances. The thing is, most consumers still like the traditional wooden look, so woodworkers usually attempt to preserve the look as much as possible.

You wouldn’t be able to tell from a glance unless there was no effort to disguise the added substances. Plus, the composite exterior shutters still give off the wooden in the rain, making it even harder to differentiate the two materials.

Intended usage

Class wood and composite exterior shutters closely resemble each other from look to certain properties, the intended usage is also similar.

In most cases, they are quite interchangeable. Though, if you really have to boil down the smallest details, there are specific situations where one is better than the other.

Classic wood

Weight issue

As mentioned above, composite exterior shutters are usually denser and therefore heavier. Hence, if you are to install exteriors for either the elderly, children or whoever with strength issue, classic wood would be a better choice.

Classic wood look

In the eyes of amateurs, the wood grain finish basically is the same between the two materials. However, if you are dealing with someone who knows their stuff, classic wood does visually work better with paint.

This is entirely dependent on a person’s perspective, but there are home renovation enthusiasts who find composite materials to somehow lessen the color intensity of your paint. Meanwhile, classic wood seems to be able to bring out the color of the paint a bit better than composite material.


There are reasons for the existence of composite exterior shutters. I do not want to sound biased, but here is the truth. Composite exterior shutters are generally better than classic wood. That’s why people created it in the first place. Below are the reasons why

Little to no maintenance work

With the zinc borate chemical treatment and an exterior layer of plastic, composite material is less prone to damage from rain, humidity. Sunlight and insects compared to classic wood. Hence, there is no need to constantly watch out for any changes that would be potentially harmful to your exteriors.

Cleaning is an easier task with the composite material too. Rub some soap, scrub and rinse with water and voila, it’s done.

Economical in the long run

Yes, I am aware that I did mention that either can be cheaper or more expensive than each other. However, composite exterior shutters mostly have better economic value than classic wood due to its durability.

As evident from the information above, composite exterior shutters being less susceptible to harmful conditions to classic wood is the reason for its durability. Therefore, if you are not looking to spend more money for a replacement anytime soon, then composite exterior shutters it is.

Bottom line

Classic wood and composite wood exterior shutters are not the same. You can say they are similar, but definitely not the same.

By the by, if you just so happened to be wondering if there is any type of exterior shutters with better properties than both classic wood and composite exterior shutters, the answer is yes.

Check out the latest material favored by numerous home renovation enthusiasts, the Composite PVC Exterior Shutters. If you find the article useful, please share, comment, and all those good stuff, I greatly appreciate it.

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