The Ultimate Guide to Plantation Shutters: Types, Costs, & More

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If you’re looking for a window treatment with a bit more of a luxurious feel, plantation shutters might be the right choice for you. Unlike blinds, which have slats that open with a pull-string, shutters are opened and closed by hand. They also fit snugly into your window frame and can be tilted up and down like blinds, but they also benefit from opening out like doors.

This ultimate guide to plantation shutters covers the different types of plantation shutters, the different designs available, and more. By the end of this guide, you’ll know everything you need to know about plantation shutters!

What are Plantation Shutters?

Plantation shutters are a type of window covering that can add a touch of elegance to any room. They are usually made of wood, but can also be made of faux wood or other materials. Plantation shutters typically come in two sections (left and right), with a frame that fits the window size and rows of slats, or louvers, that can be opened and closed. Whether closed or open, shutters can provide both function and beauty.

Types of Plantation Shutters

Plantation shutters come in many different styles and designs, each with its benefits and drawbacks. The three main types are Tier on Tier shutters, Café style shutters, and Full Height Shutters.

  • Tier-on-Tier shutters offer the most versatility when it comes to light and privacy control. The top and bottom panels can be operated independently, allowing you to adjust the amount of light and privacy as needed. 
  • Café-style shutters are a popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms as they provide privacy while still letting in some natural light. 
  • Full Height Shutters provide maximum privacy and light control, making them a great choice for bedrooms and other areas where privacy is paramount.

Many different types of plantation shutters can be used to fit the vision that homeowners have for their interior windows. This can add a touch of class and elegance to any home. No matter what your needs may be, there is bound to be a plantation shutter option that is perfect for you.

Plantation Shutters Materials

There are a wide variety of plantation shutters to choose from, each with its advantages and disadvantages. You can find shutters made from different materials, at a range of prices, and with various features. The original plantation shutters were made from wood, but today’s options include many more choices.

Wood Plantation Shutters

Wood shutters appeal to homeowners because of the natural beauty they can provide. Each piece is unique due to the patterns and grains present on the wood’s surface. Semi-transparent stains allow the shutter to be customized easily for different color schemes but still show off the grain of the wood itself, giving the shutters a unique charm that other materials just don’t have. 

They can also choose to paint a shutter, however, it will cover up the natural beauty of the wood and prevent it from aging organically.

Wood plantation shutters are a classic choice for window treatments, and they offer many benefits. They’re durable and hold up well under the weight of large, wide slats. Other materials may warp and sag under the same conditions. Additionally, wood can be shaped into custom shapes such as top arches and half-circles. This is often done with basswood, which has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio.

When it comes to interior shutters, there are a few popular wood species that homeowners go with. Each type of shutter has a different look and feel, whether it’s the deep grain of white ash or the smooth surface of plantation-grown poplar.

Not sure what kind of wood to get? Here are the five most popular wood species used in shutters.

Composite Plantation Shutters

Composite plantation shutters are a cheaper alternative to real wood shutters, but they don’t have the same durability. Composite shutters are made of sawdust and glue, bound together, and covered with a vinyl or PVC coating. While they may be less expensive, they’re not as long-lasting as genuine wood.

composite wood shutter over a real wood shutter
wood vs composite shutters

Vinyl Plantation Shutters

The most affordable plantation shutters are made of vinyl. The vinyl shutters often have PVC or aluminum supports to keep them from warping or sagging, and they work well in high-moisture areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

  • Solid Vinyl Shutters are a great way to add privacy and security to your home. They’re made from a strong vinyl frame that’s filled with blown-in PVC, which makes them more stable and helps keep costs down;
  • Solid Vinyl with an Aluminum Insert is extra sturdy! They have a solid vinyl frame with an aluminum insert, the aluminum bar provides extra support and stability, so your shutters will stand up better to heavy use;
  • Wood Vinyl Shutters are made of hardwood that is covered with a vinyl layer. This offers protection from moisture and wears while maintaining the strength of the wood;
  • Hollow Vinyl Shutters are the most affordable option but are limited in size due to their weaker construction. These frames are much weaker than solid wood or composite frames;
  • Structured Hollow Vinyl Shutters are categorized as hollow vinyl shutters. These shutters have a vinyl frame with hollow sections that can be filled with either clear or opaque material. 

Pros and Cons of Plantation Shutters


  • Add value to homes
  • They never go out of style
  • Durable and can last decades
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to operate
  • Numerous options to choose from
  • Childproof


  • They are more expensive than traditional window treatments like shades and curtains
  • Plantation shutters can’t be rolled up or tied back like shades and curtains, they’re always in view
  • They can be used with tilt-in casement windows, but they have to be mounted on the outside of the window frame, which can look awkward
  • If you have furniture placed in front of a window with plantation shutters, it will need to be lower than the window sill or placed away from the window to allow for opening the shutters

Plantation Shutters Cost

Despite the higher initial cost, plantation shutters offer numerous advantages. On average, it costs $2,300 to cover the interior windows of a home with plantation shutters, although this price can range from $1,450 to $3,360 depending on the materials and sizes. Wood plantation shutters are usually the most expensive option, followed by composite shutters, with vinyl being the most budget-friendly choice.


Plantation Shutters Cost Per Window

You can buy prefabricated shutters for an average of $50 each, or you could go with custom wood shutters, which will cost you more but will be a unique addition to your home. Custom wood shutters average $200 to $350 per window, while composite shutters run $80 to $200 each. The type of wood used affects the price, with less expensive options like pine and more expensive woods like mahogany costing more.

How to Measure For Plantation Shutters

Plantation shutters are either mounted inside the window frame or on the outside. An inside mount is generally considered to be more aesthetically pleasing, as it allows for hanging curtains or other layered panels. However, an outside mount can be a more practical choice in some cases, as it extends past the window frame and sits a bit off the wall. Whichever type you choose, be sure to talk to the sales associate to find out the required measurements and information needed before ordering.

To accurately measure your window for plantation shutters, you’ll first want to check if the window is square:

  1. Use a tape measure to check that the width and height of your window are equal in three places. This will ensure that your shutters will fit properly on a square window
  2. Measure the width of the glass portion of your window from the inside of the jamb in three places
  3. Measure the height of the glass portion of your window from the inside of the jamb in three places
  4. Write down all of your measurements so you can refer to them when ordering your plantation shutters

Inside Mount Plantation Shutters

To choose the size of your inside-mounted shutters, use the narrowest width of the three numbers and the shortest height of the three measurements. The depth of the window is also an important factor to consider when making your selection. Most slats and louvers are 2.5 to 4.5 inches deep.

Inside Mount Plantation Shutters

Outside Mount Plantation Shutters

To ensure your window is level, use the method described above. Then, measure the width from the outside right edge of the window frame to the left side, making sure to keep the equal spacing between the two. Repeat this process for the height, measuring from the top of where the shutter will be mounted to the bottom.

Outside Mount Plantation Shutters

* Also, measure the distance between the top of the window and the bottom of the outermost slat to avoid ordering unnecessary shutter parts.

*Note: When installing an outside shutter, leave the window trim on if you can and replace it with the shutter. Otherwise, cut away the drywall to create a small space between the shutter and the drywall, allowing the shutter to slide into place.

How to Clean Plantation Shutters

Before you clean your vinyl shutters, be sure to sweep away any dirt and dust. If the shutters are too dirty, it may be best to clean them with a microfiber rag to lift off the grime. However, if you have only sprayed dirt from your plants onto the shutters, regular household cleaners will work great. Just wipe down the frame and louvers with the cleaner and cloth.

Liquid cleaners and sprays are not always the best tool for wood and composite shutters. Dust with a rag to remove loose dirt and then brush the surface with a small brush for deeper cleaning. Finally, take a microfiber cloth and use it to apply furniture polish lightly on the frame. Wipe down the frame and louvers to achieve a freshly polished shine.


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