skip to Main Content

MDF or Hardwood Shutters?

One of the first decisions you will need to make about your perfect shutters will be the material you’d like to use. The Shutter Studio offers five different materials, including four different wooden options. This can get overwhelming fast, especially when starting your shutter journey. MDF shutters will always work out to be the most cost effective, but this isn’t always the best choice.

What is MDF?

Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) is a man-made wood. Various timbres get broken down into fibres which are then compressed and sealed. The resulting timbre isn’t much to look at, which is why unpainted MDF products are very rare. MDF is a very versatile material as it’s cheap, sturdy and quick to work with. MDF shutters are very hardwearing, and a great option if you have small children or pets. On top of that, it is less prone to water damage – although MDF will always be splash proof rather than water proof.
 
Once manufacturing is complete, our MDF shutters are then coated with a resin sheet. This provides a smooth finish to the shutter and provides the paint finish. The application of the sheet doesn’t leave a visible join, but does create a slight ripple on the finish. It’s difficult to see if you’re not looking for it so it’s not usually a concern for customers. This may become a problem if the shutter scratches or chips, as the coating is difficult to replicate.
 
The other problem with MDF is its weight. The dense fibres and compression means MDF is almost twice as heavy as hardwood. If your window is wide, or you’re concerned about warping, we wouldn’t recommend an MDF shutter.

What is Basswood?

Also known as Tilia or Linden, Basswood is the original shutter material. A real hardwood and fantastic to work with, a basswood shutter is rarely problematic. Much lighter than MDF and only a little less hardwearing, it is also more expensive.
 
Basswood has a smooth finish which means we can offer it in a wider range of colours with an even, sprayed finish. If any damage occurs to the shutter we can sand the scratch out and re-spray the area, unlike MDF.
 
Due to popularity of Basswood, it has become more and more difficult to source. This has led to the rise of Paulownia shutters.

What is Paulownia?

Paulownia is a fast growing hardwood that is most popular in east Asia. Unlike Basswood it has a less even tone, which allows the natural grain of the wood to show through the finish. Paulownia wood comes in a wider range of sprayed and stained finishes.
 
Paulownia is more expensive than both MDF and Basswood shutters but is also lighter. It’s very suitable for use on very wide windows and shaped shutters. This means the wood is also softer and the louvres of the shutter are more susceptible to wear and tear.

Which shutter material would suit me?

When it comes to choosing the perfect material for your home, much of the choice comes down to preference. If your window requires a certain material, your surveyor will let you know.
 
If your concern is children, damp conditions or saving money, MDF would be the usual choice. For a long-lasting shutter that’s unlikely to cause you problems, go for Basswood. And if you’re looking for a more wooden look to your shutter, or want a stained finish, Paulownia is a good choice.
 
Your choice of material won’t limit your other options. Aside from the range of colours available, you remain free to customise parts of your order. From the louvre size to the hinge colour it’s easy to add extra touches that bring the shutter into your own style.
Back To Top