You know those wooden shutters on your home; the ones that you never close that hang off the sides of your windows? Well, they are out. Traditional shutters are something that has been around since the birth of the United States and require a great deal of maintenance including the oiling of the unused hinges and the painting and staining of the wood. The truth is that it is time for them to go.
You don't have to get rid of the look completely, just get rid of the old wooden version. There are modern choices that make much more sense in terms of practicality as well as appearance. For instance, aluminum shutters do not close (no hinges to oil or clean) and are resistant to a variety of weather conditions. This means that you can use them no matter where you make your home and that you will not have to oil parts you aren't using. Any time exterior maintenance time can be cut, your life gets easier.
There are a number of other shutter types around that you may want to consider over wood as well.
For one, vinyl offers a number of attractive pros. It is inexpensive to buy shutters of vinyl and they can last as long as 40 years. In other words, through the life of your mortgage, you can go without replacing shutters. It is certainly something worth thinking about. They can be bought in most any style, and they can be painted easily.
Another alternative to your wooden shutters are composite shutters. Made of MDF or particle board, they are made to resist both weather and rot. If you want to be able to shut your shutters, then this may be the way to go as some are available that may be opened and closed. However, don't forget your hinge maintenance if you go this route.
As with just about anything nowadays, there is always fiberglass. Fiberglass is great if you live in an area with severe weather as shutters made of it can be used for window protection in hurricanes and storms. However, it is expensive and does not last as long as the vinyl shutters do.
Then there is, of course, the aforementioned choice of aluminum shutters. These alternatives to the traditional wood offer protection and strength while not being quite as expensive as their fiberglass cousins. They look great and are strong, but there is a drawback to the purchase of aluminum shutters; most companies offer little more than three or four years of warranty protection. This is because they are prone to denting and chipping.
The next time you decide to do a little home improvement, consider replacing those old shutters. The admiring looks you get from your neighbors will be your reward.