Australia enjoys a lot of sunshine each year. In fact, it is, on average, twice as sunny in Brisbane as it is in London. That’s a lot of sunshine, which can make a home feel pretty hot at times. For this reason, shutters have become a staple feature of the Australian home. Not all homes have shutters, but it’s a good way to keep the hot sun out during the day, while still allowing a flow of fresh air. Of course, that’s not the only reason why people install shutters.
A Brief History of Shutters
Shutters date back to the days when glass was a luxury in Australia. Shutters were used for keeping the weather out but could be opened to allow light and air in. Early settlers used shutters in place of windows on their bush huts. They were also common on larger homesteads, where plantation-style shutters were used to keep the hot sun out. Over time, shutters became increasingly decorative. Style-wise, they were based on the plantation shutters of colonial homes in the Deep South with adjustable, flat timber blades.
Styles and materials have changed over the years and the influence of Asian shutter designs has had an impact on the Australian market. Whilst timber shutters are still an affordable type of shutter, Australian homeowners can now buy shutters made from lightweight aluminium. Customers can select from DIY shutters or invest in made-to-measure shutters. There is a huge market for shutters, so to help you select the right product for your home, here is a guide to the pros and cons of the two most popular materials in the market: timber and aluminium.
Why Use Shutters?
Shutters are not obligatory, but they do serve a useful purpose. Aside from keeping the heat of the sun out, shutters also make your home more secure. You can lock shutters whilst allowing ventilation. A burglar is less likely to target a home with securely locked shutters in place because it would take too long to force entry.
Shutters also have aesthetic qualities. Many homeowners select shutters to enhance the overall design of their home. Plantation-style shutters on a Colonial home look perfect whereas aluminium shutters could be the ideal solution for a more contemporary home. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but if you are considering the merits of timber and aluminium shutters, read on for further advice.
Timber is a low-cost material. Timber shutters tend to be available at cheaper price points, which is an attractive option for anyone shopping on a budget. Timber shutters tend to be more common because they are affordable, but whilst timber shutters look attractive, especially in a Colonial-style home, they do have some disadvantages.
Aluminium shutters offer the same advantages of timber shutters, but without the problems associated with wood. Aluminium shutters tend to be more expensive than timber shutters, but if you are looking for a stylish, contemporary and long-lasting window treatment, it is worth looking at aluminium designs.
Security is a top priority for many homeowners, particularly if they are in an urban area. Secure shutters could make the difference between your home being targeted and a burglar walking away. Well-constructed timber shutters are a good deterrent, but timber is not that difficult to break down if someone has some robust tools. It’s easy to cut, chop, or force open timber shutters, whereas solid aluminium shutters are virtually impregnable.
The one thing intruders don’t want to do is draw attention to their nefarious activities. It would require power tools to cut through locked aluminium shutters and no burglar is going to fire up an angle grinder unless the property is way out in the bush, miles from the nearest neighbour.
If you live in a property crime hot spot, your best bet is to install secure aluminium shutters, so you can leave your home in safe hands. It isn’t a 100% deterrent, but most burglars will target an easier property rather than risk being caught in the act. Aluminium is very strong and has one of the best strength to weight ratios of any material. For this reason, most homeowners choose aluminium over timber if they need strong, secure home shutters.
Timber shutters are very durable when looked after properly, but you will need to put some effort into keeping your timber shutters in good condition. Timber has a habit of rotting over time, particularly when it is exposed to water. Rotting timber becomes soft and pliable, which is not very helpful if you are relying on your shutters to protect your home from the elements and intruders. Even if you varnish, oil or paint your timber shutters religiously every year, there will come a point when they start to suffer the effects of environmental damage. Paint fades and flakes in UV light. Rain gets into the fixings and strong wind will cause damage.
Powder-coated aluminium shutters are strong and durable. If you live in a windy area, it’s very common for debris to hit homes at high speed. Homeowners in Brisbane have to deal with fierce storms on a regular basis, so they need shutters that can withstand collisions with debris. Aluminium shutters may sometimes bend or bow in high-impact debris collisions, but they will still protect your windows whereas a timber shutter is unlikely to survive the same impact.
Most homeowners don’t give much thought to the weight of their shutters, but this is an important consideration. Heavy shutters put a lot of pressure on fixings, which in time can compromise the security and integrity of the shutter. Timber shutters tend to be quite heavy, particularly when fixed to tall windows. Note that if your timber shutters are lightweight, this means they are low quality and therefore unlikely to be very durable.
Over time, the supporting the weight of timber shutters will take its toll on the fixings. You may notice your shutters have become loose and start to sag after a few years. They may even come away from the wall in a storm.
Aluminium shutters are lightweight yet strong. Aluminium retains its strength indefinitely, so you don’t need to worry about the integrity of the fixings once your shutters are in place. Because aluminium is so lightweight, you can enjoy low profile shutters that won’t cause any external damage to your home.
Timber shutters are very attractive, but they don’t offer the same durability or security as aluminium shutters. For homeowners on a tight budget, timber shutters are aesthetically pleasing and will last a few years with care, but if you are looking for a long-term solution, powder-coated steel shutters are the best choice.
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