What Are Estate Shutters?

C.E. Larusso
Written by C.E. Larusso
Updated September 21, 2021
Three large windows with estate shutters in a bedroom
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Everything you need to know about these super sturdy, energy-efficient window coverings

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Estate shutters were historically known as plantation shutters, as they were typical of plantation homes in the Antebellum South. In an effort to eliminate any potentially insensitive or derogatory language, we've updated our use of this term.

In their original use, homeowners placed estate shutters  on homes’ exteriors to help prevent excess heat from getting inside. Nowadays, they are installed inside the home—but they still offer the same temperature-regulating properties for which they were designed. They have wide louvers, typically 3.5 to 4.5 inches wide.

Estate shutters are generally a bit pricier than other window coverings, coming at an average cost of $2,760 to purchase and install in every window of your home. However, they might be worth it if you prefer their elegant style and ability to keep your home on the cool side. 

Benefits of Estate Shutters

Estate shutters have found favor among some homeowners for several reasons.

Energy Efficiency

Estate shutters were designed to keep homes cool, but they also do a great job of keeping heat in. While most other window coverings leave gaps around them, allowing air to move in and out, estate shutters can close flat to fit with the window frame. This creates a seal for your home and protects from the hot summer air getting in or the heat inside your home from getting out once things get chilly.

Simple Maintenance

Because they’re so sturdy, you can clean estate shutters with a vacuum cleaner brush attachment or with a quick wipe of a cloth. Unlike some other window coverings, they don’t have to be taken apart to look spotless, and you won’t have to worry about damaging delicate fabrics or materials.

Superior Light Management

For the same reason estate shutters are great at keeping rooms cool, they are also great at blocking out or letting in light—the key is that they are installed right at the window’s frame, without gaps. The days of sun glare ruining the latest episode of Succession are long gone.

Safe for Kids and Pets

Estate shutters are cordless, so you don’t have to worry about your child or puppy accidentally getting wrapped up and tangled in anything dangling from your windows. 

Types of Estate Shutters

Close-up of open white estate shutters
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There are three main materials used to make estate shutters: wood, faux wood or composite, and vinyl. Hardwood will offer the most options, as it is available in a variety of stains and custom sizes; unfortunately, it is also the most expensive. Both composite and vinyl are prefabricated into certain styles and colors, and are more affordable.


The most expensive option, wood shutters are also the most common type of estate shutter. Basswood is considered the crème de la crème, as it’s both light and strong. But because it is prone to warping in high-moisture areas, hardwood shutters shouldn’t be installed in bathrooms or kitchens, or any other area where water is central.

Faux Wood

Faux wood (also known as composite) offers you the look of wood without some of the difficulties; you can install these shutters in virtually every room of the house. They are very sturdy, and less expensive than solid wood.


The least expensive option here, vinyl shutters do not contain any wood at all. Instead, they often have aluminum or PVC to offer stability, though some options might have structural issues, especially when they are on the larger side. There are a few subcategories of vinyl to understand before you commit to this material of estate shutter:

Hollow Vinyl

Hollow vinyl is only an option for smaller window coverings because, as the name suggests, the frame is hollow and cannot support the weight of larger sizes. Over time, they become prone to sagging.

Structured Hollow Vinyl

Structured hollow vinyl shutters are both pricier and more structurally sound than hollow vinyl. They are made with a vinyl backbone inside the shutters’ frame.

Solid Vinyl

Solid vinyl shutters are made with a vinyl, PVC-filled frame.

Solid Vinyl With Aluminum

This option offers extra support from an aluminum insert.

Vinyl-Clad Wood

If you’re looking for the strength of wood but need to install your shutters in a moisture-rich environment, vinyl-clad wood might be your solution. These shutters are made just as their name suggests: a hardwood frame that has been sheathed in vinyl.

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