MDF or Wooden shutters? Which is the Best Shutter Material to choose! Posted on 19 Mar 12:30 , 1 comment

The most common Shutter materials are MDF (medium density fibreboard) and wood (in particular hardwood). However, what are the reasons to choose one over the other? This is a question that we are often asked at The Shutter Shop. It is an important consideration and something that anyone interested in buying plantation shutters should ask themselves before the purchase. 

What is MDF?

MDF is an acronym for Medium Density Fibreboard. In other words, MDF is an engineered composite wood, made by using wood fibres and bonding them together with resin. MDF manufacturing involves pressing and drying the wood fibres, making them more compact and dense, and therefore more stable. As a result, an MDF board will stand changes in heat and humidity much better than wood.

white shutters in a bay window

Benefits of MDF shutters vs. Wooden Shutters

MDF is a much cheaper material than “real” wood, and therefore MDF shutters cost much less than wooden shutters. If you have many windows in your home, choosing MDF shutters will mean a substantial saving.

MDF shutters have a very smooth surface, the result of a patented technology which coats the bare MDF with an extruded polypropylene coating. This makes them extremely durable and easy to maintain. While we call our shutters MDF, they do still have a hardwood core which provides a much more robust holding for wood screws.

The robustness of MDF window shutters also make them particularly suitable for playroom or children rooms. MDF shutters are less prone to dent and scratches.

cafe style shutters

The main disadvantage of MDF shutters is their weight, making them not advisable for large windows. Additionally, if you envisage that your shutters are going to get heavy wear and you are planning to open and close your shutters regularly, they may not also be the best choice for you.

We have 2 MDF ranges: Antigua and Bermuda. Our Antigua (Entry level) range also comes in a more limited colour choice than Bermuda (MDF with a plastic ABS louvre). We currently offer 8 paint colours, 5 whites and 3 greys in Antigua, and 28 Paint Colours and the option for a custom colour in Bermuda.

Our MDF shutter ranges are our most popular as they offers a fantastic compromise between quality and affordability. Both are available in all the most popular shutter styles: cafe style, tier on tier or full height. For Special Shaped Windows you would need to look at a hardwood product.

What is hardwood?

wooden shutters sliding type

Typically, hardwoods come from slow growing, broad leaves trees. As the name suggests, hardwood timbers are usually harder and denser than softwood. As a result, they are more adapt to machine working, carving and shaping, ideal therefore for special shaped unique windows. Their higher density also ensures a longer durability.

Benefits of Hardwood shutters

At the Shutter Shop we use different types of hardwoods. The most cost effective hardwood range (Cuba) uses basswood panels and an MDF shutter frame (the part that fits to the window). This range gives a great compromise between the beauty of natural wood and the hardwearing features of MDF.

The main advantages of hardwood shutters are that they are lighter weight, making them particularly suitable for large windows. As they are spray painted, as opposed to the plastic coating on the MDF shutters, they also have a more matt finish.

shutters in a bay window

Hardwood shutters are offered in a wide range of standard paint & stain finishes. It is also possible to have hardwood shutters produced with your own custom paint colours, which is perfect if you are wanting to match a particular paint colour in your room.

If you are looking for a traditional Shutter, perhaps in a period property or to replace existing shutters, wooden plantation shutters would be the obvious choice. Wooden shutters are also the natural choice for solid panels shutters and they look great on bay windows. The possibilities with hardwood shutters are really endless!

wooden shutters in a period property

We offer two levels of hardwood shutters:

  • Cuba (basswood): cost effective entry level hardwood range
  • Fiji (paulownia): beautiful grain when stained and a great choice of colours.


MDF, Wood and water

bathroom with shutters

Although both MDF and hardwood shutters are very durable products and very hardwearing, they can have issues in more humid environments. Where moisture, heat and humidity can be higher we suggest to use our 100% waterproof range Java. Java shutters are totally waterproof, and therefore ideal for particularly wet areas in kitchens, bathrooms or shower rooms.


What is the price difference between MDF and Wooden Shutters?

MDF is a cheaper material than wood, and this is reflected in the shutter price. If keeping a low cost on your project is the key, further savings can be made if you are looking to install the shutters yourself.

bedroom shutters

DIY shutters are the same quality product as our shutters produced for our end-to-end service, but the measurements and the installation costs are avoided. DIY shutters start from only £159 per sqm (ex. VAT), one of the lowest prices for online sales in the UK!

MDF  or wooden shutters option book a survey banner

Further Questions?

If you are still unsure about which shutter material is for you and your windows do not hesitate to contact us. Our dedicated and friendly sales team would be delighted to advise you and answer any of your questions.

Give us a call, pop us an email or if you're in London, pop into our showroom in Fulham, where you will also be able to view our full shutter range.