Do I have to use vinyl shutters in my bathroom?

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A question we are often asked is………..
“Do I have use vinyl shutters in my bathroom?”
…..and the answer? – only if you really want to.
Unless you really want the look of vinyl in your bathroom then our advice would be always go for real wood. If you do have a genuine wet room then there are waterproof shutters which look infinitely better than vinyl. I’ve had 100% real hardwood shutters in my bathroom and shower room for over 10 years with no adverse effects.
Like most things, there are plusses and minuses with vinyl shutters. Since the vast majority of real wood shutters are made in China then, assuming that the shutters are shipped by sea freight, it’s going to be around 10 weeks before you see your real wood shutters after ordering. If the shutters are shipped by air freight then that can drop to around 5 weeks.
All the vinyl shutters available in the UK are made in Coventry and are therefore available in around two weeks. So if you are looking for something very quickly then vinyl shutters may be for you. Vinyl shutters come with an impressive 25 year warranty, they are washable and fire retardant which is ideal for commercial premises. They only come in three colours – a white, an off white and a cream and in three louvre widths – 64mm, 89mm and 114mm. Vinyl shutters are constructed with lots of internal air pockets so they are quite light in weight – this is often termed Plastic Hollow Vinyl. The component parts snap together and make a light-weight shutter. Vinyl shutters can neither be painted nor stained. The plastic tilt rod (which operates the louvres) is prone to breaking at the link point between the louvres and the rod as ultraviolet (basically daylight) has a tendency to cure plastic making it brittle. If your windows do get very hot then there is a possibility that the vinyl can soften leading to sagging panels and louvres.
From a distance Vinyl shutters just look like any other shutters – its close up where you notice the difference. When vinyl components are produced they are extruded which is a bit like pushing toothpaste out of a tube and, as the plastic (or toothpaste) gets to the opening in the tube, small lateral scores or scratches may appear – this is always a characteristic of extruded plastic. So, close up, vinyl shutters look like they have a lot of uniform scratches.
Most real wood shutters use magnets and strike plates for good clean closure but that’s not possible with vinyl shutters as the vinyl wall of the shutter is not strong enough to take the pull of the magnet so spring ball catches are used instead. These are not quite as smooth in operation as a magnet / strike plate set up.
However, the most significant thing about vinyl shutters is that, whilst the vinyl itself is inherently waterproof, a vinyl shutter panel as an assembly of parts is not. The shutter panel is assembled much like children’s building blocks and, if water is present, it can get into the tiny gaps between the blocks unseen, stagnate and then start to smell.
……… and what if you really do have a proper wet room with water from the multiple rainforest shower heads running all over the place – including the windows? – then you would be better going for proper waterproof shutters made from ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) which is a very tough and impact resistant plastic whose properties are unaffected by temperatures and atmospheric humidity found in domestic or commercial wet rooms) – put simply the ABS will withstand a lot more humidity, water and heat than humans will.
For more information about the best blinds for your home contact www.scottishshutters.co.uk

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About Author

David Browne, along with the rest of his family, runs The Scottish Shutter Company – which was voted Scottish Family Business of the Year 2014.
The company designs, supplies and installs interior timber window shutters. David, an engineering graduate, has been in the window covering industry for almost 30 years and is a member of the British Blind and Shutter Association’s management committee and currently serves as the Association’s Chairman for the Scottish & Northern Ireland Region. David is now considered to be one of the UK’s experts in the design and use of interior timber shutters – also known as Plantation Shutters. www.scottishshutters.co.uk

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