It’s commonly known that shutters were first used in ancient Greece to provide privacy and protect from light and the elements. From Greece, shutters spread west to Spain and England, which then influenced shutter use in the United States, where they can be seen on historic homes such as Monticello and Mount Vernon. Spanish-style shutters were most popular in the South, now known as Plantation Shutters, while the English-style shutters were most commonly used in New England. Over time, shutters have evolved in design and use, but remain popular to this day.
Centuries ago high-quality lumber species, like Mahogany, were often used for shutters, but with mass production and the post-World War II housing boom, manufacturers began using less expensive woods like Southern Yellow Pine. These soft wood shutters rotted and degraded more rapidly under constant exposure to rain, sun, and elements. Eventually vinyl, plastic, and other synthetic materials were used and while these didn’t rot like Pine, they looked cheap and incongruous on an otherwise lovely home.
Today’s best millwork shops are returning to high-quality hardwood species like Meranti for shutters that last for decades, making them an excellent economical choice over the life of the shutter.
Meranti is highly sought after for shutters for many reasons, both aesthetic and practical. For the homeowner, this wood species looks rich and warm with a stain, or looks just as beautiful with paint. With proper maintenance, either finish can last for decades.
Some importers selling Meranti market it as “DUC” (Dark Uniform Color) which is a misnomer, as there is a wide variance in appearance and performance. Unfortunately, this results in a product with disparate hues and poor quality. However, in order to deliver the enduring performance and more uniform appeal, Overseas Hardwoods Company offers two distinct, selected species of Meranti in its High Performance Lumber Products line. The first, Nemesu, is a dense/dark species, and the second, Dark Red Seraya, is a medium dense/dark species. Both have a rich, warm color range. By limiting our supply to two specific types, we ensure a consistent, reliable appearance and enduring qualities. Meranti also naturally resists rotting and pests, thanks to naturally-occurring oils in the wood, which is why it works well in exterior applications. Additionally, Meranti machines well, stays flat, and doesn’t warp, if painted or sealed correctly. It cuts well when going through the moulding machine, and doesn’t beat up the machinery.
Meranti is the economical choice for high-quality, long-lasting exterior shutters. They’re beautiful, durable, and have a long life.