Hybrid Shutters, what are you really getting?
I've had several people ask about 'hybrid' shutters, and strangely they want them but aren't sure what they really are. As with most products there are good versions and those that you should avoid. To add a level of complexity, there is no industry standard defining what constitutes a hybrid shutter. Different companies offer various versions they refer to as hybrid shutters. The three most common are: using poly (PVC) stiles, rails, and frames with real wood louvers. Another popular configuration is hardwood components wrapped with a thin PVC cover, and last, MDF (medium density fiber board) components wrapped with a thin PVC cover. Frankly, the only one that makes some sense are the MDF version. After all, the reason hybrids are popular is they offer a much more affordable alternative to hardwood or solid poly shutters. Mixing and match poly components and hardwood louvers offers no real cost savings, both materials are similar in pricing. Wrapping hardwood with PVC only makes sense if you live in an extremely harsh environment, such as a desert. Otherwise your paying for hardwood and the extra cost of encasing them in PVC. They are ecased in PVC so they do not have to be painted, right? No. Hardwood and MDF hybrid shutters have one serious flaw.... Components have to be cut to size to build the shutter. The cut sides expose the core materials so they have to be painted or capped. And MDF cannot experience ANY moisture or it will expand like a sponge. All this seems like a lot of work, and concessions in quality, to potentially save a little money.