So what should you know to reap these sorts of gains?
What are the shutters made of? Basswood, MDF (Fiber Board), Popular, Paulownia, Solid Poly, Hollow Poly, etc. Your best option will be Basswood or Poly depending on your circumstances. Popular can generally not get dry enough and so it tends to warp more, Paulownia is like a popular in that it is a cheaper fast growing wood and MDF is just your typically heavy glue and wood particle press. Dry climates should use basswood and humid spaces should consider poly.
Who fabricates the shutter? In this case, the bigger companies win because they can keep their costs down, quality up and use the best of the best in automated machinery - it is this automation technology that really matters in producing affordable quality.
How long have they been in business? Being around the industry and gaining experience matters as many come and go from the business because of the relatively low cost of entry. Pick a manufacturer with ten or more years of experience - they have had time to work through the kinks.
What is the warranty? Should be at least 25 years on poly and lifetime on basswood. With about 5 years on color fastness.
Are their any VOC's? VOC's are volatile organic compounds that are released into the air. Many lacquers and finishes will produce VOC's - make sure you buy a shutter that is free from that ugliness.
Is the shutter Greenguard Certified? GREENGUARD Certification helps manufacturers create--and helps buyers identify--interior products and materials that have low chemical emissions, improving the quality of the air in which the products are used.
Does the poly shutter come with a flame retardant certification? Only the best companies have this certification and it matters - especially in schools and businesses.
If you know the answer to these items and are comfortable with the local retailers integrity and experience, then you are well on your way to a great shutter and experience with a lifetime of beautiful plantation shutters.
We would love to help you with your shutter project, check out our online shutter calculator for a quick price estimate.