The great advances in technology in modern times have made the variety of materials on offer for home building much wider than they used to be. In addition to traditional materials such as wood, iron or stone, modern synthetic or composite materials offer durable, versatile and often less expensive alternatives.

Faux wood is a popular such material. Although it is designed to look like wood, it has very different properties and can be much more versatile. Faux wood is often used in the manufacture of shutters. The material used in this case actually has a polyurethane base, similar to a durable plastic.

Man made faux wood is of the same consistency all the way through, which is quite important when constructing shutter panels. These frequently need to be cut to size, and if using real wood this wood leave an exposed edge that would need to be refinished to achieve the same effect as the face of the panel. When using faux wood, the material is the same throughout so the panel can be cut, without splintering and will no requirement for repainting or staining.

Another advantage of faux wood over the real thing is that it is not as porous, and will not be affected by damp, steam or other changes in temperature. Real wood will expand in warm conditions, and can warp if it becomes damp. Faux wood therefore makes an excellent choice if you are considering replacement doors in hot, humid climates or for rooms with great exposure to steam, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Faux wood is very robust and easy to maintain. Rather than having to paint or treat it frequently, it can simply be washed down with a mild detergent to look as new and bright as it did when first installed.

Further advantages of faux wood can be found in the way it is used in construction. When building shutters, for example, real wood slats are stapled into the frame. The staples can work their way out over time, damaging the surface of the wood and requiring repair. Faux wood slats can be fixed in place with hardwearing glues that will not work loose over time, and will give a smooth clean finish.

Wooden shutters can be dust traps, and cleaning each slat in turn can make housework a real chore. Faux wood, on the other hand, can be treated so that the surface does not encourage dust to stick, but repels it instead, decreasing the amount of cleaning required.

Faux wood is a great shutter material for exterior shutters as well as interior ones. As well as being water resistant, its color will not fade in sunlight as a real wood version might. When used as interior decoration, faux wood shutters can stand alone or be used in conjunction with drapes, sheers or valances.