There are many types of exterior shading options, ranging from durable and protective aluminum window shutters to PVC covers. Using the right materials is important in Tampa, where heat and humidity cause damage. Here we discuss common materials used to make outdoor blinds, and the pros and cons they offer.

Aluminum Window Shutters for Tampa Homes

These metal shades are excellent for homes and businesses in Tampa. They are the best for providing outside shading and privacy. You can paint these blinds in a variety of colors. You can also make them fit any size frame. Not only do these provide shade, but protection too. Hurricanes pose a risk to the safety of Tampa residents. With aluminum window shutters, people have a quick and easy way to barricade their windowpanes. These covers stay up all year long and only take one person to secure when hurricane season hits.


Plastic louvers are a relatively inexpensive way to add shade to your home. The plastics used to make these shutters ranges from PVC to Thermalite, a foamed synthetic. There are a few perks to plastic materials. While the benefit of PVC is mostly in its low cost, Thermalite has a few more perks to offer. Thermalite is water-resistant, fire-resistant, and available in many shapes and colors.

These materials do have a few less desirable effects. Plastic shades are not the most stable and can carry a lot of weight. This puts added stress on the frame as well as the hinges. PVC does have a plasticky appearance and can yellow over time. Plus, harsh UV rays can turn them brittle. In Tampa, where the sunlight is strong, aluminum window shutters are a more durable option.


Laminated pane coverings are made by gluing pieces of lumber together. They are a lower priced option for exterior shading. You can wrap, paint, or stain laminate. It can even look as good as a covering made from solid wood. These shades prove to be very stable, like aluminum window shutters and hold up well.

This material does offer many benefits. However, there are negative sides to laminate blinds. Like many other materials, laminate is not recommended for high moisture environments like Tampa. There is a possibility of these coverings delaminating. While laminate does well inside the home, they do not last as exterior shades.

Wood Composite

A product such as medium density fiberboard (MDF) is yet another option for exterior shading. You make this by binding various forms of lumber with adhesives. Pros of these blinds include their lower cost, a variety of shapes and colors, and stiffness. Engineered wood works well for wide blinds. MDF specifically also resists warping and has a natural look without a high cost.

Wood composites also hold a few cons. You cannot stain this material. It can expand and contract unevenly. This can lead to visible joints or even joint failure. MDF will swell and peel if exposed to water and will also sag under stress. In Tampa, the rain and humidity could prove to be too much for these shades. In contrast, aluminum window shutters are resistant to water and are very firm.

Fast Grown Lumber

Basswood, in particular, is one of the most common materials for exterior shading.  Other fast grown lumber includes Poplar and Cedar. Basswood is light and stable, which means it is resistant to warping. It can be painted, stained, smoothed, and also sandblasted.

Fast grown lumber is a more sustainable option than premium timber. Unlike aluminum window shutters, fast grown lumber is not moisture-resistant. These blinds typically cost more than synthetics as well. Basswood shades would be beautiful inside the home, but they would not stand up to the harsh Tampa weather as exterior protection.

Premium Timber

Premium woods are a beautiful way to raise the aesthetics of your home. Trees like Canadian Western Red Cedar, Alder, and Incense Cedar are popular for this type of shading. Premium timbers finish very well and are very hard. Like aluminum window shutters, they are stable, can resist warping and bowing, and are difficult to damage. Alder can come in almost any design and takes well to painting.

As great as these blinds are, they do have a few cons. Premium timber is typically very expensive. While Incense Cedar is resistant to certain things, it is not resistant to high moisture. Neither Incense Cedar nor Alder is recommended for high humidity. This again proves to be a problem for people living in Tampa, or any city in Florida. There is also a limit to the length of coverings made from premium timber.

Master Aluminum

At Master Aluminum, we specialize in manufacturing aluminum window shutters. We provide pane covers that are ready for installation when they ship from the factory. Our products are welded to guarantee a strong product with a seamless look. Contact us online or call us at (727)725-1744 for more information on our custom, hurricane-rated shades.