Shutters - type of wood

I hope everyone is well.

I have another project we are in the midst of renovating. Thankfully with some experience this one is proving easier. Though that said Enerdis is still as bonkers a (dis)organisation as ever I have encountered.

My builders have suggested replacing the window shutters which are pretty big (2.5m high). It seems the best solution will be having this done on site. I want to know what wood be best used to serve this purpose with a focus on longevity. My concern is that historically old growth woods were typically used & today most wood is nowhere near as good. With effort old growth woods are still available but I wanted to know what wood was historically used in this part of Provence (near Montpellier) for shutters?

Thank you.

We had long discussion about wood with our buiders as they preferred wood that grew at higher altitudes for longevity. Slower growth more dense wood. So not just what wood but where from.

Oak prob best, but Notre Dame has cornered the market.

However we ended up spurning tradition and going for méléze (larch) as weathers a beautiful colout, is very resistant and is now replacing sapin here as timber crop here because of drought tolerance.

I imagine this varies from area to area, here in the Aveyron, the traditional wood is chestnut because our forests are mainly chestnut, but with patches of oak and both are good woods for outdoors - we have some exposed chestnut lintels that have been in place for over six centuries and still seem fine.

Thank you for the reply.

That is helpful, I was thinking cedar or oak.

Yes, I was wondering what was used traditionally for the area.
Chestnut goes black when exposed to weather (water) though it can be very durable. I never knew they used chestnut for shutters.
This seems another option.
Thank you.

Same goes for oak - we had oak kitchen worktops in the UK. Of course damp’s less of a problem down here than in an English kitchen.

It’s virtually chestnut for everything around us, this stretch of the Lot is also known as the Chataignerie.

We too have chestnut shutters, non standard sizes of 2.08 x 1.25 mts, frigging heavy. Signed and dated (with a hot iron) by the wood wrestler who made them in 1728, so getting on for 300 years old, still in an excellent condition and only treated with a kiss of oil twice in the past eighteen years.


Now that’s what I am talking about, wooden shutters that were opening & closing before the French revolution. I wish I could of hired that wood wrestler.

I do wonder whether new growth chestnut can measure up to the wood on those older shutters.

Mine will need to be painted (local listing requirement) & some of these woods are not great for lasting paint adherence. The shutters still work fine but the issue is the amount of reconditioning needed to get them back to a good enough finish to repaint.

They have a great patina for just a wood finish but not for painting them. I will let you know the direction I take in the coming week.

Why do you have to paint the old shutters…?
It’s worth enquiring if the “paint job” applies to new shutters only…
If they’re in original condition (not painted) for centuries, surely they are exempt …

just wondering…


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Good Morning Stella,

They have already been painted in the past. The historical listing requires they are painted. The problem is they are warped & cracked from age & very difficult to open & shut. We could recondition them to improve their function but the builders suggest the time & effort would make replacement wiser.

We are having the whole facade redone (just awaiting planning approval for the color & paint ingredients). So it would be odd to leave the shutters unfinished with everything else fresh.

I am visiting the site next week so I will decide the course we take. I do like the history & aged character but I’m not sure that’s worth the risk of losing the wife if she falls out of the window while struggling to close them.

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I’m positive it’s not worth the risk… :wink:

Incidentally, we have huge bedroom shutters like yours on one of the windows and no longer use the flip-over thingies to hold them open. It’s simply too dangerous (for anyone) leaning out to flip 'em…
We use a sprung"blocage" halfway up on each… works a treat…

Your builder has probably got this (or similar) in mind…
(not my photo)

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This might be of interest
Volet en bois : critères de choix, essence et prix - Ooreka(bois%20exotique%20et,la%20s%C3%A9curit%C3%A9%20de%20vos%20fen%C3%AAtres.