As a follow-up to our prior blog about choosing the right shutters for your home, it is important to discuss the maintenance and possible repair of your existing shutters. Even if your shutters look damaged, many times they can be repaired rather than replaced. In addition, regular maintenance of your existing shutters will ensure a long lifetime for this very important decorative aspect of your home.
We spoke to Phil Patterson, owner of Phillip Patterson Painting Inc., about his shutters expertise: repairing versus replacing your shutters, the best ways to maintain your shutters, and mistakes to avoid. He gave us some great advice and guidelines about all things shutters!
To Repair or Replace—That Is the Question.
How do you determine if you need to replace your shutters or if can you repair them instead? Patterson gave us this step-by-step checklist:
- If there are small cracks and/or holes that we can easily fill with caulk or putty, then that’s our first level of repair.
- If there are areas of rot that are a bit bigger than described above, then we dig out the bad rot and seal and fill with Bondo.
- If some of the slats are loose or falling out, we put them back in and pull the sides together to tighten all the slats and secure the back of the shutters with metal brackets.
- If we find the bottom end of the shutter completely rotted, we sometimes can cut it out and replace it with a new piece of wood. However, that can be a bit time consuming and may not be worth the time and effort.
- You can replace just the metal hardware without replacing the whole shutter. The metal hardware includes hinges, straps and holdbacks. Also, if the metal is still in good condition and there is no corrosion, the finish can be stripped and repainted.
Patterson encourages the homeowner to be realistic, saying that “before we spend TOO much time and money on a bad shutter, we have to decide what’s better for the customer: Repair or Replace.”
Maintenance of Existing Shutters
How important is regular maintenance? What does regular maintenance entail? Patterson says that “the paint is the life of the shutter. If the paint job has failed to the point that the film begins to crack and peel, then the water is getting in. That’s when wood rot begins. The other important thing you can do for a wood shutter to extend the longevity is to install metal caps at the top edge of every shutter. The top edges when exposed to the sun and weather will crack open letting water in. If you can keep that from happening, you’ll double or triple the life of the shutter.”
It is highly recommended to keep your shutters clean of dirt, debris, insects, birds and even bats. You can accomplish this by brushing them on both sides with a soft bristled brush on a regular basis.
Mistakes to Be Avoided
Here are some common mistakes that shutter owners make that can be avoided.
- Not painting them frequently Shutters should be painted at least twice as often as the house they’re hanging on.
- Not having metal caps on all the top edges.
- Not supporting the outside bottom corner of the shutter with the s-hook Many times, the wider shutters without that support will sag hard, causing the slats to fall out.
In general, the best thing you can do is to keep up the basic maintenance on your shutters with a current paint job using good paint and consistent cleaning practices. Paying attention to the state of your wood shutters and keeping them in good shape is the key to a long lifetime. Many times, fully replacing a shutter is not necessary; repair by a professional is often more than enough to keep them functional and nice.
If you’d like to learn more about shutters, shutter selection or the installation process, contact us today. We’d love to help you add a bit of extra curb appeal to your home!