Homeowners often need to remove vinyl shutters for repairing or painting the shutters. However, removing vinyl shutters can a bit tedious if done without following the appropriate procedure. Vinyl shutters can be removed in a safe, undemanding manner by using the following guidelines.
Step 1—Getting Started
Prepare yourself by wearing a pair of safety gloves and goggles. Some of the shutter screws are very hard to displace and need some serious physical effort. Ensure that you are atop a firmly-established spot before you try to disengage the shutters. Shutters often serve as nesting sites. Among these, wasp nests are very common. If you locate a wasp nest, use a wasp sprayer to kill the wasps before removing the nest.
Step 2—Evaluating Vinyl Shutters
You need to assess the kind of mounting system that is present in the shutter. Some of the vinyl shutters are secured with a metal clip that is nailed into the wall. Older vinyl shutters use a typical kind of locking system, referred to as the shutter locks. These locks extend through small holes within the shutter and extend into the nearby wall. Such older, shutter locks are also referred to as plastic nails or nail locks.
Nearly every type of vinyl shutter is secured with screws and other types of fasteners. The screws are often difficult to identify since they are painted. The screws are usually sunk within the screw-anchors that are drilled, deep into the surrounding surface. It is critical that you identify the screws and mark every screw for systematic removal.
Step 3—Removing Shutter Screws
Using a screwdriver, scrape-off the paint around the screw-heads. Using the screwdriver, remove the screw. It is better to start with removing the screws at the top of the shutter. The older variety of shutters can be quite heavy. Thus, you might need an additional hand to hold the shutter in place as you unscrew it.
Step 4—Displacing Vinyl Shutter
It is likely that even after removing all the screws, the shutter seems to be stuck. You need to tug at the top end of the shutter to displace it. However, be careful with new shutters, as they are likely to fall off as soon as the last screw is removed. For removing older shutters, you can use a hacksaw for cutting through the shutter’s locks. You can also slide a chisel (or putty knife) along the tip of the shutter and tug hard at the plastic nails to displace the shutter without harming the locks. If the shutter still doesn’t seem to move, tap at the chisel using a hammer.
Step 5—Removing & Repairing Shutter Screw Holes
You need to drill-out the older screw anchors in the surrounding walls. Use a pair of pliers to pull out the screw anchors. Remove any bits of the displaced plastic nails that might be stuck in the hole. You need to fill these holes even if you plan to re-install the shutters. Loosened holes can compromise the stance of a shutter, apart from providing a nesting site for pests. Ideally, you should fill the holes with some silicone. This is the best way to prepare a new surface to install new screws needed for re-mounting vinyl shutters. If you don’t plan to reinstall the shutters, fill the holes and repair the surrounding surface with masonry putty.