Outdoor Window Shutters: How to Know When to Repair or Replace

What You'll Need
Wire brush

Regular inspection of outdoor window shutters is advised to maintain their appearance and function. There are times when the decision must be made whether to repair or replace that less than perfect shutter. In the end it may come down to the financial aspect of the choice. When it comes to a damaged hurricane shutter, it is advisable to replace it. Although it might be tempting to attempt repair of an outdoor shutter, consider the ultimate cost. Storm shutters especially are not designed to allow for structural repair. Once these outdoor window shutters are structurally unsound, they must be replaced.

Step 1 - Visual Inspection of Shutter Hardware

Look at each of the outdoor window shutters in place. Verify that all hardware is secure and not rusted. For hurricane shutters, check tracks and locks. If the hardware is rusted, it may be repairable with proper cleaning and new protective coating. If the hardware on hurricane shutters is rusted it might be best to just replace the hardware. On a hurricane shutter, the overall integrity of the unit is critical.

Step 2 - Remove Shutters for Closer Inspection

Remove shutters one at a time. Closely inspect the condition of the total unit. If any structural portion of the shutter is damaged, the entire shutter should be replaced. If the damage is cosmetic, you will be able to repair. Any painted shutter should be closely inspected for paint peeling or bubbling.

Step 3 - Repaint Shutters

If the paint is less than pristine, it is best to completely remove all paint and re-coat the shutter. If wood outdoor window shutters have rotted due to paint damage, the shutter will need to be repaired. To repaint a wooden shutter, you must first remove the shutter from the building. Remove all hardware from shutter. Remove all existing paint with sand paper and wire brush. Alternatively, take the shutter to a paint removal professional. These companies usually dip the article into a large vat of chemical paint stripper, which is ideal when there are multiple tight spaces. After the shutter has been completely stripped, prime the wood and allow to dry. Apply finish outdoor paint in 2 coats. Allow paint to dry thoroughly before replacing hardware.

Step 4 - Replace Hardware

If the louvers, frames or locking mechanisms of the outdoor window shutters are damaged or missing, the shutter will need replacing. If, however it is a matter of corrosion, you need only replace affected hardware. After repainting the shutter, apply new hardware per manufacturer's instructions. You may find that the exact hardware is not available, and you will have to possibly re-drill the shutter and the wall for new hardware.

Step 3 - Determine Viability of Storm Shutters

Hurricane shutters should be closely inspected after every storm. If there is any doubt, have the shutters re-certified by a certified inspector. If the shutters do not pass requisite certification, you will, by code have to replace the shutters. If the shutters will not protect your home as rated, it is in your best interest to replace the shutters to ensure your home’s integrity. Be certain that any tracks are clean and that the outdoor window shutters close smoothly and lock easily.