How to Fix Plantation Shutters?

  • What characterizes plantation shutters is that they have a wood louver made of tilt. They are similar to the slats on blinds, yet, unlike them, shutters are fitted directly to the frame of windows. As a result, we don’t open them with a pull-string, but vertically, like doors.
  • Wood shutters have the potential as a long-term investment. These shutters can replace traditional blinds and curtains.
  • Plantation shutters have probably never been as popular in the US as they are now. So it looks like years to come is the best time to be both practical and fashionable by getting these shutters!

Why “plantation shutter”?

For starters, in this post, let’s break down why we call plantation shutters this way. Where does it come from? 

Does the way we call these shutters have anything to do with the plantation and agriculture?

Yes and no. “Plantation shutters” relates to the southern part of the US. Since years ago, people have been experiencing extreme temperatures there. In search of a solution, it became popular to decorate a window with plantation shutters. They simply have it all:

  • aesthetic appeal, and 
  • insulating qualities;

What are plantation shutters made of?

Plantation shutters come in a wide range of durable and affordable materials. 

Among the most commonly used materials for shutters, there are:

  • MDF,
  • vinyl,
  • plastic (such as PVC),
  • metal,
  • Insulite―a premium dense polymer that feels a bit like natural timber;
  • different types of wood (basswood, poplar, teak)

Some people prefer more traditional wood shutters. However, keep in mind that the cost of these shutters will be more elevated. 

Wooden materials are generally known to be less affordable than others. But, we all know the deal when it comes to money: With the higher cost usually comes higher quality. 

Read without tension some more quality related articles (not only about shutters) that we post on our blog:

Check also House Rituals blog for more free tips.

Important: Why else do people choose a wood frame material for a plantation shutter? It’s common for users to pick these shutters, mainly if they deal with a period property. MFD or vinyl materials for shutters tend to look jarring and unsuitable.

Advantages of plantation shutters

We wouldn’t have gone so crazy for this kind of shutters if it wasn’t for their quality and particular features. 

Let’s review the most crucial factors for these shutters for the windows frame option.

Temperature adjustment factor

For starters, plantation shutters have the unique ability to keep the room both:

  • cool during the summer, 
  • warm during the winter;

By simply opening and closing them, you retain a comfortable room temperature in an instant.

Made to measure

Another advantage of these shutters is that you can buy them to measure and be sure they are good to go without getting artificially tighten. 

It translates to the luxurious feel of this product. You can adjust the size of a new shutter to custom windows. It makes the whole experience special. 

Anytime you have an idea to get yourself this type of shutters, just measure your window, order, and you’re free to go. There is no extra search in the stores and trying to fit the ready project into custom panels (so frustrating!).

Easy to install

A shutter panel, once arrived at your property, is ready to install and tighten to perfection. What’s more, you can do it entirely by yourself, even if your do-it-yourself skills are, well, developed less than average (it could be helpful, but it’s not necessary).

Thanks to:

  • magnets and magnet plates in position,
  • pre-hinged installation setting on the frame,

the shutter installation process is free of technical complications and as easy as pie.

Low maintenance

You love it, admit it. Furniture and interior design pieces that need little to no maintenance are our favorites. 

Once installed, plantation shutters are precisely that―low maintenance shutters by default. They need no screws to the loose parts; there is no tension and no extra work (until there is, but we will get to it later). So feel free to use them on your window frame for many years without extra repair.

Lit space and good atmosphere

But these shutters wouldn’t be so popular only because they are practical. Keep in mind that humans are led by emotions that pop in and out spontaneously. Wood, MDF, or vinyl shutters bring light and a sense of spaciousness to a room when you let the outside in. On the other hand, when you close your shutters searching for privacy, no light can break in, and the noise disappears completely. 

It looks like they do their job well, don’t they?

Warranty

The more expensive and customized the product, the more probable it is that you can adjust the warranty of shutters to your needs. That would protect you from getting anxious every time you see your beloved shutters get loose. Also, some people are “allergic” to screws, and the tension from not being able to repair one’s house can be unsupportable. In other words, sometimes it’s just easier to give a call to the customer service than screw slats by ourselves. 

The team that sells you your chosen plantation shutters will be open to your questions and suggestions (don’t be surprised if you hear “give us a call if you like the look”). It’s not a random plastic item but a serious deal, so customer care should behave accordingly. 

How to fix a broken shutter panel?

Plantation shutters are great, but nothing is unbreakable. With time, as the tension of wood or plastic goes down and they become loose, one (or more) of the louvers may end needing repairs and tightening actions. Maybe not now, but in years to come. Anyway, get ready for repairs and louvers panel tightening sooner or later. 

At this point, you’ll have to fix it, and our team is here to help. 

Just as the installation process wasn’t demanding, don’t worry, so it is a shutter repair project even if you’re known for not being a genius in the house repairs DIY department.

How is a shutter made?

For starters, a few words of explanation.

The louver pins are what keeps the shutter louvers attached to the shutter panel. 

How do you know that a louver pin in a shutter is damaged and needs repair? You can be sure about it if the louver is crippled and dangling from the frame. 

Otherwise, when it works well, it’s connected to the window frame horizontally.

How do I start fixing the shutter?

We’ll go step by step, so even the least experienced DIY specialist gets what’s the deal about. 

First, gently remove the damaged louver pin. Take it out from both the gap in the louver and the side piece (it’s called a “stile”).

You can do it with:

  • a utility knife,
  • needle-nose pliers;

Now, as you have removed both of them, we can pass to the next part.

Spring-loaded plantation shutter pins

What are they and how to use them to repair your plantation shutters? 

The goal is to make our louvers get back to having a full range of motion. We can make it happen with the new louver pin. Thanks to the brand-new construction, it could move up and down with the tilt rod and other louvers.

Our experience shows that when the shutter gets loose, and some panels need a repair, it may appear frustrating to try to stick them back to their place in the shutter. 

That’s why someone came up with these pins. You can also hear about them being referred to as “louver repair pins.” 

These are small items that allow you to gently push the pin flush with the inside of the shutter frame and have it fixed. Next, you need to move louvers over the pin. 

Insert the replacement pin base into the gap in the shutter stile (the vertical part), then guide the louver onto the pin, pushing down the spring-loaded pin until it goes into old holes. It will pop into the hole and secure louvers in place.

Important: Have you noticed that you needed no head screwdriver? Dealing with this type of window shutters is simple and doesn’t require additional tools.

So, again, briefly:

  1. insert them into the plantation shutter frame, 
  2. put one side of the slat into a pin,
  3. flatten out the other pin (use a knife or card),
  4. slide the slat down into place;

So? Do you like your shutters fixed?

Tip: The spring-loaded pins can happen to be wider than the ones that were inside originally. You may need a little drill first to be able to open up the hole.

You can always reach out for more info on the blog focused on plantation shutters repairs and read comments with advice.

Fixing a damaged shutter magnet

Dangling, loosen louvers shutters isn’t the only issue to fix that you could come across, though. 

Another problem is if your shutter doesn’t “snap” shut and stay shut.

If this is your case, the problem could be a crippled louvers magnet.

Tip: Often, it’s not the magnet that is damaged but its plastic housing on your window frame. If the magnet is attached to the shutter stile while it swings open, you’ve got a broken magnet casing.

How to deal with it?

First off, un screw the damaged magnet housing from your frame. The simplest way to fix it is to use a head screwdriver. 

Now take the damaged casing and magnet out. Just remove it, and you’re halfway there. 

At this point, you need a replacement magnet set. It always comes complete; there is both magnet and casing. 

Fit the new magnet into the same holes using your screwdriver. Make it tight. Avoid it being loose, but also don’t push the screws in too far.

Fixing a broken tilt rod staple

If you have to change a shutter staple, the task is a bit harder (yet, still, it’s a reasonably straightforward and doable job for a DIYer). 

Important: Why is it so hard? Its small size may appear unhandy for the big fingers of a DIYer. In this case, it’s much better to be slightly built. 

How do you know you need to change a tilt rod staple? 

You’ll realize it if one of your louvers doesn’t tilt with the rest of the louvers when you adjust the tilt rod.

What do you need to change a staple?

  • a pair of bent needle-nose pliers, 
  • adhesive (wood glue, super glue, or two-part epoxy);

Now, there are two possibilities:

  1. If you need to replace the staple attached to the louver, work from the front of the shutter. By the “front,” we mean the side that faces the interior of your home. 
  2. If you’re changing the staple attached to the tilt rod, approach it from the back of the shutter. You guess that it’s the side that faces your window when it’s closed.

Now let’s go step by step to tighten our loose shutters. It’s only a few points; you won’t even notice then it’s all tight and shiny again:

  1. Remove any remains of the broken staple from the shutter.
  2. Coat the legs of the replacement staple in adhesive. 
  3. Take needle-nose pliers and guide the new staple through the loop of its partner and guide its legs into the existing staple holes.  

Tip: If the gaps are too large for the replacement staple, you have two options. You can use a little wood putty to fill the hole before putting the staple in. Another idea is to forgo a replacement staple for a screw-in eyelet. The latter can quickly hook on the other staple.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The main factor for their cost is the material they are made of. However, it also depends on where you buy them and whether you especially customized them for a specific window. They cost from $70 to $420 per window.
The good thing is that these shutters have been used since ever, and as long as they fit the style of particular architecture of your housing, they never go out of style.
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