Plantation Shutter Repair
This section will cover the most common repairs for plantation shutters as well as the tools to do the job. Tools to accomplish these tasks can, for the most part, be found in each household or can be inexpensively purchased from your local hardware store.
Missing louver staple connectors.
Determine the size of the replacement staple you should use. The correct size staple, when inserted into the existing staple holes of your louver should protrude approximately the same distance as the rest of the staples in the other louvers in order to maintain proper function of your shutters. If your tilt rod contains an embedded metal strip with eyelets that attach to your louver staple, please skip to the next paragraph for instructions on how to attach/detach the louver staple from the tilt rod. If your tilt rod contains staples, then move your tilt rod and position your louvers in the full open position. Position the louver that is missing its staple so that the staple holes in the leading edge of the louver face the tilt rod. With the louvers in the full open position, gently roll the tilt rod to the right, then to the left. Select the side that gives you the best access to the staple holes in your louver. Using your needle nose pliers, grasp the staple at the crown. Place a small drop of superglue (GEL) on both end of the staple. With the tilt rod rolled to one side as described above, thread the staple through the tilt rod staple, and then into the two holes in the louver. It is important to push the staple straight in. Take your time, and do not force the staple.
Open the shutter panel to gain access to back side. Rotate louver so staple holes in louver are facing away from tilt rod. Using your needle nose pliers, grasp the staple at the crown. Place a small drop of superglue (GEL) on both end of the staple. Push staple into the two holes in the louver. It may be necessary to hold the back side of louver so as to apply back pressure to louver. It is important to push the staple straight in. Take your time, and do not force the staple. First examine the metal strip that is embedded in the tilt rod and ensure that it is not damaged. If any eyelet is missing, or the strip is damaged, replace the tilt rod. Use your needle nose pliers and grasp the bottom of the eyelet and gently bend it away from the tilt rod. Open the eyelet just enough to either connect or disconnect louver. Bending the eyelet too far or frequently will cause it to break so be gentle! Rotate the louver back towards tilt rod. Move louver staple under opened eyelet. Using your needle nose pliers gently close the eyelet.
Missing tilt rod staple connectors.
Determine the size of the replacement staple you should use. The correct size staple, when inserted into the existing staple holes in your tilt rod, should protrude approximately the same as the other staples in the tilt rod in order to maintain proper function of your shutters. Be sure not to select a staple that is too long. A staple that is too long can break through the front of the tilt rod before its desired position is attained. To attach a louver to the tilt rod, position the tilt rod so all louvers are tilted up or down approximately 45 degrees. Using your needle nose pliers, grasp the replacement staple at its crown. Using your other hand, hold the tilt rod in position to receive the staple. Enter the panel from behind with your needle nose pliers containing the replacement staple. Thread the leg of the replacement staple through the staple in the louver, then into the existing staple holes in your tilt rod. Push the staple into the tilt rod approximately 1/8". At this point you may want to place a small amount of super glue on the staple legs prior to fully inserting it.
Removing a louver.
Identify the louver you want to remove from the panel. Using wire-snips cut the louver staple at the center of its crown. Gently spread the staple just far enough to facilitate disconnection from the tilt rod staple. Next, remove the shutter panel and place it on a flat working surface. Using a sharp utility knife, place the blade of the utility knife between the louver and stile and cut the pin with a downward motion. Remove the louver from the panel. Utilize your Vise Grip to remove both halves of louver staple. DO NOT bend, twist, or pry staple. Doing so could cause staple to break. Lock Vise Grips on one half of staple and pull it straight out. Repeat this step for remaining half of staple.
Installing a louver.
Position the tilt rod so that all the louvers are in the full open position. Place the thin end of the nylon shutter pin into one of the holes located at the end of the louver. It does not matter which one you select. Locate the shutter pinhole in the stile. Place the fat end of the spring-loaded replacement pin into one of these holes. With the nylon shutter pin still in the louver, place the fat end of the nylon shutter pin into hole opposite the spring-loaded pin. If you find that the repair pin will not go all the way into your stile hole, simply drill it a bit deeper using a 1/4" drill bit. With the nylon pin in its stile hole, depress the spring-loaded louver pin and move the louver over it until the pin pops into the louver hole.
Replacing a damaged louver.
First asses the damage and determine if you want to try and repair your damaged louver or replace it. If a louver just has superficial surface damage, this can be repaired using wood filler. Replacement of the louver will be necessary if; the louver is missing pieces of wood, the louver staple has ripped out and damaged the louver, the shutter pin has torn out and damaged the louver. Replacement louvers can be ordered that will match your existing louvers, and can be installed easily without any special tools. The instructions that come with each louver replacement kit are written in plain English and are easy to understand.
Shutter louvers will not stay open.
When you move your louvers, you expect them to stay in the position you select. Due to the weight of the tilt rod that is attached to your louvers, and the forces of gravity, the natural tendency is for the louvers to rotate downward and to close. To keep this from happening, manufacturers employ various methods of tensioning louvers when they are manufactured. If your louvers will not stay open, first check for the presence of tension screws. If your panel contains tension screws, you will find them recessed on the outside of each stile. By turning these screws clockwise, you pull the louver(s) closer to the stile. This will causes friction between the louver(s) and stile, and keeps the louvers where you want them.
If this does not help, or Tension Screws do not exist, the next step is to examine the integrity of the panel itself. Look at the joints between the Rails and Stiles. Weak joints can cause the panel to come apart and lose its designed tension between the louvers and stiles. If the Rails and Stiles are separating, our plantation shutter repair kit includes eight panel screws that will allow you to reattach your Rail and Stiles. First clamp the Rail and Stiles in their normal position, ensuring that the panel is square, and the louvers operate properly. Pre-drill a hole through the Stile using a 1/8” size drill bit for each screw to be used. This hole should start on the outside of the stile adjacent to the Rail, keeping it parallel with the Rail and square with the Stile. Finally, screw the Stile and Rail together. A minimum of two screws should be used for each panel corner that is coming apart. The second screw on each corner should be placed below the first, not side by side.
If all Stile/Rail joints are in good shape, check the gap between all the louvers and the two stiles. By inserting tension washers between this gap, you can increase the amount of tension in your panel, and get your louvers to stay open. First cut a notch in one of the tension washers as depicted below. Next select a louver that has a gap slightly smaller than the thickness of the tension washer. Push the washer down over the Louver Pin filling the gap between the Louver and Stile. Keep adding washers to other louvers until sufficient tension is established to keep the louvers from falling down
Removing a tilt rod.
If the damaged tilt rod contains staples, snip the tilt rod staples and remove the damaged tilt rod.
If the damaged tilt rod has an aluminum strip that is connected to your louvers, utilizing your needle nose pliers, grasp the bottom of each aluminum eyelet and bend it away slightly from the tilt rod. This will open the eyelet allowing detachment of each louver from the tilt rod.
Installing a tilt rod
These instructions are contained in the instructions included in tilt rod replacement kit.
Hardware is attached with either flat head, or Phillips head screws. Utilizing a screwdriver remove the panel from hardware. Remember to number your panels in a way so that you will be able to put them back in the same location when re-installing.