Category Archives: Guides & Tips

Simple Repair Tips for Exterior Shutters that Have Come Off

Have your shutters come looseIf you have exterior shutters on your Toronto home that have come loose lately or come off, especially during this past winter, there are a few simple repair tips to keep in mind. Depending on the type of exterior shutters you have in your home, it may very well be an opportunity to completely strip them down, repaint them, and place almost new looking shutters back up come the nice spring, warm weather.

Evaluate the condition of the shutter.

If one shutter has come loose or broken off, take it inside and determine what kind of condition it is in. If it is in relatively poor condition, it’s a safe bet that the other shutters on your home are also in bad condition.

If it’s a vinyl shutter, it may very well be time to consider natural wood shutters. Vinyl shutters don’t offer the same quality craftsmanship that natural wood shutters offer, and even though they may be fixed and nonfunctional, those natural wood shutters will offer your home an incredible benefit for curb appeal and value.

If the condition of the shutters are decent, and they are wood, you can take this opportunity to completely sand them down, repaint them, and then install what appears to be almost new shutters.

When it comes to basic repair, you may need to replace hardware that has ripped from the house. If the hardware on the shutter itself appears intact, check the hardware on the house. You may need to slightly reposition the shutters or the hardware on the shutters if brackets or screw threads have stripped out on the house itself.

If the shutter appears to have separated slightly in a certain area, apply a small bead of glue and try to affix the shutter in place. If the frame doesn’t move, using a rubber mallet, it may be time to try taking apart the shutter and rebuilding it from scratch. That would require sanding down glue points and repairing any potential damage that occurred as a result of the outside elements, and in that case it may be more cost-effective to consider replacing them with new shutters.

Stripping Down and Repainting Old Shutters Will be Time Consuming, but It’s Worth It

stripping and repainting old shuttersYou purchased your Toronto area home a few years ago. You’ve invested a significant amount of money in it and have been steadily working to improve the condition of just about the entire house itself. This could include exterior work, yard work, renovating the kitchen, remodeling the bathroom, and much more.

If you’ve reached a point where you’re trying to determine whether to strip down and repaint old wood shutters (whether they are in the inside or outside of the house) you may be leaning toward replacing them.

You might be thinking that replacing those wood shutters with less expensive vinyl shutters would be a reasonable solution. In truth, vinyl shutters may look okay in manuals, catalogs, pictures, or even on the showroom floor, but once they are installed on your house and you get a close-up look at them you’ll notice a significant difference between those and natural wood shutters.

Stripping down and repainting old shutters can seem like a tremendous investment of time and effort. However, depending on the wood used and the quality of the shutters, it could very well be worth the effort.

If the shutters are extremely old but appear to be in generally good condition (no warping, cracking of the wood, or other major problems,), it’s worth taking the time to sand them down and repaint them. If you’re going to do this, though, be sure to take your time and remove all of the old paint from those shutters.

There are a number of chemicals and solutions that can help strip paint more easily. You can apply this solution to the shutters, wait the specified amount of time, and then begin to scrape off the paint from them. Once that’s done, a light sanding should be more than enough to bring them back to almost new condition. Then, once you repaint them and reinstall them on the house, you will be able to step back and be proud of your workmanship.

Damaged Shutters? Hire the Right Professionals to Repair Them

do it yourselferFrom time to time interior and exterior shutters are going to get damaged. If you have wood shutters on the inside of your home, you’ve made a good investment and they should last a long time. However, as the years march on and the more use that the shutters see, the more wear and tear they will be exposed to.

If you’re talking about exterior shutters, severe weather, especially the kind we experience in Toronto, such as ice storms, freezing rain, torrential winds, and much more can do an incredible amount of damage to the exterior portions of your home, including the shutters.

Exterior shutters are usually nonfunctional. That means the slats won’t move and those shutters will not be meant to draw closed over the windows. As a result they’re much easier to repair than interior wood shutters that are designed with many functionalities in mind.

The common mistake homeowners make.

One of the most common mistakes Toronto homeowners make when they look to have somebody come to their home and repair their interior shutters is hiring the cheapest contractor they can find. That’s because they don’t want to spend a significant amount of money repairing these window treatments.

In truth, the contractor who doesn’t have any real, direct experience working with shutters may very well be skilled in a variety of carpentry aspects, but shutters are precision units. They deserve to have somebody who knows what they’re doing working on them to repair them in the best way possible.

If you end up trying to save money with a cheaper contractor to repair those interior wood shutters, you may be disappointed with their functionality afterward.

Keeping them looking and operating as they were designed requires regular maintenance, but sometimes it demands a bit more. If that’s the case right now, contact Canada Custom Shutters and have an experienced professional come to your home, analyze the condition of the shutters, and offer you an honest quote to repair them.

An Overview of Common Shutter Terms: O-Z

reasons-to-choose-woodThis is the second part of a two-part series that aims to help those looking into interior or exterior shutters for their Toronto home understand the terminology and options, which will help to ensure that they make the right decision about which type, style, or even size shutters they want in their home.

Below are common shutter terms from O through Z.

Paint. Most people know, generally, what paint is. When it comes to shutters, if you choose vinyl shutters you will be able to choose the color of them, but it won’t have anything to do with paint. There is almost no limit to the colors of paint you can apply to wood shutters, but the most common is some shade of white.

Panel. The panel of a shutter is essentially one entire unit that consists of the frame, slats, top rail, and tilt bar. Most shutters contain more than one panel.

Plantation Shutter. This style of shutter is also commonly referred to as a California shutter. It has generally thick and wide slats and are considered more elegant in style.

Rabbet. This is a cut or groove that is placed along the edge of a stile between multiple panels. The purpose of this is to help reduce the amount of light that can penetrate past the shutters.

Rail. This is a horizontal bar that is situated across the top, center, and bottom of the panel. It essentially composes of what seems to be a frame for the slats.

Shutter Unit. A shutter unit consists of all necessary components that work together in order to cover up an entire window. It will include the frame, top rail, hardware, slats, and everything else of the shutter itself.

Single Tier. Having a single tier shutter means you’ll have one single unit covering the entire window, rather than two or more independent shutter panels.

Square. When measuring windows, you may hear about this term. It basically means that a window is considered square when the difference between the largest and smallest measurement is no more than half a centimeter. That also means that both diagonal measurements for the window will differ by less than half a centimeter as well.

Stile. This is the groove that is commonly found along either side of a shutter panel.

Tilt Bar. This is a vertical bar that is associated near the center of the slats, or louvers, and is used to manipulate those louvers to allow air and sunlight into the room.

Window Jamb. This is the portion of the window opening where the shutters will generally be attached to.

If you have any other questions about terms you here with regard to exterior or interior shutters, contact Canada Custom Shutters.

 

An Overview of Common Shutter Terms: A-M

california-650This article is the first in a two-part series designed to help explain various common shutter terms you may come across when shopping for interior or exterior shutters for your home.

This article contains terms from A through M.

Bottom Rail. This is a portion of the shutter that runs along the bottom. It looks like the bottom part of the frame, but it’s actually called the rail.

Brasswood. This is a type of strong and straight hardwood used in making most shutters.

Café Style. A shutter that only covers the lower portion of a window.

Divider Rail. When you notice the fixed position board between the upper and lower moveable slats, this is called the divider rail.

Double Tier. A window shutter unit that contains and upper and lower portion, both independently functioning of each other.

Finish. The paint or stain of the wood shutter.

Frame. This is used for mounting full height custom style shutters to the outside of a window opening.

Hanging Hinge. This is part of the hardware that connects the shutter to the window frame.

Hang Strip. Usually used on café style shutter units, this vertical strip extends the length of the shutter and is hinged on the outside of the stile. The strip is screwed into the wall or window jamb.

Hardwood. The type of wood that is commonly used for quality shutters.

Height. The length or space between the top of the window opening to the bottom, based on the specific style of shutter being considered.

Hinge. A two-leaf device that allows the shutter to connect to the window frame or jamb that will also allow it to be opened and closed.

Louvre. The moveable (or immoveable, depending on the type of shutter you choose) slat is called the louvre.

Mortise. The outside edge of the shutter that affixes to the window frame is referred to as the mortise.

A Brief History of Wood Shutters

history of shuttersIt’s not really essential for someone to know the history of the products they purchase, but when it comes to wood shutters, it’s interesting. The more you know about some of the items in your home, the better it’s going to be for you when it comes time for guests to show up, be amazed at how incredible your house looks, and remark on how wonderful those shutters look.

Then you can really impress them with a bit of a history lesson.

Shutters actually began way back in ancient Greece. During those years (thousands of years ago), they were constructed of marble and were basically used for controlling the amount of light that entered a home. It also provided some important protection against storms in that semi-tropical environment right along the Mediterranean Sea.

Those early shutters had fixed louvers, which meant they couldn’t be opened and closed like slats today. Through the years, the concept of shutters began to expand and wood started replacing marble, not just for expense but for practicality. Soon those louvres were able to be opened and closed.

Shutters had two primary functions during their early years: ventilating the house or building and controlling light. When the louvres were angled downward, they could also shed rainwater and prevent it from getting into the home while also allowing fresh air in.

During Medieval Europe, windows were getting larger and shutters were used for protection, since they didn’t utilize glass yet. In Tudor times, glass became more widely used for windows and shutters helped protect that glass from the elements. Once hinged glazed sashes began to be used more frequently to replace outdoor shutters, interior shutters started to increase in popularity, but more from a design standpoint, rather than something functional.

Through the Southern part of the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries, plantation shutters became important at protecting the home from some of the severe storms that were common in that region. Californians during the Gold Rush began incorporating the same style to protect against the endless gaze of the sun and they became known as California shutters, though they are essentially the same as plantation shutters.

Today, shutters are mostly about design rather than function, though they can protect against sunlight, heat, and can even offer energy efficiency. Shutters have been around a long time and because of that, today’s shutters are a great addition to any home.

 

Risks vs. Benefits of Installing Shutters Yourself

installing shutters on a budgetIn today’s economy, it is tempting to try to do as many things around your house yourself. While you may be experienced with various home improvement projects, installing interior or exterior shutters may not be something that you should take on lightly.

There are several myths and misconceptions about installing shutters that far too many Toronto area homeowners have. The most common is they believe that installing shutters is simple. This is not true. While the basic concept of installing the shutters is relatively basic, it is absolutely essential that precision is adhered to.

If you don’t install the shutters with the utmost precision, then they will not look as ideal within the window frame or against the window itself as they could or should.

If you are talking about plantation shutters, it is even more important to have them installed precisely. Now let’s talk about the risks versus the benefits of installing shutters yourself.

Benefits

The main benefit that most people find when they install interior shutters themselves is that they don’t have to pay for an installer to come out to their home to do this for them.

That is essentially the only benefit that you are going to get, but keep in mind that if you don’t install them accurately, you may find that certain functions don’t work properly, that they just don’t look right in the window frame (crooked), or you will have to take them down and call a professional installer, anyway.

Risks

There are several risks with regard to installing interior wood shutters on your own. First and foremost is that you could end up damaging the shutter while you are trying to install it.

Most shutters have some small, sensitive parts that could become damaged during the installation process, especially if you don’t have a great deal of experience installing shutters.

The other main risk has been noted already, and that is the fact that if they are not installed properly, the just will not look quite right in the window. In fact, a shutter that is installed crooked might not open or close properly. It might also be an eyesore to the point where you replace your old drapery just to cover it up.

When you purchase shutters from an experienced shutter company, such as Canada Custom Shutters, the minor investment in having them professionally installed in your home is well worth it considering the various risks involved in doing it yourself.

3 Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining Your Interior Wood Shutters

tips for maintaining shuttersIn order to ensure that your interior wood shutters last as long as possible, you need to maintain them. Maintenance is relatively simple and requires regular cleaning.

Not much is really needed to properly clean interior wood shutters. Most of the time you are not going to require any type of harsh cleaning solutions. Chemicals and other cleansers can actually erode the texture and integrity of the shutters over time. Basically all you need to do is use a wet soft cloth and a little bit of water.

Take the cloth and gently wipe down the panels individually. Hold the shutter panels open so that you can reach each one independently. Do not place any significant pressure on the panels as this can damage the hardware and connection points.

If you haven’t cleaned your interior wood shutters in some time, you can use a mild soap. Make sure that you avoid furniture polish or anything with lemon or lemon oil in it.

It is best to clean your shutters at a time when you can either open the window or have a fan blowing on them so that they dry completely as quickly as possible. Even though they are painted, you don’t want moisture sitting on the shutters for any longer than it has to. Most interior wood shutters that are stained or painted are nonporous at that point, but there is no reason to allow moisture to sit on them longer than necessary.

Once you wipe down the entire surface of the shutter, you can clean it or dry it off with a soft terry cloth towel or rag. For stubborn stains, you may need to use a harsh chemical. If so, check how the chemical will react to the wood on a hidden part of the shutter first. If no damage occurs, then use that to clean off the stain.

Color Choices for Most Interior Wood Shutters

color for shuttersThere are many advantages to installing interior wood shutters in your home. Not only do these offer a classic and elegant interior design option, they are also versatile.

Unlike curtains and drapes, which have a certain color or pattern that will need to be replaced if you change the interior decor of your room, such as the furniture, interior wood shutters can be painted to just about any color that you want.

Depending on the type and style of interior shutters that you choose for your home, you will have a base line of colors to choose from. The most common color choice is white for interior shutters. However, you can also choose from cream, black, tan, brown, and natural wood stain from most manufacturers.

Depending on the company that you choose to purchase your interior shutters from, you may have other basic colors that you can choose as well. You may decide on a custom color that the manufacturer doesn’t offer. The company from which you purchased your shutters may be able to paint those shutters in the exact color match that you want before they deliver and install them in your home.

Beyond the almost limitless range of color options that you have when it comes to interior wood shutters, you also have the luxury of changing the color whenever you want. You may decide that the couch you have in the family room would be better suited in the living room and decided to change them. The couch might have been white and the living room couch is a burgundy color. Switching these can actually change the entire dynamic of the interior decor of that room.

If you have plain white shutters with the white couch it might be a bit too much. Therefore, you don’t have to change the window covering; all you need to do is repaint the shutters to the color you believe will complement the new design layout best.

The Different Parts of a Shutter

traditional diagramKnowing what the different parts of a shutter are is a good idea when you begin shopping around for interior wood shutters. The more that you know about these parts, the more you will understand what the salesperson is talking about and what you’re reading about if you look online for the best deals.

Louvers

These are the ‘blades’ of the shutters. On plantation shutters, you will find that the sizes range from 6.5 centimeters to 11.5 centimeters, approximately. For other types of shutters, the louver sizes can be smaller.

Tilt Bar

The tilt bar will generally be in the center of the shutter, but it can also be toward the side or hidden toward the rear. This bar controls how you open and close the louvers of the shutter.

Top and Bottom Rails

These are essentially the frame of the shutter. The louvers run parallel to the top and bottom rails.

Divider Rail

This is a frame piece that runs through the center of the shutter. Not all shutters will have a divider rail, though. For those that do, however, the top and bottom louvers (above and below the divider rail) will operate independently from one another. This can offer more control for light and privacy.

The Frame

The frame of the shutter essentially surrounds these components and completes the ensemble. It also helps to keep everything together so that you have a great looking interior wood shutter in your home.