How to Repair Plantation Shutters


Plantation shutters add grace to a room and filter in the light to protect the interior from harsh light and intense heat. Although they are fairly durable, they need occasional repair and maintenance to keep them looking good. Missing or loose shutter staples, a broken tilt bar and damaged louvers can cause shutters to stop working properly and add a shabby, unkempt look to a room. With a few inexpensive tools and supplies, you can keep your shutters looking as good as new.

Things You'll Need

  • Shutter staples
  • Super glue gel
  • Paper plate
  • Sharpened pencil or orange stick (used on fingernails)
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Wood filler
  • Utility knife
  • Vise grips
  • Wire cutter
  • Louver replacement kit
  • Drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Paint to match your shutter color

Staple Repair

  • Move the tilt rod so the shutter louvers are fully open. Find the side that gives you the best access to the staple holes by gently rolling the tilt rod to the left and right. If you’re replacing a staple that’s still there but is damaged, remove the staple with pliers.

  • Grasp the new louver staple on the top (crown) with the pliers and place a drop of glue on both ends of the staple.

  • Place the new louver staple through the center of the staple that’s in the tilt rod and feed it into the two holes in the louver. Push the staple straight in, but don’t force it.

Damaged Louver

  • Repair superficial damage with wood filler. If the louver is missing large chunks of wood or the shutter pin or staple have been torn out and have damaged the wood, you’ll need to replace the louver.

  • Remove a damaged louver by cutting the louver staple through the center with wire cutters and gently spreading the staple apart.

  • Remove the shutter panel and place it on a flat surface. Cut the nylon pins that attach the louver to the stile (the structural right and left parts of a plantation shutter panel) with a utility knife. Always cut away in a downward motion. Take the louver out of the panel.

  • Remove both sides of the louver staple with a vise grip. Pull the staple parts straight out without bending, twisting or prying.

  • Install the replacement louver. Position the tilt rod so all louvers are open, then place the small end of the nylon pin in a hole at the end of the louver. Place the fat end of the repair pin (which is spring-loaded) in the hole on the side of the shutter. Drill the hole deeper if the repair pin doesn’t fit. Depress the repair pin and move the louver (with the nylon pin in the stile) over until you hear the nylon pin pop into the louver hole. Paint your replacement louver and replace the shutter once the paint has dried.

Tilt Rod Damage

  • Move the tilt rod so the shutter louvers are tilted in the same direction (up or down) at a 45-degree angle.

  • Grasp the new staple on the top (crown) with the pliers and place a drop of glue on both ends of the staple.

  • Insert the staple with one hand while holding the tilt rod in position in the other, pushing the staple through the staple in the louver from behind, then into the staple holes in the tilt rod. Push the staple into the tilt rod and put a drop of glue over the staple with a sharpened pencil or orange stick.

Tips & Warnings

  • To find the correct size staple you’ll need, place different sizes of staples in the holes. The correct size will fit easily and stick out the same distance as the rest of the staples in the shutter.
  • Make glue application easier by putting a small amount on a paper plate and dipping the ends of the staples into the glue.
  • Louver replacement kits will have everything you need to replace louvers.
  • Always wear safety glasses when drilling.

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