How to Refinish Outdoor Wood Shutters

Protect your shutters from the weather by applying a wood sealer.
Protect your shutters from the weather by applying a wood sealer. (Image: volets, laos image by J-F Perigois from Fotolia.com)

You can protect your outdoor wood shutters from the elements and enhance their overall appearance by finishing them with the appropriate coatings. Before you begin the application process, understand a pair of important points. Exterior shutters are exposed to consistent moisture and varying temperatures. You must apply a secondary topcoat of varnish or polyurethane wood sealer after you apply the stain, or the wood will ultimately take on a weathered, gray appearance. In addition, you must eliminate the old sealer prior to application, or you will have problems with absorption.

Things You'll Need

  • Pressure washer
  • Low-pressure tip
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Palm sander
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Drop cloths
  • 3- to 4-inch oil paintbrush
  • Oil-based stain
  • Mineral spirits
  • Varnish or polyurethane wood sealer

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Wash the exterior wood shutters, using a pressure washer stocked with a low-pressure tip. Wait a full day for the shutters to dry.

Sand the shutters, using a palm sander stocked with 180-grit sandpaper. Sand with the grain of the wood. Stop sanding when the wood shutters appear dull.

Sand the shutters, using a palm sander stocked with 220-grit sandpaper. Sand with the grain of the wood. Stop sanding when the wood shutters feel smooth.

Protect areas adjacent to the shutters with professional painter's tape. Cover the area beneath the shutters with drop cloths.

Coat the outdoor wood shutters with an oil-based stain, using a paintbrush specifically manufactured for applying oil paints. Wait 6 hours for the stained shutters to dry.

Wash the paintbrush with mineral spirits.

Coat the stained exterior wood shutters with varnish or polyurethane wood sealer, using the clean paintbrush. Wait 6 hours for the topcoat to dry and cure.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may also finish the exterior wood shutters with varnish or polyurethane wood sealer only.
  • Be sure to coat the wood shutters with a varnish or polyurethane wood sealer finish after you stain, or the shutters will eventually turn gray.
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