Zen and the Art of Shutter Maintenance
Published: March 27, 2020
Anything worth having is worth taking care of. And everything in the world made by the hands of human beings need maintenance. It is as simple as that. These principles apply to everything: space stations, cars, candlesticks, dinner plates, the Great Pyramids of Giza. All of it. And wooden shutters arenâ€™t exempt from maintenance.
Maintenance does not need to be a painful thing. When you wash a dinner plate, check to see its not broken, and place it carefully in its cabinet, you have just performed maintenance. It can be that simple. Maintenance is part of many daily activities, including tasks so mundane that we seldom give them consideration. When you take a shower or bath, you are performing maintenance on your body. Maintenance is part of living, a part that we often do not even think about.
Take a look
Shutter maintenance should be just one more small task on your existing home maintenance routine. When you take that moment to see how your house is doing - if you donâ€™t do this, you really should - simply allow a couple of seconds check your shutters as well.
The first, and most important, aspect of maintenance: visual inspection. Step out and slowly walk around the house. Start at the Front door and walk around the house slowly. Give it a good look. give the shutters the same consideration you would the rest of your home. Is the paint faded? Are there any cracks? Is that a new hole? Is there any rust or other deterioration on or around the hardware? Many issues present visual signs before they get too serious, so catch these problems early and prevent a bigger expense later.
Ideally, you have the time to inspect your house many times throughout the year. If you would rather spend your summers in the backyard reading a good book though, the best times for inspection are Fall and Spring. Fall makes sense because seeing how your home is doing before serious weather sets in is never a bad idea. That gives you some time to act before the snow, ice and cold hit.
A Spring inspection lets you catch any damage from winterâ€™s punishment and address it early. If you have to choose just one time to check your home, make it springtime. Of course, this is geared towards climates with cold Winters and pleasant Summers. If youâ€™re reading this from someplace where the temperature varies less, inspect your shutters before and after the season with the harshest weather - the rainy season, for example.
Another thing to consider is unusually harsh storms. If youâ€™re able to get out and do a quick visual inspection following high winds, ice, or hail we suggest you do. Particularly if any shutters were left unsecured in a high wind - check that as soon as possible.
Know the signs
Visual inspection is merely the first step in preventative maintenance. The whole point being to prevent greater damage, and also cost, down the road. If your house collapses in a pile of splinters one day, yes, you now know there was a problem, but at that point its too late. The same applies to shutters. Don't wait till they are lying on the ground before deciding there is an issue. If there is a crack then the shutter may have been struck by something, or the mounting has failed, or any number of things could have happened. Wooden shutters are durable, and they can be fixed, but only if you know they need to be fixed.
So, what are you looking for? Fortunately, itâ€™s not complicated. a few key items to check:
- Check that it is still mounted correctly
- Check condition of your paint
- Look for visible cracks
- Make sure no birds or insects are making a home in or on your shutter
- Bird droppings can also cause damage to the paint, so check for that
- Basically, use your common sense. If it does not look right, then you might have a problem.
Probably the most important thing you can check is the paint job on your shutters. Is it faded or cracked? If so, time for a new coat of paint. The same will probably be true for your house as well. If you need to repaint your house, repaint your shutters too. Paint on Wood is one of the oldest and best ways to preserve a house, or anything made of wood. Paint keeps moisture and bugs out. So if the paint is going, then a problem is starting.
Insects and birds can also do a lot of damage. The insects damage your shutters by chewing on wood and birds do it with their acid-filled droppings. If either are visiting your shutters, and seem to have made a home there, try and encourage them to move on. Wash off any droppings that our feathered friends left behind before they become a permanent addition to your shutters.
If you see water pooling on your shutters, you need to act. Water pooling on wood is never good, it seeps into the wood and the wood expands, bursting paint and creating holes. Bugs and bacteria move into those holes, and trouble starts. So, if there is a leaking gutter above your shutters, make a point to get that gutter fixed! If lots of water pooled on your shutter somehow, then repaint it, and consider getting Copper Caps for your shutters. They look good, and they protect a shutter from pooling water.
All this is quite basic, and quite important. To solve a problem you have to know about the problem. So taking the time to check your shutters and your house is time well spent. Do that, and you will get a lot of use out of both. And maybe, just maybe, you will be on the road to becoming a Zen Master with a nice house and Great Shutters!
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