Exterior shutters were once a practical necessity, used by homeowners throughout history for privacy, ventilation and protection from weather. These functional shutters endured daily wear and tear as they opened and closed, and any issues affecting their performance need to be addressed immediately.
In modern times, shutters are mostly decorative, but that doesn’t mean you can just hang them and forget about them forever. Even the highest-quality shutters eventually outlive their lifespan and come to a point where they need to be replaced — especially if they weren’t properly installed or maintained.
How do you know that time has arrived? Here are four telltale signs that a shutter upgrade might be in order.
The longevity of exterior shutters depends on a number of factors. Chief among them: material. If you or your home’s previous owner chose vinyl shutters, it’s probably a good idea to consider an upgrade, no matter how old the shutters happen to be. Vinyl shutters are relatively flimsy and prone to warping, cracking and fading. They’re unlikely to retain a crisp, appealing look after being exposed to the elements for a number of years.
If your shutters are made from natural wood or composite wood, their beauty can endure for up to 20 years with regular upkeep. Shutters should be inspected every year for signs of wear and tear, so if your shutters have been hanging for a decade or more and you haven’t taken a close look at their condition, now’s the time!
Can you restore their original allure with a thorough cleaning, or by touching up the paint? Should you swap out old, rusty tiebacks, locks or pull rings for brand new shutter hardware? Or, is there noticeable structural damage that can’t be fixed by updating the finish or accessories?
That brings us to the second item on our list…
Shutters can work magic for your home’s curb appeal. But they can also have the opposite effect. A home with rotting, chipping, crooked or missing shutters is a total turnoff and even makes a negative statement about the people who live there.
Don’t let this happen to you! Take a walk around the exterior of your home and identify any unsightly shutters that are dragging down the look and feel of your home. If your old shutters are beyond repair, or if re-hanging or re-finishing them won’t bring your curb appeal back up to par, it’s definitely time for a replacement.
Although shutters nowadays are viewed as cosmetic jewelry for a home, rather than essential window coverings, there is still a “right” and “wrong” way to install them. Even if you don’t intend to open and close your shutters, they should still look as if they could close over your window.
Therefore, a properly sized shutter measures half the width of the window opening, and the full height of the window (inside the trim). This is true whether your shutters are functional or fixed mounted to the exterior of your home. For arched windows, shutters should have rounded tops that correspond with the shape of the window.
The importance of these “rules” is easy to see, when you look at a home with poorly sized or installed shutters, versus a home that got it right. Take a look at your shutters; does something seem off? Pull out a tape measure and check out our handy shutter measurement guide.
If you prefer a balanced design or a historically accurate look, replacing poorly sized shutters can make a world of difference!
Did you move into a home that didn’t fully jive with your style? Is your home’s exterior a bit outdated, and you want to hit the reset button with a remodeling project? Replacing old shutters is a great way to dress up the house and express your unique personality.
Options abound when it comes to customizing your new shutters. Choose from a variety of materials, styles and colors. Add a charming cutout design and finish off the look with functional hardware. With a design you love, and shutters that are sized correctly and built to last, you can enjoy many years of incredible curb appeal!