Although plastic window shutters need less maintenance than wooden ones, they are made from a variety of different polymers and the requirements may be different for each.
Plastic window shutters are an excellent alternative to wooden ones if their chief purpose is decorative. They are easy to install and low-maintenance. Nevertheless, even plastic shutters will need occasional attention to keep them looking in tip-top condition. The good news is that whether it’s a quick wash or a repaint, the job is easy enough to do yourself.
Removing Decorative Window Shutters
Regardless of what needs doing to your shutters, you will need to take them off the house first. It is dangerous to paint or clean them whilst they are still in place, and you will be able to do a far better – and quicker – job if you remove them.
Fortunately, decorative shutters are generally fastened in place with just four screws or shutter spikes, one in each corner. All you have to do is unscrew them and lift them down. They should be light enough to manage this with one person.
Washing your Shutters
Start by washing your shutters with warm, soapy water and a sponge. Do not use any abrasive cleaning fluids, solvents or detergents – these can damage the plastic. If you need to, use a stiff brush to dislodge any dirt trapped in the corners. Allow them to dry before you progress to the next step.
UPVC Window Shutters
Some types of plastic window shutter cannot be painted. UPVC and polypropylene shutters are two common examples. The colour is an integral part of the plastic, so they do not need it. Moreover, these shutters expand and contract slightly with the changing temperature – meaning any paint would soon flake off. After some years, you may notice that plastic shutters fade in the sun.
There is little you can do about this, since it is due to a chemical change in the top layer of the plastic. A gentle sand down may improve the colour, but if you are dissatisfied with the appearance then you will ultimately have to replace them.
Styrene shutters must be painted, but hold the paint well and so will not need maintaining as often as wooden shutters. More importantly, the paint’s function is mainly decorative rather than protective. Wooden shutters will rot if you don’t look after them; plastic window shutters won’t. For the best results use an oil-based exterior paint suitable for timber – do not use a vinyl-based paint or spray paint.
Allow the paint to dry completely before replacing the shutter. If you are painting them for the first time, start by wiping the shutters down with a weak solution of ammonia or white vinegar, rinsing them and allowing them to dry. Then apply a coat of exterior grade primer. Finally, when the primer is dry (check the maker’s instructions for how long to wait), apply the exterior paint.
Replacing your Shutters
Re-installing your plastic window shutters is extremely simple. All you need to do is screw them back onto the wall using the existing holes. The only problem you might have is the shutters’ weight making it awkward to put in the first screw. This can be overcome by balancing them on a ladder or hanging one corner of the shutter on a nail.