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How To Restore Victorian Wood Shutters

Learn how to restore damaged shutters and re-install them with specialized shutter hardware.

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  • Time


  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Salvage the Louvers

Remove the replacement louvers (Image 1) from any other shutters that are beyond repair. The objective is to install the salvaged louver onto the shutter where replacements are needed. Because the shutter being repaired is already assembled, the dowels of the replacement louver (Image 2) must be shortened slightly so that they can be fit into the existing holes on the shutter frame. Remove any brad nails that may still be on the shutters. Use a pry-bar to protect the adjacent wood as the brad nails are carefully removed using pliers (Image 3).

Step 2: Sand the Dowels

Sand the dowels on the ends of the salvaged louver with 100-grit sandpaper to remove paint and prep the louver for installation. Check the sanded dowel for fit in the opening (Image 1). Because the dowels are still too long to permit insertion into the frame (Image 2), remove a small amount of the dowel tip using a utility knife (Image 3). Re-sand the tip smooth with 100-grit sandpaper. The louver can now be inserted into position in the shutter (Image 4).

Step 3: Add the Control Rod

Attach the louver control-rod to the salvaged louver using wire staples. To fasten the louver to the pull-rod, gently remove the existing wire staple from the louver and apply polyurethane glue to the wire. Then reinsert the wire, first catching the wire loop on the pull-rod, then pushing the wire into its original holes. Repeat to replace any other damaged louvers.

add control rod

Step 4: Recondition the Other Shutters

Clean and inspect the condition of the shutters and remove the old hardware. Sand and/or scrape to remove loose paint. Glue loose joints with polyurethane glue. Repair cracks and damaged wood with two-part epoxy wood filler. Sand the repairs smooth. Prime and paint the shutters.

Step 5: Install the Shutters

Determine how the shutters will be mounted to the window -- surface or flush mount. Select the appropriate style hinges for your shutter installation requirements (Image 1). Fasten the hinges as per manufacturer's instructions to the window frame (Image 2) and to the shutters (Image 3). Install additional hardware to keep the shutters open or closed as needed. In our case, ordinary eye-hooks were used to hold the shutters secure in closed position. Once installation is complete, check the shutters for proper operation.