How To Tighten Or Repair Loose Louvers On Interior Plantation Shutters

Plantation shutters have been a popular window treatment for many years. They offer lots of great benefits like sun control and extra insulation, which really comes in handy when the weather turns super cold like it has been lately.

If you’ve ever shopped for plantation shutters, you probably know that they are usually made of either wood or a man-made product like vinyl or plastic, sometimes referred to as “polywood.” I’m a big fan of wood shutters because they are usually lighter weight than vinyl or made-made products, which means less problems with panels sagging, especially in larger windows.

Another big advantage wood shutters have over vinyl/plastic shutters is that normally man-made panels do not have a way to adjust or tighten the louvers (tension adjustment screws) if they become loose or begin to sag down over time. It’s pretty inevitable that louvers will eventually start to loosen up over time due to everyday use.

There are a few shutters out there that have springs built into the panels. I’ve always shied away from those because if the spring goes bad, there’s usually nothing you can do but replace the whole panel.

Some less-expensive wood shutters don’t have tension adjustment screws either, so when shopping for shutters it’s important to ask about this feature. If you have wood shutters and you’ve noticed a louver sagging or hanging down, check to see if it has a tension adjustment screw. If it does, you can fix the loose louver in seconds. Let me show you how it works.

Each winter I will notice a section of louvers on a few of the shutter panels I open and close on a regular basis, begin to hang down. The reason this tends to happen this time of year is because wood shrinks in the wintertime. If I did nothing, chances are the tension would improve or maybe fully recover once warm weather/humidity returns in the spring and the wood expands back out again. But it doesn’t always and who wants to look at floppy louvers all winter. Right?

How To Repair A Loose Louver On Interior Plantation Shutters 2

 

If you have a louver panel sagging or hanging down in one of your windows and it won’t stay in an open position as it should, open the panel and look for a little holes(s) down the inside edge of the panel. That’s where you’ll normally find the tension adjustment screws if your panels have them built-in. There’s normally one tension adjustment screw for each section of the panel. You’ll notice below, my shutters have one screw for the top section and one screw for the lower section on each panel.

How To Repair A Loose Louver On Interior Plantation Shutters 1

 

Here’s a little closer view of the hole where the tension adjustment screw is hidden.

How To Repair A Loose Louver On Interior Plantation Shutters 3

 

Tightening your loose louvers back up is super easy if you have plantation shutters with tension adjustment screws built-in. Simply take a Philips head screwdriver, insert it into the hole, and while holding the actual louvers steady with your left hand, give the screw a tiny little nudge clockwise with your right hand. If you don’t hold the louvers still with one hand while tightening the screw, the louvers will turn and you can’t adjust the tension.

Important: The reason I say to give the screw just a little “nudge” is because usually the screw just needs the tiniest turn to tighten the louvers. Don’t turn the screw very much or you could risk over-tightening. Usually a teeny, slight turn of the screw will do the job. Of course, you’ll want to swap those directions if you’re left-handed and prefer using a screwdriver with your left hand.

How To Stop Louvers From Sagging On Interior Plantation Shutters

 

All fixed!

How To Repair A Loose Louver On Interior Plantation Shutters

 

If you have a window in your home with bi-fold plantation shutter panels, the screws are normally located in between the shutter panels. Another window where I normally run into a loose louver or two during the winter is here in my breakfast room. (see arrows below pointing to loose louvers) During the winter months when it’s cold out and the leaves are off the trees, I open and close the louvers in here almost daily, so one or two will tend to loosen up when it’s super cold out.

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Again, the tightening process only takes seconds for bi-fold shutters, too. Just open back your bi-fold panels and you should see holes where the tension adjustment screws are hidden in between the panels. Some manufacturers may put the tension adjustment screw on the outside edge of the panel, but most hide it inside the panel where it isn’t visible.

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Hope this is helpful for anyone running into this issue from time to time. If you have any questions about plantation shutters or about tightening up the tension on the louvers, let me know and I’ll be happy to answer them in the comments below.

If plantation shutters is something you have an interest in, I’ve written a more extensive post answering a lot of questions about them here: Plantation Shutters, Versatile Window Treatment

Family Room With Judges Paneling

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Comments

  1. I love your shutters. They are so pretty. Thanks for all the handy household tips. Have a great weekend.

  2. Susan, I just had to do this on Sunday with all of my shutters!!!! All of our cold & snowy Georgia weather has taken its toll in more ways than one… LOL …

  3. Linda Rubin says:

    You are one handywoman.

  4. Wow! Would you consider writing a more comprehensive article? I’ve read all you have posted and you said there was a lot more you could share. Would you give us more information? For example, how do you make an informed choice about the louvre width? I would love to know. Those of us who read your blog trust you. The advise you give is sound and accessible. I for one, am interested in adding shutters to my home and I would not have known a fraction of what I’ve learned today. I’m very glad to go into this with some base knowledge so I’m not sold a bill of goods. Thank you!

    • Thanks, Yolie! Did you get a chance to read this post? That’s a more detailed post I wrote a while back. https://betweennapsontheporch.net/plantation-shutters/
      Also, check out the comments on the previous post because I answer a lot of questions in the comments.
      Regarding louver size, a lot is personal preference. As a general rule, if you have a traditional style home with 8 foot ceilings and normal size rooms, the 2 12 inch louver (in my opinion) looks great and fits the room/house well. I have seen some folks use 3 1/2″ louvers in those homes too, but I prefer the normal 2 1/2 inch louver for those type rooms/homes.
      If your home has HUGE windows and really high ceilings…big open interiors etc…sometimes the 3 1/2 inch louver works better. The 3 1/2 inch louver is a bit more modern…where the 2 1/2 is more traditional.
      If you live where you have an ocean view or some amazing view, you may prefer the 3 1/2 inch louver, but it’s a big louver and does stick out more from the window so it looks better in big windows and more open interiors.
      Whenever someone gets an estimate for plantation shutters, the sales person should bring out a sample panel of each size with them so the customer can see how they look in the window.
      There’s even a 4 1/2 louver, but I’ve never had anyone choose that.
      Again, check out that older post because there’s tons of good info in that post and in the comments. 🙂

  5. Susan, Thanks for the tip. It is good for a girl to know all of those little
    “Fix-em” tips, saving service call & labor charges. I would much rather buy dishes and fabric. Thanks, also, for the tip about the different kinds of shutters.
    I love the flora fabric in some of the pics. Is that a headboard or a chair and is the fabric still available? It was 29°F here in central Louisiana this
    morning and -17°F at Aunt Shirley’ s in mid-west Iowa. Brr!! Stay warm. Ashley

  6. Perfect timing for this post. I have a loose louvor on every shutter in my house. Had no idea how to fix. I know what I’m doing tonight.
    Thanks again Susan for sharing another helpful solution.
    Look forward to your blog everyday!

  7. Susan, you are the *Go To Girl* for anything around the house. I think you should publish a book on that very subject.
    I am so glad you do not have any floppy shutters to go with your floppy flanges!!! 🙂
    I would be totally lost on any of these things.

  8. Thank you so much for this post. I unfortunately have done just what you said not to do and that is over tighten. I have now stripped the screw and for the life of me cannot get the screw out to repair it. Do you have any tips for removing the screw. It will loosen, but because the hole is deep I cannot get it out far enought to grasp it and pull it out. I would appreciate any help. Thanks and I love your blog.

    • Linda, is the screw just loose and sitting in there? If it’s just loose and sitting in there, most shutters are hinged kind of like a door, so if the screw is just sitting in there, you could pull out the pin and take the shutter down, tilt it and bang on it with your hand to see if the screw would fall out. Or, you could buy one of those screw drivers that has the magnetic tip to grab hold to it to pull it out. Would that work?

      • Susan, Thank you so much for your quick response. I got a magnetic tip screwdriver and it came out like a charm. I did repair the hole and my louver is perfect now. You are the best, I love your tablescapes and all your great tips.
        Thanks again,
        Linda

        • Katie Wolter says:

          Thanks all, I’m going to do this to all of mine, they are driving me crazy!!!! They are all stripped all over my house. After several attempts at tightening I need to take them off and do a more through job of fixing.

  9. Jean from Georgia says:

    Thanks so much for the tension info. My issue with my shutters is that some of the staples have come loose from the rod (the staples that hold the shutter to the rod that we use to open and close the shutters). Do you have any suggestions as to how to put new staples back in place?

    • Jean, when I worked for a shutter company many years ago, when that happened, they would either send a guy out to fix it OR they would mail the staples to the customer for them to fix. The installers basically used super glue to hold them in place. If the company you bought them from isn’t in business now, check with a hardware store that sells shutters Home Depot or Lowes) to see if they have staples available for purchase, then just reattach with super glue. If the hardware store doesn’t have them, take a staple from your shutter to a company that sells shutters and ask if you can purchase some from them.

  10. Marlene Stephenson says:

    I pinned it just in case i ever have any .I love them and wish i did,lucky you.Thanks.

  11. Great post. I am calling my sister since she has plantation shutters.

    Nudge is the operative word. 🙂 I work with a woman that everything she touches comes apart in her hands. She is so tiny and sweet, but she has the roughest approach to “fixing” things. She broke the copier just changing the ink. I keep saying gently, but I have not been successful yet.

  12. Great info, thank you! Every time I see a different room in your house I think we must have pretty much the same floor plan. 🙂
    Bless you,
    Patti

  13. Elaine in Lagut says:

    This is so timely, Susan! Thank you for the step by step. I have this same issue here on the West Coast and didn’t know how to fix. Not anywhere near as cold in So Cal but still happens to impact the shutter louvers. Thanks again and have a great weekend. PS Your blog just keeps getting better and better with each post!

  14. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the info! I’m getting ready to purchase plantation shutters. I read your older post “plantation shutters, versatile window treatment” and would love to hear more about picking a louver size, to use a divider rail or not and how to decide which way they should open (especially with a bay window). It is a lot of money so I want to be happy with the end result. I feel like it’s hard to make a decision without actually having the shutter in place. I’m such a visual person. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Jennifer, when you get quotes for the shutters, the companies you come out should bring a sample panel so you can see how it looks with different size louvers, etc… Whether to get it with a divider rail or not is just a personal taste kind of thing. It gives you more versatility…being able to close the lower part and leave the top open. I love having the divider rails because my windows naturally divide at that point. If your windows are not the double sash type, you may want to go with all louvers and no divider rail. Just think about how you want to use your shutters and that will help you decide. Louver size is personal preference, too. Again, a good shutter company will bring out sample panels of each size. I like 2 1/2 because it’s more traditional and fits the style of my traditional home better.
      Give several estimates and you’ll know what you like by the time you’re done getting those.

  15. Thanks for sharing your information about where the screws in the shutter panels are. My grandparents have these window coverings and they are hard to fix. My cousin broke one of the panels off, and we had to fix it. It would’ve been good to know your simple ways.

  16. Thank you. Perfect!

  17. April Boothe says:

    Thank you! I did the whole house while my husband cringed! Piece of cake.

  18. Amir Mihtashami says:

    Hi
    I am in California and need to tighten the blind, however, mine does not work with Philips screw driver, it looks like a square head that need the kind of like fire place igniter for turning the Gas on! And I do not have that any suggestion

    • That sounds like it might be the kind of screw that tightens with an Allen Wrench like these in this set: nhttp://amzn.to/1MMZY3a
      I prefer Allen wrenchs that fold up like this one http://amzn.to/1JQ1Ub4 because you have something to grip and hold on to when you’re using the wrench, as opposed to a bare wrench which can be hard to twist:
      If it’s not the type screw that you would use an Allen Wrench on, I know they make screws now that have square type heads, so you may need a screw driver that fits that type…but I bet an Allen Wrench would work. You can buy an Allen wrench set at any hardware store.

  19. I had my plantation shutters installed on all of my windows about 15 years ago. There are sagging louvers on a few panels, but I do not see any holes anywhere. I’ve looked on all edges. Mine are made of wood and have what looks like tiny plastic inserts where the louvers turn on the frame. What do I do in this case?

    • Cindy, if they don’t have tension adjustment screws, I’m not sure what to recommend. You may want to call a local company that sells shutters to see if they have any suggestions. Hopefully they’ll have some ideas on how to fix them.

  20. I bought wood plantation shutters for the (inside) side lights by my front door and one French door. they are not inset in the window (they stick out a couple of inches) so we paid extra so you can’t see the hinges. the only thing I don’t like is that you can see the screw holes. Wouldn’t you think they would come with some type of wood plug that can easily pop out in order to adjust tension as needed. The screw holes are a fairly good size so are quite visible. Any suggestions?

    • I think some companies do provide a plug to go in the hole, but I’ve never actually seen those. It seems like it would be hard to get the plug back out when needed. I personally wouldn’t want to have to pry a plug out of a hole like that…just seems like it would be hard to get out. You may want to contact a local shutter company to see if they have plugs that you can purchase, but just make sure they can be gotten out easily if needed.

    • I bet there’s something how there that would work for that.
      Okay, I just googled and found these…maybe they come in white, too. http://www.shuttermedic.com/shutter_button_plugs.htm
      Also, found these: http://www.adshardware.com/ads_hardware_-_2015_005.htm
      About the 10th spot down they show White plugs for the tension screw holes
      Maybe one of those would work.

  21. Dave Wright says:

    My problem was that the slats rotate too easily and would not stay closed. I fixed it by tying nylon cord around the pin that the slat rotates on. I used 30 pound nylon cord. Wrap the cord around the pin twice, pull it tight (so it gets all the way to the pin), then tie it (on the side that faces the window) and cut off the slack. This fixed it.

  22. Chris Kesler says:

    I had several of mine taken down and painted. Now that they are back up…and the painter is long gone they will not go into the window casing therefore putting a lot of strain on the verticals. Any suggestions?

    • I wonder why they won’t fit back inside the casing. Were the hinge pins pulled out to just remove the shutter panels and the hinge plates left in place when they were removed for painting? Doesn’t seem like paint would make that big a difference. If you know who originally installed them, you may want to call them and just asked them what the problem might be. Maybe they would come out and install them for you, for a reasonable fee. Hope you are able to find a solution. I’m not sure what to recommend since I was never involved with the installation process.

  23. Hi…I’ve done exactly what you said to do and the screws just keep turning no tightening…what can I do now..
    Thank you, Debbie

    • Normally you just barely twist it and it tightens. If it’s just turning and turning, it sounds like it may be striped out. If you know who made the shutters, I’d call them and ask what they would recommend. They may suggested removing the screw and using a slightly longer one, but best to call them to check before you do that.

  24. Is it very difficult to move the first louver of a wood planatation shutter to the top? One has a glue spot that cannot be removed without possibly ruining it or causing more damage? If so, how can we swap the two so it won’t be noticeable? Any suggestions appreciated. Thank you

    • Nadine, I’m afraid I don’t know anything about that. I’ve never tried to move any of the louvers. You probably need to take it to a company that makes shutters to have that done.

  25. Hello! My plantation shutters are on the sliding patio door, they slide back & forth and do not pop open sideways. One or more of my slats/louvers is squeaking and needs attention. Do I try lubricating with silicone spray? Any advice is greatly appreciated, thanks! Steve in CA.

    • Steve, I wouldn’t do that without checking with a local company that makes or sells them. If they are made of wood, I’m not sure if the spray would discolor the wood or the paint. Check with the company who made them and if you’re not sure who made them, call a few of the companies in your area and see what they recommend.

      • Susan; thanks, I will do that, got them at Lowes 4 yrs ago and a sub-contractor came out. I’ll check with them and report back here so others can benefit as well. Thanks for a quick, timely reply! Regards, Steve

        • Great! I would like to know what they recommend for that. Thanks!

          • Susan; update: “Sunburst Shutters” came out, since they are guaranteed for life (not bad!), and the guy said he has never encountered the louvers squeaking, what? So he sprayed some silicone on the joint, and it worked. They are Polymer shutters, so no harm or staining. By the way, he first played with the tension screw on the side but that didn’t help the squeak. The shutter is now a little stiffer to turn, so I tried loosening the screw, the shutter got tighter, I then tightened the screw, it helped loosen somewhat, still a little tight. Is that how the screw works, tightening it makes the shutter loose, loosening the screw make sit tighter? Seems backward, what do you think? There’s my update, hope it helps others with this problem, thanks! Steve.

            • Glad he was able to fix and glad the company is still in business! That’s great news! On my shutters, the screw tightens when you turn it the regular way–to the right…and loosens when turned to the left. Interesting that it works the other way on your shutters. Glad you were able to adjust it. Tension adjustment screws are so important for the long run and the longevity of the shutters. Thanks for the update, so glad it all worked out! 🙂

  26. Wow!! So, so easy!! Thank you!! Love all your diy tips !

  27. Thank you so much for your plantation shutter answer. Unfortunately our blinds are vinyl and do not have tension adjustment screws. Guess we will have to just have to live with it unless someone has any other ideas. I might try Dave’s tip with the nylon cord and see if that works.

  28. Barbara McCarney says:

    Thanks for the help it worked wonders, I just did all of my upstairs shutters! I only have one problem one of my bedroom shutters a while back the entire screw popped out and it has a piece of plastic and a spring attached to it, any suggestions on how that goes back in? The plastic looks larger than the whole sounds strange I know. Thanks for any help.

  29. Mike Sinclair says:

    Hello Susan, I have wood shutters and a few of mine have become weak / floppy. I tighten up the screw and after a few times they give out again. I just went and replaced a screw with a longer screw and this didnt not seem to help, I get the same results. How do I get the shutters to operate like they once did. Should I try a larger screw? Thanks so much for your help. ♥️

    • Hi Mike, I wish I knew what to tell you to do…just not sure what the best solution would be. If there’s a shutter company in your area…preferably one that builds their shutters from scratch and doesn’t just modify panels they purchase, call them and describe the problem you’re having and see what they recommend. If there’s more than one company nearby, call both of them. I always like talking to several companies before I make any decision. If you don’t have a company near you, Google for shutter companies in any big city. I find reputable companies don’t mind take a few minutes to troubleshoot a problem with you, even if you’re not in an area they service. Hopefully, you won’t end up having to replace the panels in that window. I know how frustrating it can be when louvers won’t stay in the position you want them.

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