Wooden exterior shutters can add charm and curb appeal to any home. Still, as with any exterior material, they will need to be carefully maintained over the years to protect them from rot and damage. Fortunately, caring for wooden shutters is pretty straight-forward and not very time consuming. Just be sure to follow a few basic tips and tricks to keep your home's wood shutters damage-free and looking their best for years to come.

Clean as Needed With Soap and Water

Over time, dirt and debris can build up on your wooden shutters, taking away from their original shine and luster. The good news is that wooden shutters are pretty easy to clean; a simple solution of gentle dish soap and warm water, along with a sponge brush or soft-bristle brush, is all that is needed to remove most stains and dirt. Taking the time to clean off your shutters once a year will keep them looking great and protect against unsightly algae growth (which can be harder to get rid of!).

Avoid Using a Pressure Washer

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when caring for their wooden shutters is thinking that they can use a pressure washer to clean them. In most cases, pressure washers are too powerful and will actually begin to strip the paint and/or protective sealant off the wood itself. It's better to use a garden hose instead when spraying off your wooden shutters.

Paint and Touch-Up Shutters as Needed

Always keep a small amount of touch-up paint matching the color of your shutters so you can make small touch-ups as needed when paint inevitably flakes or chips away over time. Every few years, you may also want to take the time to completely repaint your shutters so they are protected against moisture penetration.

Know When to Caulk or Replace

Over the years, exposure to moisture and other elements can lead your shutters to become rotted out and soft in some areas. In small areas, this can be remedied with a bit of paintable caulk. Eventually, however, you'll probably need to replace the shutter entirely if it begins to rot out.

A little bit of care and maintenance goes a long way when it comes to keeping your home's wooden shutters looking their best for years to come. Be sure to follow these tips at your home to avoid common problems and damage to your shutters.