Wooden Shutters

Hello. I am in the process of painting some 80 year old wooden shutters that have been off my house for 10 years. I have scrapped, wire brushed and washed them. They are in pretty good shape. I am wondering if the paint job will last longer if I caulk the joints where the rails and stiles meet. Or is the paint enough? Also these shutters have the panel with a cresent moon cut out. One panel has a crack about 1/8 inch wide. Is there a way to fill a crack like that? Will wood filler just fall out over time? Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
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dave wrote:

Don't caulk the joints -- it will only trap water and lead to early rotting.
The crack -- use a good quality painter's caulk and it should be fine.
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I concur. -----
- gpsman
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On 3/3/2009 2:06 PM dpb spake thus:

>

Yes, absolutely. Was told by a skilled house painter (through a friend) that the worst thing that you can do is to caulk the gaps between siding boards on a wall; all it does is trap moisture *behind* the wall and practically guarantees rot. Since this seems counterintuitive, many people think they're protecting their house by caulking such seams.

Or good quality painter's putty (I use Crawford's), which dries a bit harder and doesn't shrink as much.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

How is water trapped? I don't understand the logic .. paint when the weather and the wood are dry. Two coats on end grain, after primer.

I've done a good deal of painting, but never heard of "painter's putty". Is it same as glazing compound? As for shrinkage, caulk is flexible (assuming one uses the right caulk) and is meant to expand and contract while adhering.
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On 3/3/2009 5:24 PM snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net spake thus:

>

Rain. Water gets behind siding through any number of cracks, seeps and other means. If there are gaps between boards, it eventually dries out. If it's sealed up, the moisture stays in there and does its evil deeds.

No, it's just what I said it was--"painter's putty", says so right on the can. It's a thick dense compound that fills cracks well, dries hard and adheres well. You might try some, see if you like it. (Available at good building-supply places, not sure about big boxes like Home Despot.)
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wrote:

"Painters Puttey" is water base, water holding crap
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote: ...

...
Water _WILL_ get in the joints -- and then the caulk will serve more to prevent it from getting out and drying out quickly than it will to actually prevent all moisture from ever getting in.
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dpb wrote:

The rotten wood I have seen either wasn't painted properly to begin with or hasn't been maintained properly. I will still argue that protecting with caulk, and properly primed and painted, keeps water out. When you look at damaged exterior wood on a house, it is pretty easy to figure out the cause.
Putting hard material between pieces that expand and contract seems to guarantee it will crack and let water in. Spacers behind shutters would allow more air circ. and water run-off, it seems.
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I will differ from the other two replies and say that I would use Bondo to fill the crack because it can be sanded smooth.
Caulk almost always leaves a dimple when it fully dries.
I'm really not sure who it right.
I definitely agree that not caulking where the rails and stiles meet is the correct response.
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Colbyt wrote:

These are 80 y/o wood shutters...

Caulking might help keep the end-grain from absorbing water, expanding and causing paint to crack and peel. Caulk after priming. Ends of wood clapboards are caulked for same reason.
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Wash, bleach to kill mold, a precurser to, and cause of rot, Old oil slow dry primer, ; [not Quick dry] and 2 coats of the best paint you can buy, and none of it is at HD or Menards. Go to a store that has Moore, or Sherwen Williams
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A somewhat related piece of info I've learned from personal experience. If there is no roof overhang above the shutter, somehow flash or cap the top of the shutter or it will rot big time.
Are they the ones where the shutter fins actually move up and down using a wooden piece in the middle:-)
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Thanks for all the replies. They are all very helpful. I'm glad I asked or I would have caused myself grief down the road. These are "working" shutters. I use the quotes because years of paint prevent anything from moving on them. I had looked at having them stripped once and I was laughed out of the place. The person I spoke with said he could strip a dining room set in the same amount of time. Thanks again for all the input.
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wrote:

Not sure what caulking the joints will do, if anything. Apply a quality primer and finish coat. You can fill the crack with glazing compound, either before or after the primer.
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