Opening the roller shutter box made easy – the best way to access your roller shutter from either the inside or the outside.
- Cost£10–15 for a torn strap/£ 30–60 if any of the horizontal slats are damaged
- Duration1–2 hours (without replacing the horizontal slats)
It’s a daily routine for most of us. Every morning and evening we reach for the roller shutter belt to raise or lower the horizontal blinds, and not just for controlling the level of light entering the home. Roller shutters also prevent the home’s interior from heating up in summer. They can help save energy and provide a sound barrier and more privacy.
We generally don’t care much about the roller shutter box, as it usually fulfils its purpose behind the scenes – that is, until the horizontal blinds get stuck. The belt might even tear under certain circumstance, and then it’s hard to know what to do. But we don’t have to let it get to that point. We will show you how to open your roller shutter box easily and get the belt untangled in no time. You may also want to replace the entire strap or the horizontal slats.
What is a roller shutter box made of?
Roller shutter boxes come in different models, and the basic design of each is slightly different. However, the basic principle remains the same. Use the following drawing as a guide to see where everything is located. This background knowledge will make it easier for you to open your roller shutter box.
Roller shutter boxes at a glance
You first need to know how to access your roller shutter box before you can think about how to best open it. A roller shutter box is normally installed in one of two ways. A different procedure is necessary depending on the way it is installed. It is easy to see at a glance which type you have.
Opening a front-mounted roller shutter box
The front-mounted roller shutter box is extremely popular, and there is good reason for this. Heating makes up for more than 60% of the energy consumed in homes. Therefore, it is all the more important to implement some measures in this area: This type is mounted on the outside wall of the home. This creates an air cushion between the roller shutter and the window, which acts as a barrier for thermal insulation. It is not recessed into the wall, so it can be easily accessed from the outside.
Top-mounted roller shutters differ from front-mounted ones only in that they are directly connected to the window frame, thereby forming a unit. To open front- and top-mounted roller shutters you only need a ladder, a cordless drill/driver and, if necessary, a box knife to loosen the silicone sealing around the box. It is best to remove all the screws on the one side first and then work on the other side. When closing the roller shutter box again, however, you must not forget to reapply the silicone sealing that has been removed.
Often it is difficult to loosen the screws. If you’re looking for some helpful tips, check out our how to screw in hard-to-reach places.
Opening a recessed roller shutter box
As with the front-mounted version, the insulating air layer between the window and the shutter is also created with the recessed roller shutter box. However, it is let into the wall from the inside, which is why heat can escape to the outside via the roller shutter box if the insulation is insufficient. But the roller shutter box does not detract from the appearance of the façade as it is no longer visible externally. This makes the recessed roller shutter box very popular, especially with builders that are keen on looks. This means that we have to access the roller shutter box from the inside in order to open it.
Opening a roller shutter box made of wood
Once you have found the exact location of all screws, you can carefully expose them with a scraper. After you have loosened all the screws, the next step is to remove the cover from the frame. To do so, lift the cover of the roller shutter box upwards and pull it away from the wall.
It is much easier if the roller shutter box is suspended in the frame with retaining hooks. In this case, you only have to turn them either to the left or right to detach the roller shutter cover from the frame. However, if it does get stuck somewhat, shaking it gently usually helps.
Opening a plastic roller shutter box
Plastic roller shutter boxes are often completely recessed into the wall, but they are rarely fastened with screws. If this is the case, the procedure is identical to the wooden roller shutter box. Most of the time, however, you will find a click system with which the cover is attached to the frame. To open a click system roller shutter box, you must first locate the hooks of the system. Try to press against the cover. You can usually feel a slight resistance where the hooks are located. Alternatively, you can run a scraper between the joint and the box. At the points where you feel resistance when trying to move it, now try to loosen the lid using a gentle levering motion. Be especially careful, as plastic can break easily.
After opening the roller shutter box, it can be easily closed again, but it often no longer looks as unblemished as before. If you want to give it a new shine with a coat of paint, take a look at our painting tutorial for useful tips and tricks. You may get so inspired that you want to change the style of your entire flat. Then our tips for wall design with patterns or our ideas for more colour in the living room will certainly help you.
What should I do if I cannot open the roller shutter box?
It is not uncommon for the roller shutter box to become jammed and difficult to open, or there may be major damage, such as to the horizontal slats. If in doubt, it may make sense to call a specialist. There are tradespeople who specialise in roller shutters, but you can also contact a window manufacturer. We have compiled an overview of the costs to be expected as an example. However, these may differ significantly under certain circumstances.
|Horizontal slats (12 m)||£30–60|
Our example assumes that both the horizontal slats and the strap are replaced. Your costs will be higher if your roller shutter is powered by a motor. Here you can expect installation costs of €60 to €160. The horizontal slats and the motor can cost an additional €300.
The horizontal slats of exterior roller shutters are regularly exposed to wind and weather. In the case of non-mechanical damage, such as hail, check whether it would be better to replace all the horizontal slats. This has the advantage that you do not have to expect any further repairs in the foreseeable future. In addition, a repair takes almost as long as a new installation. We recommend also replacing the belt when replacing the horizontal slats. It is usually more susceptible to damage and wear, and changing it costs neither much time nor much money.
And it is really worthwhile to make sure you have a clear view again after working on the roller shutter box. We will tell you how to clean windows without streaks here.
Here are a few thoughts for good measure:
Should I open the brickwork on my own if it becomes necessary?
You should never open the brickwork on your own. It is impossible in rented flats anyway, but even in your own home you should always consult a structural engineer. This person can tell you whether it is a load-bearing wall and whether your project would affect your home’s structure.
Is it worth upgrading my existing roller shutter box?
If you have to replace the horizontal slats of your roller shutter box anyway, it is worth considering replacing them with a model that includes thermal insulation. It costs more, but much less heat escapes through well-insulated roller shutters, making the extra cost easy to justify. So if you’re interested in a sustainable solution, it’s worth the investment. And if you’re interested in sustainability in general, check out our upcycling projects.