Recommend paint for shutters please (and chemical dip stripping)

Last summer we spent a month stripping, sanding and repairing 6 pairs shutters.

We applied the best undercoat and paint we could find at Leroy Merlin.

To our despair the paint is already peeling off and they will all need to be redone (along with 5 pairs of new shutters).

I would be grateful to receive recommendations for paint (undercoat & gloss) that is available in France.

Also has anyone had shutters chemical dipped to strip paint?

Been there, done it, got the T-shirt, Mat. Real pain isn’t it. Don’t have a solution for you, can only offer sympathy. We too would be interested to know if there are paints that really work. Ours were really expensive ones too.

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It usually happens because the wood is damp because the rain has soaked into the wood and the primer does not adhere, so last time I did them I stripped them and seeing as we were in the middle of a heatwave I left them in the sun for a week turning them every day, haven’t had any problems with them since.


I notice that there was no mention of primer (l’ apprêt) in the OP’s post, no wonder that the paint failed.

I’ve been told dipping them can damage the glue. Last time I used Tollens very expensive paint and got five years out of it. I gave up last year and replaced them all with alu. They look the same and I’ll never have to paint them again.

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My shutters were painted er good grief is it really 18 years ago (alas yes where does time go etc etc) and are just starting to show signs of needing to be repainted - I have no idea however of what sort of paint it was. French anyway.

We used primer - horrendously expensive. The paint still fails.

Don’t worry I do regret this - I naively though undercoat was the same thing. We have bought primer this time and as @spj suggests it is damned expensive.

Many years ago I gave up trying to treat external exposed wood with primer, undercoats, and finish paint - simply because you have to do so much work later on in stripping down and preparation in order to renew it. Natural wood “breathes” and so expands and shrinks due to temperature and moisture. Completely sealing wood is possible (see the WEST {Wood Epoxy Saturation} system for boat building). However more conventional paint systems eventually flake off due to these changes in the timber substrate.
Instead I went for a longlasting external woodstain finish with an opaque protective filler. I found that the coloured products from Sadolins and Sikkens were best for my purposes. e.g.
Since using these on external woodwork I have only had to do a quick rub down and then recoat every few years. (The opaque coloured filler protects the wood, but it can still breathe). [Internally I tend to use Osmo products]. In the massively hot and sunny conditions in Australia, its recoated every couple of years if its the clear treatment. e.g. However in the UK I have found that I need to consider a recoat of a coloured opaque finish every 5 years or so. In France see e.g.
You need to get the wood back to a surface into which the base coat of the stain will penetrate. This may well be easiest with chemical woodstripping by a professional company. (There were problems with natural glues in old framing and furniture, but a professional company should understand what to do. There were real problems with water based strippers, because these saturated the wood causing swelling and raised grain!)
You also need a relatively low moisture content… so summer, dry conditions. states: "Brands such as Sadolin and Sikkens are designed in such a way that as the top coat wears over time, it starts to lose some of its colour and sheen. This is an indicator that the finish needs maintenance. Surfaces that require maintenance can be restored by following a few simple steps.

  • Wipe down with Methylated Spirit to degrease the old finish.
  • Lightly sand the surface to remove any ingrained surface dirt and debris. This also provides a key for the new top coat.
  • Wipe down a second time after sanding with Methylated Spirit to remove all traces of sanding dust and any residual grease from hands and finger tips.
  • Once dry, a fresh top coat can be applied to restore the appearance and maximise protection of the timber."

I have also used limewash externally on old stone / render walls in the UK and France. I am considering it again for our new construction, since it costs so much less. A decade on its still there outside, south facing, because its whats described as self-chalking (self-cleaning by gradually losing surface… cf the designed loss of surface of the Sikkens / Sadolins products above!). Its a lot less expensive than paints in France. The SPAB used to publish an advice sheet that recommended mixing in some form of protein (skimmed milk, tallow or raw linseed oil), but they now generally do not recommend added binders. The issue I found was that you have be very patient, apply at least 4 very thin translucent coats to build up the surface, which then limits or stops dusting. See
You can add mineral based colouring agents successfully to limewash. We tried tea, but the colour, though just what we wanted in the first couple of years bleached out after that, and the limewash is now white.

Traditionally external timber was often successfully limewashed, and this protected it while allowing it to breathe. If I were applying limewash to external timber I might research raw linseed oil as an additive.
I have found the Tradical lime products to be very reliable. There is a Tradical limeputty available in France… Tradical - LP20 chaux en Pâte fut de 20KG - Tout Faire Matériaux Namur | La Maison Ecologique - Magasin de Matériaux de Construction, Rénovation et Décoration | Gros et Détail à Namur

useful glossary at The Master Painter`s Glossary Page 3


A neighbour went “swedish” on her garden shed, and several years later it looks great. So we have just removed our shutters and are in process of doing the same as going the more ecological route pleases us (indoors we have used clay paint and oiled floors) and it is miles cheaper! You won’t find an ocre that is bright pink tho’!

Thanks Jane, looks interesting. How would it cope though with shutters that have been painted in the past using standard paints?
Also, I notice it requires linseed oil. We found ants just went crazy for it. Have you noticed any problems?

There are all price-types. What is important is a relatively expensive paint but, most important, that the can indicates this: “Microporeuse” and “Glycero”. And always two-coats!

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Yes, that’s where I went wrong John. The shutters were wood stained and had no issues for years but my wife fancied green so I took them all down, stripped them all back and then primed and painted them. They looked lovely but having done it once I couldn’t face doing it again. Hence the alu.

I will look at that chapter in the book! We did a garden gate as a trial and no ants…

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We replaced all ours with White electric roller ones, having twice been down the repaint route. Thats why i think many locals simply leave them as treated wood… They know the effect the summer sun has.

We have metal shutters so that’s a completely different can of worms…

However, I redid the ancient wooden front door in microporous paint and can vouch for it lasting well.

This is what I’m going to do for our shutters and barn doors. Apparently you do the first 2 coats, then a 3rd 2 years later then you are good for 30 years! there was a wonderful French documentary on this maybe 8-10 years ago that was on youtube. I am going to buy from this site as they seem to be the main French site and very knowledgeable. I was almost at the point of buying all my powders etc and emailed them a question about mixing and they were super helpful emailing me back with what I needed to do if I wanted a mid grey.

Yes, we got ochres from them too, plus I think the stuff we needed for our milk paint (which was difficult as the dog licked it off…)


I suspect where you went wrong John was planning to stay too long in the same property :slight_smile: Having managed to refurbish then move on and leave my mistakes behind me every 7 years or so for the last 50, I find that I am in the same boat… we have now had this Jura house for almost 20 years, and no plans to move. Fortunately the size of the alterations we are making currently is so overwhelming that long overdue minor maintenance can readily be overlooked.

On a more serious note for others, there is almost any colour available from specialist paint companies in either the Sikkens or Sadolin ranges, including various greens! (I have no ties to these companies, but have found over the years that their products seem superior!)

These colours are not in the standard charts, but mixed to order… e.g. S G Bailey Paints Ltd | Sadolin Superdec Colour Chart or BS, RAL, NCS colour palettes
You do not get a high gloss finish with these opaque stains, partly because you can still see the grain of the wood, but you do get a satin finish.

Thanks Jane for telling us about the ochre paint recipes!

I had a look, and the book is currently unavailable till sometime in May. However then I found that it is based on the evangelising work of a french organisation called Terres et Couleurs - Terres et Couleurs : ochres, colors and coloured earths
They sell booklets, including one on the “Swedish” {french} recipes, for a much lower cost. I have ordered several, since they rely on this to provide their funding.

Ocres of France seem a bit dismissive of synthetic pigments, but I think there is a distinct overlap between what they term natural and synthetic.

I suspect that some of the lime paint recipes are similar (and should cost even less!), but I will have a clearer idea when I have received the booklets.

I think in the end the choice (apart from cost) comes down to whether a matt finish is ok in the context (eg traditional “swedish” or similar), or whether a gloss or satin finish is preferable.

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