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Two of my 14 shutters have water damage on the lower half. I want to sand the bottom half and re-stain and seal these two but do not know the color originally applied. Is there a way to color match without removing the shutters and carrying them to the paint store?enter image description here

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Matching stains on wood is a tricky business. A paint store should have samples of stained wood you can take home to compare, but differences in wood species can throw off the color of a stain. It's not likely that the store will be able to "color-match" the stain even if you brought them a shutter - solid colors are easy to match, but transparent ones are nearly impossible, due to the color variations found in the grain of the wood. If you do decide to try that route, most stores will need a sample of the color to be matched that's about the size of a quarter or slightly larger - which you'll have to extract from your existing shutters.

Another issue you'll face is that stains and wood finishes tend to darken over time as they age and are exposed to UV light. So, in the off-chance you do find a stain that matches, it may be significantly darker than the existing wood in a few years.

To be perfectly honest, your best bet would be to paint the shutters a solid color, or sand them down and re-stain them with all-new stain. A solid color will be easy to retouch as the finish is exposed to the elements.

Source: I worked for a big-box retailer for about 5 years, mostly in Flooring, but I also worked in Paint when we were short-handed. Between the two, I've probably answered most of the common questions about repairing pre-finished wood.

  • Thanks Chris! I sanded down the wood that was damaged and used the stain "chips" from the store that I know the builder bought all of the paint and stain from. I bought the stain that was closest to the color that remains on the shutter. I figured if it didn't work, I can just sand the whole things and restain them with the new stain. I will have to do all of them, but that will look even better. – Kim May 22 '17 at 21:30

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