Roller shutter rubbing, what to do?

Do you hear rubbing noises every time your shutter opens and closes? This can quickly become annoying and, in the long term, cause more significant malfunctions on the shutter. This is why it is better not to let the matter drag on while hoping that the problem will pass by itself. Then find in this article what to do when your roller shutter rubs? How to try to permanently remove these frictions?

Why does friction appear on your roller shutter?

After several years, it is common to see friction appear on a manual or electric roller shutter. The shutters are at the mercy of the weather and bad weather which can then cause modifications to the structure of the shutters and/or damage certain elements such as the backstage or the slats. If some elements are poorly maintained, the repeated rubbing can then become abnormal and make trouble (blades that come down jerkily, sideways, etc.) or disturbing noises (squeaks, squeaks, rubbing).

As a reminder, the manual or electric shutter consists of a tablier (the set of blades), which descends and ascends along two wings (gutters) thanks to a winding mechanism present in the box (or trunk). All of these elements allow the roller shutter to move up and down smoothly.

The most common causes of your roller shutter rubbing are:

  • of clogged or insufficiently greased slides
  • of offset blades, badly positioned which rub against the slides or the guide flanges
  • un damaged apron (deformed, filed, broken blades, misaligned, swollen apron, etc.)
  • of components inside the trunk defective (tulips or guide flanges) : rarer cause

Depending on the origin of the problem, the shutter may rub against the guide rails or the box.

What to do when your roller shutter rubs?

To solve the problem of friction on your roller shutter, it will then be necessary to carry out, in order, the checks and operations which follow. If you are not competent for the manipulations, call on a professional. If you work on the shutter casing and it is electric, turn off the power to avoid any risk of electric shock. Finally, if your rubbing roller shutter is still under guarantee, contact the after-sales service of the manufacturer or the company that installed it for you, as you will certainly be able to obtain an intervention free of charge.

Check the condition of the roller shutter slides

When your manual or electric shutter is rubbing against the ends, start with check the condition of the backstage.

Roller shutter rubbing, what to do?
wing of a stage

Check that none of the screw which make it possible to fix the slides are slightly extended or broken because they can then become an obstacle to the raising and lowering of the shutter. If so, you will need to tighten or replace the screw in question to prevent it from creating friction. Also, check that the slides are straight and parallel. Otherwise, they will have to be reattached. Finally, check that they are not swollen or deformed. If so, they will need to be replaced.

Clean and lubricate the slides

One of the first things to do when your roller shutter is rubbing against the guides is to clean and grease these last.

– Clean the slides of the roller shutter

Start by clean up the backstage which are often clogged with piles of dirt or debris that can prevent the shutter from sliding properly and thus create friction. This will also allow you to properly grease the slides later. To clean them, nothing could be simpler:

  1. Raise the roller shutter as far as possible to clear the guides
  2. Using a small brush (toothbrush type), remove the clumps of dust and debris present in the slideways. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the dirt
  3. Equipped with a sponge slightly damp (or with a moistened toothbrush), remove the remaining coarse dirt

– Grease the shutter slides

After cleaning the roller shutter, in most cases it will continue to rub. It will then be necessary lubricate it with a silicone lubricating spray. Lubrication is also useful if the roller shutter is hard to wind up. This will allow the shutter to slide better and therefore to have a fluid descent and ascent, without friction and without blockages. To grease a rolling shutter, here is the quick and easy procedure to follow:

  1. Get yourself a silicone lubricant spray in a DIY store or in the DIY section of a large supermarket (count about ten euros)
  2. Raise the roller shutter as far as possible to clear the guides
  3. Spray the inside of both slides a small stroke of spray along their entire length
  4. Raise and lower the shutter 2-3 times so that the product is distributed correctly

Read also: Roller shutter that no longer goes up at all, what to do?

Note, for lubricate a roller shutter (whether in PVC or aluminum material) it is important to use a silicone lubricant. Indeed, the silicone lubricant is the only product suitable for joinery and which does not damage the plastic. In addition, it is the only one that leaves a dry film and therefore lubricates effectively without attracting and clinging to dust and dirt. The product WD40 Specialist is suitable for lubricating a roller shutter, but be careful that it is the "Specialist" and therefore that it is formulated with silicone. If in doubt, do not hesitate to seek advice from a salesperson in a DIY store.

Caution: Do not put lubricant on the blades as this may damage them. 

Realign roller shutter slats that are rubbing

One of the main reasons why your roller shutter is rubbing on the ends is that its slats are misaligned, more precisely shifted laterally. By being badly positioned, they generate abnormal friction against the slides and/or at the exit of the box. Ultimately, this creates other disappointments such as squeaking noises, blades that close badly, which slip sideways, or which descend jerkily.

To realign the slats of a roller shutter that rub against the ends, two techniques exist :

Note: these techniques concern aprons that are not clipped and therefore do not have side caps or storm clips. Indeed, the slats of shutters which have fasteners (end caps or clips) cannot shift because they are held together. The shutters concerned are mostly small PVC shutters. If the roller shutter slats are clipped, check that the entire apron has not shifted when opening the box or that the fasteners are not damaged, which could cause some slats to shift. If not, skip ahead to the next part of the article.

Si you don't know if your shutter is equipped with clips or end caps : raise the shutter until the last slat no longer touches the bottom of the window. Then, try to shift the last blade laterally with your hand. Force lightly but not too much either to avoid breaking the blade. If you cannot move it, then your shutter is equipped with fixings and the handling does not concern you. If the blade moves, then the following steps apply to you. 

– 1st method to realign the slats of a shutter:

  1. Lower the roller shutter and stop its descent when the openings are open
  2. Replace the slats one by one in the center, ie so that the slats are placed at the same distance from the two slides. To do this, shift them each in turn with your hand. Start with the bottom blade for simplicity. All blades should end up being roughly centered and aligned.
  3. If you have a chest that opens easily, open it to replace the high blade of the apron. The high blade is the one attached to the winding axis.
roller shutter slats rubbing what to do?
Reposition the slats one by one at the same distance from the two slides

– 2nd method to realign the slats of a shutter:

To eliminate the friction of the roller shutter slats, you can also act directly in the box. This method is easier and allows you to see more clearly, however, it requires being able to open the box:

  1. Open the casing of the roller shutter which is rubbing
  2. Close the pane
  3. Raise the blades five by five and check each time if they are well aligned with each other at the level of the winding axis. If not, realign them so they overlap on top of each other.
rolling shutter friction how to avoid it?
Image 1: Blades not aligned on a winding axis, here of a swimming pool
Image 2: Blades correctly aligned on a winding axis, here of a swimming pool

Replace the slats or roller shutter apron that is rubbing

It happens that the blades or the apron are too damaged (damaged slats at the ends, unhooked, twisted or deformed, swollen, warped apron, etc.) and that they then create friction against the boot or the guide rails on one side only or on both sides. If you find that this is the case, you will need to replace the slats or the apron as a whole depending on the model of your shutter.

– Replace blades individually

After several years of service, the blades can end up being damaged. If some blades are too damaged, cracked, rusty, warped, twisted, etc., you will need to replace them.. Note that depending on the model of your shutter, it is not always possible to replace the slats individually. To be sure, we advise you to contact the manufacturer of the shutter or go to a carpentry store with the exact reference of the shutter.

If the manipulation is possible on your shutter, you can call the after-sales service of the manufacturer and ask the adviser if they supply the slats in spare parts. Thus, you will be sure to have certified, qualitative and compatible parts.

If you can't replace the slats individually or the whole apron looks damaged, it's better to replace it completely.

– Replace the entire apron

If you have to replace the entire apron which is too damaged and creates friction, we advise you to replace it with a aluminum shutter which has a much longer lifespan and which, in the vast majority of cases, has fixings to prevent your roller shutter from rubbing or grind.

What should you do if, despite everything, the friction problem persists on your shutter?

Si the friction of the roller shutter is accompanied by squeaking noises, whether they come from the box or that the solutions seen in this article did not solve your problem, we invite you to read the following article: Squeaky roller shutter, what to do? Indeed, although this is more rare, the problem can then come from a component internal to the box (Guide tulips or guide flanges broken or poorly lubricated, winding shaft not straight or faulty, winch damaged or broken). You will then find additional checks and manipulations to try to solve your problem.

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