Squeaky roller shutter, what to do?

A squeaky roller shutter can be extremely annoying. The good news is that this is a common problem that usually comes from a benign factor that does not interfere with the proper functioning of the shutter. In most cases, you can manage to attenuate or even eliminate the parasitic noise on your own, whether you are a DIY expert or not. So, find out now how to fix a squeaky roller shutter.

Why do roller shutters squeak?

Squeaks can occur on all types of shutters, whether they respond to an electric or manual command. But what are the causes?

  • The environment : In contact with the outside, the shutters are directly impacted by the elements which accelerate its deterioration: wind, rain, pollution, dirt, sun, spray, etc.
  • Natural wear : Like all components, over the years, they eventually wear out. This is favored by the external environment, repeated friction but also in the event of poor maintenance.

That the roller shutters are in aluminum material or PVC , they are all affected by these elements and can therefore all start to creak overnight. However, it is the roller shutters made of plastic material that are most likely to make noise, especially during strong winds, because they are more flexible and lighter than those made of aluminium. Crank and therefore winch shutters are also more prone to squeaking.

For those who are not familiar with the composition or the jargon of a roller shutter: A roller shutter is composed of a tablier (all the slats of the roller shutter), which wraps around a winding axis present in the box (also called chest) thanks to a drive mechanism which works via a command electric ou manuelle strap or crank. Of the wings (also called sliders) present on each side of the shutter allow the curtain to slide and therefore to go down and up easily. 

Several elements of the roller shutter can squeak. So the first thing to do before you start repairing is toidentify the place impacted by the squeak simply by listening as you open and close the shutter. Your listening should lead you to identify the origin of the squeak that may emanate:

  • du tablier that is dirty, damaged or one or more blades that are incorrectly positioned
  • of wings that are dirty or insufficiently lubricated
  • du box whose internal drive mechanism may be insufficiently lubricated, jammed, loose or defective
  • of the crank whose winch, lead rod, handle or gimbal is defective

Depending on the origin of the problem, solutions will be more or less adapted to your case.

How to get rid of the squeaking noise on your roller shutter?

Solutions that are easy and accessible to everyone can eradicate, or at least reduce the noise made by your roller shutter. In the majority of cases, a simple maintenance and / or the blade repositioning allows you to permanently get rid of the squeak on the shutter. In rarer cases, it is necessary to replace a defective part.

We invite you to follow our troubleshooting guide in order, as it ranges from the simplest to the most complex solutions. Note that depending on the origin of the noise, some manipulations will be more or less adapted to your case. For example, if you have identified that the grinding noise comes from the crank, we invite you to go directly to the corresponding part.

Also note thata squeaky roller shutter can have different combined causes. Thus, a single solution does not always make it possible to completely eradicate the noise. Sometimes, you will have to combine several tips to get rid of the squeaking permanently. In this case, continue the manipulations until you have eliminated the problem.

Important: If you are not competent for one or more manipulations, call on a professional otherwise you risk irreversibly damaging the shutter or injuring yourself. In case you have a guarantee, immediately contact the after-sales service of the manufacturer or the company that installed the shutters for you. Do not proceed with the dismantling of the shutter as you risk losing your rights. Finally, if your shutter is electric, turn off the power each time you carry out an operation on the shutter, and in particular when you use water or open the boot. 

Clean and lubricate the roller shutter guides

Among one of the factors most often responsible for a squeaky rolling shutter we find poorly maintained backstage. If the squeaking comes from one or both side guides of your roller shutter, you will first have to cleaned up, then that you grease.

Squeaky roller shutters, what to do?
Wing of a stage

1 – Clean the slides of the roller shutter

To clean noisy roller shutter slides :

  1. Go up the shutter to the maximum so that the slides are completely clear
  2. Using a toothbrush with hard bristles or a vacuum cleaner, remove or vacuum coarse dirt and dust along the slideways
  3. Using a damp sponge or toothbrush, clean the remaining dirt

2 – Lubricate the slides of the roller shutter

After cleaning the slides, grease them by proceeding as follows:

  1. Get yourself a silicone lubricant spray for ten euros
  2. Raise the apron to the maximum
  3. Spray a small spray inside and along the entire length backstage
  4. Raise and lower the shutter several times in a row so that the product is distributed

Please note, it is important to use a silicone lubricant suitable for joinery (for example WD 40 Specialist) because this type of product is the only one that leaves a dry film and lubricates without catching dust and dirt and without damaging the plastic. You can find it in DIY stores. If in doubt, do not hesitate to seek advice from a salesperson.

Si your roller shutter squeaks or flaps with the wind, this is usually because the wings are too wide compared to the thickness of the blades. The apron moves and rattles behind the scenes because it is not maintained. In this case, to reduce the noise, you can get a noise canceling kit (or a brush seal) for roller shutters to be glued behind the scenes. If the squeaking of your roller shutter persists when it is windy, the only solution will be to replace the slides by narrower ones adjusted to the thickness of the blades.

If you have to install or replace a slide that is too damaged, prefer a slide with wing ou seal-brush. This system allows better support and guidance of the apron and therefore limits friction and squeaking. 

Check the condition of the squeaky roller shutter slats

The squeaking noise on your roller shutter can also come from dirty slats, who laterally offset and which are therefore poorly positioned or too damaged.

1 – Clean the slats of the roller shutter that makes noise

Your roller shutter may squeak when it folds and unfolds if its blades are too dirty. To solve this problem, you just have to clean dirty apron. For that :

  1. Close the flap completely
  2. Clean the blades one at a time using a sponge dipped in soapy water. Caution, use mild soap (black soap, Marseille soap, white vinegar) and do not press too hard on the blades.
  3. Once the blades are clean, rinse them with a sponge soaked in water
  4. Finish by drying them with a cloth.
Warning: Never use a karcher which would exert too much pressure on the blades and which would then risk damaging them. Likewise, do not put detergents, lubricants or grease on the blades, you could also damage them. 

2 – Reposition the blades

It may also be that your shutter squeaks because the slats are misaligned. There are aprons with storm clips or attached with side caps and others that do not. Depending on the type of apron you have, you are more or less affected by this problem:

• Aprons that have storm clips or side caps are not affected by blade offset. Indeed, the blades are fixed and therefore cannot shift. Note that anyway, they are much more spared from squeaking noises. If the apron squeaks while it is fitted with end caps or clips, the only solution will be to clean and lubricate the slides or blades as previously indicated. Aluminum shutters are almost all equipped with clips or end caps to secure them.

Not sure if your shutter is equipped with side caps or clips? It's simple. If the blades cannot be moved from side to side easily enough by your hand, then they are attached and cannot move.  

 Aprons that are not secured by clips or side caps are much more likely to have squeaks related to blade shifting. Indeed, the latter then come to rub on other components of the shutter. Those affected are often PVC shutters. In this case, you will need realign the blades by proceeding as follows:

  1. Lower your roller shutter by stopping the closing just before the openings of the apron are closed.
  2. Reposition the blades by centering them in the middle one by one just by using your hand. To do this, make a lateral gesture for each of them, and place them at the same distance from the two slides. All blades should be centered and aligned. Start by refocusing the bottom blade, then finish with the top blade.
  3. You will probably need to open the trunk to position the high blade (blade attached to the winding shaft).
Why roller shutter squeak?
Replace the slats one by one in the center and at the same distance from the two slides starting from the bottom
You can also replace the slats more easily by opening the box: lower the apron to the bottom, then raise the slats three by three (approximately). Check their alignment with each other at the winding axis and realign them so that they overlap well. 

You can also replace the faulty apron with a new apron with end piece to avoid having to perform this operation too frequently.

3 – Replace the blades of the squeaky shutter

If some blades are badly damaged, cracked or rusted, replace them. Internet tutorials will explain the procedure to follow according to your apron. Note that depending on the model of your shutter, it is not always easy to replace the slats individually. Sometimes it is even impossible to do so. To be sure, we advise you to contact the shutter manufacturer. If the operation is feasible, you can ask the advisor if they provide the blades in spare parts. Thus, you will be sure to have certified, qualitative and compatible parts.

Replace the too damaged apron

After many years, the aging of the apron may be too great. If the entire apron looks too worn (hole, rust, breakage, twisted etc), it is preferable to change it completely.

squeaky roller shutter what to do?

Choose preferably an aluminum shutter which has an almost unlimited lifespan rather than PVC which is less robust and often ends up cracking or deforming. Also check that it has end caps or staples, although the majority of them now have them.

Check, clean and grease the housing mechanisms

Last but not least, the roller shutter may squeak due to a faulty part in the drive mechanism. At this stage, you will need open the box to identify where the extraneous noise is coming from. Generally, to do this, you will need to unclip or unscrew the front or lower part of the box. The manipulation will obviously depend on your model and will be more or less obvious. Do not hesitate to look at internet tutorials corresponding to your type of safe. If the safe is built into the wall, you will not be able to open it. You will then have to call on the assistance of the manufacturer or a carpenter.

Once the box is open, lower and raise the flap and listen carefully to try to identify where the squeaking noise in the box is coming from. It can come from:

  • winding axis
  • guide flanges
  • tulips
  • motor (electric shutter)
  • winch (manual crank flap)

Depending on the part that is making noise, here are the solutions to adopt:

1 – Check the winding axis

At first, it may be that the shutter drive mechanism loose. This is all the more likely if the roller shutter box squeaks when it's windy. In this case, tighten the screws, parts and fasteners located in the trunk with a screwdriver or adjustable wrench. Be careful not to overtighten either, as you risk damaging the mechanism.

Take the opportunity to check that no parasitic component or object present in the boot is interfering with the raising and lowering of the flap. Then lower the apron to the bottom and therefore to the closed position. Check that the winding shaft has no visible defect. If you haven't done this before, make sure that the top blade (the one held by the apron clips) is well aligned (centered).

2 – Check the guide flanges

The guide flanges are located on each side of the end of the winding axis. They help guide the apron when it goes up and down. It is possible that over time the material wears out, that they become loose and that friction appears causing the squeaking noise on your shutter. In this case, the only solution is to spray silicone lubricating spray at the level of the guide flange to facilitate sliding. If you find that they are too damaged, you can also replace.

3 – Check the guide tulips

The guide tulips and are located at the top of the wings, one on each side. They make the connection between the beginning of the slides and the boot. As with the flanges, over time their material wears out and friction eventually appears and causes a squeaking noise. After opening the trunk, check that they are securely fastened and spray a silicone spray to avoid or limit friction. If the tulips appear damaged (broken, cracked, gnawed etc.), replace-them. Pay attention to the diameters. The tulips must be identical.

4 – Check the winch on a manual roller shutter

Le winch allows the shaft to be driven on a manual roller shutter with crank only. It is located in the boot, at the end of the winding shaft. If you find that your roller shutter squeaks at this part, spray silicone spray to lubricate the mechanism. Spray product where the crank fits and between the winding shaft and the winch. If nothing works, it will unfortunately have to be replaced.

5 – Check the motor on an electric roller shutter

If you contact that the squealing of the electric shutter comes from the inside of the winding axis, then the problem may come from engine. A new engine costs between 100€ and 250€. So you have to make sure that the noise your shutter makes comes from this part before replacing it. If the origin of the noise is confirmed and you want to replace the motor, be careful to buy a new identical motor. Avoid counterfeits which can be dangerous for you and your roller shutter. 

Squeaky shutter crank: what to do?

It is also possible that your creaking roller shutter crank. In this case, the problem may come from winch (in the box), the knee pad (box outlet), or the crank itself (drive rod or handle). Then try to identify where the noise on the shutter crank is coming from, then, depending on it, find the appropriate solution:

1 – Lubricate or replace the universal joint

Roller shutter crank squeaking what to do?

When your roller shutter crank squeaks, most of the time the noise comes from the subwoofer output room, and more particularly of the knee pad, also called gimbal. This part tends to wear out over time. First, spray the part with silicone lubricant spray. If your shutter crank still squeals, then you will need to replace it. Count between 10€ and 30€ for the piece.

2 – Lubricate or replace the winch

It may also be thata creaking noise appears inside the box when you turn your crank. In this case, the winch is probably in question. This part allows the raising and lowering of the roller shutter.

The winch is located in the trunk, at the end of the winding shaft. You will therefore have to open the trunk to make sure of the problem. If you notice that your shutter squeaks at this part, spray silicone spray to lubricate the mechanism. Spray product where the crank fits and between the winding shaft and the winch. If nothing helps, and you are certain that the noise is coming from the winch, it will unfortunately have to be replaced.

3 – Lubricate or replace the crank

Si the squeak comes from the rod or handle of the roller shutter crank, again you can spray silicone lubricant spray on the squeaky spots. If that doesn't work, then you'll have to replace the stem and handle as a whole for between $30 and $50.

Contact the after-sales service or a professional

If unfortunately you are not able to carry out the manipulations or if you have not been able to identify or replace the problem causing the squeaking noise on the roller shutter, the only solution left for you is to contact a professional. He can then find the origin of the parasitic noise and eliminate it.

Note that the shutters generally have a guarantee which can range from 1 year and extend up to 10 years! So do not hesitate to contact the assistance of the manufacturer or the installer of your shutter to obtain a repair or replacement of the shutter at a lower cost. Be careful, the squeaking noise is not always a reason covered by the warranty, especially if it is minimal. We advise you to consult the terms of your contract before any request.

If you are tenant and the noise is really disturbing (for example if your shutter squeaks when it's windy), contact your landlord. If the squeaking is linked to wear or a manufacturing defect, and not to a lack of use on your part (shock, poor maintenance, etc.), then the repair must be at your expense.

And for the next times? The saying “prevention is better than cure” applies to shutters. Indeed, to ensure that your roller shutter never squeaks, regular maintenance is required. Clean and lubricate the slides once or twice a year. Also clean the blades once a year or more if you are in a polluted or at-risk environment (beach, roadside, big city, etc.). These small gestures will limit the wear of components, the accumulation of dirt and therefore the appearance of squeaking on your shutters.

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