How Hard Are DIY Shutters?

Lisa Renee Nieberding

Doing home design projects by yourself in Cincinnati is a lot easier than it used to be. With resources easily available to savvy homeowners, many projects that used to be hard are now very doable on your own.

There are outliers, though – jobs that may be unwieldy, time-consuming, or just too difficult to do by yourself. One project that might fall into that category is putting in DIY plantation shutters.

Cincinnati DIY shutters in living room. 

Here are just a couple of the issues that can pop up when you try to install shutters as a DIY job.

Measuring Your Windows

Though it might look easy at a glance, getting the correct window measurements for plantation shutters can get very tricky. As one of our shutter experts says, “There’s about a thousand ways to measure windows wrong, but only one way to measure right54.” There’s a good amount of ways windows can vary that can affect how you should measure for shutters.

Do you know if your shutters need to be on an inside mount or an outside mount? How thick is the frame of the shutters you’re thinking about and how far into the window opening does it go? Which type of frame is needed for casement-in windows, swinging windows or sliders?

All these factors can affect the size of shutters you’ll need and what frame you pick. By extension, that changes how you should measure your windows.

DIY Shutter Buying

The next problem area for DIY shutters can appear during the buying process. As with the variation in windows, there’s a lot of variation in shutters, and if you’re flying solo, it can be easy to purchase the wrong product. Here are a few easy to make mistakes if you’re a DIYer:

  • Purchasing the wrong material for shutters. For instance, ordering hardwood shutters for a space in your home that might actually need a moisture-proof window treatment.

  • Picking a shutter configuration that blocks window movement, making it so you can’t fully open the window.

  • Ordering a shutter with a frame that doesn’t work well with your specialty window such as your sidelight windows.

We’ve also seen some added confusion with shutter terminology. Talking to shutter experts can help clear up any confusion, so you get exactly what you think you’re getting when you buy your shutters.

Installing Shutters Yourself

Where DIY shutters can become most difficult is when it comes time to install them, as you might have guessed.

There are a few reasons it’s so difficult – first, shutter installation needs to be precise, and one small mistake in measuring at the start or in screwing in a bracket can ruin the whole thing. Shutters can also be a little heavy; depending on the material and where your window is, lifting a shutter can be exhausting and sometimes hazardous.

Shutter installation in Cincinnati bedroom. 

Many DIYers also don’t realize that it’s fairly common for shutters to not exactly fit your window frame. This is mainly due to the fact that most window frames aren’t perfectly square. Attaching the shutter flush to one edge of the window could force the entire shutter to be crooked and create gaps. It’s common for an installer to caulk a ¼ or ½inch gap, and if you’re doing it alone a caulking job could be a little too much.

Last, when you do a DIY shutter project, you don’t have a safety net. If a professional installer puts in your shutters for you, they’ll usually guarantee the product and installation with a warranty. However if something goes awry when you DIY, you’re not likely to be covered for damage to the shutters or any other part of your house.

Is It Worth It To DIY Shutters?

DIYing your shutters can save you some cash if you do everything correctly. But you should know what all can go wrong at any time, and how that can cost you all the money you might save. For a flawless installation and the ability to rest easy, talk with a window design expert at Sunburst Shutters Cincinnati by calling 513-216-9740.