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Shutters in a dining room

How Hard Are DIY Shutters?

May 15, 2017

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 inconvenient, time-consuming, or just too difficult to do by yourself. One project that might belong to 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 on the surface, getting the right window measurements for plantation shutters can get very tricky. As a member of our team likes to say, “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 change the way you measure.

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 sliding windows?

The answers to each of these questions 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 pitfall for DIY shutters can appear during the buying process. As with the variation in windows, there’s a lot of ways shutter vary, and if you’re doing it alone, it can be easy to purchase the wrong product. Here are a few easy to make mistakes if you’re a DIYer:

  • Purchasing shutters that are the wrong material. For instance, ordering real wood shutters for a space in your home that should have a moisture-proof window treatment.

  • Picking a shutter build that doesn’t let you open or close your window all the way.

  • Choosing the wrong type of shutter frame, especially for specialty windows like in sidelight windows.

We’ve also seen some added confusion with shutter terminology. Talking to shutter experts helps avoid 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 hard – first, shutter installation needs to be precise, and one tiny mistake in measuring at the start or in hanging a bracket can ruin the whole thing. Shutters can also be physically hard to maneuver on your own; depending on the material and your window’s position, lifting a shutter can be exhausting and in some cases 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 install DIY shutters, 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 on your own if there’s any 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 just how easily something can go wrong during the process, and how that can cost you all the money you might save. For a flawless installation and complete peace of mind, talk with a window design expert at Sunburst Shutters Cincinnati by calling 513-216-9740.