How Hard Are DIY Shutters?

Holly Perron

Getting home improvement projects done on your own in Boston is a lot easier than it used to be. With resources easily available to you, a lot of once-difficult projects are now very doable.

There are exceptions, though – projects that may be cumbersome, time-consuming, or just too complex to do by yourself. One project that might fall into that category is putting in DIY plantation shutters.

Boston DIY shutters in living room. 

Here are just a couple of the problems that might pop up when you try to put in shutters as a DIY project.

Measuring Your Windows

Although it may seem easy on the surface, getting the precise window measurements for plantation shutters can get somewhat tricky. As a member of our team likes to say, “There are a thousand ways you can measure windows wrong, but only one way to do it right54.” There’s a lot of differences between individual windows that will affect how you should measure for shutters.

Do you know if your shutters need to be on an outside or inside mount? How thick is the shutter frame you’re thinking about and how deep into the window opening should it go? Which kind of frame is best for casement-in windows, crank windows or glass doors?

All these factors can have an impact the size of shutters you’ll want and what frame you pick. By extension, that changes how you need to measure your windows.

Buying DIY Shutters

The next problem area for DIY shutters can appear during the buying process. As with the variation in windows, there’s a lot of differences between types of shutters, and if you’re on your own, it’s a common mistake to buy the wrong thing. Here are a few common DIY mistakes:

  • Buying the wrong material for shutters. For instance, ordering real wood shutters to put in a room that might actually need a moisture-proof window treatment.

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

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

When talking to DIYers, we’ve found there might be some added confusion about certain shutter terms. Working with a shutter company helps avoid any confusion, so you get exactly what you want for your windows.

Installing DIY Shutters

The most difficult part of DIYing shutters, like with any home project, is in actually putting them in.

There are a few reasons it’s hard – first, shutter installation needs to be precise, and one slight slip-up in measuring at the start or in hanging a bracket can throw a wrench in the whole project. Shutters can also be physically difficult to install; depending on the material and your window’s location, lifting a shutter can be exhausting and in some cases dangerous.

Shutter installation in Boston bedroom. 

Something some DIYers don’t know is that it’s pretty typical for shutters to not fill out the whole window frame exactly. This is mainly because most window frames aren’t perfectly square. Attaching the shutter flush to one side of the window opening could result in the shutter looking crooked and making gaps. Needing to caulk a quarter or half-inch gap is common with shutter installations, and if you’re an inexperienced DIYer a caulking job could be more than you bargained for.

Last, when you do a DIY shutter project, you don’t have a safety net. If a shutter company installs your shutters for you, they’ll typically guarantee the project with a warranty. However if something goes wrong when you try to install yourself, you’re not likely to be covered for damage to your shutter or to your window.

Are DIY Shutters Worth It?

DIYing your shutters can save you money if you do everything exactly right. But it’s important to know what all can go wrong at any step in the process, and how that can cost you all the money you would have saved. For a perfect installation and the ability to rest easy, talk with a window design pro at Sunburst Shutters Boston by calling 781-352-2205.