Shutters in a dining room

How Hard Are DIY Shutters?

May 15, 2017

Doing home improvement projects on your own in Boston is a lot easier than it used to be. With resources easily available to walk you through every step, 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 job that might belong to 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 can 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 measure right54.” There’s a lot of differences between individual windows that will change the way you measure.

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 style of frame is best for casement-in windows, crank windows or glass doors?

The answers to each of these questions can change the size of shutters you’ll want and what frame you pick. By extension, that changes how you measure your windows.

Buying DIY Shutters

The next difficulty 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.

  • Choosing 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 can help clear up 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 so difficult – first, shutter installation needs to be precise, and one slight slip-up in measuring at the start or in hanging a bracket can ruin the whole thing. Shutters can also be physically difficult to install; depending on the material and the position of your window, lifting a shutter can be exhausting and sometimes dangerous.

Shutter installation in Boston bedroom. 

Many DIYers also don’t realize 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 outside your expertise.

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 almost always 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.

DIY Shutters – Are They Worth It?

DIYing your shutters can save you money if you do everything exactly right. But you should know just how easily something can go wrong during the process, and how that can cost you all the money you would have saved. For a flawless installation and complete peace of mind, talk with a window design pro at Sunburst Shutters Boston by calling 781-352-2205.
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