Shutters in a dining room

How Hard Are DIY Shutters?

May 15, 2017

Doing home improvement projects on your own in Boise is easier than ever. With resources easily available to you, a lot of projects that used to be hard are now very doable by yourself.

There are outliers, though – projects that may be unwieldy, time-consuming, or just too complex to do by yourself. One project that may fall into that category is installing DIY plantation shutters.

Boise DIY shutters in living room. 

These are just a few of the problems that can come up when trying to put in shutters as a DIY job.

Measuring Your Windows

Although it may look easy at the start, getting the precise window measurements for plantation shutters can get a little tricky. As one of our installers says, “There are a thousand wrong ways to measure windows, but only one way to do it right.” There’s a lot of variation in windows that will change the way you measure.

Have you decided whether your shutters will be on an outside or inside mount? How thick is the frame of the shutters you’re looking at and how far into the window jamb does it go? Which style of frame is needed for tilt-in windows, swinging 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 need to measure your windows.

DIY Shutter Buying

The next pitfall for DIY shutters can pop up in the buying process. As with the variation in windows, there’s a lot of differences between types of shutters, and if you’re doing it alone, it’s easy to purchase the wrong thing. Here are a few common DIY mistakes:

  • Purchasing the wrong material for shutters. For example, buying natural wood shutters to put in a room that might actually need a waterproof window treatment.

  • Picking a shutter option that impedes window movement, meaning you can’t fully open the window.

  • Getting the wrong type of shutter frame, specifically for specialty windows like in sidelight windows.

In addition, there can be 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 DIY Shutters

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

First off, shutter installation needs to be precise, and a small slip-up in measuring at the start or in installing a bracket can throw a wrench in the whole project. Shutters can also be physically hard to maneuver on your own; depending on the material and the location of your window, lifting a shutter can be exhausting and in some cases hazardous.

Shutter installation in Boise bedroom. 

The majority of shutter DIYers are unaware that it’s pretty common for shutters to not fit the window frame precisely. This is mainly because most window frames aren’t a perfect square. Attaching the shutter flush to one side of the window opening could result in the shutter looking crooked and creating gaps. Caulking a ¼ or ½inch gap is common with shutter installations, and if you’re solo a caulking job could be a little too much.

Last, when you install DIY shutters, you don’t have anything to fall back on. If a professional installer puts in your shutters for you, they’ll typically guarantee the project with a warranty. But if something goes wrong when you try to install yourself, 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?

Doing a shutter installation on your own can save you money if it all goes according to plan. But it’s important to know what all can go wrong at any time, and how that can cost you all the money you could save. For a perfect installation and the ability to rest easy, talk with a window treatment pro at Sunburst Shutters & Window Fashions by calling 208-609-9129.
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