Are DIY Shutters Difficult?

Holly Perron

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

There are exceptions, though – jobs that may be unwieldy, tedious, or just too difficult to DIY. One project that may belong to that category is putting in DIY plantation shutters.

Philadelphia DIY shutters in living room. 

Below are just a handful of the issues that may pop up when you try to put in shutters as a DIY job.

DIY Window Measuring for Shutters

Although it might look easy at the start, getting the right window measurements for plantation shutters can get a little tricky. As one of our installers says, “There’s about a thousand ways to measure windows wrong, but only one way to measure right54.” There’s a lot of variation in windows that can impact how you need to measure.

Have you decided whether your shutters will be on an outside or inside mount? What’s the thickness of the frame of the shutters you’re looking at and how deep into the window jamb will it go? Which style of frame do you need for casement-in windows, crank windows or sliders?

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

DIY Shutter Buying

The next difficulty for DIY shutters can arise during the buying process. Just like the variation in windows, there’s a lot of variation in shutters, and if you’re on your own, it’s easy to purchase the wrong thing. Here are a few easy to make mistakes if you’re a DIYer:

  • Buying the wrong material for shutters. For example, ordering hardwood shutters for a space in your home that needs to have a waterproof window treatment.

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

  • Getting a shutter with a frame that doesn’t fit your specialty window like your sidelight windows.

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

Installing DIY Shutters

The hardest part of DIY shutters, similar to any home project, is in actually putting them in.

There are a few reasons it’s hard – first, shutter installation is a precise procedure, and a tiny error 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 where your window is, lifting a shutter can be exhausting and sometimes dangerous.

Shutter installation in Philadelphia bedroom. 

The majority of shutter DIYers are unaware that it’s fairly typical for shutters to not exactly fit your window frame. This is mainly due to the fact that few window frames are perfectly square. Installing the shutter flush to one edge of the window could force the entire shutter to not be square and create gaps. It’s typical for an installer to caulk a ¼ or ½inch gap, and if you’re an inexperienced DIYer a caulking job could be outside your expertise.

Finally, when you install DIY shutters, you don’t have a safety net. If a professional does your shutters for you, they’ll typically guarantee the product and installation with a warranty. However 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?

DIYing your shutters can save you some cash if it all goes according to plan. But it’s important to know just how easily something can go wrong during the process, and how that can cost you more money than you might have saved. For a flawless installation and complete peace of mind, talk with a window treatment expert at Sunburst Shutters Philadelphia by calling 215-874-4897.