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Shutters in a dining room

Are DIY Shutters Hard?

May 15, 2017

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

There are exceptions, though – jobs that may be inconvenient, tedious, or just too hard 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 couple of the issues that might 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 correct window measurements for plantation shutters can get somewhat 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.

For example, will your shutters 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 need to sit? What kind of frame is needed for casement-in windows, crank windows or sliding windows?

All these factors can affect 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 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 can be easy to buy 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 build 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 think you’re getting when you buy your shutters.

DIY Shutter Installation

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

There are a few reasons it’s so difficult – first, shutter installation is a precise procedure, and a tiny error in measuring at the start or in screwing in a bracket can throw a wrench in the whole project. Shutters can also be a little heavy; 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 you should 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 perfect installation and the ability to rest easy, talk with a window treatment expert at Sunburst Shutters Philadelphia by calling 215-874-4897.