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Shutters in a dining room

How Hard Are DIY Shutters?

May 15, 2017

Getting home design projects done by yourself in Seattle has never been easier. Since you have a lot of resources easily available to you, many projects that used to be hard are now very doable.

There are exceptions, though – jobs that may be unwieldy, tedious, or just too difficult to do by yourself. One project that might fall into that category is installing DIY plantation shutters.

Seattle DIY shutters in living room. 

These are just a couple of the issues that might come up when you try to put in shutters as a DIY job.

Measuring Your Windows

Although it can look easy at a glance, getting the exact window measurements for plantation shutters can get very tricky. As one of our team members says, “There’s about a thousand wrong ways to measure windows, but only one right way.” There’s a good amount of variation in windows that will change the way you measure.

For example, will your shutters be on an inside mount or an outside mount? What’s the thickness of the shutter frame you’re looking at and how far into the window jamb will it need to sit? Which type of frame is best for casement-in windows, swinging windows or sliders?

All these factors can affect the size of shutters you’ll need and what frame you choose. That also changes how you need to measure your windows.

Buying DIY Shutters

The next pitfall for DIY shutters can spring up during the buying process. Just like the variation in windows, there’s a lot of differences between types of shutters, and if you’re doing it alone, it’s a common mistake to buy the wrong product. Here are a few common DIY mistakes:

  • Buying the wrong material for shutters. For instance, purchasing real wood shutters to put in a room that should have a moisture-proof window treatment.

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

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

In addition, there can be some added confusion with shutter terminology. Working with shutter experts can help clear up any confusion, so you get exactly what you want for your windows.

Installing DIY Shutters

Where DIY shutters can become most difficult is trying to install them, as you might have guessed.

There are a few reasons it’s hard – first, shutter installation needs to be precise, and a slight error in measuring at the start or in installing a bracket can ruin the whole thing. Shutters can also be physically hard to maneuver on your own; depending on the material and your window’s position, lifting a shutter can be very cumbersome and in some cases dangerous.

Shutter installation in Seattle bedroom. 

Something some DIYers don’t know is that it’s pretty common for shutters to not fill out the whole window frame exactly. This is mainly because most window frames aren’t perfectly square. Installing the shutter flush to one side of the window opening could result in the shutter looking crooked and making gaps. It’s common for an installer to caulk a ¼ or ½inch gap, and if you’re on your own a caulking job could be outside your expertise.

Last, when you do a shutter installation yourself, you don’t have anything to fall back on. If a shutter company installs your shutters for you, they’ll almost always guarantee the project with a warranty. But 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?

Doing a shutter installation on your own may 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 would have saved. For a professional installation and the ability to rest easy, talk with a window design expert at Sunburst Shutters Washington by calling 360-464-2277.