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Shutters in a dining room

Are DIY Shutters Difficult?

May 15, 2017

Doing home improvement projects on your own in Salt Lake City is easier than ever. With resources easily available to you, many once-difficult projects are now very doable.

There are outliers, though – jobs that may be inconvenient, tedious, or just too hard to do on your own. One job that may fall into that category is installing DIY plantation shutters.

Salt Lake City DIY shutters in living room. 

Here are just a few of the problems that can come up when you try to put in shutters as a DIY project.

DIY Window Measuring for Shutters

Although it can seem easy at a glance, getting the precise window measurements for plantation shutters can get very tricky. As a member of our team likes to say, “There’s about a thousand ways to measure windows wrong, but only one right way54.” There’s a good amount of variation in windows that will impact how you need to measure.

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

The answers to each of these questions can change which type of shutters and frame are appropriate. That also changes how you should measure your windows.

Buying DIY Shutters

The next pitfall for DIY shutters appears during the buying process. Just like the variation in windows, there’s a lot of ways shutter vary, and if you’re flying solo, it’s a common mistake to purchase the wrong thing. Here are a few common DIY mistakes:

  • Buying shutters that are the wrong material. For example, getting natural wood shutters for a space in your home that needs to have a moisture-proof window treatment.

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

  • Choosing 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 about certain shutter terms. Talking to a shutter company helps avoid any confusion, so you get exactly what you want for your windows.

Installing Shutters Yourself

Where DIY shutters can become really hard is trying to install them, as you probably guessed.

There are a few reasons for this – first, shutter installation is a precise procedure, and one slight 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 where your window is, lifting a shutter can be exhausting and in certain scenarios hazardous.

Shutter installation in Salt Lake City bedroom. 

Many DIYers also don’t realize that it’s pretty common for shutters to not fill out the whole window frame exactly. This is mainly because 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 make gaps. Caulking a quarter or half-inch gap is typical with shutter installations, and if you’re an inexperienced DIYer 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 professional does your shutters for you, they’ll usually guarantee the job with a warranty. However if something goes awry when you try to install yourself, you’re on your own if there’s any damage to your windows or the shutters.

DIY Shutters – Are They Worth It?

DIYing your shutters might save you money if you do everything exactly right. But it’s worthwhile to know just how easily something can go wrong during the process, and how that can cost you more money than you could have saved. For a professional installation and total peace of mind, talk with a window treatment pro at Sunburst Shutters Salt Lake City by calling 801-515-3598.