Are DIY Shutters Difficult?

George Christ

Doing home improvement projects by yourself in Minneapolis has never been easier. With resources easily available to savvy homeowners, many once-difficult projects are now very doable.

There are outliers, though – projects that may be cumbersome, time-consuming, or just too complex to do on your own. One job that might fall into that category is putting in DIY plantation shutters.

Minneapolis DIY shutters in living room. 

These are just a couple of the issues that may arise when trying to install shutters as a DIY project.

DIY Window Measuring for Shutters

Though it might seem easy on the surface, getting the right window measurements for plantation shutters can be a little tricky. As a member of our team likes to say, “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 will affect how you should measure for shutters.

For example, will your shutters be on an outside or inside mount? How thick is the shutter frame you’re looking at and how deep into the window jamb will it need to sit? Which type of frame is needed for tilt-in windows, crank windows or sliding windows?

All these factors can affect which style of shutters and frame are appropriate. By extension, that changes how you need to measure your windows.

Buying DIY Shutters

The next problem area for DIY shutters springs up during 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 buy the wrong product. Here are a few common DIY mistakes:

  • Getting shutters made of the wrong material. For example, ordering hardwood shutters to put in a room that might actually need a moisture-proof window treatment.

  • Picking a shutter configuration that impedes 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 sliding glass doors.

When talking to DIYers, we’ve found there might be some added confusion with shutter terminology. Working with a shutter company helps eliminate any confusion, so you get exactly what you need.

DIY Shutter Installation

The most difficult part of DIY shutters, like with any home project, is in actually putting them in.

First off, shutter installation is a precise procedure, and one tiny error in measuring at the beginning or in screwing in a bracket can throw everything else off. Shutters can also be physically difficult to install; depending on the material and where your window is, lifting a shutter can be very cumbersome and in certain scenarios dangerous.

Shutter installation in Minneapolis bedroom. 

The majority of shutter DIYers are unaware that it’s pretty typical for shutters to not fill out the whole window frame exactly. This is mainly because most window frames aren’t a perfect square. Installing the shutter flush to one edge of the window could result in the shutter looking crooked and making gaps. It’s typical for an installer to caulk a quarter or half-inch gap, and if you’re an inexperienced DIYer a caulking job could be a little too much.

Finally, when you do a DIY shutter project, you don’t have a safety net. If a professional does your shutters for you, they’ll usually guarantee the project with a warranty. But if something goes awry when you try to install yourself, you’re not going to be covered for damage to your shutter or to your window.

Are DIY Shutters Worth It?

DIYing your shutters might save you some cash if it all goes according to plan. But you should know what all can go wrong at any time, 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 design pro at Sunburst Shutters Minneapolis by calling 952-856-8130.