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Shutters in a dining room

Are DIY Shutters Hard?

May 15, 2017

Doing home improvement projects by yourself in Minneapolis is easier than ever. With resources easily available to savvy homeowners, many projects that used to be hard are now very doable.

There are outliers, though – projects that may be cumbersome, time-consuming, or just too complex to DIY. 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 problems that may arise when trying to put in shutters as a DIY project.

DIY Window Measuring for Shutters

Though it might look easy at a glance, getting the correct window measurements for plantation shutters can get somewhat 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 do it right54.” There’s a lot of variation in windows that can affect how you should measure for shutters.

Have you decided whether your shutters will be on an outside or inside mount? How thick is the shutter frame you’re thinking about and how far into the window jamb will it need to sit? Which type of frame is needed for tilt-in windows, crank windows or sliders?

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

Buying DIY Shutters

The next pitfall for DIY shutters can arise during the buying process. As with the variation in windows, there’s a lot of differences between types of shutters, and if you’re flying solo, it can be easy to buy the wrong product. Here are a few common DIY mistakes:

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

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

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

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

DIY Shutter Installation

The hardest 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 slip-up 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 strenuous 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 on your own 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 on your own if there’s any damage to the shutters or any other part of your house.

Are DIY Shutters Worth It?

DIYing your shutters might save you some cash if you do everything exactly right. But it’s important to know what all can go wrong at any time, and how that can cost you more money than you might have saved. For a perfect installation and complete peace of mind, talk with a window treatment pro at Sunburst Shutters Minneapolis by calling 952-856-8130.