Are DIY Shutters Hard?

Nate Gromen

Doing home improvement projects by yourself in Cleveland is easier than ever. Since you have a lot of resources easily available to you, a lot of once-difficult projects are now very doable.

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

Cleveland DIY shutters in living room. 

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

DIY Window Measuring for Shutters

Though it might look easy at the start, getting the right window measurements for plantation shutters can get somewhat tricky. As one of our installers says, “There are a thousand ways to measure windows wrong, but only one right way54.” There’s a good amount of variation in windows that can impact how you need to measure.

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

The answers to each of these questions can change which style of shutters and frame are best for you. That also changes how you need to measure your windows.

Buying DIY Shutters

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

  • Getting shutters made of the wrong material. For example, ordering natural wood shutters to put in a room that should have a waterproof window treatment.

  • Picking a shutter build that doesn’t let you open or close your window all the way.

  • Getting the wrong type of shutter frame, especially for specialty windows like in French doors.

We’ve also seen some added confusion with shutter terminology. Talking to a shutter company can help clear up any confusion, so you get exactly what you need.

Installing Shutters Yourself

Where DIY shutters can become most difficult is when it comes time to install them, as you might have guessed.

First off, shutter installation needs to be precise, and one tiny mistake in measuring at the start or in screwing in a bracket can ruin the whole thing. Shutters can also be a little heavy; depending on the material and your window’s position, lifting a shutter can be exhausting and in certain scenarios dangerous.

Shutter installation in Cleveland bedroom. 

Many DIYers also don’t realize 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 a perfect square. Installing the shutter flush to one edge of the window could result in the shutter looking crooked and making gaps. Caulking a ¼ or ½inch gap is common with shutter installations, and if you’re solo a caulking job could be a little too much.

Last, when you do a DIY shutter project, you don’t have a safety net. If a professional installer puts in your shutters for you, they’ll almost always guarantee the project with a warranty. But if something goes wrong when you DIY, you’re not going to be covered for damage to the shutters or any other part of your house.

Is It Worth It To DIY Shutters?

Doing a shutter installation on your own may save you some cash if you do everything correctly. But it’s worthwhile to know what all can go wrong at any step in the process, and how that can cost you more money than you would save. For a professional installation and the ability to rest easy, talk with a window design pro at Sunburst Shutters Cleveland by calling 440-561-6787.