Are DIY Shutters Hard?

Bill Burke

Doing home design projects by yourself in Indianapolis is a lot easier than it used to be. Since you have a lot of resources easily available to walk you through every step, a lot of once-difficult projects are now very doable by yourself.

There are exceptions, though – jobs that may be unwieldy, time-consuming, or just too difficult to do on your own. One job that may fall into that category is installing DIY plantation shutters.

Indianapolis DIY shutters in living room. 

Below are just a few of the issues that may pop up when you try to install shutters as a DIY project.

DIY Window Measuring for Shutters

Although it may look easy at a glance, getting the precise window measurements for plantation shutters can be a little tricky. As one of our installers says, “There’s about a thousand wrong ways to measure windows, but only one way to do it right.” There’s a lot of ways windows can vary that can 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 frame of the shutters you’re thinking about and how far into the window jamb should it go? Which type of frame is best for tilt-in windows, crank windows or glass doors?

Each of these can change which kind of shutters and frame are appropriate. That also changes how you should measure your windows.

DIY Shutter Buying

The next difficulty for DIY shutters appears 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 purchase the wrong product. Here are a few common DIY mistakes:

  • Buying the wrong material for shutters. For instance, ordering hardwood shutters for a space in your home that needs to have a moisture-proof window treatment.

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

  • Choosing a shutter with a frame that doesn’t fit your specialty window such as your sidelight windows.

We’ve also seen some added confusion about certain shutter terms. Talking to a shutter company helps eliminate any confusion, so you get exactly what you think you’re getting when you buy your shutters.

Installing DIY Shutters

The hardest part of DIYing shutters, similar to any home improvement job, is in actually installing them.

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

Shutter installation in Indianapolis bedroom. 

Something some DIYers don’t know is that it’s pretty common for shutters to not fit the window frame precisely. This is mainly because most window frames aren’t perfectly square. Attaching the shutter flush to one side of the window opening could force the entire shutter to be crooked and make gaps. It’s common for an installer to caulk a ¼ or ½inch gap, and if you’re solo a caulking job could be outside your expertise.

Last, when you do a DIY shutter project, you don’t have anything to fall back on. 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?

DIYing your shutters might save you money 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 might save. For a perfect installation and the ability to rest easy, talk with a window design expert at Sunburst Shutters Indianapolis by calling 317-558-9066.