Are DIY Shutters Hard to Do?

Dennis Rooney

Doing home design projects by yourself in New York City has never been easier. Since you have a lot of resources easily available to savvy homeowners, many projects that used to be hard are now very doable on your own.

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

New York City DIY shutters in living room. 

Below are just a few of the issues that might come up when you try to put in shutters as a DIY project.

Measuring Your Windows

Although it might look easy at a glance, getting the right window measurements for plantation shutters can get very tricky. As a member of our team likes to say, “There are a thousand ways you can measure windows wrong, but only one right way54.” There’s a lot 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 far into the window jamb will it need to sit? What style of frame is needed for tilt-in windows, crank windows or glass doors?

All these factors can have an impact which kind of shutters and frame are appropriate. By extension, that changes how you measure your windows.

Buying DIY Shutters

The next problem area for DIY shutters can arise in the buying process. As with the variation in windows, there’s a lot of ways shutter vary, and if you’re flying solo, it’s easy to buy the wrong thing. Here are a few easy to make mistakes if you’re a DIYer:

  • Purchasing the wrong material for shutters. For instance, ordering natural wood shutters for a space in your home that might actually need a waterproof window treatment.

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

  • Getting a shutter with a frame that doesn’t work well with your specialty window such as your French doors.

We’ve also seen some added confusion with shutter terminology. Working with shutter experts can help clear up any confusion, so you get exactly what you think you’re getting when you buy your shutters.

Installing DIY Shutters

Where DIY shutters can become most difficult is trying to install them, as you likely guessed.

There are a few reasons it’s hard – first, shutter installation needs to be precise, and one small slip-up 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 your window’s location, lifting a shutter can be strenuous and in certain scenarios dangerous.

Shutter installation in New York City bedroom. 

The majority of shutter DIYers are unaware that it’s pretty common for shutters to not fill out the whole window frame exactly. This is mainly due to the fact that most window frames aren’t perfectly square. Installing the shutter flush to one side of the window opening could result in the shutter looking crooked and creating gaps. Needing to caulk a quarter or half-inch gap is common with shutter installations, 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 typically guarantee the product and installation with a warranty. However if something goes awry when you DIY, you’re on your own if there’s any damage to your shutter or to your window.

Is It Worth It To DIY Shutters?

Doing a shutter installation on your own might save you some cash if it’s all done exactly right. But it’s important to know just how easily something can go wrong during the process, and how that can cost you more money than you would have saved. For a professional installation and total peace of mind, talk with a window treatment expert at Sunburst Shutters New York by calling 631-246-3930.