Are DIY Shutters Difficult?

Matt Thelander

Getting home improvement projects done on your own in Salt Lake City is easier than ever. With resources easily available to walk you through every step, many once-difficult projects are now very doable.

There are outliers, though – jobs that may be unwieldy, tedious, or just too difficult to DIY. One job that may belong to that category is installing DIY plantation shutters.

Salt Lake City DIY shutters in living room. 

Below are just a few of the problems that can arise when you try to put in shutters as a DIY project.

DIY Window Measuring for Shutters

Although it may seem easy on the surface, getting the precise window measurements for plantation shutters can get very tricky. As one of our shutter experts says, “There’s about a thousand ways to measure windows wrong, but only one right way54.” There’s a good amount 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 deep into the window jamb should it go? What style of frame is needed for casement-in windows, crank windows or sliding windows?

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

Buying DIY Shutters

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

  • Getting shutters that are the wrong material. For example, buying natural wood shutters for a space in your home that needs to have a moisture-proof window treatment.

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

  • Choosing a shutter with a frame that doesn’t work well with your specialty window like your sidelight windows.

In addition, there can be some added confusion about certain shutter terms. Talking to a shutter company helps avoid any confusion, so you get exactly what you think you’re getting when you buy your shutters.

Installing Shutters Yourself

The hardest part of DIY shutters, like with any home improvement job, is in actually installing them.

First off, shutter installation is a precise procedure, and one slight slip-up in measuring at the start or in installing a bracket can ruin the whole thing. Shutters can also be physically hard to maneuver on your own; depending on the material and where your window is, lifting a shutter can be exhausting and in certain scenarios hazardous.

Shutter installation in Salt Lake City bedroom. 

Many DIYers also don’t realize that it’s pretty common for shutters to not fill out the whole window frame exactly. This is mainly because few window frames are perfectly square. Installing the shutter flush to one edge of the window could result in the shutter looking crooked and making gaps. Caulking a quarter or half-inch gap is typical with shutter installations, and if you’re on your own a caulking job could be more than you bargained for.

Last, when you do a shutter installation yourself, you don’t have anything to fall back on. If a professional does your shutters for you, they’ll usually guarantee the job with a warranty. However if something goes awry when you try to install yourself, you’re not likely to be covered for damage to your windows or the shutters.

Are DIY Shutters Worth It?

DIYing your shutters can save you money if you do everything exactly right. But it’s worthwhile to know just how easily something can go wrong during the process, and how that can cost you more money than you could have saved. For a professional installation and total peace of mind, talk with a window treatment pro at Sunburst Shutters Salt Lake City by calling 801-515-3598.