Are DIY Shutters Difficult?

Cory Cryer

Doing home improvement projects on your own in Houston is a lot easier than it used to be. With resources easily available to you, a lot of once-difficult projects are now very doable.

There are exceptions, though – jobs that may be cumbersome, time-consuming, or just too complex to do by yourself. One job that might belong to that category is installing DIY plantation shutters.

Houston DIY shutters in living room. 

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

DIY Window Measuring for Shutters

Though it may seem easy at a glance, getting the exact window measurements for plantation shutters can be very tricky. As one of our team members says, “There are a thousand ways to measure windows wrong, but only one right way54.” There’s a good amount of differences between individual windows that can 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 opening does it need to sit? What kind of frame do you need for tilt-in windows, swinging windows or sliding windows?

The answers to each of these questions can have an impact which style of shutters and frame are appropriate. By extension, that changes how you should measure your windows.

DIY Shutter Buying

The next pitfall for DIY shutters can spring up in the buying process. As with the variation in windows, there’s a lot of ways shutter vary, and if you’re doing it alone, it can be easy to buy the wrong thing. Here are a few easy to make mistakes if you’re a DIYer:

  • Purchasing shutters made of the wrong material. For example, purchasing hardwood shutters to put in a room that needs to have a waterproof window treatment.

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

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

In addition, there can be some added confusion with shutter terminology. Talking to a shutter company helps avoid any confusion, so you get exactly what you need.

Installing Shutters Yourself

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

First off, shutter installation needs to be precise, and one small slip-up in measuring at the beginning or in screwing in a bracket can throw a wrench in the whole project. Shutters can also be physically difficult to install; 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 Houston bedroom. 

Something some DIYers don’t know is that it’s fairly typical for shutters to not exactly fit your window frame. This is mainly due to the fact that most window frames aren’t perfectly square. Attaching the shutter flush to one side of the window opening could result in the shutter looking crooked and making gaps. It’s common for an installer to caulk a quarter or half-inch gap, and if you’re an inexperienced DIYer a caulking job could be more than you bargained for.

Last, when you do a DIY shutter project, you don’t have anything to fall back on. If a shutter company installs your shutters for you, they’ll almost always guarantee the job with a warranty. However if something goes wrong 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.

DIY Shutters – Are They Worth It?

Doing a shutter installation on your own may 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 all the money you might save. For a professional installation and complete peace of mind, talk with a window treatment expert at Sunburst Shutters Houston by calling 713-853-9629.