Are DIY Shutters Difficult?

Kimball Jones

Getting home improvement projects done on your own in Southern California is easier than ever. 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.

There are outliers, though – projects that may be inconvenient, tedious, or just too difficult to do on your own. One job that may be part of that category is installing DIY plantation shutters.

Southern California DIY shutters in living room. 

These are just a couple of the issues that may arise when trying to put in shutters as a DIY job.

DIY Window Measuring for Shutters

Though it may look easy at the start, getting the correct window measurements for plantation shutters can get a little tricky. As a member of our team likes to say, “There’s about a thousand ways to measure windows wrong, but only one right way54.” There’s a good amount of ways windows can vary that can change the way you measure.

Do you know if your shutters need to be on an outside or inside mount? What’s the thickness of the shutter frame you’re looking at and how deep into the window opening will it need to sit? What type of frame is needed for casement-in windows, swinging windows or sliders?

Each of these can change the size of shutters you’ll need and what frame you choose. By extension, that changes how you measure your windows.

DIY Shutter Buying

The next pitfall for DIY shutters can pop up during the buying process. Just like the variation in windows, there’s a lot of differences between types of shutters, and if you’re on your own, it’s a common mistake to purchase the wrong product. Here are a few common DIY mistakes:

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

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

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

When talking to DIYers, we’ve found there might be some added confusion about certain shutter terms. Working with a shutter company helps avoid any confusion, so you get exactly what you want for your windows.

Installing DIY Shutters

The most difficult part of DIY shutters, like with any home improvement job, is in actually putting them in.

There are a few reasons it’s hard – first, shutter installation is a precise procedure, and a small mistake in measuring at the beginning or in hanging a bracket can throw a wrench in the whole project. 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 sometimes hazardous.

Shutter installation in Southern California 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 due to the fact that few window frames are perfectly square. Installing the shutter flush to one side of the window opening could result in the shutter looking crooked and creating gaps. Caulking a ¼ or ½inch gap is typical with shutter installations, and if you’re on your own 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 does your shutters for you, they’ll almost always guarantee the project with a warranty. However if something goes awry when you try to install yourself, you’re on your own if there’s any damage to your windows or the shutters.

Is It Worth It To DIY Shutters?

DIYing your shutters can save you some cash if it’s all done correctly. But it’s important to know just how easy it is for something to go wrong during the process, and how that can cost you more money than you could save. For a professional installation and total peace of mind, talk with a window treatment expert at Sunburst Shutters Southern CA by calling 888-611-2474.