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Solid or louver panels are most common type of shutters. Manufacturers may offer a range of other options such as tongue-and-groove, solid panels with designs cut out of them. Shutters can be made of traditional wood, as well as composites, aluminum, vinyl and a range of other materials. Wooden shutters require more regular maintenance than other materials such as aluminum and vinyl. Whatever material you choose, it is worth buying prefinished shutters — louvered shutters are very time-consuming to paint. Most shutters come with catches to hold them closed and tie-backs to secure them in an open position.
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Shutters are usually custom-built for your windows or recesses. Before placing an order for shutters, take note of any mechanisms and installation procedures and make sure they are compatible with your window. If you are installing the shutters into a window recess, make sure there is enough room to fit them without blocking out light. You will need to measure carefully. Most companies will provide specific guidelines on how and where to take the crucial measurements. When you are measuring a window recess, make sure that you take at least three measurements for the width and height of the opening. Use the smallest of the three, because walls are rarely dead straight.
Exterior shutters are often mounted on a three-sided frame so that there is no frame piece along the window sill. This type of design is neater and allows rainwater to run off the sill easily to prevent problems with rot or mildew. Because exterior shutters are exposed to the elements, make sure you choose hardwearing or factory-coated materials.
Construct the frame as specified, unless it is supplied ready-made. Position the frame at the front of the recess (Image 1). Check the fit.
Use a level to check that the frame is square (Image 2). If shimming is required, get help holding the frame while you make any adjustments.
Mark the predrilled hole positions on the wall (Image 3). If holes are not predrilled, then attach each piece at the top, bottom and center.
Remove the frame and drill the pilot holes using a suitable bit (Image 4). Plug the holes if necessary, then reposition the frame and attach it in place. Do not over tighten the screws, you might distort the frame.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
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