How to Install Exterior Shutters

Exterior window shutters help preserve windows from weathering, and they provide privacy, security and protection from bad weather.
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Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Choosing Shutters

Solid or louver panels are the most common type of shutters. Manufacturers may offer a range of other options such as tongue-and-groove and 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.

Install the Frame

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 it 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. Check the fit.

Check for Square

Use a level to check that the frame is square. If shimming is required, get help holding the frame while you make any adjustments.

Mark Holes

Mark the predrilled hole positions on the wall. If holes are not predrilled, then attach each piece at the top, bottom and center.

Drill Pilot Holes

Remove the frame and drill the pilot holes using a suitable bit. 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.

Attach the Shutters

Lower the hinge sections on the shutter onto the hinge sections secured to the frame. The shutter should easily slide into place when the hinges are correctly aligned. Check that the shutters open and close smoothly.

Install the Tie-Backs

Position the tie-backs. Open the shutters to get the right level, then make sure you will be able to reach them from inside. Screw into place.

Check Operation and Finish

Be sure that the tie-backs operate smoothly and make any adjustments as required.

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