Shutter Installation for Interior Windows

Window shutter installation has been a way of ensuring privacy and controlling light while adding style to rooms for centuries. Sure, Venetians or a regular blind can block out prying eyes or light but they don't have the same elegance as a set of window shutters. Plus, shutters offer flexibility, since you can choose to cover a whole window for both privacy and light control or just half a window (like in a kitchen) to provide privacy while still allowing lots of natural light into the room

Shutters can be installed either inside a window frame (inside mount) or on hanging strips installed along side the window casings (outside mount). Hanging strips are strips of wood about 3/4" by 3/4" that are mounted on the walls beside the window or inside the casing and painted to blend in with your walls and shutters.
Since windows are often not square or plumb, inside mounts can be time consuming and frustrating because the shutters must be sized to fit within the window plus mounted perfectly vertically to have that stylish appearance.

Some people think shutter installation is a job for professionals, but since most manufacturers provide very detailed instructions on how to install their particular window shutters, with care and attention to detail, a DIY'er can install their own. Here's a generic overview of how to install window shutters.

What you'll need

• Shutters themselves
• Tape measure
• Saw or plane
• Screwdriver
• Shutter hardware (often supplied by the manufacturer)
• Paint or polyurethane if your shutters are unfinished

Measure Windows

If you want an inside mount you need to determine if your window is square. To do this, you need to measure windows crosswise from corner to corner (upper left to lower right and vice versa). If the measurements are the same, the window is square. However, if the difference is more than 1/2", the window is badly out of square and you'll need to use an outside mount.

You also need to have about 2" of clearance from the shutters to the window or any handles (depends on the shutter manufacturer and style) - if you don't have enough clearance an outside mount is your alternative.

Measure both the height and width of your windows at three points each. If you're going to do an outside mount you can add to the height or width measurement so the shutters can provide extra coverage. For inside mounts use the largest measurement each way to determine your shutter size, remember you can always trim them to fit with a saw or a plane.

Outside mount shutters are always mounted on hanging strips. They give you the flexibility to hang your shutters plumb and vertical even if your window isn't. However, you can also use hanging strips to install inside mount shutters. The strips themselves can be adjusted or tapered to allow you to install your shutters vertically even though the window itself isn't plumb. Just be sure to adjust your window measurements to allow for the hanging strips on the inside mount.
Installing your shutters

First, attach your hanging strips along the sides of the window frame.
Hinge the shutter panels together using face mount hinges (often supplied by the manufacturer). You'll need to use a spacer between the panels before attaching the hinges, so the shutters will be able to open and close without binding.

Attach the hinges to the shutters themselves (following manufacturer's instructions for placement) and position the shutters in the window. Check that they are vertical and have a consistent space around them then brace or shim them in position. Mark the hinge locations on the window frame (inside mount) or hanging strip (outside mount) and drill pilot holes for the hinge screws.

Finally, attach the shutters to the window frame or hanging strip.

Some Hints

If your new shutters are unfinished wood take the time to prime and paint them before installation.
Louvered shutters can be time consuming and frustrating to paint with a brush. Consider using a can of spray paint to get paint into all the nooks and crannies.