Installing shutters is not a difficult process. Working with shutters that are specifically custom built for each individual window opening in conjunction with detailed installation instructions is the key. Many companies install shutters tell customers that shutters need to be installed by a "certified shutter installer". This term has been invented to discourage homeowners from attempting to install interior shutters, and allow them to increase the cost of their products. Thousands of homeowners have proven the "professional installers" wrong by installing shutters themselves. For further proof, see customer comments from Horizon Shutters.
How to measure shutters to fit your windows
Properly installing shutters to a window opening starts with the measuring process. First determine if the shutters will be mounted to the inside or outside of the window opening.
How to install shutters to the inside of a window opening
Mounting shutters directly to the window jamb inside the window opening is generally the preferable method for installation. This method is somewhat cleaner than mounting to the outside of the window opening and does not require additional hang strips or frame strips. The window must be fairly square and have a solid jamb to attach the screws.
To determine depth of the window, measure from the front plane of the window back to the nearest obstruction that will prevent the louvers from rotating. The company from which you order your shutters can tell you the necessary depth for the style of shutter you wish to order.
Occasionally a shutter supplier will offer a second inside mount method that uses rear hang strips concealed behind the shutter panels allows adjustment up, down, left, and right for easier alignment. This method is good if the window is out of square of if the window has a drywall opening without a solid wood jamb. WARNING: An installation that uses side hang strips that attach to the window jamb is an amateur technique resulting in an undesirable appearance. The side hang strips decrease the width of the individual shutter panels and the amount of louver area causing a reduction in visibility through the louvers. Side hang strips used for an inside mount is a sure sign of customized shutters.
Review the measuring guidelines set out by your shutter supply company to see if you have sufficient depth for an installation to the inside of your window.
If you do not have sufficient depth within the window opening for an inside mount, the next option is to use an installation to the outside of the window opening.
How to install shutters to the outside of a window opening
An outside mount installation uses a frame that attaches to the wall or existing trim just to the outside of the window opening. Generally, the frame surrounds the shutter panels on three or four sides, depending on if a lower sill exists. If you opt for a cafe type shutter, hang strips are used on either side of the shutter panels. The frame or hang strips screw directly to the wall or trim, and the shutters hinge to the frame or hang strips. Again, check with the measuring guidelines from your shutter supplier to determine how to measure for an installation the the outside of your window opening.
Always measure with a steel tape measure which will give you the most accurate measurement. Do not attempt to measure with a fabric tape, yard stick, or folding wooden ruler. The shutter company from which you order should require measurement to the 1/16 inch. Anything greater will increase your chance for a poor installation.
Installing shutters to your window
A complete set of installation instructions for custom shutters should be provided to you by the shutter company you selected. Custom shutters made to the 1/16 inch will result in a better fit and easier installation, plus such features as mortised hinges will allow for a tighter fit.