Do It Yourself: How To Install A Decorative Shutter

A few tips on what types of shutters there are to choose from, along with how to hang them on the outside or inside of a window.

Shutters add beauty and value to a home. The styles don't vary much, but the material used to make the shutter makes a big difference. Metal or plastic shutters can crack and break during bad weather. Wood shutters are a better value for the money because they can withstand the elements a little better than the plastic or metal shutters. Certain shutters are actually functional, can be opened and shut across the window, but other shutters are installed simply for decorative purposes.

To select the proper shutter, measure the length of your window, then choose a set of shutters that are about 2 inches longer than the window. The shutter should hang slightly above and slightly below the actual window. In addition, the shutter should be an appropriate size for your window, since the point of the shutters is to make them look like they are actually functional. A window that is wide should have a fairly wide shutter, likewise, narrow windows should have narrow shutters.

Shutters are usually designed to where there is a solid piece of wood across the top and the bottom, and another in the center of the shutter. To hang them, butt the shutter up against the edge of the window as far as possible. Place a nail on each corner of the shutter, but only nail them halfway down. Place two more nails - one on each side of the wooden strip across the middle, hammering the nails only halfway down. Now place a nail on each corner of the bottom of the shutter. Now hammer the nails the rest of the way down, first hammering the top two nails almost completely down, the middle nails almost completely down, and so on. Go back, then, and nail them the rest of the way down. If you hammer the top 2 nails completely down right off the bat, the shutter can bend or arch when trying to put in the other nails, or won't lay flat enough for you to put in the bottom nails.

Screws can also be used to hold the shutter. Start by placing screws in the center, one on each side of the center slat. Go to the top and place 2 screws, and the bottom to place 2 more. Following the instructions for the nailing process, turn the screws almost completely down, then go back and screw each one all the way down. The screwing process for the shutters is the best method, since they are easier to remove for future painting, than the nailed ones. Also, nailing the shutters then removing the nails can cause damage to your shutter.

For a window where there's enough room for a shutter on one side, but not on the other, some people hang just one shutter, whereas others forego hanging the one shutter on that particular window.

Decorative shutters can be put on the inside of a window, too. Inside shutters are especially appropriate for a kitchen or bath. Hang them in the same manner as you hang the exterior shutters, unless you have tile walls, in which case you'll need to choose an adhesive that will work for wood and ceramic tile. And you can use the plastic shutters indoors, since they're lightweight and will be easier to affix to tile.

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