Under 2 hours
Adding shutters to a house is an easy way to boost its curb appeal. Shutter installation is a straightforward project. Depending on how many windows you have, the job can be completed in an afternoon. All you need are the right tools and some basic DIY skills. Read on for general instructions on how to install exterior shutters. Plus, find out how to install shutters over brick and how to remove old shutters.
If need be, remove the old shutters first.
- For shutters installed with a fastener, insert a pair of snips or a hacksaw blade between the wall surface and the shutter. Cut the spike.
- Remove shutters installed with screws by simply unscrewing them from the wall.
Next, position the new shutter next to the window on the exterior of the house. The bottom rail on most styles of window shutters is wider than the top rail.
- Leave a 1/4-inch gap between vinyl shutters or composite exterior shutters and the window trim. This will allow room for expansion and contraction in different temperatures. A gap is not necessary for stationary wood shutters.
- Use a level to ensure the shutter is plumb.
- Mark the location of the outside corners with a pencil.
Drill Mounting Holes
- Place the shutter face-up on a flat surface suitable for drilling. A piece of plywood laid across two sawhorses works well.
- Mark locations for the mounting holes. In the center of both side rails, measure 2 inches from the top and 2 inches from the bottom. Exterior shutters measuring 44 inches or more in height usually require six fasteners. You'll need one near each corner and two additional fasteners midway along the length of the side rails.
- Use a drill with a multi-purpose 1/4-inch bit to pre-drill holes through the shutter for the shutter locks at each reference mark. Read more about shutter locks below.
Tip: If attaching shutters to stone or brick exteriors, adjust the placement of the mounting holes up or down as necessary to ensure that the fasteners will secure into mortar joints.
Drill Pilot Holes for Shutter Hardware
Mounting hardware for shutter installation is often included with your new shutters. These fasteners can be metal screws or plastic shutter fasteners. Most are suitable for attaching exterior shutters to wood, aluminum, vinyl, stucco, hardboard, brick or masonry. They are known by a variety of terms including shutter locks, shutter plugs and shutter spikes. Always check the shutter's manufacturer specifications for specific directions.
First, reposition the shutter on the exterior wall.
- Using the holes in the shutter as a guide, drill into the wall to a depth of 3 1/4 inches. You can measure and wrap tape around the drill bit to use as a depth guide.
- With the 1/4-inch pilot holes drilled into the shutter and wall, remove the shutter from the wall.
- Enlarge each hole in the shutter by using a 3/8-inch drill bit.
To install exterior shutters with shutter locks or fasteners:
- Push the shutter locks through the pilot holes in the shutter into the exterior wall.
- Use a hammer to gently tap the fasteners to snug the shutter to the siding.
- Overtightening fasteners during shutter installation can create warping or dimples on the surface of vinyl shutters.
- Repeat for other shutters.
To use metal screws with painted heads to install exterior shutters:
- Use a drill with a multi-purpose 11/64-inch bit to pre-drill holes through the shutter. This will be a reference mark for the screws.
- Reposition the shutter on the wall.
- Using the holes in the shutter as a guide, drill into the wall surface to a depth of 3 1/4 inches.
- Once you've drilled in the 11/64-inch bit pilot holes into the shutter and wall, remove the shutter.
- Enlarge each hole in the shutter with a 5/16-inch drill bit.
- Put the shutter in place.
- Insert shutter screws through the pilot holes in the shutter into the wall.
- Use a Phillips screwdriver to tighten the screw. Be careful not to overtighten the screw. This can cause the shutter to warp.
- Repeat for other shutters.
Tip: If making pilot holes in masonary, use a carbide masonry bit with a hammer drill. Be sure to wear eye protection while drilling. Remove dust from holes before inserting screws.
Exterior shutters are a great way to add curb appeal to your home. Available in a variety of colors and styles, they can be attached to wood, aluminum, vinyl, stucco, hardboard, brick or masonry. Installing exterior shutters is a simple DIY project. All you need is a drill and some time. It can be a two-person job, so ask for help if you need it. Most new shutters include hardware, or you can get it separately. Check the manufacturer for specific directions. Ready to get exterior shutters for your home? The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them. rent a ladder to install your decor, we can help with that, too.