Installing new vinyl window shutters is a great way to add some quick and cost-effective curb appeal. Whether you are building, completing an exterior renovation or simply looking to swap out tired old exterior shutters with new ones, this decorative accent piece can dramatically change the look and appearance of your home.

When installing new exterior shutters here are 6 tips to remember in order to complete a finished and professional looking project:

 1. It’s a Two Person Job

While installing house shutters seems like a light weight task, it is always better to have a second person around to provide a steady eye and an even steadier hand.

When installed, custom vinyl shutters need to be straight and level and an extra set of eyes can go a long way in making sure you don’t have to re-install a freshly mounted window shutter and potentially damage it or the house siding.

Also, if you are planning on installing window shutters on the second floor of a house, an extra person on the ground can save you some time by handing the shutters up to you and also secure the ladder to avoid a potential job-site accident.

2. Remove Old Shutters Carefully

If your old hosue shutters were installed using fasteners, DO NOT attempt to pull or pry the shutter off the wall. Attempting to forcefully pull or pry the shutters off may result in costly damage to your home’s exterior.

Instead, gently slide a pair of snips or shears behind the shutter and cut the fastener off at the shank. If there is no room to fit shears behind the shutter, a hacksaw blade can also be used. Any remaining part of the fastener can be cut away or insert a small drill bit into the remaining fastener to break it up and pull out the remnant pieces.

If you are not planning to use the original fastener holes for your new vinyl house shutters, make sure to fill them with silicone caulking to avoid the intrusion of moisture or insects.

3. Determine the Width and Length for New Shutters

When measuring the width and length of your windows for the purpose of installing new custom vinyl shutters, always include the window frame in your dimensions.

When determining the length of your shutters, it is important to keep in mind that they are decorative pieces that do not open and close. Since they are a decorative accent, shutters do not necessarily need to match the entire length of the window and can be up to an inch short or tall and still look good.

When determining the proper width of a window shutter, it is important to make sure they are not too narrow as it will result in an awkward appearance. Even though the new custom house shutters will not actually open and close, the rule of thumb to is to choose a shutter width that would actually enclose the glass of the window.

4. Mark the Shutter and Screw Positions  

With each shutter, hold it in the desired installed position and mark the siding or window with a pencil.  Also make sure to mark each screw position as you are holding the shutter in place.

For shutters shorter than 55”, plan on placing the screw positions approximately 6 inches from the top and bottom on each side of the shutter. For shutters longer than 55”, plan on placing 2 additional screws in the centre of the shutter – make sure to keep these screws in-line with the top and bottom placements.

5.  Drill Pilot Holes 

On a sawhorse, work bench or other flat surface, drill pilot holes into the shutter where you had previously marked with a pencil.

Make sure not to use a drill bit with a larger width than the screws you are using.

Place the shutter back on the wall, check for level and drill through the shutter and into the siding to create additional pilot holes on the wall.

6. Fasten Your Shutters

Place the shutter back into the desired install position, line up the two sets of pilot holes, check for a final level and drill provided screws into place. When installing shutters over 55”, install the centre screws first.

Make sure not to over tighten screws as it could result in the shutter cracking or appearing misshapen on the wall.

Finally, apply the provided screw caps for a smoothand finished look.

In all installations, care should always be taken to properly prepare the home’s exterior structure and it is always recommended that installers adhere to all safety guidelines and review local building codes before starting a project of this nature.