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How To Install Exterior Window Shutters: A 7-Step Guide  

Are you ready to transform the look of your home with exterior window shutters? Well, try some do-it-yourself (DIY)! Installing window shutters by yourself is a great way to enhance curb appeal and increase privacy without spending extra to hire an expert. And the best part? It’s simpler than it might seem!

Even if you’re not a DIY expert, this guide will walk you through every step of exterior window shutter installation, from start to finish. Dive in!  

1. Select Your Shutters   

When installing exterior window shutters, style and functionality are crucial aspects to consider. You must make sure they match your home’s needs. Here’s a breakdown:  

Shutter Style

For a classic look, wood exterior shutters are a great choice. They come in various styles, from louvered shutters to raised panels. However, wood shutters require more maintenance, which means more work for you. Think of seasonal painting and battling the elements.  

If you crave a timeless look with less upkeep, vinyl or Composite PVC shutters might be your perfect match. These low-maintenance materials resist the weather and come in a wide range of colors to complement your home’s exterior.  


Fixed shutters are decorative, adding a touch of elegance without the hassle of opening and closing. They’re perfect if you love the look but don’t necessarily need to adjust light or privacy.  

Operable shutters, on the other hand, give you ultimate control. You can open and close them whenever you want. This allows you to adjust how much light streams into your home, creating a comfortable and private atmosphere.  

  Ultimately, the best shutter choice depends on your lifestyle and needs. Decide whether you prioritize functionality or style, and then select a shutter that best suits your needs.  

2. Measure Your Windows   

The next step is to measure your windows. Work with a tape measure to make sure you get accurate results.  

Start by measuring the height from the top of the window to the windowsill. Make sure you include the windowsill in your measurements. Extend your tape measure from the topmost point of the window frame all the way down to the windowsill.  

Next, measure the width, including any surrounding frame or trim. For a smooth installation, always allow about a quarter-inch of space on each side.   

Double-check your measurements to prevent costly mistakes. Careful measuring upfront ensures that your shutters will fit perfectly, making installation a breeze.  

3. Gather Your Tools And Materials   

Whether you’re installing exterior window shutters to prepare your home for extreme weather or increase its functionality, make sure you gather the necessary tools and materials.   

You’ll need the following:   

  • Drills  
  • Screws (suitable for your shutter material and the exterior of your house)  
  • Level  
  • Measuring tape   
  • Ladder (if working on upper-story windows)  
  • Measuring tape  

These are just some of the essential tools for installing exterior window shutters. It would also help to prioritize safety—always wear safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself during installation.  

Wearing safety gear can prevent unexpected injuries. This will ensure that your DIY project goes smoothly from start to finish. Gathering everything beforehand saves you time and hassle. It lets you focus on doing the job right the first time.  

4. Mark The Drill Holes   

Before you start drilling, carefully position the shutter against the window to pinpoint the exact placement. Having a helper can make this step much easier; they can hold the shutter steady while you focus on marking the spots for screws.   

Use a pencil to transfer the positions of the holes from the shutter onto the wall or window frame. It’s essential to ensure that each mark is even—this is where a laser level can be handy, helping you achieve precise alignment.  

Taking the time to double-check that each mark is aligned will pay off. Accurate markings ensure that the installation will look clean and professional.   

A little extra effort in this stage will help prevent the frustration of crooked shutters. This attention to detail ensures a smoother shutter installation and results you’ll be proud of.  

5. Drill And Secure The Shutters   

After marking the drill holes, proceed to make pre-drill holes. This step makes inserting the screws easier and also prevents the material of your shutters and walls from cracking or splitting.  

Once the holes are ready, align the shutter precisely with these points. Start by securing a screw in the screw in the top corner; this initial screw will help hold the shutter in place as you work.   

Use a level after placing this first screw to ensure your shutter remains straight. If adjustments are needed, you can make them before the shutter is fully attached. Once you align everything properly, continue by placing screws in all remaining corners.  

The results? You attach your shutters securely and evenly, enhancing your home’s aesthetics and functionality.

6. Caulk And Seal   

Calking gun
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After attaching the shutters securely, seal them by applying caulk around the edges where they meet the wall or frame.   

Block any gaps to prevent moisture from entering and ensure a polished look. Apply the caulk as steadily as possible to achieve an even, complete seal.   

When the caulk dries, inspect the area and touch up any paint on the shutter and around the caulked sections. This helps conceal any installation marks and keeps your windows looking pristine.  

These final efforts extend the life of your shutters and enhance the overall aesthetic of your home, boosting its curb appeal. Take these steps seriously to maintain the quality and appearance of your window treatment investment.  

7. Inspect Your Work   

Once you install exterior shutters, take a moment to step back and inspect your work. Confirm that you aligned everything properly after getting a clear view of the overall symmetry and balance.    

If anything looks off or uneven, don’t hesitate to adjust. It could be tightening a few screws or aligning a shutter to match its pair. Paying attention to these details can make a big difference in the appearance of your project.   

Now is the perfect time to add final decorations to functional hardware, such as shutterdogs or stylish shutter hinges. These accessories add visual interest and increase the practicality of your installations. They allow for easy operation.   


Installing exterior window shutters is more than just a weekend project; it’s an opportunity to enhance both the functionality and the aesthetic of your home. Whether you choose elegant wood shutters that add a touch of classic beauty or go with low-maintenance vinyl or composite shutters, your home will boast of improved curb appeal and privacy. Remember, taking your time with each step ensures that your shutters are not only beautiful but durable.s.