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    Fitting shutters

    Summary: Learn how to fit shutters, fit interior shutters, fix separate hinges and install exterior shutters.

    Shutters can be used externally to increase the security of your home and protect window frames from weathering, or internally, replacing curtains as a means of insulating the room and providing privacy. Shutters can be made from a range of materials including timber, aluminium and UPVC. It is worth remembering that timber shutters will require the most frequent maintenance.

    Choosing shutters

    Both internal and external shutters are available in a variety of traditional or modern styles and materials: fixed panel shutters, adjustable louvre shutters and half shutters, which cover the bottom section of window allowing the desired volume of light into the room. Shutter kits can be purchased with pre-cut, pre-drilled, pre-painted sections with instructions for easy assembly.


    Fitting interior shutters

    There are two methods of fitting shutters: fixing to the window frame with hinges; or fixing to a frame positioned around the window frame or in the window recess. The frame-fixing method is the easiest and is explained below.

    • Before measuring up for the shutters, decide whether you want your shutters to be mounted around the outside of the window frame or in the window recess. Windows may not be completely square, so take each measurement several times and use the shorter measurement.
    • Construct the mounting frame using the pieces provided with your shutters. Pieces of dowel can be used at the corners to hold the frame together.
    • Position the frame into the window recess ensuring it slides back neatly against the window frame.
    • Check that the frame is square using a spirit level. If needed pack wooden wedges or shims between the frame and the recess.
    • Drill pilot holes into the window frame or wall, depending on how you want your shutters to fit. Generally, fixing points at the ends and middle of each section of the mounting frame will be sufficient but larger frames may require more fixing points.
    • If your shutters have pre-fitted hinges, align the hinge sections and slot a hinge pin in place. Test that the shutters open and close smoothly, if they don't the frame packing may need adjusting.
    • Lengths of thin moulding can be used to cover the fixing points on the frame. The moulding can also be used to conceal gaps between the frame and the recess.
    • Magnetic catches can be fitted on the top and bottom of both the frame and the shutters to keep the shutters closed.

    Use dowels to hold the frame together at the corners. 

    Check the frame is square and use wedges if required.

    After aligning the hinge sections, check that the shutters open and close smoothly.

    Thin moulding can be used to cover the fixing points around the frame.

    Fitting separate hinges

    • To attach the hinges yourself, use a combination square to mark the exact position of the hinges on the shutters. Two hinges on each shutter are usually sufficient but large shutters will require more.
    • Position the hinges along your markings and mark the screw holes. Drill pilot holes in the shutter before screwing the hinges to the shutter with countersink screws.
    • Hold the shutter in place and mark the hinge position onto the mounting frame so that the hinges are aligned.
    • Drill pilot holes and countersink the screws to fix the hinges to the mounting frame.
    • Address the shutters to the frame, align the hinges and insert a pin or screw to connect the hinges.

    Exterior shutters

    Exterior shutters often come with a three-sided frame with no frame section running along the bottom of the window. This allows water to be channelled away from the sill, preventing problems with damp. The process for fitting the sections of mounting frame is very similar to the method employed in fitting interior shutters except that the holes in the frame sections are pre-drilled.

    • Build the frame, following the manufacturer's instructions if it is not ready-made. Position the frame at the front of the window recess to check that it fits properly.
    • Check the frame is square using a spirit level. Once again inserting packing if necessary.
    • With a pencil mark the position of the pre-drilled holes on the recess. Then remove the frame and drill the holes with a power drill fitted with a masonry bit.
    • Insert plugs into the drilled holes, reposition the frame and fix it securely in place with masonry screws. Avoid over-tightening the screws as this can distort the frame.
    • Lift the shutters and slide the hinge pins into the hinge sections built into the frame. Check the shutters open and close smoothly.  
    • It is advisable to fit tie-backs to the wall to prevent the shutters from being blown open and shut by the wind.
    • To ensure the tie-backs are fitted in the correct position, open the shutters fully and mark the wall where you want them to be situated. Remember you should be able to reach them from inside.
    • Drill pilot holes into the wall, insert plus and screw the tie-backs to the wall.
    • Check that the tiebacks hold the shutters securely and can be easily released from inside.

    Once you have positioned the frame in the recess, check it is square and use packing if necessary.

    Use masonry screws to secure the frame in place.

    Slide the hinge pins into the hinge sections and check the shutters open and close smoothly.

    Ensure the tie-backs are fitted in the correct position and can be easily released from inside.

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    Tools Needed
    • Claw hammer
    • Spirit level
    • Power drill
    • Countersink bit
    • Screwdriver
    • Combination square
    Materials Needed
    • Interior shutter kit
    • Dowel
    • Shims or wedges
    • Countersink screws
    • Thin timber moulding
    • Wood adhesive
    Tools Needed
    • Spirit level
    • Power drill
    • Masonry bit
    • Screwdriver
    Materials Needed
    • Exterior shutter kit
    • Wall plugs
    • Screws