Home Tips: Shutters

Adding shutters to your home is easy with these simple rules.

Hardware Help
Operable shutters are mounted with hinges that allow the panels to open and close. To keep panels open, use hardware called shutter dogs. A dead bolt or bar latch locks shutters when closed. Fixed shutters can look like operable ones by adding hardware. Another tip: Back fixed shutters with MDF plywood or treated lumber strips painted the same color as the shutter so that the panels project from the wall.

Shutter Dos and Donts

  • Double, triple, and picture windows don't need shutters. Rule of thumb: If operable panels couldn't close to completely hide a large expanse of glass, fixed shutters aren't necessary.
  • Narrow or small windows can be fitted with a single shutter that's hinged on one side.
  • Arched openings call for shutters with rounded tops.
  • Dormer windows should never be shuttered with side-hinged panels because there's no adjacent wall to fold them against. Go with Bermuda shutters instead.

Staying Connected
An alternative to shutter dogs is the pin-and-hasp connection (shown above), also called an acorn holdback. The pin screws into the exterior wall, and the hasp attaches to the back of the shutter. While wind can cause shutter dogs to come loose from operable shutters, an acorn holdback maintains a stronger connection. Unlike decorative shutter dogs, this attachment can't be seen on the front of shutters.

Size Up the Solution
Shutters on either side of a window should be the height of the window. If there are two, each should be half the width. If operable, subtract 1/16 to 1/8 inch from each shutter length and width for clearance. If the window opening isn't square, measure twice and go with an in-between dimension.

Houses trimmed with wood or vinyl need shutters that cover the window's side casing when opened. When closed, they should fit inside the casing. Shutters on masonry homes should fit within the brick or stone openings. When opened, the jamb edge lines up with the edge of the opening.