How to Install Plantation Shutters

One of the greatest features of plantation shutters is that they always look like they were custom-designed for the window — especially compared to curtains or blinds.

Their remarkable functionality and striking aesthetic catch the eye and invite comments from friends and family who come over to visit. Imagine how rewarding it will be to respond to their compliments with “I installed the plantation shutters myself.”

In theory, you could make your own plantation shutters but it can be tricky to get the finer details right and you’ll need some specialized equipment. Far better to get (nearly) as much glory by letting us do the dirty work of building the shutters while you take the baton for the last lap and install them.

Here you’ll find a full walk-through on how to make plantation shutters look great in your home. We’ll handle preparation, step-by-step instructions and manage some common trouble spots.

What to Look for in Your Shutter Delivery

All shutter deliveries come with three types of boxes. They are:

  • Long, narrow boxes for the shutter frame.
  • Wider boxes for the shutter panels.
  • The hardware for all shutters in your order grouped together in a smaller box that is marked “hardware”.

When it comes time to fit your plantation shutters into place the first step should always be to make sure that you have all pieces in your order.

Setup to Install Plantation Shutters

Depending on the size of your windows, the shutters can be quite large. Also, it’s important to have a firm, flat surface to work on so that your frames are true and square when you put them together before mounting them to the window.

For both of those reasons, it really helps to clear furniture away and make as much space as possible.

If you’re installing shutters in multiple rooms, it’s tempting to assemble the shutter frames in one room and then carry them to their eventual location. We suggest you keep the parts for multiple shutters separate and work on each shutter in the room where it is being installed. The boxes your shutters are sent in will be labelled with any room code you provided.

Tools Needed to Fit Shutters Into Place

In case you’re not already convinced, the short tool list should be further evidence that installing plantation shutters yourself is a doable DIY project. You’ll need:

  • A power drill
  • Spirit level
  • Hammer
  • Small screwdriver
  • Box cutter
  • Small ladder or step stool (if you’re fitting shutters onto a very large or tall window)
  • Mounting fixings if you’re installing your frame into a wall type (usually masonry) that the included hardware won’t work with.

Naturally, you’ll also want to follow along with the instructions. And you may want to keep your phone handy in case you get stuck and would like to send us a question with a photo.

Step-by-Step: How to Make Plantation Shutters Look Perfect

We hear from customers who wonder “can I install plantation shutters myself?”

The answer is: “Yes, absolutely!”

Your kit, including frames, shutter panels and hardware, is prepared so that installing plantation shutters is a snap, even for novice DIYers.

Here’s the outline of the steps you need to follow in order to make your plantation shutters look perfect:

  1. After you’ve completed the room setup, have gathered the tools you need and made sure you have all the parts together, we suggest laying out one of the boxes your shutters came in to protect them from the floor.
  2. With the hinges facing the ground, bring the mitred corners of your frame together. There should be a bowtie-shaped cutout across each joint each corner.
  3. Push the bowtie-shaped, plastic pieces into the cutouts. Cover the plastic piece with a small square of cardboard and use your hammer to gently tap it into place.
  4. Orient the frame so that the hinges are on the proper side and bring it to the window.
  5. If your frame has pre-drilled holes, drill pilot holes through them and into the wall or window behind the frame. (In some cases, you may have to drill your own holes.)
  6. Find the long screws in your hardware box. Depending on the size of the frame’s sides, fix one or two screws into each. (The idea at this point is to keep the frame in place against the window but still allow some movement while you get the frame square.)
  7. Your spirit level will help you nudge the frame into a square position. Once you have it properly aligned fix the remaining screws into place using your screw drive or power driver. (Time spent working towards perfection at this stage will pay off in the long run.)
  8. Find where the hinge is attached to the shutter panel and offer it up to the corresponding second half of the hinge in the frame. Drop the hinge pin through the hole in the top of the hinge that runs through both halves of the hinge.
  9. Finetune the shutters’ height with the top and bottom screw on each hinge plate. Once you’re happy the position of the shutter panel, fix into place with the third, middle screw.  
  10. Depending on your specific design, your hardware kit will have included frame hole caps or a fill strip. Use these to disguise the holes you fixed the screws through. (They are not for the tension screw holes in the sides of the shutter panels.
  11. For a polished and professional appearance, fill the gap between the shutter frame and the window with a bead of decorators’ caulk.

We’re sure that your plantation shutter installation will go smoothly, but if you feel you need something clarified, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team by phone or email.

Is Installing Shutters a Solo Project?

Generally, even a novice DIYer can manage a plantation shutter install on their own. Go slowly, read the instructions carefully and pay close attention that you don’t bang or knick the shutter panels before you get them in place and you should be fine.

Situations where you might appreciate a helping hand, include:

  • For very large or tall windows it can help to have one person hold the frame in place while the other does the drilling and then drives the screws.
  • Solid raised panel shutters are a bit heavier than the other configurations so it can help to have someone else help you get them into the frame.
  • Generally, if there is someone who can help you finetune the shutter height that step will go a lot faster.

Fitting Shutters Into a Bay Window

For the most part, shutters can be installed in bay windows just like any other window. Here is the process with bay-window specific steps noted.

  1. Assemble the frames as usual. Take note from your original design which way the shutters are meant to open and make sure you keep straight where the hinges should be.
  2. Start by offering the middle shutter frame up to the window. Then place the frames for the shutters on the side parts of the bay up to the window.
  3. Because the centre section of a bay window is usually larger than average, you may want to fix it in place while you use your spirit level to square the frame.

How Long Does It Take to Install Plantation Shutters?

Including the time it takes to clear furniture out of the way and unpack boxes you should be able to complete each window in less than 30 minutes. A few factors will influence how long it takes to install plantation shutters. Namely:

  • A bay window (especially large, curved ones) will take longer than a small, simple rectangular window.
  • The type of mount for your shutters means you might have to drill into different materials and some can be more difficult and take a bit longer.
  • Finely adjusting the height for tier on tier shutters means they can take a few minutes longer than full height shutters.
  • Obviously, if you have several windows to fit with shutters you’ll get a bit quicker as you go and gain experience.

Regardless, take your time and make sure that everything fits perfectly. The old adage “measure twice, cut once” gets a slight modification for this project: “use your spirit level twice, drill once.”

Troubleshooting Common Questions

Fitting interior window shutters into your home is an easy, accessible project. In case you run into any hiccups, here are the solutions to the most common questions:

Window Not Square?

Houses, especially older ones will shift with time and windows are one place that shows the change first.

Our shutters are designed to handle minor out-of-square imperfections in a window recess or window frame. Just make sure that you apply your spirit level to the shutter frame and get it square because that’s what the shutters will need to open smoothly.

Handles and Other Obstacles

If your window has an opening handle or a box for your home security alarm system you will have to work around these when mounting your shutter frame.

For inside mount shutters, that just means placing the shutter far enough from the window to give the obstacle proper clearance.

If you’re outside mounting, when you measured you should have taken note of the obstacle and your L-frame will be big enough to accomodate it.

Louvres Seem Loose

If the louvres seem like they want to open on their own (without you moving tilt bar) the tension screw may need to be adjusted.

Simply open the shutter panel and find the tension screw on its vertical edge. Hold the louvre it is attached to while you gently tighten the screw by hand with a small screwdriver.

This step almost always won’t be necessary until the shutters have seen months (or years) of daily use. Rarely, a fine adjustment is needed when the shutters are installed so it makes sense to check before you put your tools away.

How to Make Plantation Shutters Look Great

Installing plantation shutters really is a straightforward project that any novice DIYer could tackle. The key points for how to fit plantation shutters onto your window are:

  • Make sure you have cleared plenty of room to work and have all the pieces you expected.
  • Follow the instructions one at a time.
  • “Level twice, drill once” to make sure your shutter frame is square.
  • Don’t drive the fixing screw into the hinges until you’re sure you have the shutter at just the right height.

And, of course, if you run into any issues or need help with a question we’re always happy to help.

Now that you can see how easy it is to install plantation shutters, have a look at our various design options and let us know when you’re ready for us to start a quote for your home.