How To Measure for Outside Shutters

The most important thing to remember about wanting external shutters is how your neighbors will react to them. You want to know why? Well, believe it or not, homes in America that have shutters ethically comply with the architectural look and feel of the entire neighborhood. In plain and simple terms, the shutters “fit in” to the clique of the homes, so every house when viewed from the street looks the same on the outside. This is nothing short of practical and even neighborly if you come right down to it. If you want your home to stand out by placing additional shutters or remodeling old ones, go for it but take a drive into your own neighborhood and look at your neighbors’ houses and take inspiration from their designs. That way if your home turns out to be special (read: totally standing out in beauty and grandeur) you can always say it was their home that inspired you to make a sudden shutter change.
Here are ways to help you measure outside shutters.

1. Decide on the reason for installing outside shutters. Apart from the obvious reason of protecting your home from the elements while wanting sunshine and fresh air to circulate, you have to decide on whether you are installing for decorative or operability reasons. Decorative shutters are purely for aesthetically and visually enhancing your home while operable shutters give you the ease of closing and opening when you want them to. Take your pick from these two options.

2. Take measurements for decorative shutters. Many homeowners choose decorative shutters for color accents and for personal style. It certainly adds flair to an otherwise classically-styled home.

  • Shutter Width. Sizing up the shutter width starts with measuring the entire space taken up by each window and the distance between windows. For example, if your window upon measurement comes up to a width of 50” or larger, your shutter should be exactly 18” wide. Take note that very narrow shutters won’t work for really wide windows so the exact proportion can only be reached after finalizing the measurements as stated. Further, if you want to make decorative shutters appear as though they are capable of closing over the window, get shutters that can cover 50% of the size of the window including glass and frame but excluding window trim.
  • Shutter Height. The proper way of doing this is measuring from the top to the bottom portion of the window trim only. If you happen to have a window sill, make certain to leave a 1/4” difference to make room for a vinyl-type shutter. Otherwise, just take note of the original proportion minus a windowsill and you’re set.
  • Varying Heights. In cases where your home’s windows are of varying designs which will impact your height measurements, you have no choice but to go through each one to come up with accurate numbers to take to the store. If you find that this is more than you can handle, contact a Shutter Contractor for assistance.

3. Take measurements for operable shutters. When you swing between wanting privacy and welcoming people to your home, this may be the ideal outside shutter design because you can open and close shutters as you please.

  • Shutter Width. You will have to measure your window pane and trim beginning from three main points: at the top, then proceeding to the middle, and then finally stopping at the bottom  Measure from left to right and if there are uneven sections, choose the least or smallest number out of the three measurements. Take this least number and divide it by two. Your quotient will be the width of the operable shutters that you need to order.
  • Shutter Height. Measure the window pane and trim but exclude the window sill if you have this as part of your external window. Similar to the procedure stated for measuring shutter width, start from the top, then the middle, and finally, the bottom section of the entire window. If the measurements do not even out, take the least measurement which will be the height of your outside shutter.

Knowing all these, you can look forward to a really happy shutter shopping!


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