Measuring your windows properly is an important step to ensure you are completely
satisfied with our products. Please take the time to measure your windows carefully
before placing an order for exterior shutters.
The first thing you need to decide is whether you are only installing your shutters for
decoration (decorative shutters), or if you want them to actually function (operable shutters).
All of the shutters on our website can be installed decoratively, but only certain types of shutters
can support operable shutter hardware, so pay careful attention to which shutters you order if you
want them to function.
When measuring for decorative shutters, it is important to keep in mind your goals.
Most people install decorative shutters to add color and a touch of personal style
to their windows. In this case, it is best to find a single width of decorative
shutters that works for all of your windows.
However, some people insist that their decorative shutters should also look like they can
close over the window (even though decorative shutters will not). While the goal here is slightly
different, it is still perfectly acceptable.
A third and more encompassing goal is architectural uniformity. It is important to
understand that architecture is a regional science. To truly add value to your home
and give it curb appeal, it should look like it belongs in your neighborhood. In
some parts of the country, it is common to install 12 inch wide decorative shutters on windows
that are 8 feet wide. In other areas, it is common to measure the glass of the window
and install exterior shutters that look like they will cover the glass entirely,
but not the window trim.
The most common way to measure for decorative shutters is to measure the window trim
and install shutters that are the entire height of the trim. The best advice we can
give you is to start by taking a walk or a drive around your local area to determine
just how to make your home "fit in", paying careful attention to the homes that are
constructed of similar materials and design to your own.
If you happen to be the first in your neighborhood to install decorative exterior shutters,
as a rule of thumb it is best to start by measuring the entire window including the
window trim both vertically and horizontally.
In choosing the width of your exterior shutters, you should take into consideration
the width of the window and the distance the windows are spaced apart. It is generally
best to find a single width that works for all of your windows. The width that usually
works best is between 25% and 33% of the total width of your window including the window
trim. Refer to the chart at the right.
|24" or smaller
|24" to 28"
|28" to 36"
||12", 14½", or 15"
|36" to 40"
||14½" or 15"
|40" to 43"
||14½", 15", or 16½"
|43" to 48"
|48" to 50"
||16½" or 18"
|50" or larger
When using vinyl shutters on windows that are wider than 50 inches, we recommend using double
wide vinyl shutters. However, if you prefer not to use the bi-fold shutter style, you can
use 18" wide shutters and it will still look reasonably well.
If you prefer to make your outside shutters look like they will close over
the windows, find a width that is close to 50% of the size of the glass and window frame
only, excluding the window trim. Since vinyl shutters don't have that much flexibility in terms of shutter width,
it is best to err on the side of the exterior shutters being narrower than 50% of the
In most cases, the height of decorative shutter that is most appropriate is from the
top to the bottom of the window trim. If there is a sill at the bottom of the window
and you are installing vinyl shutters, it is important to leave a gap of at least 1/4
inch to allow the vinyl material to expand and contract. This of course does not apply to
other shutter materials.
Many homes are constructed with different heights of
windows on the first floor than on the second floor. Be sure to measure every window
before placing your order for exterior shutters.
To make your shutters actually function you need to be more careful when you take your window measurements. Take the
time to measure accurately as this will ensure the shutters function the way you expect.
Measure your windows as if the shutters were actually closed over them. Measuring windows for operable shutters
requires that you measure both width and height at 3 different points because many windows are not perfectly square.
Typically, you will want the shutter to cover some part of the window trim
in addition to the window frame and glass. On a brick home with recessed windows you will typically want the
functional shutter to cover the entire opening in the brick, not just the window itself.
Measure for the shutter width at the top, middle, and bottom of the window from the left side to the right side as
shown in the diagram. If the widths at each of these points are not the same, use the SMALLEST measurement of the three.
This measurement is then divided by 2 to give you your operable shutter width. For example, if your window width
measurement is 27" wide at its narrowest point, you should order 13½" wide shutters (27 ÷ 2 = 13.5).
Measure for the shutter height at the left side, middle, and right side of the window opening from the top of the window to the
bottom excluding any window sill. If the heights vary at each of these points, use the SMALLEST of the three measurements.
This measurement will be the height of the shutter you need to order.
|Remember, measure twice and order once!