How to Measure for Exterior Shutters


Are the exterior shutters going to be functional or appear to function?

Around 90 % of all exterior shutters purchased will be installed in a manner that gives the appearance of functioning but will never be closed over the window opening and therefore will not be functional.

The method used to measure for exterior shutters that function and the method use when the exterior shutters are not functioning are very similar. The biggest difference is that when exterior shutters are functioning over a window opening, the width and lengths have to be precise. When the exterior shutters are going to appear to function, the authenticity of the shutter installation can be preserved while avoiding undue custom shutter charges.

What hardware is going to be used to install the custom exterior shutters?

It is important to determine what hardware will be used before measuring for the exterior shutter installation if the shutters will be functioning. Understanding the shutter hardware mounting location is essential to getting accurate measurements. The diagram below shows the most common exterior shutter installations.

Examples of Common Installation Options

Projected - The exterior shutters are going to function so that in the closed position they will cover the opening. Notice that the pintel offset is greater than the other examples. This creates depth and allows the shutter to close without binding with the edge of the structure. The projected installation example is the easiest for measuring because there is no trim or structure to dictate the measurements.

 

Recessed - The exterior shutters are going to function so that in the closed position the shutters are going to be between the trim around the windows. Thus the measurements must be made from inside trim to inside trim for width and height. It is important to recognize the depth created by the trim as the depth of the shutter might be greater than that of the trim. If this problem exists, then combining pintel and hinge offsets can create more depth as in the projected example.

 

Flush - The exterior shutters are going to function so that in the closed position the outside edge of the shutters is flush with the surface of the structure. Thus the measurement must be made between the inside edges of the opening of the structure for width and height. It is important to recognize the depth of the opening as the depth of the shutter might be greater than that of the opening. If this problem exists, then combining pintel and hinge offsets can create more depth as in the projected example.


What determines the size of the exterior shutters that should be ordered?

Once the installation method has been determined, the width and height of the installation area is known. Traditionally, the method for determining shutter width is as follows:

Exterior Shutter Width = Opening Width - clearances (if any) / (# of windows * 2)

If the shutters are going to function, it is important to allow for hinges and spacing between shutters by subtracting clearances from opening width before calculating for exterior shutter width. Also, the exterior shutter must be the exact width or must be trimmed at the time of installation in order to function properly. For installations involving more than one window where the shutters must function, bi-folding hinges will be needed and in the open position the shutters will fold back behind each other so that only one shutter is visible.

If the exterior shutters are not going to function, then the customer can decide which width and length they desire while using the formula above as a guideline. For installations involving more than one window where the shutters will not be functioning, one shutter for each side of the opening will appear authentic. This is due to the fact that in functioning exterior shutter installations only one of the shutters for each side is visible in the open position.

By following this guide how sure can I be that my shutters will be ordered correctly?

This is just a guide intended to explain the principles involved in measuring for exterior shutter installations. Accuracy depends on the accuracy of measuring and properly choosing your installation method. Installations options are available that may not be listed in this guideline but if the principles of this guide are understood clearly, then creativity will allow installers to expand on these principles to deliver a wide range of opportunities. Just remember, take several measurements of each opening since they are not always square and be safe.

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