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  • Writer's pictureMatt Weber

How to Install Decorative Shutters

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

You have a number of options when it comes to installing shutters, and methods vary based on home construction. Do you mind visible fasteners, or would you prefer to hide them? Are you nailing into wood, Hardiboard, or brick?

Fastener type should match the substrate. If you’re nailing through cement-board, metal or wood siding, pre-drill the holes and use wood screws long enough to penetrate solidly through the house sheathing.

Shutters on brick, block or concrete walls can be installed with concrete screws long enough to embed at least 1 in. deep into the substrate. You’ll need a hammer-drill and masonry bit to pre-drill the fastener holes. Drive concrete screws into brick or block rather than into the mortar joints. Masonry walls will require masonry anchors.

Rustic Shelves & Shutters recommends using 4 to 6 fasteners per shutter, depending on size, with the first four placed near the corners of each shutter to prevent vibration in the wind.

One option is to use color-matched fasteners driven flush with the shutter surface. This method permits easy removal for maintenance. Another option is to slightly countersink the fasteners and cover the heads with color-matched wood putty.

Decorative hinges provide a prime location to drive screws (painted to match the hardware) right through the shutter, leaving the heads exposed. You can then pin down the opposite corners using Fine Screws, which have a small trim-head that is easy to conceal.

Another option for discerning homeowners is to hang the shutters with countersunk

fasteners that are covered with stain-matched wood plugs.

Pro tip: If drilling holes in the shutters for wood plugs, it’s important to use a Forstner bit, which cuts a very clean hole for the plug. Spade bits and even spiral bits tend to splinter or chip the wood around the holes, causing noticeable damage to the finished surface. The clean hole of a Forstner bit will provide a snug, tidy fit for the plug, achieving an

attractive finished look.

When drilling 1/2” holes for wood plugs, be sure to use a Forstner bit, which will cut clean holes in the finished shutter surface to provide a tidy fit for the stain-matched plugs.

To hang the shutters, Randy Stephenson of Cropwell, Al., uses a simple layout jig to make sure the fastener placement is consistent among the shutters and that his concrete screws will embed into brick rather than mortar joints.

With the fastener locations established, the plug holes serve as a guide to drill pilot holes into the brick with a hammer-drill.

The shutters are anchored with Tapcon concrete screws, and Stephenson prefers the 1/4” versions.

Make sure the shutters are plumb, level, and aligned with the window. The concrete screws should embed into the brick by at least 1”.

The color-matched wood plugs will tap snugly into the holes to conceal the fasteners and complete the project.

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