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How to Install Composite PVC Exterior Shutters


Measuring Windows for Exterior Shutters First

The First step before you even measure your windows is to decide whether or not you want standard generic size shutters or custom shutters for your window. The difference is as follows (read and see diagram):

1. Generic Sizing: Simply going with the same width shutter on every window, typically 15"
2. Custom: Getting shutters to match the size of the window or in instances where the window is too large you will simply get proportionally larger shutters for larger windows (See diagram below)

How wide should exterior shutters be?

Nowadays, windows are made so custom that many times they can be 6', 8', 10 foot long and even longer. This just was not the case in the old days. For this reason it is common practice to simply get proportionally larger shutters for instances of windows exceeding 4 feet wide. It's usually not practical to put 5 foot wide shutters on either side of a 10 foot window.

Our recommendation for custom sizing is to put 18" shutters on windows sized 3-4 foot wide and 22" shutters on windows larger than that. For windows smaller than 3 feet we generally recommend half the width of the window. This will give the look of the shutters in the diagram on the top right. For non-custom generic measuring you will only need to measure the height of the window to get the sizes you need and you will pick a width that you feel best matches the windows on your house, most typically 15" wide.

To measure the width of the window, simply take a tape measure from one end to the other. Do not include any trim around the window in your measurement. You want to imagine that your shutters could close and cover the window up. The parts of the window that you are logically covering up are what you are measuring. Once you've measured your shutters and ordered them, then it is time to paint them and install them or you can order any of our exterior shutters prepainted in one of our 20 factory colors.

Hinge Installation Directions for PVC Exterior Shutters

Hinge placement on the back of an exteroir shutter

The following are directions if you are installing our exterior shutters on hinges. Please note that shutters are designed to remain open at all times held down by the shutter dog and installed as listed below.

Exterior How to determine pintel placement for exterior shutters on New York style hingesShutters are installed on 2-3 hinges which sit atop "pintels" screwed into the window frame. A shutter pintel is the male part of the hinge that connects the hinge to the house, offsets the shutter from the trim, and provides a pivot point for the hinges to rotate. Pintels come in three sizes: siding, brick, and rock. Siding generally sticks out 1 1/4" from the home. Brick sticks out 2 1/4" from the home and rock sticks out 4 1/16 inches from the home. The wrong pintel will not allow the shutters to offset the right distance and may keep the shutters from lying fush or near flush on the house. Two hinges is enough to suffice for shutters up to 47” height. However, for extra tall shutters up to 95” height you need to use 3 hinges/shutter for additional support.

Installation Steps:
5-point installation method for composite pvc exterior shutters with 3 hingesThe first step is to attach the shutter hinges to the back of the shutter as shown to the top right above. Keep in mind that each shutter has a mirror partner and hardware will be attached in a mirror fashion for the partner. It is recommended to flush the top and bottom hinges with the top and bottom of the shutter so that the recommended pintel alignment later on is correct. The next step is to attach the shutter to the home. To do this you want to secure the first pintel into the window first. The 1.5” offset from the sill to the bottom of the first pintel is recommended (see picture on left). Have the second pintel and a drill on hand so that you're ready for the next step. Slide the shutter into the first pintel to see where the proper location of the second pintel will now fall. While holding the shutter over the first pintel, place the second pintel through the hinge and screw into the windows reveal. Finally, slide any remaining pintels into place for the remaining hinges and screw into place as well.

Hidden L Bracket used to secure composite PVC exterior shutter to home while on hingesAn S-Shaped piece of hardware called a shutter stay or shutter dog is used to hold the shutter open. It is installed in the bottom opposite corner directly to the home as well. Use lag anchors to hold them for brick or rock. For siding, simply pre-drill a smaller 1/4" hole and tighten the shutter dog in place.

The final step is installing a hidden metal L-bracket in the top opposite corner of the shutter to secure it to the home and keep the shutter open. Screw the metal bracket into the siding first with a 2” screw, such that it just clears the top of the shutter. Now drive a 2” screw down into the top of the shutter. This will secure the shutter down in the opposite corner

Direct Set (Screw to House) Install of Our PVC Exterior Shutters

This alternate method involves screwing the shutters to the house instead of hinging them. You will need six 3" deck screws and corresponding plastic anchors per shutter. The idea is to screw each corner and 2 in the middle to the house and to predrill a 1/4" hole into the brick where each screw will go and slide a 1/4" plastic anchor into the hole to receive the 3" deck screws. If you are on siding, then there is no need to use the plastic anchors when a screw will hit a stud instead. If the screw is not going to hit a stud then the use of the anchor is recommended to give a better pressure fit. Simply screw into the siding and the plywood behind the siding. It is recommended that at least 3 screws hit the studs of the house to ensure a strong grab. Normally you would use a screw in each corner of the shutter and two in the middle. However sliding the location of the screws over a few inches in either direction is recommended if it helps you catch a stud. In some instances you may need to use 9 screws instead of 6 to catch the studs and to make sure you have screws in each corner and near the edges of the shutter. There should be 3 screws on each side at least within 3” from the left or right edge.

Using the shutter as a template: The first thing you need to do is to use the shutter as a template. Hold the shutter in place and use a 1/8" drill bit to screw through the shutter at 6 different points. Make sure that as you screw through the shutter you then drill slightly into the brick behind the shutter enough to "leave a mark". When you take the shutter down next look to see if you can find the 6 marks you left on the brick. From there you can drill a 3" deep hole with a 1/4" masonry drill bit and put the plastic anchor into each of the six holes this way. If on siding and the hole is lined up with a stud there is no need to drill the 1/8” hole any larger it will suffice. If on siding and the hole is not lined up with a stud then drilling the 1/8” hole with a ¼” bit so that it can use a ¼” plastic anchor is recommended.

Plug Technique: You now are ready to hang the shutter using our Cortex plug and screw kits which come with screws and matching PVC plugs. Use the specialized bit that comes with the kit to screw the shutters to the house while also drilling a perfect hole that the plug will fit in. Next tap the plug in the hole till flush with a hammer and you’re done. Repeat for each screw.

Painting Instructions for Composite PVC Exterior Shutters:


Use any exterior latex paint of your choosing, however for fast drying/curing results we recommend using Sherwin Williams Pro Industrial Multi-Surface Acrylic in an eggshell finish. There is no requirement to prime the shutters before painting as the composite PVC readily accepts any exterior latex paint. Composite pvc exterior shutter paint colorsForever Shutters Color Chart Click the Forever Shutters Color Chart to see our available colors. We will also paint custom colors - there is a 5 pair minimum and the customer must provide us with the color in a Sherwin Williams formula. You will need to order by phone to do it this way.

Tips for Prep-work (Do-It-Yourself Painters)

1. Avoid painting in direct sunlight on a surface that is too warm or heat blistering can occur
2. Remove any water and dirt on the shutter first. Moisture trapped under the paint can push its way out and cause moisture blistering/bubbling.
3. Do not use oil based paint. Make sure that your paint is a 100% acrylic exterior latex paint. For the best result we recommend Sherwin Williams DTM (Direct-to-Metal) paint
4. Latex can take 2-4 days to dry. For best result use Sherwin Williams Pro Industrial Multi-Surface Acrylic label which works great for our PVC product. For this reason avoid exposing to dew, high humidity, moisture, or rain shortly after you have painted the shutters. Painting in a damp basement or similar area can lead to blistering or bubbling of the paint due to water being trapped inside or under the paint prior to it drying.
5. Paint directly on shutter with a brush or roller using Sherwin Williams exterior latex or other exterior latex paint. Let paint completely dry before installing to your home.