Measuring with confidence – common questions about measuring for your shutters

Yasmeen 7/15/2019 12:02:03 PM Buying and Fitting Shutters
Plantation shutters are an impressive addition to any home. They add beauty to the interior, enhance kerb appeal, increase property value and lower energy consumption in the home.

Many people have plantation shutters on their wish list, but a full-service measure/install company is just too expensive! And DIY is… scary maybe? Too confusing? Not with The Shutter Store!

Our DIY guides and approachable shutter experts are here to clear up that misconception. We’re here with you every step of the way to ensure the process is a breeze.

Where do I start: Inside or Outside mount?

Measuring windows for shutters is simplified in our easy-to-follow measuring guides and videos. The first step is deciding if you’re measuring for inside mount or outside mount.  

Customer image of inside mount window
If your window has a recess that can accommodate a shutter frame, you can measure for an inside mount. This is as simple as measuring 3 spots for the width and height and recording the smallest of those 3 measurements.

Angled bay window with outside mount
If you have minimal depth, or obstructions such as crank handles in the window opening, you can measure for an outside mount. This is as simple as measuring to the outside of your existing window trim or choosing your shutter frame and adding that to your largest window sizes. 

What if my windows tilt in for cleaning?

If your windows tilt in, an outside mount frame will not block the window from tilting inside the room for cleaning.

If you prefer the look of an inside mount, you can order as panels-only so there is no frame blocking the window from tilting in. Or, you can still choose an inside mount frame if your windows are accessible from outside, or if you don’t mind losing that tilt-in function.

What if I have historic windows with colonial trim?

Usually an inside mount L-Frame is the simplest style to fit with an existing trim. When in doubt, send us a picture! We can guide you through choosing an inside mount frame that won’t interfere with the trim.

What if I have a sill at the bottom?

A protruding sill or ledge at the bottom doesn’t change anything for your inside mount shutters. For an outside mount, this just means you only need to add the width of the frame once to your height (as opposed to twice to your width).

Do I have to print the frame templates?

Our frame templates are a great tool to visualize how your frames will fit your window opening. But they don’t have to be printed in order to take accurate measurements.

For inside mount, you are just giving us your window opening measurement and our team will calculate the rest.

For outside mount, the templates will show you how much extra width needs to be accounted for when giving us your finished dimensions.
Check out this before and after from our customer Bob in California


Before: Venetian blinds were just not doing it for Bob!


We love to be part of your remodel and bringing your vision to life!


After: Plantation shutters with an outside mount beautifully transform Bob’s room

What about bay window shutters?


Bay window shutters have their own separate guides, since they can bend the normal rules of how to measure. Whether you have a 3-section angled bay (see above), a box bay, or a curved bay, we have a guide for that!

What about my arch, circle, or unique shape windows?

Customer picture of a uniquely shaped window
Easier than it sounds! We just need one initial measurement of the width and height, and a picture of your window. From there, we work closely with you to get any extra measurements the manufacturing team may need.


Custom measuring template created for a unique shape window.

Factory drawings provided for approval to ensure you’re happy with the design

What if there is a tile backsplash in my kitchen or bathroom window?

If you’re doing an inside mount, measure at the narrowest part of the opening (inside the tiled area) and opt for a Z Frame which has an extended lip to hide the gap between the shutter frame, and the non-tiled area.

For an outside mount, follow the same steps in our outside mount measuring guides. Be ready to shim behind the frame to level out the surface (you won’t see this once your shutter is installed), and finish with caulking for a seamless look.

What if they’re too tight, or what if there’s a gap?

With inside mount shutters, our measuring guides and thorough confirmation process will ensure that we have the smallest inside window dimensions. Our shutter experts will suggest a small deduction to ensure the shutters are not too tight. Any gaps can be caulked in, and wider gaps due to variance in the window opening can be filled with shims from any local hardware store.

Outside mount shutters have more room for forgiveness. If you follow our guides, your installation will be a piece of cake! The main thing to be sure of is that you provide us with the finished dimensions, including your shutter frame, and not just the size of the window opening. 

Can I use a laser measuring tool?

We recommend sticking with a standard metal tape measure. This is the tried and true method of measuring for shutters and eliminates room for error. Laser measuring devices are great for measuring large areas like the square footage of an entire room, but in a confined area like a window opening, they can be less than accurate. If you do use a laser measuring device, we highly recommend double checking the measurements against a metal tape measure.

The Shutter Store guides are tailored for beginners with no previous experience in this area, and they feature insight from experts in the industry. We have the best follow-up, with a verbal confirmation, and final written review of all orders prior to production, leaving nothing to chance. When in doubt on any step of the process, email us a picture for advice. This is what we love to do, and no project is too big or small. Try us!

We hope you enjoyed this post. At The Shutter Store our goal is to simplify your DIY projects for your home, saving you time and money. For expert advice on shutters, call or email us. We're only a phone call away to help!


This post was brought to you by Yasmeen, one of The Shutter Store USA's experienced shutter consultants.  Contact our team today for advice on your shutters. We're here to help!