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How to measure up your window shutters

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An attractive set of window shutters can make an amazing difference to your home. They’re a lot less bulky than curtains so they can make a room look bigger. They provide good insulation; they enhance your security and have a timeless elegance. If you’ve decided to buy some, you’ll need to measure your windows to make sure you get the dimensions right. This article will help you go about that properly and make sure your shutters are the perfect fit.

What you will need

You’re likely to have all or most of the things you need in your home already. The most important thing is a steel tape measure (it’s much harder to position a flexible one and you’re more likely to make mistakes). You’ll also need a spirit level and a means of making notes. If you have tall windows, you may need something to stand on. It’s much easier to measure accurately if you have another person there to help.

Square or rectangular windows

By far the easiest windows to measure are ordinary square or rectangular ones. Even if they look completely square, you will need to get both vertical and horizontal measurements in order to be certain. Most shutter suppliers also request corner-to-corner diagonal measurements. All these should be made from the outside of the frame as in most cases, that’s where the shutter will be attached.

Bay windows

When shutters are fixed to bay windows, each section of the window needs its own panel and they all need to be hinged together. That doesn’t mean that the price shoots up – plantation shutters cost much the same after accounting for the amount of wood involved. It does mean that measuring is trickier, and most experts recommend using a template, which you can get from the place where you’re buying your shutters. Each section of your window will need to be measured individually.

Non-standard windows

Although it might cost you a little extra, shutters can be made for every shape of window, whether round, arched or something else entirely. If you’re measuring a window like this, then you will need to record its highest and widest points. Taking a picture of it will help a shutter company to determine what they can do for you.

Recessed windows

If your window sits within a recess, you will have the option of mounting your shutters against the sides of the recess rather than on the frame. This is easier for some types of window, such as sash windows, and it’s also a good option if you have antique frames whose integrity you would like to preserve. If this is what you want to do, you will need to make your vertical measurement between the sill and the top of the recess. Your shutters will be mounted at the top and bottom, rather than at the side, so that the mount is not subject to strain when they’re opened and closed.

Accounting for subsidence

Even in modern buildings, subsidence can be an issue, however, it’s more common in buildings which have been standing for a long time. It isn’t necessarily anything to panic about. Often minor subsidence occurs when the foundations are settling and afterwards the building remains stable. Sometimes extra concrete is added to the foundations to shore up a building. Once subsidence has occurred, a building will never be perfectly straight again and that affects windows. Because subsidence can’t always be detected at a glance, you should make several measurements both vertically and horizontally, in different places. If you notice differences, let your shutter supplier know. Minor adjustments may be needed to ensure a good fit. It’s much easier if these are done at the outset, by professionals, than if you try to do them yourself.

Café shutters

If you like the more open effect of café style shutters, you won’t need to make a full vertical measurement for your windows. Instead, you’ll need to measure the height from the base of the frame to the transom or dividing band of the frame. This will give the best aesthetic effect when they’re fitted in place.

With all this information to hand, you’re ready to start measuring for the shutters of your choice. Take your time and do it as well as you can, because adjustments are a pain. With the right information, you’ll be able to get shutters that fit snugly, keeping your home warm and cosy and looking beautiful.

Rhys Gregory
Editor of Wales247.co.uk

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