The Shutter Story: The Screw Up

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

We bought DIY shutters to install in our bedroom. The box and product reviews said it would take about 40 minutes to install... well they lied! It took us TWO DAYS.

99% of the time all of our projects come out mostly as planned. Every now and then we'll have a tiny hiccup (like Jon's victory over the sink) but normally it just requires an extra trip to Home Depot and we're good. Not the case with our shutters.

The previous owner had frilly lace valances on all the windows. That's it. No blinds. Not only could everyone see into our home there was also no way for us to block some light and heat out. No sleeping in. No way to help keep our house cool. The weekend we moved it we put up cheap drapes and have been using that ever since. Its not a big deal throughout the house except in our bedroom. Its the hottest room in the house and its visible by other units which means limited privacy. 

We had always planned to install shutters throughout the house but put it off because they're crazy expensive. Since spring is coming to an end and summer with its 100 degree heat is here we knew we had to get on it (that's why we did the cover patio). After lots of research and pricing out different sources we were sad to find that the best deal we could get was a little less than $400 for ONE window, not including installation! We only have 4 windows but would still be around $1600! Yeah... no.

So we turned to googling DIY Shutters and there was a whole lot of nothing. My BFF Home Depot saved the day. They sell shutters in a small variety of sizes that generally fit to standard sized windows. At $200 it was waaaay cheaper than the customized ones we had been looking at. AND you could buy it online! One less trip to Home Depot. Jon & Berennisse = SOLD. To be on the safe side we only ordered shutters for our bedroom window figuring if we liked it we'd order the rest.

On Saturday of Memorial Day weekend we decided to install it. We measured, bought a circular saw and made three Home Depot trips in preparation. And then we ran into our first problem. There wasn't a shutter big enough to fit our window so we ordered two thinking we would combine them to make a big one that opened like an accordion. A ton of people had left pictures when reviewing the shutters online and it looked like they had done it so why couldn't we? Apparently pictures lie.

Jonathan looked at me and said we couldn't do it. We could install them as two different ones using brackets but it would not open like an accordion. I sulked but ultimately decided to just do it. We go back upstairs and run into our second problem. The shutters were just a hair too wide. Seriously? This project had already failed before we had ever started to work.

The shutters are designed to allow you to cut a little off the top and a couple of inches off the bottom. The only place you're not supposed to cut is on the little bar used to mount the shutters. After another debate we decided to just go for it. It only required a small adjustment to shave off an 1/8 of inch in order to make it fit. We didn't think it would be that big of a deal and decided to just cut one set of shutters so we could return the second one

We donned some safety googles and finally got to cutting.

The first two panels went relatively smoothly. I held the shutter in place while Jon cut. That saw is not a joke. You have to hold it steady in order to cut and the chips come flying off in every direction which really hurts. Jon and I were covered in tons of tiny pieces. Because of the vibration and you having to hold it place it was hard to cut in a perfectly straight line. The pieces weren't cut perfectly but Jon tried to straighten it by sanding them smooth.

Then it got all screwed up. I really want to use another, stronger word but I'm trying to keep it classy. We started on the third shutter. Jon measured and I held the shutter in place. Then Jon got ready to cut. As soon as he started to cut I knew we had messed up.

Jon used the wrong the guide mark on the saw and cut it too short. 

Unfortunately it was too short to salvage. No shutters for the bedroom. And since we had already cut the second set of shutters we couldn't return them. Goodbye $200!

Imagine us tired, frustrated and full of choice words aimed at the saw and shutters. We were FURIOUS.

After we calmed down I measured the window in the dining room and realized it was a little bit smaller that our bedroom window. The shutter we had cut too short was still going to be a little small but it would be a lot less noticeable. 

So at 10 pm we started the whole process over again. Measuring and cutting all the shutters. We also had to cut two of the mounting devices since the dining room window is not as wide as our bedroom window. Jon was hesitant to do this but in the end we knew that we had to try to salvage this project. What was the worse thing that could happen at this point? See me explain below.

The Shutter Story: The Screw UP from Berennisse Behr on Vimeo.

After that we were fried. We finished cutting and went to bed. WORST PROJECT TO DATE. 

Stay tuned for part two. The Shutter Story: The Salvage. 

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