Measuring for exterior Bahama shutters requires minimal time and common household tools, including a steel tape measure, ladder, pencil and paper. Expect to spend about 15 minutes per window to obtain proper measurements.
Bahama shutters are intended to operate in conjunction with specialty exterior hardware designed to allow the panels to open and close. Homeowners occasionally fabricate stationary arms that fix the exterior shutters in an open location. Measure each window with precision to ensure a smooth installation. Windows that appear to be the same size can often be very different.
Bahama shutters can be installed to fit inside or outside of a window opening.
Time needed: 15 minutes.
How to Measure for Bahama Shutters
Observe and make note of any obstructions in front of the window which may prevent proper installation and operation of Bahama shutters (trees, fence posts, etc.). Also, check the window frame for wood rot or decay that can be repaired in advance of installation.
Measure from the back of the side jamb to the front of the window casing. Premium wood Bahama shutters require a void of 1.5 inches if the panels will be mounted to fit within the opening (inside mount). In most cases, it is preferable for exterior Bahama shutters to install in front of the window (outside mount), which requires no depth to the opening.
Measure from the inside left to the inside right of the window opening.
Deduct ¼ – ½ inch for clearance if planning for the shutter to nest inside of the opening.
Or, add at least 2 inches to calculate width of a shutter to fit outside of the opening. It is common for the recorded shutter width to equal the width of the outside edge of the window casing.
Measure from the inside top of the window opening to the inside bottom.
Deduct ¼ – ½ inch for clearance if planning for the shutter to nest inside of the opening. Evaluate the surface just above for a firm mounting surface for the hinges.
If the shutter will install in front of the window opening, add to the measurement. The top sliding hinge requires about 1 1/2 inch above the shutter. The back of the hinge will be flush with the back of the shutter, so it needs to affix on the casing (not above). The shutter should hang close to level with the bottom of the casing or to the top of the window sill.
Vertical sub-stiles add stability so Bahama shutters can exceed the width of standard louvered shutters. Panels in excess of 24” require at least one vertical sub-stile as indicated on the ordering page.
A divider rail is a horizontal bar, much like the top rail, that creates top and bottom louver areas within the exterior shutter. A divider rail is needed on all wood louvered Bahama shutters over 70 inches tall. A divider rail can be centered by default or positioned at a custom location. If a custom location is desired, provide the measurement from the bottom of the shutter to the identified center of the divider rail. For two divider rails, note the location of each from the bottom of the shutter to the center of each. Consider sight lines when establishing the divider rail location.
The actual placement of the divider rail will be close to the location requested. The number of louvers, shutter height and rail sizes determine the final placement.
Finally, choose a finish color. Bahama shutters are available unfinished, primed or fully painted. View colors to make that determination.
Measuring for Bahama shutters is not complicated. A little time and patience will get the job done correctly. Record all measurements and specifications to price and place an order online.