Guest Author - Maureen L Staccato
Installing exterior vinyl shutters is usually a simple, straightforward task when installing on wood or siding. However, if you are installing plastic shutters on a brick surface, some things need to be taken into consideration.
First of all, some bricks are resistant with metal. This makes it an enormously difficult task to drill through the brick. Another thing to mull over is that the life of the house will probably be longer than the life of the vinyl shutters. These problems can be solved by drilling into the mortar between the bricks instead of into the bricks themselves. The main reason for this is because it is much easier to patch the mortar than it is to fill and match the color and texture of the bricks if you choose to remove them in the future for whatever your reason.
The next thing to consider is whether you want a permanent installation or if you would like the option to take your window shutters down. The key reason why you would want to take down your vinyl shutters would be to paint the house. Since brick typically is not painted a permanent installation will be adequate in most situations. However, if part or your entire mounting surface is painted you may wish to make them removable for future maintenance. To mount the shutters permanently, you can order vinyl exterior shutters with shutter-locks To make a removable installation, you can get painted metal screws to mount your window shutters and use some masonry anchors to clasp them in place.
Finally, you will also need to take into thought the construction of the house. If the window has a slope sill you will need to leave a 1/4 inch gap between the sill and the bottom of the shutter to allow rain, snow, and ice to drain from the window. If you have a brick mold you will need to order the correct size of exterior shutters to stretch from the top to the bottom of the window opening.
To get started, hold one panel of the vinyl shutters in position next to the window in the position you would like it mounted. The shutter should be as close to the window opening as possible. Now, you will need to use a pencil to mark the center of the mortar in each of the 4 (or 6) mounting locations. Keep in mind that you will need to leave a 2 - 5 inch gap on the top and the bottom of the shutter above and below the mounting fastener. So for example if the first mortar line is less than 2 inches down from the top of the shutter, you should use mark the second mortar line as the point on the shutter where you will need to drill. Just mark the side of the plastic shutter in the 4 (or 6) locations where the center of the mortar lines are.
Now, set the vinyl shutter face up on the sawhorses. Using the mark on the side as a guide, lay the square across the top of the shutter with one end of it hanging over the side pointing downward toward the ground. You are only using this as a guide to mark the drilling location on the front side of the exterior shutter based on the markings you placed on the side that indicate where the mortar lines are. The stiles (or rails) for vinyl shutters are typically 2 to 4 inches in width. Using the square as a guide, draw a small line across the face of the stile and then use the tape measure to mark the precise location of the mounting hole. Repeat this until all of the holes are marked.
If you decided to use shutter-locks to install your vinyl shutters, you need to drill a 1/4 inch hole at each of the locations using a steel drill bit. For the removable installation, use an 11/64 inch steel drill bit to drill the holes in the vinyl exterior shutter at the locations you marked.
Place the shutter against the surface of the house and use the pencil to mark the center of the hole (which should also be in the center of the mortar). Be sure the vinyl shutter doesnít slip while you mark all of the locations. Now remove the exterior shutter. If you are using shutter locks you will need a1/4 inch masonry bit. For painted screws you will need to use the correct size masonry bit for the anchors you purchased. Drill at each of the 4 or 6 locations you marked.
For shutter-locks, make sure that the hole is at least 1 3/4 inches deep. For painted screws you should drill 2 inches deep. It is better to drill a little bit over to ensure they donít bottom out because starting over is not particularly easy and requires new shutter-locks.
To finish the shutter-lock installation, place the shutter against the wall in the final position and push the shutter-locks through the vinyl shutter and into the hole in the wall. If you canít push it all the way in, use a hammer to gently tap it until it just touches the surface of the vinyl shutter. Be sure to leave a little bit of play to allow for expansion and contraction. When mounting with painted screws and anchors you should drill 2 inches deep into the mortar. Using a hammer, tap the anchors into the holes in the mortar. Finally, place the shutter against the surface and put the screws through the vinyl exterior shutters into the masonry anchors and tighten the screws with the screwdriver. Do not over tighten them Ė the vinyl shutters should not dimple.