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windows too close for exterior shuttersIt is not uncommon to have a window somewhere on your home where there is physically not enough room for exterior shutters. It could be that 2 windows are too close like in the picture shown to the left. It could also be that the window is too close to a chimney, the corner of the house or even a porch post. Whatever the reason there are usually a few ways to work around this.

Functional Exterior Shutters or Decorative Only
The first thing you need to decide is how you will use your exterior shutters. Do you plan to install your exterior shutters on hinges, so that you can open and close them for storm protection or even for routine house maintenance? Or maybe you will bolt them to your house as decorative shutters only. If your exterior shutters will be for decoration only then not having enough room is not a major issue. With decorative shutters you can always go with narrower shutters to fit the wall space that you have.

If your exterior shutters will be functional you really will need to make sure that they can open and close without hitting anything. A good way to test this is to cut out a piece of cardboard to the size of your shutters? Next, go to any widows that you think might be tight for room and just pretend it is on hinges while you “open” and “close” the cardboard a few times to check for clearance.

Bifold Shuttersexterior shutters next to a chimney
If there is not enough room for shutters on both sides of your window one way to work around this is to hinge your exterior shutters together as bifolds. So instead of having 1 shutter on either side of the window you will have 2 shutters on one side only. You can see an example of this in the picture at the top. A Bifold application is also a great way to mount exterior shutters to cover a bay window.

Leaning Shutters
Some times the exterior shutters are so close to a chimney or where a wall takes a 90° turn to lay flat. It is traditionally accepted to hinge the shutters like normal and have the shutter on one side just lean against the obstruction. If you look carefully at the picture at top you will see the base support for chimney on the left hand side. To give you a better overall view the picture to the right is of the entire side of the house.

exterior shutters on a gable windowExterior Shutters on Gable Windows
With gable windows there is often not enough wall space for the full shutter to lay flat. There are 2 straight forwards ways to handle this layout. Like the picture to the left you can hinge your shutters like normal and just accept the fact that they will hang out a little bit. The alternate way is to mount the shutters at the top with hardware designed for Bahama shutters.

If you are still unsure how best to size or mount your shutters so that they can open and close, please ask us. Give us a call, send us an email or start an online chat. We are happy to help.


4 Responses to “What if there is not enough room for exterior shutters?”

  • gloria gripman says:

    One side of my window butts up to a corner. I have decorative shutters around the other windows. Should I put the 2nd shutter on the other side of the corner?

  • Jim Lapic says:

    Hi Gloria,

    Traditionally the shutters for that window would have been hinged together as a bi-fold and mounted on the other side only. If the shutters are only decorative you could place just the single shutter on the opposite side, but I would say that would be personal preference. If the shutters are decorative only, but you are using hardware to make them look authentic, then I would suggest hanging the shutters to the opposite side only. Please let me know if I can be of more help.


  • Kelly says:

    Hello! I wonder if you might be able to help me. Above my garage is a great room that has three large-ish windows, each about 36″ wide. Starting from the edge of the house (which is brick by the way), there’s roughly 3′ of wall, then the first window (36″ wide) then roughly 12″ of wall, then the second window (also 36″), another 12″ of wall and then the final window (again, 36″ wide) and the final 3′ of wall to the opposite end of the house.

    I live in the SE and due to the occasional hurricane I’d like to install functional shutters over these windows. I’m sure you can see the problem already: window 2, the one in the middle. That window only has 12″ of space on either side. That 12″ would have to hold not only the shutters needed to cover it, but the shutters needed to cover the inside halves of windows 1 and 3. That seems like a lot of shutter to fit into 12″ of space.

    Do you have any suggestion?

  • Jim Lapic says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Thank you for reaching out. That center window will be a bit tricky, depending on what you want to achieve. Having exact measurements, as well as a photo of that face of the house, would be helpful. Would you be able to post a photo here?

    Are the shutters for complete hurricane protection, or to add another layer of protection to hurricane rated windows?

    Two ideas that come to mind would be Bahama mounted shutters, and bifold shutters. The Bahama mounting method is simply having the shutters hinged at top like an awning. The shutter can be propped out at an angle so that you are covering most of the window all of the time, but you can still see through the louvers. With bifolds, you could lay the open shutters across the flat space between the windows. The problem is that multiple smaller shutters in the window won’t be as rigid, for storm protection, as larger shutters. Alternatively there is a style of hardware for bifold shutters that incorporates a top and bottom track, which would add quite a bit of strength for storm protection.

    Seeing a photo would be a great place to start.


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