DIY intall of shutters / brands (Steves, Norman, etc)

seegayeOctober 28, 2012

I have narrowed my choices for my four large front room windows to either Levelor Estate Oak 2 1/2 inch blinds or Plantation Wood Stained shutters that I would want to DIY install.

The blinds are unique in their finish, easy install of course, and very affordable through Steves Blinds online. They have an advantage of being able to be pulled up completely to offer a great view. Shutters would have to be 'opened' and would be a little less convenient in that aspect, but with the 3.5 inch louvers I might be doing okay just having the wider view space they offer.

Shutters, however, have always charmed me and that was what I first 'saw' when I walked into this space. I find they have a structural interest that appeals to me and they have a 'rich' feel that is hard to mimic with blinds - even with the wonderful finish that the Estate Levelors offer, they are still blinds and not shutters.

I had a quote for shutters by a vendor who came to my home. She offered Norman shutters and the price was expected but still high. I went on Steves and Blindsexpress and found the same line for an astonishing savings, but of course, would have to intall myself.

I also found that Steves has their own brand of shutter that was even more affordable!


Has anyone here ever used the Steves brand of shutter (or blinds for that matter)? If so, how was the quality and how was it to intall them yourself?

The Norman line - real wood stained. Same question.

Norman Sussex - which I am told is the 'better' line of Norman. Is it better and why? I cannot find the 'why' but they do charge more for that line and promote it is such.

I was surprised at how affordable the Norman shutters and especially the Steves shutters were if purchase through those sites, but the DIY install makes me pause. Just how complicated could it be? I am pretty handy and could hire help if needed and still be much (MUCH) less than the local vendor.

Also, on shutters, the decisions about inside mount, outside mount, etc - any input on that?


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Elraes Miller

I bought new plantation shutters from Restore. Obviously had to DIY. They are outside mount due to old windows involved. We attached the side trim on the outside of window trim. The one thing that did pose a problem was the top. Added a wide trim across, which is an inch below the window trim, but it looks great to me and isn't seen outside as something odd. It can be done and I love them.

As for opening shutters for view, still maintains a wonderful view just opening the slats and as much light. Love the total blackout at night. My window is 18' L X 7' H. There are 8 single shutters going across, including a 2 inch stile in the middle. Sheer luck finding these the for the right size.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 11:23AM
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We bought Norman (white, not stained) and did the DIY install that was super easy...maybe took DH 15-20 min per window, depending on size. We did inside mount using our existing trim. If you're somewhat handy, you can do it. You need a drill to make it easier, then just screw into the window frame. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 2:40PM
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Thank you both for the feedback!

Sujafr - are yours wood or the faux wood? I am in Florida and people say that wood can be a problem, but I posted a question on that here and seems many people in hot / humid climates have had them with no problem. I cannot visualize the whites / creams in here no matter how I try and given that my windows dont get hit with hard steady sun and are in my great room (not a bathroom or humid area) I think I am gonna go for it and get the stained wood. It is a rich and beautiful look that I love. If they warp I will just have to cry lol! I sure hope they dont!

I am considering either the Normans (Normandy or Sussex line) or the Steves brand on that Stevesblindsandwallpaper site. The Steves brand is really affordable by comparison to others. The Normandy line of Normans - if ordered online - are a bit up from the Steves in price and the Sussex is the top priced - about a thousand more than the Steves. That is a big swing, but I have to consider that the shutters I choose will be up there for hopefully a long long long long long time! Color is probably gonna help me decide. I have ordered samples.

The Levelor blinds have a great finish for our home. They are rustic and the right color. I wonder if real wood blinds are more or less likely to suffer than the real wood shutters? Seems more likely since shutters have more structure.

Technicolor - I appreciate the feedback on your view also. That is good to hear.

I am leaning toward outside mount altho it will entail removing my present trim and cutting back the sill a bit. THe only decorative issue I am having is that I have white baseboards and white crown and so if I put in stained shutters I am not sure how it will all pull together. I have seen photos of dark shutters with a small / medium white trim surrounding them but am not sure if they are inside or outside mount.

I have some time to ponder that since the samples still have not arrived. Maybe someone will have some insight on that as well! Hope so!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 6:36PM
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We bought "Steve's Own" brand of honeycomb shades recently. Previous purchases for several other windows were Hunter Douglas. The quality seems comparable. (We've worked with the Hunter Douglas a lot, including having restrung some old shades). Install just fine. By looking at where the shades were made, we suspected that the Steve's Own shades were made by a subsidiary of Hunter Douglas (a lower priced line, I think it was called Comfortex) because the shipping origin of our package has a factory for the HD subsidiary. I'm ready to replace a few other window shades and will use Steve's brand again. They'll send you lots of samples for free, though the samples took about a week to arrive. The Steve's website is kind of cheap looking, but we're very pleased with the product we purchased. Production was fast and shipping right on time (quick!).

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 8:06PM
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Steveblinds does offer professional installation. Click on shutters and look to the right for pro installation. They work with a company called NBI (national blind installation). This is a national network of professional installers who will come to your home, measure and recommend whether to do an inside or outside mount. I belong to this network and would advise against attempting this yourself. Shutters is a speciality area that not all installers are trained to do.
Were you suprised at the savings by buying online. 2 Years ago I save $500.00 on 2 shutters by buying online. It's not only shutters but all window treatments. As far as sussex, it is Normans top of the line shutter. It's a much ligher all wood shutter that is constructed in a way that makes it more durable and doesn't warp. It has a very rich look to it.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 5:24PM
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Mine are white faux wood, so I'm afraid I can't help with whether the real wood warp. I think any shutters are pretty easy to install if you're halfway long as you just go through the directions. We got the wide 3 1/2" ones.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 6:03PM
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Thanks again for all the input. It is helpful. I dont particularly WANT to do the installation myself, but money is something that comes into play, so saving when I can is what I have to do. I am handy, and also have a man that helps me if needed. I did my kitchen - designed and helped install it. Have done lots of other stuff too. If the install is affordable I would have someone do it, but might choose to do it myself depending on cost.

I am open to other online sources of shutters if anyone has any suggestions. Pretty much have settled that I want stained shutters or stained blinds. Whites just dont work in here and while I have been told of wood warp as being a potential problem, I dont think my windows get enough hard sun to be a problem - lots of shading from the porch, oaks, and adjacent stands of trees. Plus we keep our indoor temp pretty consistent.

I found an online source called '' that offers shutters made in elm and poplar - stained or painted. Looked interesting and were not too bad in price. Good to know that the Steves product may be good quality as the price is good on them. The Sussex is pretty up there in price compared to the others, but if I find that I can get just the perfect stain from that line, would do it. Sure woudl rather spend less tho!

Suggestions for other sites?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 9:27PM
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