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I've built some Board-N-Batten shutters and am ready to hang them on the house. However, I've never installed shutters before, so I want to be sure I install them properly.

  • Do I drill pilot holes in the wood first?
  • Pilot holes into wood and brick of my house?
  • Or do I drill the screws through the wood and into the brick all at the same time? If I do it this way, I'm just afraid the shutters will shift & not hang properly when I am drilling.

What exactly is the accepted procedure for installing shutters? Also, what type of screws are recommended for this sort of install?

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As an FYI, the (working) shutters on my (structural) brick house were originally fastened to the trim around the windows. Or more likely, the wood framing around the windows. After replacing the windows (and capping the trim), I'm planning to reinstall into the brick. –  kdgregory Oct 15 '11 at 22:28
    
I added an answer at the bottom that has the process I used, including what I learned & mistakes I made :) –  joshmax Oct 24 '11 at 15:14
    
@joshmax Any chance you could finish up one of your blog posts, so we can get it published? –  Tester101 Jun 13 '12 at 17:13
    
@Tester101 sorry about that :( The post about this question is ready for review. –  joshmax Jul 17 '12 at 16:24

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you want to use a screw I would use Tapcon® Concrete Screws. They hold very well and are fairly easy to use. The only draw back is that they are a bright blue and you will have to countersink them and caulk or plugged the hole. 3/16 inch will be strong enough, you will want about 1.5" of penetration. To install you just drill a hole matching the size of the screw (needs to be exact size required) and screw them in. Using a screw is helpful because its about the only concrete anchor you can easily remove.

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The other option is Metal Hit Anchors. These are a nail in a sleeve. you pre drill the hole and hammer the anchor in and the nail expands the sleeve.

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Any time you drill into masonry you should be using a hammer drill, and a masonry bit that is specifically designed to be used with a hammer drill.

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On most brick homes anchoring into the brick is going to be stronger. But it is only shutters and you could get away with drilling into the mortar. This way if you ever want to take the shutters down you can fix the hole in the mortar, unlike if you were to drill directly into the brick.

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This is exactly the information I needed. If I went with the Metal Hit Anchors, would 3/16 still be my best bet, or do they just come in lengths? Also, this may be a stupid question, but if I use 3/16" screws, would I also use 3/16 drill bit or a step down? Which do you prefer: screws or the hit-anchors? Thanks for your help! –  joshmax Oct 14 '11 at 14:54

For those interested, here's the process I ended up using:

  1. Measure, level and mark boards, appropriately aligning the future holes with the mortar between bricks.
  2. Drill pilot holes into the wood shutters, including a 1/4" countersink to cover the screw heads up with wood filler.
    • What I learned at this step: Unlike screwing wood to wood, where you can sink the screws into the wood easily without a countersink, when attaching wood to mortar, if you do not provide the countersink hole already and attempt to perform said action, you will strip the mortar and the screw will just spin and stay loose :(
  3. Next, re-level shutters and mark the mortar with the masonry drill bit through the pilot holes. I found that only drilling the top two holes worked best for me. I'll get to why in a minute. An extra set of hands comes in handy here :)
  4. Set the shutter down and drill the top two mortar holes completely.
    • What I learned at this step: Be sure to drill into the mortar enough to where the screw tip won't hit a dead-end (Most recommended a 1/16" or 1/4" of extra room beyond the screw tip). If you don't give a little extra space at the tip, you'll encounter a great deal of resistance, the screw will not go in all the way and you'll have to get the masonry bit out again.
  5. Attach the shutter to the house using the top two holes.
  6. Now, we'll finish the bottom two holes: with your masonry bit, drill into the mortar through the board.
    • What I learned at this step: I found this process to be the easiest for me, as my pilot holes didn't always match up completely when I attempted marking then drilling all four at the same time. Less margin of error on my part. But, this is became a personal preference. Decide for yourself.
  7. Finish attaching the shutter to the mortar at the bottom with your screws.
  8. Use wood filler to patch the holes, lightly sand filler.
  9. Paint/stain/seal accordingly.
    • What I learned at this step: I had already applied a sealer to the back of the shutters before attaching them. I taped off my house using wide painter's tape after they were up and it saved me a huge headache of cleaning sealer off my house with mineral spirits.

Overall, I also learned:

  • I marked & drilled all of the pilot holes into the shutters at one time which saved me on having to switch between the masonry & wood drill bits. HINT: If you forget to take out the masonry bit and attempt to drill into wood, you very likely could start a friction fire! :D Haha!
  • Having two drills is a life-saver: I had my hammer drill set up with my masonry bit and my cordless drill had my Phillips bit in it ready for the screws.
  • Having a second pair of hands throughout the entire process was also a great deal of help.

Thanks for your help folks! I hope this little walk-through helps someone else, too!

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Great self learning answer! Any chance you took pics? I think this would make a great post for diy.blogoverflow.com –  Steve Jackson Oct 24 '11 at 15:40

I haven't had to do this myself, so this is all theory. I'd welcome any suggestions to this. This also assumes these are non-functional shutters.

First, test fit your shutter, determine where you want the bolts to go. I'd aim for the mortar, since, as Justin says, this lets to fix any holes in the future. I don't think you'll see anywhere near the load that would require going into the brick.

Pre-drill the shutters and place them back against the wall, using the pre-drilled hole to mark where you want to install your anchors in the masonry. For that, you can stick some chalk or a pencil through the hole, hit it with a nail punch, start drilling a pilot hole, whatever works for you. With the locations marked, I would go for something like these lag shields:

lag bolt masonry shield

This lets you remove, paint/repair, and replace the shutters without changing the hole you made in the wall.

When installing, use some lag bolts with washers or a large head that allow you to adjust the fit if one hole isn't well aligned. Make sure to always use like metals (anchor, bolt, and washer) to avoid any chemical reactions. And when done, cover the bolt/screws with a bit of paint so they blend in.

One last thought, wood against masonry is a rot situation waiting to happen. Paint or seal all sides of the shutters, and then put something on the back of the shutters near each of the pilot holes, or run the bolts through a couple thick washers or spacer, to keep the shutters off of the wall slightly and allow air to pass behind them.

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Are there any dangers of wind forces on the shutters, rain, snow, ice, etc degrading the mortar near the holes to the point of failure? Should epoxy be used for setting the anchors? Are there other methods to prevent damage to the surrounding mortar? –  Tester101 Oct 14 '11 at 12:27
    
Here is a good chart for Hole Size for different size lag shields. –  Tester101 Oct 14 '11 at 12:38
    
@Tester101, great questions. I'd go for a long lag shield to minimize the stress on the surface mortar. I was debating a suggestion to use a little silicone before inserting the shield to prevent water intrusion, but the epoxy is a good thought. I've used that in the past for earthquake bolts installed in a foundation. –  BMitch Oct 14 '11 at 12:56
    
Thanks for that, I'll keep this in mind for the future, for future projects. I think I'll stick with Justin's answer & just use screws, though. Screws are in my budget :/ I'm not sure lag bolts/shields are. I appreciate the thought put into your answer! –  joshmax Oct 14 '11 at 14:48

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