Michelle Christiansen, owner of Pappillion Windows & Siding, in Nebraska, says that her company installs shutters after a siding job, or suggests that homeowners add shutters, as a way to set a home apart from the rest of the neighborhood. Details such as decorative exterior shutters improve the overall look, she says, and home builders in her area don’t typically include shutters. “It’s not something they’re thinking about adding,” she adds.

Exterior shutters add character to a home, but can you sell them? These days it’s easy to show homeowners just how much adding shutters, whether vinyl, composite, or wood, to the front of the house can make the building that much classier.

A great way to create interest is visual imaging, via manufacturer websites like Tapko. There you can download a photo and visually recreate the home with new siding, shutters, windows, and paint. Of course, the style of the house dictates whether or not this is appropriate. Ranch houses typically are not great candidates for shutters, says Lee Tundevold, who sells for Lyster Exteriors, in Kalamazoo, Mich. And shutter colors need to tie into trim and corners, as well as work with siding.

Sell Shutters As An Add-On

Shutters can be a do-it-yourself project and are readily available from big box stores such as Lowe’s. Homeowners can also find them online. So how do you sell shutters?

Home improvement sales consultant Tommy Steele suggests that you:
1) determine the need for shutters and other accessories when you do your walk-around;
2) include the cost of shutters as part of a complete siding or window project, since you can always remove that cost later to come to a final price;
3) emphasize professional installation, completeness of the job, and the aesthetic distinction of adding shutters;
4) provide expert advice, since the vast range of shutter styles and options — not to mention selecting the correct size — is an area where homeowners often require a salesperson’s assistance.

Going Beyond Wood

Years ago shutters were typically custom-made from wood and required painting or staining, with all the expense and maintenance that implies. Today’s shutter offerings come in stock sizes in wood, aluminum, vinyl, or composites, providing homeowners with an array of choices in price, material, durability, color, and finish.

Matching shutter dimensions to windows is the first order of business. “Don’t try to squeeze a shutter in where there isn’t room,” Christiansen says, adding, “We’ve been asked numerous times to cut a shutter in half to fit it into a space. We won’t.”

—Jim Cory is editor of REPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR.