How to Build Exterior Window Shutters

Window shutters serve an important functional role by protecting your window against wind and other damage, but they also enhance the visual appeal of your home at the same time. Constructing exterior window shutters is an easy task that can be completed at home. Read on for a step-by-step guide to building your own shutters.

Step 1 - Gather Your Supplies

Measure the windows that you will be covering. You will need wood planks that measure 1x4 and 1x6, and these pieces of wood should be as long as the distance between the pane or siding above the window to the siding below. Additionally, gather the following supplies:

  • Saw
  • Hammer and nails
  • Drill and screws
  • Putty
  • Shutter hinges and surface mounts
  • Primer, paint and paint brush

These supplies are readily available at most home improvement and hardware stores. You may also consider other decorations for the shutter if you have a more artistic or creative style in mind.

Step 2 - Cut a Plank for the Width of the Shutter

Measure out the width necessary for your shutters. This serves to determine how many vertical lengths of wood you will need, and also how wide the horizontal connecting pieces should be. The 1x6 planks will serve as the vertical pieces, so divide the total width by 6 to determine the number of planks necessary. Cut one or two of the 1x4 planks into 4 equal pieces to match that width. These will serve to bind the vertical planks together and to connect the shutter itself to the outside of your home.

Step 3 - Construct the Shutter on a Flat Surface

Lay the cut 1x6 planks on a flat surface and align them so that they are exactly level. Ensure that the planks are pressed closely together and that no gaps exist. Measure between 6 and 12 inches from the top and from the base of these planks, and align the horizontal pieces at these points. Screw the horizontal pieces to the vertical ones to secure the shutter, and cover the screw heads with putty.

Step 4 - Cut the Ends of the Vertical Pieces

If necessary, cut a small length off of the top and bottom ends of the vertical pieces. This will help the shutter to look cleaner if it isn't aligned completely.

Step 5 - Stain and Paint the Shutter

It's easier to stain and paint a shutter before you've installed it. Follow the instructions for application and drying time for the exterior primer and paint. If you wish to decorate the shutter in any other way, do so at this point. Allow the paint to set and dry completely.

Step 6 - Attach the Hinges

Affix the hinges a few inches below the top and a few inches above the bottom of the window frame. You may also wish to attach a third hinge in the middle, if your window is especially long. This will require a third horizontal plank, however. Attach the shutters to the hinges according to the instructions for the hinges. This last step will typically require the help of at least one other person.