How To Build Exterior Wooden Shutters

Exterior wooden shutters can be decorative and serve a function. They can add to the value of your home since they look great. Deciding to build wooden shutters will require many design choices. Here are the basics you need to know before you start to do this project.

Materials Available

There are many choices for the species of wood you will use for your shutters. Your budget will have a lot to do with your choices.  Red cedar is the most popular choice for wooden shutters. It’s also common to find them made of mahogany and Spanish cedar too. These species are more durable and resist rot better than others. You can really use any kind of wood you choose though. If you go for a wood that isn’t as durable you will want to make sure you are treating the wood thoroughly to help prevent rotting. If you choose a wood that is uneven in appearance you can even it out using certain primers. Any lumber yard or hardware store can tell you what the best products are for this.

Different Styles

Not only will you have choices with your materials, you will also have several choices when it comes to the design of your shutters. Board and Batten shutters have a much more rustic look, and have a rougher appearance to them. These usually consist of several boards side by side with exposed support boards on the front. These are great for smaller homes, log homes, or any home when you want to achieve a more rustic and rugged appearance.

Raised Panel boards are one of the most popular styles since they offer more versatility. These are generally one piece of wood that has been routed out to give the appearance of an interior board raised above the shutter. These are commonly found on federal or colonial style homes.

Louvered shutters are another popular design option. These are made to look like they are slatted. This style looks good on just about any home.

Hardware Styles

You will have several options for the hardware used as well. Some of the choices will be dependant on what kind of shutter you are using. You will need to choose hinges, slide bolts, locks, shutter dogs, and pintels. Once you choose your design and style, you can start looking at your hardware options. You will also need to know how big the shutters are and how big the window is before you can choose the appropriate hardware.


Unless you are very experienced in home improvement projects, it’s best to have someone install the shutters for you. Everything on the shutter has to be perfect and there isn’t much room to be off when it comes to installing these. There are several things that need to be taken in to account with the installation process. A pegged mortise and tenon joints will need to be used to ensure the shutters are secure. Cross pieces will need to be measured precisely. If you are thinking of installing these yourself it’s still best to at least consult with a professional before you begin.