How to Build Outdoor Shutters

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Board and Batten Shutters
Board and Batten Shutters (Image: http://www.bbshutters.com/prodimages/Style2-Green_t.jpg)

There is no feeling quite so secure as being able to close your outside shutters on your windows when a big storm is getting ready to blow into the area. Most of the time, the shutters installed on today's houses are for decorative purposes only, and cannot be closed. If you live in an area where shutters could save your windows, it can be a good idea to make them yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 1-by-6-inch lumber, 8 feet long (six)
  • Primer
  • Exterior paint
  • Electric drill
  • Philips-head drill bit
  • Wood screws (#14, 1-5/8 inches long)
  • Drill bit (5/32 by 1/1/2 inches)
  • 1-by-2-inch battens, 8 feet long (two)
  • 1/4-inch shims (four)
  • T-notched pintel strap hinges (four)
  • Shutter dogs (two)
  • Side bolts (two)

Measure the outside casement opening of your window. Subtract 1/2 inch from the height and width. This will give you enough of a gap that the shutter will fit properly. Divide the width measurement in half to get the size of one shutter. Plan on two shutters per window.

Cut the boards so that they fit the measurements of your windows. For example, if your shutter needs to be 4 feet high and 1-1/2 feet wide, cut the 1-by-6 into 3- to 4-foot sections. Cut two battens per shutter, at the same width as your shutter.

Lay the boards side by side and lay the battens on top of them, perpendicular to the other boards. The battens should be about 8 inches down from the top, and the other 8 inches up from the bottom.

Drill 5/32-inch pilot holes every two inches, about 1-1/2 inches deep, through the batten and the plank on both battens. Sink your #14, 1-5/8 inch wood screws into the holes.

Paint the shutters with an exterior-grade paint that matches or contrasts with your house colors, priming the wood first if necessary. Allow it to dry thoroughly - probably 48 hours before trying to hang.

Lay the shutters down with the exterior facing down and the interior facing up. Line them up straight and place the closed side bolts in place. Mark them with a pencil and then screw them in place. Open the bolts and continue installation of the shutters.

Attach the t-notched pintel strap hinge by setting the shutters in a closed position in the windowsill. Set a 1/4 shim under the bottom and on the side to keep the necessary gap. Mark the position of the hinges on the battens, then screw them in place with the included screws.

Open the installed shutters. Mark a place for the shutter dogs and screw in place. Your shutters are now ready for use.

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