How to Build Easy Exterior Shutters

Denise Brown

Exterior shutters come in a variety of styles, but one of the easiest types to build is board and batten style. Board and batten shutters are simply upright pieces of board connected by two horizontal pieces, or members.

Board and batten shutters offer a rustic touch.

You can install shutters for decorative purposes alone, or you can build them so they close during periods of high winds or heavy rain. Whatever style you choose, exterior shutters are an easy carpentry project for do-it-yourselfers regardless of skill level.

  1. Measure how long and wide you want your shutters to be. You can have the shutters be the same length as the window or you can make them longer if you prefer. These directions use 1-by-8-inch lumber, but you can choose a different width if you prefer. You can add extra width by adjusting the amount of space between the two upright boards as well.

  2. Use a circular saw to cut four pieces of lumber the length you choose from the 1-by-8-inch lumber. Cut four pieces from the 1-by-4-inch lumber in the width you selected.

  3. Sand the rough edges of the wood with sandpaper. Give the wood a coat of primer and allow it to dry. Paint the wood with two coats of paint; allow each piece to dry thoroughly between coats.

  4. Lay two long pieces of lumber side by side with the appropriate spacing. Place two cross members on top of the long pieces approximately 10 inches from the ends. Use your tape measure to make sure the cross members are the same distance from either end of the shutters. Clamp the pieces of wood together with wood clamps.

  5. Predrill holes for 1 1/4-inch screws through the cross members and into the upright boards. Place four holes evenly spaced across each cross member. Screw the screws into place to hold the cross members to the vertical boards. Remove the wood clamps.

  6. Repeat this process to build the other shutter.

  7. Hold the shutter against the house. Use a level to make sure it is level and plumb. Lightly mark its position with a pencil. Repeat for the other shutter making sure it is level with the first one.

  8. Drill pilot holes in each of the four corners of each shutter. Hold one of the shutters on the exterior wall. Align it with your marks. Slip a flat washer behind the pilot hole and one in front of it. Put the appropriate wall fastener for the exterior of your house through the washers and pilot hole and secure it in position. Repeat with the remaining three pilot holes on that shutter to hang it. Hang the second shutter following the same process.

  9. Tip

    For the best results, pick a wood that tolerates the weather. Try to avoid using any wood with knots in it. Over time the knots may fall out and create holes in the shutters. Also select lumber that has straight edges and doesn’t show any signs of warping. If you prefer, you can wait until you finish the shutters to paint them. Painting the shutters before you assemble them allows you to coat all surfaces of the wood. You may also prefer to seal and stain your shutters rather than paint them.