Adding shutters to your windows is a great way to give your home a cute, stylish “cottage” look. It’s also an incredibly easy project that won’t cost you too much money. You can always go out and purchase some pre-made shutters from your favorite home improvement store, but that can get expensive depending on the style you’re looking for. Besides, there’s no guarantee that you will be able to find a style that actually fits with your home and window style. As with most home improvement projects, the best way to make sure that you have the ideal shutters for your home is to build them yourself. It does take a little extra work, but the job is actually easier than you might expect, if you have the right tools and materials for the job. It will also be a great way for you to save some money as well. This simple guide for building your own basic window shutters will help you get started.
Gathering the Right Materials
The obvious first step in building your own shutters is gathering the proper supplies and equipment. Your supplies will depend on the kinds of windows you have, so make sure that you have accurate measurements of all of your windows before you start shopping for materials. Once you have measurements, it’s time to buy the wood that you will be using for your shutters. For a basic board and batten shutter, you will need three long planks of wood measured to fit the height of each of your windows and two smaller pieces of wood measured to their width. The smaller pieces are called the battens, and they will be placed across the longer planks to hold them together. You will also need a box of 1-inch exterior screws, a drill, and some hinges if you want your shutters to be functional. You will need two hinges per shutter. Otherwise, you can screw the shutters directly onto your outer wall if you want them to be for appearances only. Depending on the kind of wood you use, this project can be completed for about $40.
Building the Shutters
The next step will be to make sure you know how the shutters will go together. Line up the three long planks of wood so that they fit together evenly, and use a piece of cardboard as a guide to figure out where the batten will fit. You will want the batten to be at the same place on each shutter, so make sure all of your measurements are exact. You will need two battens per shutter placed close to either end.
Once the three long planks are placed together evenly and you know where your battens are going to go, you will add the actual battens to the shutters. The battens will be held in place with two screws drilled into the wood from the back of the shutters. Drilling from the back will eliminate the need to counter sink and add wood fill. It also gives your shutters a better appearance by keeping the screws almost entirely hidden. Repeat these steps until you have two evenly spaced battens holding your shutters together, and you are done with the actual construction. This shouldn’t take you longer than one afternoon. All that is left is to paint or stain the shutters and install them.
Installing the Shutters
How you want to install your shutters is really up to you. If you want them to be stationary, you can drill them into the outer wall of your house on either side of your windows. As always, make sure you measure closely so that everything is at the proper height and width; you don’t want your shutters and your windows to be miss-matched. If you want your shutters to actually function, you will need the proper hinges. Basic strap hinges will work just fine for this project. Buy two hinges per shutter, and install them on your windows at the height you want.
Whether you want to give your home the appearance of a cute cottage or you want a way to give yourself some extra privacy, a set of cheap homemade shutters is truly the way to go. They are remarkably easy to build, and they are certainly cheaper than most pre-made shutters. Remember this project the next time you want to increase your home’s curb appeal.
This article was written by Jared Miret, father and home handyman. Jared’s wife was so set on getting window shutters to go with the new Home Exterior Systems for Simonton windows in Houston, that he quickly learned how to make and install them.