How to build your own window shutters

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Decorative exterior shutters can add a homely flavour to any facade. From louvered to simpler styles, shutters hearken back to a earlier time when they helped to secure houses during long absences and protected against cold winter winds. With advances in masonry anchors, even the attachment of shutters to a brick face isn't the challenge it used to be. With the use of either treated deck lumber or composite plastic/wood alternatives, you can make your own decorative window shutters that will last for years.

Measure and cut shutters

Measure the height and width of your window, including all the trim.

Mark your decking to the length of your window. Mark enough pieces for each side to cover approximately half the width of the window. These shutters won't close so the number of pieces will be determined by how you want it to look. These are your vertical shutter boards.

Mark the 5 cm x 10 cm (2 x 4 inch) treated lumber according to how many pieces are on each side. You'll need the total width of the material, plus 5 cm (2 inches), between each piece. For three pieces, for example, the 5 cm x 10 cm (2 x 4 inch) boards would be cut 52 cm (20.5 inches) in length. Make two or three of these depending on the height of the window. Taller windows may require three for strength. These are your horizontal battens.

Cut all pieces to length using a circular saw or hand saw. Make sure your cuts are square.

Constructing decorative shutters

Set enough of the vertical shutter pieces for one side of your window face down. If you're using composite decking, one side may have grain texture and the other may be smooth. Choose the face you want to be seen and place the pieces with the chosen faces down. Space them with a 5 cm (2 inch) gap between boards.

Lay one of your horizontal braces 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) from the end of the vertical pieces. Attach them to the vertical shutters using 5 cm (2 inch) treated decking screws. The height of this brace can vary, according to your taste. Add the second brace spaced the same distance from the other end. If needed, add a third brace centred on the vertical pieces.

Pre-drill the verticals in at least four places for masonry anchors if you're using the shutters on a brick house, or for deck screws for wood, vinyl or aluminium siding.

For a brick house, hold the shutter in place and use the drill with the masonry bit to drill a shallow mark at each anchor point. Remove the shutter and drill pilot holes according to manufacturer's recommendation.

For siding, hold the shutter in place and attach it using 7.5 cm (3 inch) treated deck screws.

For a brick front, hold the shutter in place, making sure to line up the pilot holes in the shutter with the pilot holes in the brick, and attach using 7.5 cm (3 inch) masonry anchors.

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