My louvered shutters were beginning to give the place that haunted house look– peeling paint and a few cockeyed slats.
First I thought I would strip and repaint them myself. Problem was, they’re 70 years old and layered with so many coats of lead paint it was a hazmat nightmare. Not the sort of project I could tackle in bits and pieces and put away each day safe from the little folks.
Then, of the half dozen or so painters I contacted, the lone one who thought such a small job was worth his time wanted $800. Ouch.
I had to pass. I thought about prefab shutters but they don’t make them the size for my windows.
Custom shutters? About $270 per pair, minus shipping.
I went to the lumberyard. I’m not handy enough to make louvered shutters, but simple board and batten ones are within my reach.
To make each half of a pair of shutters, I measured my window. Shutters, whether they are going to be functional (mounted on hinges and closed over the window) or not are traditionally sized as if they are functional. So, each shutter is half the width of the window and the height of the window. If you are replacing existing shutters, just measure those.
Depending on the size, you’ll want to use two or three boards to make up the shutter body. For my rather large window openings, I needed 21 inches of shutter per side. This was best made up of three 1″ X 8″‘s ripped to a combined dimension of 21 inches. I took off about 1/2″ from each board. You can also get the lumberyard to rip and cut the boards to size for you.
Then I took a small plane and chamfered the side edge of each board just a touch to give the sides and the edges where the boards join some dimension and a finished character.
I cut two 1″ x 4″‘s to the width of the shutter for the battens, and marked up a pleasing distance from the ends for the batten placement. For mine I chose 7″ from the bottom and the top. Each shutter will be different depending on the overall dimension of your shutter. Just lay the battens across the boards and step back and judge for yourself.
Use exterior wood glue and clamp the battens to the boards in the proper placement.
Flip the assembly over and screw the battens to the boards from the underside to eliminate the need for hiding the screws with countersinking and plugs. I used 1 1/4″exterior grade screws.
Once your shutters are all put together, you can decide on the finish. I used a couple of coats of primer and a couple of topcoats of exterior housepaint (front and back). You can also use an exterior stain and/or varnish.
I decided to go the un-authentic (and cheap and easy) route and screw the shutters to the house instead of investing in working hardware. I knew I wasn’t going to be closing them anyway.