Step 1: Paint or finish the shutters

painting exterior shutters
Photograph: Kolin Smith
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Paint or stain and finish the shutters before installing them.

When painting paneled shutters, use a small roller to coat the panels first, then tip off the paint with a brush. Next use a brush to paint the horizontal rails, then the vertical stiles, with long, feathered strokes.

When painting shutters with movable louvers, make sure to open and close the louvers after you paint them to keep them from sticking.

Always paint all six sides of the shutters—including the top and bottom edges—to protect them against moisture infiltration.
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    Tools List

    • painter's tool
      5-In-1 Painter's Tool
      to help with any necessary scraping or casing touch-ups
    • caulk gun
      Caulk Gun
    • sawhorse
      Sawhorses
    • paint brush and roller
      Paintbrush and Roller
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • drill
      Drill/Driver with a set of common driving and drill bits
    • four-foot level
      4-Foot Level
      to align shutters and hardware
    • adjustable wrench
      Adjustable Wrench

    Shopping List

    1. Exterior Shutters

    Home centers sell many exterior shutters in stock sizes, but if you want them to be movable and fit snugly in the window opening, they have to be custom-made to your specifications. You will need to order three to six weeks in advance. Many manufacturers have online catalogs and will talk you through choosing a style appropriate to your house. Look for models made from rot-resistant wood, such as mahogany or cedar, with strong ?pegged? mortise-and-tenon joints. If you plan to paint the shutters, order them primed.



    2. Hinges

    Ask for recommendations on period-appropriate hardware for the shutters you?ve chosen, beginning with hinges. Beware, though:Some hinges require chiseling out mortises on the shutters and casing. Depending on the detail of the trim around the window, you may also have to decide between hinges that rest on the casing or just outside it. So make sure you and the manufacturer?s rep both understand the layout of your window casings. If you?ll be attaching hardware to masonry, ask for masonry fasteners.



    3. Tiebacks

    or other latching hardware to hold the shutters open. Shutter dogs are traditional, but simpler catches, spring latches, or hooks and staples are also available.

    4. Pulls & Latches

    To help you grab the shutters from inside and lock them when shut.



    5. Capping

    to protect the vulnerable top edge of the shutters from the elements (optional).



    6. Exterior Paint

    7. Exterior Painter's Caulk

    8. Shims

    9. Silicone Adhesive

    To attach the capping to the top of the shutter.