An exterior wood shutter installation magically transforms a drab old lady into a home with fresh, youthful curb appeal. Wise wood choices help to ensure years of warp-free use. Well-crafted exterior wood shutters constitute a home improvement with aesthetic value, as well as quality-of-life benefits for your family.
Spanish Cedar and Western Red Cedar are popular choices. The onslaught of the elements is a major determining factor in the life-span of any outdoor window shutter or awning installation. Cedar has a superb record in this regard, making it a cost-effective exterior wood shutter option. This hardwood is known for its durability, weather-resistance, and ability to breathe. Its natural tannin also serves as an insect deterrent. Honduras Mahogany is favored by some manufacturers of wooden shutters for its robustness, beautiful grain, and water-resistant qualities.
If you are a do it yourself buff, custom exterior installation kits are available. However, if such a major home improvement project is too daunting, simply opt for the fully assembled exterior wood shutter range, and have the installation done painlessly by the experts. Many manufacturers also enjoy the challenge of crafting reproductions of older coverings with a history.
If the craftsmanship is inferior, not even the best wood is going to ensure a sturdy product. Look for traditional pegged mortise and tenon joinery, even if it costs slightly more. Pegged joints are a much sturdier option, than screw and dowel joints. Also opt for louver blades that are secured with brass screw eyes, rather than staples. Unless you are prepared to take care of the maintenance required, rather opt for vinyl shutters.
Exterior wood shutters offer extensive design options, such as louvers with horizontal, diagonal, or vertical blades. The slats range from oval, to flat, to tapered, and come in a variety of widths. The louvers can also be either fixed, or operable, depending on your preference. Self-balancing louvers don't need additional tension wires, or devices to keep them in position.
Styles range from the down-to-earth panel shutters, or board and batten shutters, which can also be equipped to serve as hurricane shutters, to the exotic Bermuda shutter. The latter comes with a Bermuda hinge, and sturdy support arms for opening and closing. An arched window can be complemented with an elegant, beautifully formed arched shutter. A plantation shutter is another stylish option.
Choose the best quality primer and paint to finish the wood. Adding copper or aluminum capping also lengthens the life of your window treatment.
Hardware includes hinges, shutter dogs, bolts, and ring pulls. Slide bolts are a good security measure, and are vital for use with a hurricane or storm window covering. Even if you are not installing functional shutters, you will save yourself a lot of trouble by using robust exterior hinges. This eases maintenance significantly.
Don't try to save by skimping on the hardware needed. An interior window shutter is largely protected from the elements. In contrast, the outdoors components will be exposed to sunshine, showers, and storms. Finish with flair by buying the best you can afford, thus ensuring extended exterior wood shutter life.