How to Install a Steel Latch for Exterior Wooden Shutters

What You'll Need
Slide bolt
Shutter clamp
Shutterdog or rat tail holdback
Acorn-catchplate latch
Eye hook and latch
Tape measure
Crescent wrench
Lag bolt
Lag anchor

Exterior wooden shutters lend a traditional look that enhances curb appeal  while protecting your windows during storms. They can also effectively reduce your air conditioning bills. It's important not to allow your shutters to swing in the wind. You want them to latch them in an open or closed position. There are several different types of steel latches designed for exterior shutters. These latches come in both traditional and modern styles. More ornate pieces will also be more expensive. Choose at least one latch to hold the shutters open and at least one to hold the shutter closed.

Step 1 – Choose a Latch Style

Shutterdogs are the traditional steel or wrought iron latches used to hold shutters open. This S-shaped piece of metal is weighted on the lower end so that it will hang perpendicular to the ground. The shutter rests lightly against it.

The rat tail holdback is similar, but curved to hold the shutter in place. These latches are usually hinged on a screw installed 1 inch below the shutter. You could install clamps directly behind the shutter as well. To hold the shutter closed, use a slide bolt or eye hook and latch.

There are also acorn holdbacks, which resemble small pieces of folded sheet metal screwed into a wall or window frame. These latches have catch plates which hold the shutter in place.

Step 2 – Install Shutters

Planning the placement of the latches and fasteners is much easier when the shutters are hanging on the plate pintel. To fasten rear-mounted clamps to the wall, screw in the end which attaches to the shutter. Then tighten the lag bolt or screw into the clamp and push the shutter hard against the wall. The screw will make a small dent in the wall. Drill a guide hole here to sink the bolt. For closing hardware, hold it tightly against the shutter where you want to install it permanently. Stick your pencil through the screw holes to mark the location of the guide holes.

Step 3 – Install Fasteners

To install a shutterdog, drill a guide hole 1 inch into the wall below the middle of the bottom edge of the shutter. The hole should have a diameter between 1/8 inch and 3/8 inch. If you are drilling into brick, masonry, or stone, use a lag anchor as well. Tighten the bolt by hand initially, then secure it with a wrench. Screw in eye hooks and latches, slide bolt hardware, or catch plate latches. If you are using a shutterdog, adjust the shutter until it rests lightly against the dog.

Step 4 – Latch Other Shutters

Continue the process with the other unlatched shutters on your building. It may be safer and easier to remove the shutters from the wall when you are installing closing hardware.