How to Make Plywood Hurricane Window Shutters

Stacks of plywood
  • 2-30 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-400
What You'll Need
Marine plywood. At least 5/8 inch thick
4 x 1 inch hardwood board
Drill with wood bit and masonry bit (if required)
Outdoor paint to match or contrast with the wall decor
Strong hinges. 4 for each window
Expanding lag bolts or concrete anchors. Make sure these are bolts that can be removed, leaving the plug in the wall
Two heavy duty barrel bolts
Hook and eye bolts x 2

In a hurricane prone area, window shutters are essential to protect the windows of houses from being blown in. Plywood sheets can be used to board up the windows in the event of a hurricane warning, but they are often hidden behind stuff in the garage and difficult to get to.

These shutters can be attached to the house for the whole hurricane season, then removed if wanted, until next year. As long as care is taken, they look very nice. The bolt holes in the wall can be ignored, or covered with a decorative wood trim during the off-season. These shutters are easy and inexpensive to make and give peace of mind. They are not suitable to hang on hollow cement brick walls.

Step 1 - Find the Wall Studs

These shutters fit on the outside of the window, not within the frame. Find the wall studs around the window frame. You are going to attach the shutters to those. For brick or stone houses, this is not necessary. Measure the window and add at six inches to the measurements.

Step 2 - Cut the Plywood to Size

person cutting plywood

Cut the plywood to the measurements you made. Then cut the board straight down the center. Draw a straight line in from the edges of the top and bottom sides three inches (less or more depending on the location of the studs). Drill holes along the line every 12 inches. Now you have two boards that together are slightly larger than the window frame, with holes drilled along the top and bottom.

Step 3 - Attach the Hinges

Measure in four inches from the bottom and top of one side of each board. Hold the hinges at this spot and mark where the bolts will go. Drill holes and attach the hinges with the bolts.

Step 4 - Paint the Shutters

Paint the shutters and set aside to dry. Make sure you also paint the edges and both sides.

Step 5 - Drill the Bolt Holes

flooded house

With your helper holding up one side of the shutters over the window, use the pencil to mark the location of all the holes on the wall, including those where the hinge bolts will go. Do the other side. Make sure the shutters meet closely in the middle of the window and are square. Drill the holes and insert the bolts into the wall. Cut two pieces of hardwood board to fit the middle edges of the plywood and screw them on.

Step 6 - Hang the Shutters

Hang the shutters, making sure they meet in the middle. If they are too close, trim the edge, or make new holes in the other end and add washers to the bolts if they are too far apart. Install the two barrel bolts with screws or bolts and nuts onto the hardwood. On the outer edge near one of the barrel bolts on each shutter, screw in an eye bolt so you can hold the shutter open to the wall with a hook bolt.