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Reproducing Exterior Shutters for Historic Homes

In the last 24 years we have reproduced many exterior shutters for many historic homes and buildings.  While some shutter details were consistent to style or location of the homes others had feature that made them unique.  When we look at an historic project there are certain things we need to consider.

Historic Reproduction Exterior Shutters

What details on your Exterior Shutters need to be matched?

To begin with, almost any detail can be matched.  We have matched custom cutouts, raised panel and louver profiles, stile and rail dimensions, shutter thickness, through-tenons, lead capping, horns and more.

As far as what details you NEED to have matched … this will vary as the answer depends on many factors including personal preference, historical requirements and even funding sources.

If your home is on the national registry of historic places you should check with your State Historic Preservation Officer.  They can direct you to the information you need regarding reproductions.  Local historical societies can also help and should be checked as they may have different requirements from the state.

If your home is not on the national registry then what is matched is really up to you.  We have done homes where the new shutters matched every detail to nothing at all.  Sometimes as long the shutters look appropriate to the home the preference is to go with a completely different style of shutter.

In other cases the cost of the exterior shutters is being covered by a government grant and everything needs to be matched.  The arched shutters shown at left are a good example of that.  The original shutters, from an octagon house built in the mid 1800’s, had been made an inch too short.  Because of the source of the grant money we had to make sure that the new shutters were made an inch too short as well and then tack on a piece of wood at the bottom.  We did offer to make them to the correct size but that was turned down as that was not how the original shutters had been made.

Matching the original Exterior Shutters

The General Maxwell Headquarters at Valley Forge national Park prior to Kestrel Exterior Shutter Restoration

The General Maxwell Headquarters at Valley Forge national Park prior to Kestrel Exterior Shutter Restoration

Of course the thing that helps the most in matching older shutters is having the original shutters in the first place.  Even if they are in poor condition we can still learn a lot.   In some cases the originals were destroyed years back so no one really knows for sure what the exterior shutters looked like.   For cases like this we rely on any old photos that the current owners have found.  If they have no photos then the next places to turn to are the historical society and other local homes from the same time period.  Since many of our exterior shutters designs are based on traditional styles our standards can usually blend right in with what is needed for a historically accurate home.

If the originals can be found the best thing is to send us a matched pair so that we can take accurate measurements.  Even with the originals in hand it can be a bit tricky.  Sometimes we find that the shutters had been trimmed down at some point to allow for new windows or storm windows being installed.  Other times the shutters have started to fall apart and the only thing holding them together are the dozen or so paint jobs that have been applied over the years.

Kestrel Reproduction Exterior Shutters installed on The General Maxwell Headquarters at Valley Forge National Park

Kestrel Reproduction Exterior Shutters installed on The General Maxwell Headquarters at Valley Forge National Park

Even without the originals we can tell a lot from photographs.  We may not be able to get minute details but we can still make sure that the overall look of the shutters will match what was once there.

The cost of reproduction exterior shutters

There is no way to guess at the pricing without seeing what we are matching.  Since our exterior shutter specifications are based on historic designs, quite often there is no additional charge.  Certain details, like matching the width of rails or stiles, are really just a one time setup cost.  If you only need 1 or 2 shutters it may not be practical but when spread out over several shutters the setup costs are minor.  Other features, like matching decorative trim or the shape of a raised panel, require special cutting knives to be made.  Here again the price may be a bit prohibitive for only 1 or 2 shutters but reasonable for an entire house worth of shutters.

The best way to start with getting a quote is to send us a list of sizes, some photos or drawings and letting us know what you would like us to match.
We will probably go back and forth a few times to make sure that we are quoting you what you want.  Then we will be able to send you some quotes, pricing out the different features as well as some options that will lower the cost.

Regardless of what you are looking for in the way of Exterior Shutters, give us a call or send us an email.  We will be happy to work with you to make you what you want.

If you find yourself traveling towards the South Jersey beaches this Memorial Day set aside some time for a little side trip down Route 9. This will take you right through the village of Cape May Court House where you can see the Cape May County Court House that was built in 1850.

In the 1990’s when it came time to replace the exterior shutters of the Court House their maintenance department turned to us for our DIY Shutter™ Kits. Over 20 pairs of operable louvered shutters and shutter hardware were supplied in our exclusive kits for the department to assemble. Now, over a decade later, the exterior shutters still adorn this historic landmark for all to see on their way to Cape May.

Exterior shutters on the front of Cape May County Court House

Kestrel shutters on the front of The Cape May County Court House

Kestrel exterior shutters on the front of The Cape May County Court House

The shutter style used on the Cape May County Court House is our 1.7/8″ Traditional Operable Louvered design. Since these are exterior shutters they were made from solid Spanish Cedar. Frame joints are traditional pegged mortise-and-tenon joinery construction which makes the shutters easy to assemble on-site with a pair of clamps, a bottle of exterior grade glue, and a drill.

exterior shutters on the Cape May County Court House

click  here to get a  shutter quote

Here is what was used on this project:

Kestrel Exterior Shutters style 1020 – 1.7/8″ Traditional Operable Louvered D.I.Y. Shutters kits

Exterior Shutter Material: Spanish Cedar

Kestrel Exterior Shutter Hardware:

Lift-off Mortise Butt Hinges: HE1-401, Size 3″ x 3″

Shutter Dogs / Tiebacks: HE2-35, Plate Mount Cast Iron Flower

A naturally beautiful and renewable choice- Wood shutters and doors by

Kestrel Shutters & Doors, Inc.   1-800-494-4321 /