Best Wood For Exterior Shutters

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Exterior shutters are wooden structures that protect our home from weather and keeps it secure from theft. The material we use is extremely critical, and we usually use robust, straight-grained wood that has considerable resistance to the weather. We discuss the best wood for outdoor furniture in another post where we touch upon similar characteristics of wood for outdoor applications.

The wood you select for making exterior shutters should not be prone to swelling, shrinking, and warping. There are several types of wood that we use. In this post, we look at some of the best types of wood for exterior shutters. We also tell you what to look for in such woods.

Best Wood for Exterior Shutters

There are certain qualities that you need to look for while selecting wood for exterior shutters. The common qualities that you will require are that the wood should be durable and weather resistant. Here are of few of the commonest types that we normally use:


5 Pack Extra Large Basswood Carving Blocks Soft Solid Wooden Whittling Kit for Whittler Starter Kids Adults Beginner to Expert(XL-6x3x3inch)
5 Pack Extra Large Basswood Carving Blocks (Image: Amazon)

You are likely to across quite a few basswood shutters in the market. Basswood is a preferred choice for exterior shutter construction throughout the United States due to its availability. We get it readily in several locations along the Atlantic coast, from Quebec to Eastern Kentucky, and in the south up to Delaware.

Although basswood could have become an endangered species, careful forest management has rendered it a sustainable wood today. Basswood is a preferred choice of wood for making exterior shutters due to its fine appearance, uniform texture, and fine grain.

Basswood is an easy wood to work with, and you can customize it to match your construction requirements. It is easy to sand, stain, glue, and finish. Basswood is also comparatively light but strong and will not warp. It stains well due to its low resin and tannin content.


Background texture of wood cedar planks.

Western red cedar shutters are a viable option for exterior shutters in preference to basswood. This wood is easy to mill and finish, and it comes in a wide range of colors. In addition, cedar is dimensionally stable, which means that it resists warping and twisting, making it useful for many other outdoor applications.

The wood is affordable and easily available. It produces natural oil that imparts resistance to insect attack, moisture, and decay. It takes screws and nails quite well, and the overall look of finished cedar is quite pleasing to the eye.

An additional advantage of western red cedar is its excellent insulating properties, which means that it will keep a building warm during winter and cool in summer.


cypress wood texture

Here is a type of wood that builders used in the southern United States for several years. Cypress shares many common properties with cedar, but it is a harder wood. In addition, cypress has a natural resistance to insect attack, decay, and moisture.

Another useful feature of cypress is that it is lightweight. It also features some very attractive grain patterns, making it look good if you apply an appropriate finish to the wood.

Black Locust

Round cut of robinia black locust tree

Black locust is a strong and stiff wood that comes close even to hickory in strength. It is durable and weather-resistant, and moderately easy to work with. The grain is normally straight, but you can get occasional twistiness.

The high density and hardness make it challenging to machine black locust, and it has a blunting effect on hand tools and machine tool blades. However, it glues and finishes quite well, making it suitable for outdoor applications like exterior shutters.


Old wood background textured for design

Ipe is not a native of North America, but a large quantity gets imported from Central and South America. Like black locust, ipe too is a hard and dense timber. Ipe is so dense that it can hardly float. It is a difficult wood to work with, but it is a popular choice for making exterior shutters thanks to its durability and easy availability.


teak wood texture

The king of all woods, teak, needs no introduction. Teak is such a versatile type of wood that you can use it for all sorts of indoor and outdoor applications without thinking twice.

The natural oils in teak make it fairly resistant to insect attack, moisture, and even extreme exposure to the sun’s harsh rays. As a result, teak is an extremely favored option for exterior shutters but is always restricted by budgetary considerations.


California coastal redwood trees

This wood was on the list of endangered wood species, but it is available again thanks to careful control on its cultivation, harvesting, and trading. However, redwood is not 100% sustainable because of the extremely long growing time.

Thanks to its extreme durability and good looks, woodworkers opt for redwood for outdoor applications like furniture and exterior shutters. In fact, it’s a viable substitute for teak. But because the high price makes them use it with caution.


Acacia wood texture background.

Acacia is a strong hardwood, high in oil content, and resistant to insects, moisture, and extreme weather conditions. Other than the durability factor, acacia is highly sustainable because of its rapid growth rate. Therefore, if you are concerned about the ecology, acacia is a wood that you can use without losing any sleep.

Douglas Fir

Wood surface, douglas-fir

Douglas fir is a softwood but one of the hardest in its category. It is easily available and has moderate resistance to decay. But the downside is that this wood is vulnerable to insect attack.

You will find this wood easy to work with, and you can apply stain or finish easily for some satisfying results. In addition, the durability and good looks of Douglas fir work in its favor for using to construct exterior shutters.

What to Look for in the Construction of Exterior Shutters

You can buy ready-made wooden shutters from the market, or you can make them. Whether you buy ready-made exterior shutters or you build some of your own, here are a few things you need to look for in the wood:

Wood Availability

You should find it easy to procure the wood for your exterior shutters. Easily available wood will always be cheaper, and if you need to replace a section later, you can get the material quickly.


The best exterior wooden shutters are those that are easy to customize. You will find that while making exterior shutters, you need a considerable amount of customization which needs to be easy in the wood you use.


If you use wood to make exterior shutters, it needs to be pleasing to the eye. Choose wood that is going to look great once you have finished them either by varnishing or painting. The natural beauty of the wood should show up.

Low Maintenance

Durable hardwoods like some of the types mentioned above do not need much maintenance. You need to use such wood where you don’t have to do much after installing the window shutters.


Lightweight wood means easy installation. Some hardwoods like oak, although durable, are heavy and difficult to cart around. Heavier hardwoods can also take a toll on window frames.


Tiny House Portland
Image Credit: Tammy via Creative Commons

It goes without saying that the wood you use for exterior shutters and any outdoor applications for that matter should be durable. Therefore, choose durable woods like some of those mentioned in the list above. Thus, you can ensure the longevity of your exterior shutters.


You will find various types of wood available on the market for making exterior shutters. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous traders will sell you anything even if it isn’t suitable for the job at hand.

Having read this post, we are sure that you can now make an educated choice for selecting wood for your shutters. Look for wood that has the characteristics that we listed in the section featuring these details. Now you can choose the best wood for your next exterior shutters project.

Happy Woodworking!