Quick & Easy Exterior Makeover!

Joanne Diamond
by Joanne Diamond
5 Materials
8 Hours
With just cheap lumber, stain, screws, and some paint . . . ta da! An exterior makeover can happen in just one day! This used to be my parents' house and they downsized, moving 10 minutes away to a small house with a much smaller yard. My family & I happily moved into this gem! The "before" was cute, of course, because my mom styled it and she is good at this stuff. (Yup, I got my talents from my mom.) However, the style wasn't my own personal taste and I really wanted to make this house "my own".

Here is the cute 'before' . . . when it was my mom's style/taste. I removed the existing shutters and sold them on Kijiji (Canada's version of Craigslist).When Dad had built the original brick red shutters, he used 1x3 strapping.  Each shutter had 3 'slats'.  When we went to the local lumberyard, I fully planned to buy enough strapping to have 4-slat shutters.  The problem was that they were not willing to let us pick through the rough lumber to choose the best pieces (like Dad was able to do when he had built the original ones).  They would only allow picking the best 10 pack bundles.  That would have meant a fair amount of wastage.  On a desperate whim, I asked the price of wider width cheap lumber and shockingly enough, I was able to get all the lumber I needed AT THE SAME COST as simply buying just enough strapping (without wastage)!  I got 1x5 straight edge cheap lumber that was in much better shape than the strapping.  I used 1x4 rougher lumber for the 'cross bars' of the shutters.To determine the size your shutters need to be, measure from the top of the exterior window moulding to the bottom of the window moulding.

Here I am, staining away in the hot sun! I do love to stain, though. The color is "Cedar Naturaltone" from Flood stains color chart.

Here is a close-up of an installed shutter. Using long screws (I think they were called deck screws), we screwed the first board next to the window taking care to have it perfectly aligned next to the moulding top & bottom. We screwed one screw top and one screw bottom, where the cross board would go, so as to hide the screw head. We used another board on its end for the spacer and screwed the next length of board to the house. Then, we screwed the cross boards on, using a level to keep it level (novel idea, eh! LOL). We used black drywall screws here.

We took the exterior door off and laid it across two sawhorses. We then taped off the window frame, taping garbage bags to cover the glass. We also taped all along the white sides so that paint wouldn't get there. Next, I washed the door down with TSP. Afterwards, I washed the door with a fresh rag and clean water to make sure no TSP residue remained to interfere with paint adhesion.  

Then, it was time to paint! This was the very first time my husband & I got to use the Critter Spray Gun. We were impressed with how easy it is to use and the beautiful finish!  We literally just poured the paint straight from the quart into the paint jar and began spraying!  Ryan was enjoying it so much he really didn't want to even let me do a few sprays to try it out!  LOL

It only needed the one coat! The Critter Spray Gun is inexpensive but requires an air tank to run. Click the word 'here' for a link to the gun on amazon.com. If you don't have a spray gun and would rather do it by hand, I highly recommend the Wooster Feather roller & cage. Again, ' here' is a link to that. It is the best thing I have found to give a finish that is close to that of a sprayed on finish. The paint color is Dulux "Armory", which is close to Benjamin Moore's Amherst Gray.

One of the last things I did was to spray paint the red star. I used Rustoleum's spray paint in the hammered finish in the color 'copper'. I love how it turned out!

Here it is (before I put up the star) as the sun was going down that night!

I love the look!
Resources for this project:
1 in. x 4 in. x 6 ft. S4S Red Oak Board (2-Pack)
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Joanne Diamond
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  • Ron27133399 Ron27133399 on Feb 09, 2018
    Do these ever warp? Would they hold up in severe weather conditions (very hot summers/ frigid winters) or would they require yearly sealing?

  • Mary Young Mary Young on Dec 28, 2018

    I love the look! Was it difficult to clean up the Critter Spray Gun for its next use? Have you used it again and found it to be just as easy?

  • Cecilia Aguirre Cecilia Aguirre on Jan 05, 2019

    Can you be specific about the kind of air tank you use. I looked it up on Amazon but it gives so many options that I don't know which one would it work, thank you

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