How to Build a Deck Privacy Screen

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An outdoor deck with a railing that's only waist high may suffer from privacy issues. If you don't want neighbors and passers-by keeping up with your activities on the deck, or worse, seeing in your exterior windows or entryways, you can install a lattice privacy screen on the railing and still maintain the deck's open, airy feel. You can also use a lattice screen on your deck to mask unsightly heating or cooling equipment.

Things You'll Need

  • Two-by-four studs, redwood
  • Miter saw
  • Nail gun
  • 3½-inch nails
  • Drill/driver
  • 3-inch screws
  • Cedar lattice, 48-by-96-inch panels
  • Circular saw
  • Clamps
  • Plywood strip, 3/4-by-4-by-48 inches
  • Staple gun
  • 1½-inch staples
  • Sealant
  • Spray gun
  • Measure the length of the handrail from a common starting point on one end. It could be where it butts into a house, building, stair baluster or vertical post. Continue measuring between vertical posts to create equal sections, or as close as possible to equal sections if possible. Write down the measurements for each section.

  • Cut two, two-by-four redwood studs for each section at the measurements using a miter saw. These will be the top and bottom plates for each section. Measure and divide each section into 24 inch increments horizontally, or as close as possible to 24 inches depending on the measurements. Use a pencil to draw centered marks on the top and bottom plates of each section at the measurements. For example: If the sections are 36 inches wide, divide them at 18 inches so they're equal.

  • Cut one 45-inch two-by-four for each 24-inch spacing and both ends of each section. Place the top and bottom plates parallel to each other on a flat surface. Place one 45-inch two-by-four flush on each end between them. Center one two-by-four stud at each 24-inch spacing. Nail the two-by-four sections together using a nail gun and 3½-inch nails, placing two nails each through the top and bottom plates for each stud. For example: if the measurement for an individual section is 42 inches horizontally, the completed section should measure 42 inches long, and 48 inches tall. The section's inside measurement, which is actually irrelevant, should be 39 by 45 inches.

  • Center the completed framing sections on top the handrail in their respective locations. Screw the sections to the top of the handrail using a drill/driver and 3-inch screws. Stagger two screws diagonally every 8 inches along the length of the sections. Screw the sections together vertically through the 45-inch two-by-fours as needed. Screw sections to posts and the exterior wall where applicable.

  • Measure the width and length of each section. Cut standard 48-by-96-inch panels of lattice to fit each section using a circular saw. For example: if the section measures 42 inches long, clamp a 3/4-by-4-inch wide strip of plywood to the panel at 42 inches. Use the strip it as a guide for the saw to cut the lattice panel perpendicular to the length at 42 inches. Cut one section for the exterior side and one for the interior side.

  • Place the lattice panels on the framed sections. Staple the lattice panels to their respective sections using 1½-inch staples. Staple through each joint where individual pieces of lattice overlap.

  • Apply sealant to the screen with a spray gun.

Tips & Warnings

  • It's not necessary to add lattice to both sides of the privacy screen, but it adds more privacy and stability to the screen. For economy, adding lattice to one side only will suffice.
  • All decks should have railings. If for some reason yours doesn't, or the railing doesn't add enough privacy, build two sets of sections for each part of the deck. Screw the first section directly to the deck and stack an identical section on top.
  • If you're working with a deck that has a metal handrail and it can support the screen, drill holes through the sections and clamp the sections to the handrail and posts using 1-inch-wide wire clamps or U-shaped brackets. Optionally, remove the metal rail completely and use stacked sections.
  • For an economy screen, use fir studs and paint instead of redwood.
  • Wear eye protection when working. Lattice can be delicate, so use caution when handling. It may have exposed staples or nails that can come loose.

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References

  • Photo Credit Ulga/iStock/Getty Images
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