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Can I Build a Shade Over My Composite Decking?

Composite decking will most likely get hot if you expose them to the sun, in all honestly any type of decking expose to the sun for long periods will become hot. This can be get a little uncomfortable, especially if you want to relax outdoors. You won’t be able to walk on the deck with your barefoot. To resolve this issue, you can build a shade over composite decking.

Why Your Composite Decking Needs a Shade

When the sun is at its peak during summer, your decking board can get hot if you don’t build a shade over it, more so, if the decking boards are dark in colour. Some homeowners have even installed light-coloured composite boards in their outdoor spaces to reduce the amount of heat the board can absorb from the sun.

What if you have already installed a dark decking board? You don’t need to stop using it in summer, you can build a shade over your composite decking to block the sun from shining directly on your deck. It, in turn, will prevent the board from absorbing heat. We all want to get the most use out of our deck, especially in the summer months, so, if you’re in a hot region, your decking boards will need some sort of shade to keep it cool. So, what kind of shade can you build over your decking?

Types of Shades for Your Composite Decking

A pergola is a simple shade you can build over your composite decking, and this is a very common construction practice here in the UK. Most wooden pergolas have a lattice roof, and more modern ones have a slatted aluminium roof that provides partial coverage from the sun. You can easily place fabric over the pergola too for added coverage or close the roof on modern pergolas (manually or remotely depending on type you pick).

Another way you can shade your composite decking is by erecting a temporary gazebo over your deck. You can purchase a gazebo online or from a local hardware store and install it yourself. Additionally, you can also erect a large umbrella as a shade over your composite decking, large umbrellas or parasols are a great summer decorative idea and can enhance your decking design too.

The shade from these ideas, will cool your decking during hot weather. It will also help you enjoy the use of your decking area despite the weather conditions, gazebos, parasols and umbrellas are great in the winter too.

These two alternatives mentioned above provide an instant solution to the problem, but they are not permanent. For a permanent shading solution, we recommend purchasing or building a pergola.

There are different ways to build a pergola as a shade over your composite decking. You can build a pergola by inserting the posts in the ground or by attaching them to your decking frame. Pre-built pergolas are also available at additional cost.

How To Build a Pergola Over a Deck

A pergola build can be incorporated into the design and build of a deck; however, this must be pre-planned as usually in this scenario the deck subframe posts act as the pergola posts too. In this write up, we will cover the installation process of building a pergola over an existing deck.

A pergola usually has a minimum number of four posts that serve as a support for the structure. You can use treated timber or aluminium for the post; however, timber is the most common material used here. Start building your pergola by first making holes in the four corners of your deck (position the holes adjacent to the corners of your deck). To ensure your posts are level, and the area is square, you can set up a string line using nails and string. You will then insert the post inside the holes. Generally, you should sink at least a quarter of the post into the ground and brace your posts to ensure stability. When you have done that, you can pour concrete inside the holes where you place the posts, ensuring that the posts are vertical in this process. Use a stick to vibrate the concrete to remove any air bubbles. You may wish to make the concrete slope away from the post at ground level, to ensure water does not accumulate around the posts. Once the concrete is set, you can remove the bracing. Doing this will provide a firm grip on the post, creating a sturdy pergola.

As the weather in the U.K. is often wet, we would recommend using hot dipped galvanised nails or galvanised screws throughout this process to ensure increased strength and limit corrosion on any fixings.

Now that you have your posts in place, you can begin to construct the top of the pergola. This part of the pergola consists of beams and rafters, so, to prepare the materials you will need to cut the beams and rafters to their desired lengths.

Before installing your beams, you will need to cut your posts to the desired height too. You will need to create a notch/ridge in the top of your pergola posts,  so that the horizontal beams can be secured to the posts in the most effective manner. Installing your beams onto a notch will improve the strength of the pergola. It is common to have notches that are approximately half the width of the post, however, the width of your notches are dictated by the width of your beams.

Now that your materials and posts are prepared, you can install your beams to the notch of the posts using galvanised screws. Proceed to install the rafters to the top of the posts, at regular spacings between the beams. You will need to cut ridges/notches into your rafters so that they fit over the beams, which will provide a level pergola ceiling. Cutting ridges in the rafters is a similar process to cutting ridges in the posts, this is so that the structural components can fit to each other like jigsaw pieces, which increases the strength of the pergola.

Conclusion

You can build a shade over your composite decking to keep the decking from getting hot. The kind of shade you can use on your decking is a pergola and temporary gazebo. You can also make use of a large umbrella.

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