Deck design for rain and shine

Design your deck space with West Coast weather in mind

By Allan Britnell

deck rain

Photo by Bert Klassen

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The Palmer family of North Vancouver, B.C., have set the bar pretty high for future Canadian Home Workshop Dream Deck Contest winners. After devouring countless deck-building books and magazine articles, mulling through ideas over a seven-month period and working out a variety of designs on everything from graph paper to CAD software, Brent and Jessica Palmer’s final contest entry included a three-dimensional balsa model of their dream deck.

“I tend to be a little over the top,” admits Brent Palmer, “but I thought it would be worthwhile to see what the deck would really look like in three dimensions.”

The judges couldn’t agree more. “We really liked the scale model. It gave us a great sense of the project, and we knew by the degree of detail they included that the Palmers had obviously given lots of consideration to what they wanted the completed deck to look like-they even planned for inclement weather,” says Canadian Home Workshop editor Douglas Thomson.

Win or lose, the Palmers needed to replace the existing deck at the back of their two-storey home, as it was literally crumbling under their feet. “It was actually condemned,” says Brent. “The railing was falling off and there were mushrooms growing out of the wood-that’s how bad it was.”

The two-level, 450-sq.-ft. replacement deck is built to last. It was constructed on a pressure-treated frame, with Trex deck boards and cedar posts and railings. (Brent admits borrowing the idea to use multiple materials from CHW’s April 2005 article, “High-Tech Deck,” p. 22)

Being on the West Coast, with their backyard sitting in the shadow of Grouse Mountain, Brent felt the deck needed to provide shelter from the seemingly constant rainfall, but still allow in as much light as possible when the sun was out.

He opted to build a pergola frame over the upper deck and cover it with clear, corrugated polycarbonate sheets. The material “is almost crystal clear. But the beauty of it is that if it’s mild weather, the kids can still play on the deck,” says Brent.

Below, he installed sliding barn-style doors on either end of the 200-sq.-ft. storage area. Black landscaping fabric stapled to the back of the lattice shields the clutter from view.


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