DIY Privacy & Shade Wall

Happy May! Can you believe we are already almost half way through 2021? It has also been a year since I started DIY and picked up my first power tool! its crazy how much things have changed and how much confidence I have gained in the last year. I am so appreciative of every one cheering me on each step of this journey.

After a week of fails (picking up the wrong length of wood for this project and ultimately having to shift gears and build a garbage storage), I was so happy to get this project started! For the last 5 years, we have had a “privacy wall”: on our upper deck…which provided zero privacy only being a few feet tall. Now, we LOVE our neighbours so building a wall that might make them think we don’t, made me nervous. But in the end, we needed something that also gave us a bit of shade as our yard faces south/west and can get really hot in the afternoons. We also live in a newer area where the trees are far from mature yet.

The original plan was to build the wall with cedar as the rest of our deck was done in cedar but unfortunately with wood prices, I had to switch gears to treated wood. Besides the wood, let’s get into the nitty-gritty!

Materials:

  • 24 – 1x6x8 Treated Fence Board
  • 3 – 6x6x8 Treated Posts
  • 2 – 4x4x8 Treated Posts
  • 1 1/2 Pressure Treated Deck Screws
  • 12 – 5in Leg Bolts
  • 8 – 4in Leg Bolts
  • Semi-transparent outdoor deck stain ( I went with the tint, Slate)
  • 3in Pressure Treated Deck Screws

Cut List:

  • 10 – 1x6x8 left as is (length to be adjusted depending on deck length – ours were cut to 84in)
  • 16 – 1x6x8 ripped to 3in width*
  • 16 – 1x6x8 ripped to 1in width*

*1 -1x6x8 can be cut into 3 pieces (1-3in piece and 2- 1in pieces)*

Tools

  • Impact Drill
  • Table Saw
  • Mitre Saw
  • Stain Brush

Now, as I always do, I sketch out my plans my handy notebook! As you can see below, I really planned out the design of the boards (far from scale ha!). I went with an alternating pattern to add dimension. After figuring out how many boards I wanted, I was able to figure out my gapping. The math for mine wall was:

78in tall – 59.5in (total of all the slat widths) = 18.5in/20 gaps = .925in

A .925in gap was not an ideal measurement to work with so I decided to go smaller to 7/8 and allow a slightly larger gap at the bottom. Again, this may not be your end measurements depending on wall height and slat pattern/width you decided to go with!

Let’s talk posts. Our previous posts were a little less than 4 ft tall so we knew to go higher, they would need to be replaced. I got them ripped out and began installing the new ones using 5in leg bolts for the 6×6 posts and 4in leg bolts for the 4×4 post. Before putting the leg bolts in, I took a few 3in screws to “hold the post in place” while I levelled it and ensured it was straight up and down. The posts are sunken into the deck 1.5ft. I would have preferred more but due to deck joists and the where the previous posts were, that what we had to work with. We (my husband and I) decided to put in 4 leg bolts per post to extra security due to the lack of depth we could go.

Okay now, the rest of the build is fairly easy. Once I had my boards cut to the length and width I needed, I stained them and then started attaching them to the posts with the 1 1/2 pressure treated deck screws. I started at the top of the first 84in section and worked my way down with the pattern. To ensure my gapping stayed consistent, I made a 7/8 guide piece to place between each slat. I used clamps to hold the slats in place before screw them to the posts. If you have someone to help you, you won’t need the clamps but they do work great as an extra hand!

This can be time consuming but once you get into a groove, it goes pretty quickly! I went back and stained the other side of the wall as well so my neighbours didn’t have a “rough” side to look at!

And there you have it! A unique slat wall!

INSTAGRAM Q&A/FAQs

Did you plan the layout of small vs wider pieces or just decided as you went?

I did plan it out but it took me a bit to figure out a pattern I liked. I looked at a lot of Pinterest examples and then mapped out exactly what I was going for. The pattern goes at such (in Inches): 6, 1, 3, 1, 3, 6. It then reverses (3, 1, 3, 1, 6) and reverses over and over.

Total price and time invested?

Sadly, It cost more than we had planned initially with the cost of wood. We luckily had the stain and screws on hand so were able to save there but add about $60 combined for the two if you need them.

Cost break-down:

1x6x8 x 24 = $263.52

4x4x8 x 2 = $40.36

6x6x8 x 3 = $137.10

Total after taxes: $489.50

As for time, it took me about a days worth of work (8 hours) spread over a few days just due to life and such interfering which is okay, it happens! I also had to wait for the stain to dry!

Size of Slats and stain colour?

The slats were 6in wide, 3in wide, and 1in wide. The colour was Behr Premium Semi-transparent waterproofing stain and sealer in the tint, Slate.

Where did you get the lights?

The string lights are from Home depot ( Hampton Bay brand). You can also find identical ones from Costco for a bit lower price!

How did you cut the skinny/small pieces so straight?

This is all thanks to the table saw! Up close, there are slight “bumps” due to me not making sure the wood was always along the fence but I am still new to a table saw and learn from my mistakes! After the first few, my cuts definitely became straighter!

What is the plan for decor?

I haven’t decided if I will put decor on the wall. I may get a vine plant for the other side to vine up the neighbour-side of the wall. I actually don’t mind it as it as the slats kind of create it’s own “decor”!

Is this a project a beginner could do?

Absolutely! I found this to be one of the easier projects as it didn’t require must for steps. Simply just rip down the wood, stain, and put up! The hardest part was placing the posts and ensuring they were secure and straight!

As always, feel free to visit my instagram for the full tutorial saved in my highlights! If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask below in the comment section! Cheers!

Jenna

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