In winter, outdoor entertaining at home becomes less of an option unless you can provide protection from wind and rain. Constructing a roof over your deck creates shelter and protects it from the elements. Enclosing the sides of the deck is the solution to making it a comfortable area that can be used even when the weather turns nasty.
To screen his outdoor room from the weather, Frank Gardner used Smart Bistro Blinds, from Bunnings, to enclose his elevated 4800 x 5600mm deck.
‘The front two were stand-alone blinds fitted between posts. The 4800mm long sides were enclosed with pairs of zip-joined blinds to span the distance between the house wall and corner posts,’ says Frank.
Add a bulkhead
To install Bistro Blinds, the head rails must be attached to level beams, walls or ceiling joists so the blinds drop squarely to the floor, and zip open and shut smoothly.
This deck had side perimeter beams that sloped to create the skillion roof, making level head rail attachment impossible.
As a solution, a DIY bulkhead was attached below the sloping perimeter beams, providing a level surface for the head rails.
To make the bulkhead, U-shaped 25 x 25 x 3mm aluminium channel was secured with screws to the beams.
Lengths of 230 x 19mm primed H3 timber boards were cut on an angle to match the sloping beams then slotted into the channel.
The boards were reinforced on the outside with 42 x 30mm primed H3 pine then covered in cladding. The total cost for 15 metres of bulkhead, including the timber, channel and fasteners, was $420.
A triangular bulkhead allows head rails to be attached level under sloping beams
Install the blinds
To enclose this deck on three sides, we installed six Smart Bistro Blinds. Bistro Blinds come in clear or charcoal heavy-duty PVC and feature white or black trim.
Standard 2400 x 2400mm blinds cost $148, and 2700 x 2400mm cost $185, with wall anchors about $15 each and zip joiners about $16.
The blinds can also be cut to size for $115 each, but only one measurement, either the height or the width, can be adjusted.
Standard blind widths start from 900mm up to 3000mm in increments of 300mm, with a drop of 2400mm that includes the base flap. The width measurement includes 50mm side strips on both sides.
To enclose this deck, the width measurements were taken between the insides of the posts and from the edge of a wall to the inside of a corner post using a metal tape for accuracy.
TIP Bunnings also has a wide range of bistro blind options available.
Attach the blinds to a structure such as a beam, wall or bulkhead. If securing to a crossbeam, the head rail can be attached to the inside, outside or base edge. Clamp the blind in position ready for drilling.
Through the predrilled holes in the head rail, drill 30mm deep holes into the bulkhead with an 8mm twist bit. Secure the blinds by tightening the coachscrews with a socket wrench.
TIP Use Dynabolts in masonry.
To join two or more blinds, zip off the roped edges and attach a zip joiner. Align the adjoining blind so the teeth line up, zip them together and tension slightly, then clamp the head rail and secure as before.
To seal against the weather, insert the roped edge of the blind into the anchor channel and slide it to the end. Drill 5mm clearance holes through the flat section of the anchor channel and secure to the post or wall with screws.
Use screws to secure anchor plates to flooring or decking. To hold the blind steady and prevent movement in light wind, adjust the length of the anchor strap on the base rail.
TIP Roll up the blinds in high wind.
To keep the blinds in position when rolled up, use screws to secure a cord cleat to a post or wall at an accessible height. Tie off the lift cord in a figure-eight pattern to prevent tangling and ensure smooth operation.