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How to Add a Privacy Screen to an Existing Deck

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The Why

Moving from a house with land to a small townhouse in Alexandria was a big change for me!  So, I quickly  realized just how important privacy was for me in my new house and I began looking into how to add a privacy screen to an existing deck. 

The addition of a deck onto my townhouse was my number one priority when I moved in.  Without it, the only backyard access was through the basement.  Since I was getting a renter into the basement, I knew that wouldn’t be sustainable. I would have to go through her space to use the backyard or let Bear out to go potty!

When the deck was finished, I was in love! Not only was Bear able to access the backyard with ease but it was just a SUPER nice outdoor area that I didn’t have before! I quickly realized however just how close my new deck was to our neighbors.  I’d be sitting on the deck drinking a nice cup of coffee, trying to avoid making eye contact to the humans sitting less than 5 feet away from me on their deck!  Also if the back door was open to the deck area, they could see straight into my living room. If you’re an introvert like me, this was enough for me to decide the deck was simply unusable..

My *new* number one priority quickly became adding something for privacy!  I considered a variety of options including lattice, outdoor curtains and plants!  I started to shop around, looking for how to add a privacy screen to an existing deck and  found a few deck privacy options that I liked on Pinterest!  Once I settled on a design, we got to work!

Overall, the wall is quite easy to build!  It requires minimal materials and minimal skill level. 

We built two sections to make it easier to attach to the deck.  Depending on how long your wall will be, I recommend making multiple sections.  This will make handling and attaching it more manageable, especially if your deck is off a second level! 

The What

Privacy Screen Stats: 6'8" tall, 10'3" long

privacy lattice

To build we purchased:

6 : 2 in. x 4 in. x 12 ft. pressure-treated Lumber
20: 3/4 in. x 3-1/2 in. 12 ft. PVC Trim
6: 4 in. x 4 in. x 100 in. Traditional Post Jacket (PVC Wrap)
2: Boxes of 1-5/8 in. outdoor steel screws
6: 2 in. x 1-1/2 in. x 2-3/4 in. Galvanized Steel Angle L-Brackets
1: Tube of Caulk
1: Can of White Exterior Paint

The How

Now for how we built it!  

Step 1: Cut the 2x4s to the height you want using a Miter Saw.  Factor in where you are going to attach them.  For reference, my wall is 3’8” high from the top rail of the deck railing, however the 2×4’s are 6’8” high as it goes behind the railing and attaches to the actual deck.   

Step 2: Paint your 2x4s white! We only painted the backside as we used PVC wraps to cover the front.. I’ll explain that in step 5!  

Step 3: Once you’ve allowed the paint to dry, cut the PVC Trim that will be attached on the back side to your desired length using a Miter Saw. Remember, we made two sections, so we cut the trim pieces to 5’1”, knowing that the total length of the two sections would a little over 10’.  

Step 4: Utilize the stainless-steel screws to attach the slats on the back side.  Start at the top and work your way down. It took 20 PVC Trim slats to cover the back side of our wall.  You can make the gaps in between each slat larger and this would reduce the number of slats needed to cover, but we wanted to make sure it blocked the sight lines entirely.  Make sure you use a spacer to keep the distance between each slat uniform! Once all slats are screwed on, go back and put a small amount of caulk over each screw to make it blend better!  

provide privacy

TIP: Once the first trim piece was cut, we used the scrap piece as our spacer for attaching the rest of the slats to the privacy screen.

Step 5: Next, cut the PVC wrap in half using a, Circular Saw or a Table Saw, and attach to the front side of the 2×4.  We used a table saw to cut them in half and then screwed them onto the 2x4s to attach to the front side (no one will ever see it!).  This creates a more finished look and will weather better than paint.  

Step 6:  Now that you have attached the slats to the back side and have covered the front of the 2x4s in PVC wrap, you are ready to install your wall! Don’t worry, we’ll come back to the front side once the wall is attached! Everyone’s decks are going to be a little different, so keep that in mind. We attached our two privacy wall sections utilizing 6 L Brackets and a whole lot of screws.  Two of us stood on the deck holding the wall, while one was screwing it into place! It was a bit nerve wracking but worked out great! Next, we screwed the L brackets into the 2x4s and then into the deck rail. We then screwed diagonally into the 2x4s to screw the bottom of the wall to the deck itself.  

L Brackets

After we had the two sections attached, we decided we didn’t like the small gap between them and added an additional PVC trim piece vertically to fill in that gap.

Step 7: Once the two sections were fully attached, we were ready to cut and start screwing on the slats to the front side!  We lined the first slat up with the first gap at the bottom and began working our way up!  This still allows light to come through the wall but will maintain privacy and make sure you are not making eye contact through the spaces! We used one long piece on the front facing side to go across both sections, which helped the wall look seamless.   

lattice privacy

It took a total of 9 additional slats to close in all of the gaps.  Once we were finished, we went back and used caulk to cover up each screw.  

How to Add a Privacy Screen to Existing Deck​

Step 8: Finally, for the best part – DECORATE! 

I went with an Americana theme for my deck so I chose to hang a string of LED lights and a big metal Texas star. I kept it pretty simple and having this added wall for outdoor privacy has been a game changer!  

I’ve included all the links to the materials I purchased below!  Refer to the DIY card below for quick and easy steps on how to add a privacy screen to an existing deck!

DIY Privacy Wall

How to build an outdoor privacy wall to attach to an existing deck!
Prep Time 2 hrs
Build Time 6 hrs
Dry Time 1 d
Units 1

Equipment

  • Drill
  • Miter Saw
  • Table Saw or Circular Saw
  • Caulk Gun
  • Paint Brush or Roller

materials
  

  • 6 2inx4inx12ft Lumber pressure treated
  • 20 3/4 in. x 3-1/2 in. x 12 ft. PVC Trim white
  • 6 4inx4inx100in PVC Wrap (Post Jacket) white
  • 2 boxes Exterior Screws steel
  • 6 2 in. x 1-1/2 in. x 2-3/4 in. Galvanized Angle L Brackets steel
  • 1 can Exterior Paint white
  • 1 tube Caulk white

Instructions
 

  • Cut the 2x4s to the height you want using the Miter Saw.
  • Paint the 2x4s white (only need to paint the back side!).
  • Cut the PVC Trim that will be attached on the back side to desired length using a Miter Saw. 
  • Utilize outdoor steel screws to attach the slats on the back side. 
    TIP: Once the first trim piece was cut, we used the scrap piece as our spacer for attaching the rest of the slats.  
    TIP: Use caulk to cover up each screw. 
  • Cut the PVC wrap in half, using either a Circular Saw or a Table Saw, and attach to the front side of the 2x4. 
  • Attach the wall to the deck using Galvanized Steel L Brackets.
  • Cut the PVC trim for the front side using a Miter Saw and attach using outdoor steel screws.
    TIP: Use caulk to cover up each screw.  
  • Decorate!

Links

3/4 in. x 3-1/2 in. 16 ft. PVC Trim

Home Depot does not have the 3/4 in. x 3-1/2 in. 12 ft. Trim available any longer.  I’d recommend going with the 16ft trim pieces based on the length of your wall! They also sell an 8ft version, so depending on your size you can pick the one that makes the most sense. 

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4 thoughts on “How to Add Privacy Screen to Existing Deck”

  1. wonderful post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector don’t notice this. You should continue your writing. I am sure, you have a huge readers’ base already!

  2. Great job, i’ve been searching on how i can diy a privacy wall to my exiatibg deck and came across to this perfect idea. I just want to ask how did you secure it to the deck railings. I have to make it more sturdy and secure and i don’t want the crazy wind knock it down. Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi there! So we used 1-5/8 in stainless steel screws and 2in x 1-1/2in x 2-3/4in galvanized steel angle L-brackets! We screwed one side of the bracket into the underneath of the deck railing and then the other side of the bracket into the 2x4s on the privacy wall. Then, I screwed diagonally into the bottom of the privacy wall’s 2x4s and into the deck. We’ve had many (many) winds and it hasn’t budged! I am adding a picture to the post above to show the L Brackets (please excuse the pollen all over the railing!).

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