A Shade Structure for the South Facade

May can be a beautiful month.  This year it was cold but the weather has been sunny and somewhat dry.  The windchill typically makes it pretty cold so dressing for exterior work means putting some effort into layering!  Most of the work that I had to do was on the south side of the house so as long as the sun was shining and I was wearing dark clothing, I actually felt warm.

I have many projects scheduled for the summer so getting a head start was a necessity.  My first project was adding the shade structure to several windows on the main level.  The WUFI model showed some overheating in the middle of summer without the structure in place.  Before we installed the clapboard siding, I attached vertical ledgers (I call it a vertical ledger board) so I could secure braces that would be used to attach the shade structure.  I deviated from the designers plans a little.  The planned structure would have involved scaffolding and several sets of hands to install.  It seemed like I could make some design changes in order to make it easier for a one person install. 

My design uses a set of 90 deg brackets secured to the vertical ledgers attached last fall.    Rather than 2x6 slats specified in the drawings, I decided to use 2x3.  The shading provided when the sun sits lower in the sky would be different but with some investigation on paper, I determined that one could space the 2x3 closer together in order to get a similar effective shading. 

I built the brackets in my workshop and pre-stained them white to match the trim on the house.  I lifted the brackets in place from a ladder and secured them to the house.  I leveled the two at the ends and attached a string line between them.  The two in the middle were lifted up in place until they just touched the line and then they were secured.  Each bracket is secured with a six 8" x 3/8 lag screws.  Once the brackets were installed I measured and pre-cut all the components i.e. 2x6 joists, 2x3 slats.  I pre-stained all the parts in my workshop.  The structure went up once piece at a time.  The main joists were lifted in place from a ladder.  They were then secured with #10 5" plated screws.  Laying out the slats was first done on paper.  As I added slats, I checked the remaining distance and made small adjustments to spacing so there would be slats at either end.

The shade structure definitely makes a difference to the solar irradiance inside the house.  I estimate that the shadow it casts is at least 40% of the total illuminated area.  I have noticed as we move into june that the main level doesn't heat up as quickly as it did a month ago.    June has been cold so the solar gains would have been nice but the model uses average climatic data so performance is based on an average rather than a specific weather pattern for the given year.

The most difficult part of the installation was lifting the heavy ladder around.  The job was fairly time consuming mainly because of the number of times I had to climb up and down the ladder.  That being said, the exercise really warmed me up on those cold days of May.

Photo 1. Brackets were lifted in place from a ladder and attached with lag screws

Photo 2.   Hanging the Joists after the brackets were installed

Photo 3.  Getting there! Slats are half complete.  Good thing because it turned cold once the sun went behind those clouds.

Photo 4. Shade structure completed!


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