Covered Outdoor Structures Toronto ON
Covered Outdoor Structures
Despite the ebb and flow of residential fads, gazebos, cabanas and verandas have maintained at least a foothold in the Canadian architectural scene. But nothing endures without a reason, and the durable appeal delivered by these covered, outdoor structures comes from the same source. They all offer a friendly link between indoor and outdoor space; a transition zone where the best of both worlds combine into something greater than its parts.
Who can resist the blending of sensations experienced during a quiet afternoon, sheltered from soft rain by a veranda roof, while taking in the air, book in hand? And doesn’t a tall glass of something cold taste best on a scorching summer afternoon under the shade of a seaside cabana? If you’re planning to add an oasis of sheltered outdoor space to your property this building season, I’ve got some design features to share.
To function as bridges between indoor and outdoor environments, covered outdoor spaces rely on design and construction features drawn from all areas of the building trade. They need to be more than just practical, and that calls for furniture-grade workmanship. But covered outdoor spaces must also age gracefully. That’s why you’ve got to build using:
- Corrosion-resistant hardware.
- Bullet-proof finishes.
- The most rot-resistant design features you can dream up.
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Railings In the Real World
Wherever covered outdoor leisure structures don’t have full walls, they do need railings, both for aesthetic and safety reasons. The trick is finding a design that’s not too busy visually, without zillions of vertical slats to saw, fasten, finish and maintain.
- One solution is to omit the traditional array of vertical slats all together, replacing them instead with a pair of 3x5 horizontal railings extending between routed mortises in 6x6 posts. This approach saves a lot of trouble, looks great, and is strong enough to support acrobatic teenagers.
- Another railing option uses something called welded wire mesh. Choose the kind with about a 1 1/2” x 3” grid size and fasten to your wooden railing structure with 1/2” U-shaped staples.
Some Help with the Roof
Gazebo and cabana roofs have to do more than just shed rain and cast a shadow. They also have to look great, both inside and out.
- Use fancy framing tricks that create steeply sloped, conical roofs, perhaps with flared eaves edges.
- Although it’s true that almost anything can be made of wood, it’s also true that a little help from metal brackets is always welcome. Building yards and specialty woodworking supply houses carry a growing assortment of preformed plate kits that make it easy to build like a framing genius. Take a look and design your structure around the hardware.
- Another consideration with open roofs is the need to make them look good from underneath. Tempted to use plywood to sheath your new verandah roof? Don’t do it. Few things look worse. For all the time and material it’ll take to cover your roof, you might as well spring for 3/4-inch softwood planking. Sanding and finishing these boards before installation saves hours of miserable overhead painting.
The worst thing that can happen to a covered outdoor structure is heaving of the support posts from frost. It’s worse than with a conventional deck, because gazebos, verandas and cabanas all have roofs that will be thrown glaringly out of whack if their foundation moves.
- The best foundation choice is a site-poured concrete pier, with a couple of wraps of black polyethylene stapled around the cardboard form tube to stop frozen soil from gripping the outside of the pier and raising it. This is called frost jacking, a hidden danger that's especially sneaky during low-snow Ottawa winters.