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Old 05-19-2009, 11:58 AM   #1
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Deck Gazebo Roof Unsturdy


We recently purchased a house which has a deck and a gazebo rood attached to the deck. The gazebo roof appears to have been an afterthought by the previous owners and the columns holding up the roof are not solid all the way to the ground they are just essentially 2x4's connected together and then standing on top of the railing of the existing deck. THe roof has withstood some storms and winds and is still standing. The roof however will move and sway and doesn't seem to be 100% safe and sturdy, and also appears to be leaning a little bit. Is there any way that the Gazebo roof could be made more solid without taking out the current 2x4's and putting in full columns that go all the way to the ground?

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Old 05-19-2009, 12:17 PM   #2
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Deck Gazebo Roof Unsturdy


Here is a picture of the gazebo where you can see how they have attached it to the deck railing.
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Old 05-19-2009, 12:50 PM   #3
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Deck Gazebo Roof Unsturdy


Ouch! It's a wonder you still have it.

You can help out this situation decoratively by installing diagonals (somewhere around 18" long) in each of the four corners of each of the openings between posts. This will stiffen up things dramatically. Make sure everything is all back into level, plumb, and squared relationship first... even if you have to pull some parts around with a rope.

Then all you have to worry about is making sure you have some form of mechanical "tie-downs" all the way from the roof, right on down to the foundation.
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Old 05-19-2009, 12:53 PM   #4
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Deck Gazebo Roof Unsturdy


Do you think it would also help to replace the 2x4's with standard colonial posts or something? I had thought about the diagonals to help level things out but wasn't sure that would help with the load bearing aspect of the roof and what seems to be causing the leaning.
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:08 PM   #5
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Deck Gazebo Roof Unsturdy


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Originally Posted by dkel22 View Post
Do you think it would also help to replace the 2x4's with standard colonial posts or something? I had thought about the diagonals to help level things out but wasn't sure that would help with the load bearing aspect of the roof and what seems to be causing the leaning.
The load bearing is probably not a problem. You appear to have doubled 2 x 4's for each post. That's more than sufficient if the piece above, connecting the posts, is a doubled 2 x 8. You could perhaps get by if it's only a doubled 2 x 6. There really is not that much weight for each beam to bear.

Your concern needs to be the lateral instability of those window frames. They aren't doing much. And, as I said, some mechanical tie-downs. They make long, long threaded rods with tensioners just for this kind of application.

Diagonals, bolted to one another, right through the posts with 3/8" bolts will do a lot. You'll be surprised.

Of course, it would have been best if the original builder had used solid, continuous posts, right on down to the foundation. But he didn't. So, it's spend big bucks to rebuild it, or go with the most substantial after patching you can do.

But your big worry should be lift-off or collapse from winds, not merely load bearing. Gotta get that lateral sway stabilized, and get it tied down.

BTW........ Considering how those window frames were built, it wouldn't hurt to have someone come to take a look at the roof construction. Just to be safe. That's a lot of lumber to come ripping into your kitchen door, or to land on a neighbor's roof.

Here's an idea. I finished off one corner with three diagonals. The others just have a rough, untrimmed piece drawn to give you an idea of how it might not carry any aesthetic look with only one in place.

I'm lazy, so these are drawn in a square frame. You would have to do some angle calculating and bevel cutting to fit your gazebo.

A better view is below.
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Deck Gazebo Roof Unsturdy-gazebo-1.jpg   Deck Gazebo Roof Unsturdy-gazebo-window.jpg  
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Old 05-19-2009, 02:17 PM   #6
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Deck Gazebo Roof Unsturdy


I do think the look of the 3 diagonals is much more aesthetically appealing and will go with that idea and think it will add a lot of sway stability, which I agree can be the major factor here. Also, excuse my ignorance, but where exactly would I be attaching the rods and bolts to? I guess without standing in front of the gazebo at the moment I am having trouble picturing it.
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Old 05-19-2009, 02:48 PM   #7
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Deck Gazebo Roof Unsturdy


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Originally Posted by dkel22 View Post
I do think the look of the 3 diagonals is much more aesthetically appealing and will go with that idea and think it will add a lot of sway stability, which I agree can be the major factor here. Also, excuse my ignorance, but where exactly would I be attaching the rods and bolts to? I guess without standing in front of the gazebo at the moment I am having trouble picturing it.
Personally, I would counter sink the surfaces of the diagonals just inboard of the ends, and run horizontal bolts through everything... both diagonal ends of every diagonal and through the post... a complete connection with full tension connecting opposing diagonals together.

But I can already see the amount of work this would be, so maybe I'm assigning some unnecessary overkill to this. Each beveled end, glued and screwed with a couple of 3" screws would probably be sufficient. My way would also require filling in the countersunk holes. Kind of a pain.

As for the long vertical threaded rod tie-downs... I'd run them right at the outside centers of each post. (If possible) The reason for this is to not only capture the perimeter of all the structure, but to also be able to get down to at least the original deck without having to chop up the gazebo floor.

Outside would also be away from view as you sat out there enjoying the sunset. The rods could be painted (should be painted) to match the gazebo, and not seen too much from a few feet away. You could also train a vine to twine itself down those rods, hiding them completely.

The rods come with "L" shaped anchors with holes in them for the rod to nut onto that fasten to the structure above and the deck or foundation below (whichever you can best get to).
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:07 PM   #8
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Deck Gazebo Roof Unsturdy


Just messing around.... (It's a bummer having to wait for work), and I thought of this. It would add a bit more stability, and at the same time, visually lower and widen the kind of unbalanced proportions of the windows relative to the railings. It also gives a "counter echo" (repeating reflection) to the railing balusters.
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:15 PM   #9
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Deck Gazebo Roof Unsturdy


is there a specific program you are using to create those designs? Seems like a pretty useful tool you have there.
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:26 PM   #10
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Deck Gazebo Roof Unsturdy


SketchUp. It's free from Google. All you do is download it, and start playing.
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:23 AM   #11
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Deck Gazebo Roof Unsturdy


A more tradional application would be to install an open frieze border in each of the panels. They would be about 12" high and be installed at the roof line. The challange will be to make it both structural and decorative.
Check out gazebo designs on the internet for an example of this application.
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:29 AM   #12
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Deck Gazebo Roof Unsturdy


Ron's got a good point. As this illustration clearly shows, there are more decorative ways than my rather plain drawing. (I tend to be a bit on the mundane and practical side.) They have achieved the desired "counter echo" with similar construction for both top and bottom railings.

The scalloped fascia helps too.

But I would still stress that, as it's built, you're going to probably also want to brace the lower window corners. That's a weak design area down there.
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