Author Topic: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding  (Read 1361 times)

neo von retorch

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Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« on: April 12, 2017, 06:52:59 AM »
So, I have a problem. I'm installing a gate, but the posts I want to attach the gate to are not full height. The 4x4s inside stop about 16 inches from the top of the plastic deck post. So no matter what I do, I'm not going to have full-strength. What are some recommendations for reinforcing as best as I can? Don't care TOO much if it's ugly.

Just Joe

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2017, 11:58:28 AM »
Screw another piece of wood on the side of the post and attach the hinges to that. The new piece of wood should go from the top to bottom of the visible railing post.

neo von retorch

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2017, 12:13:18 PM »
How thick would you suggest this be? Ideally the balance is between aesthetics and strength. I'd also be adding a matching piece of wood on the other side to keep the gate balanced, and mount the latch to that piece of wood. So I'd love it if something like a 1x4 was enough, but I'm going to guess you're going to suggest something thicker...

paddedhat

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2017, 12:35:37 PM »
Take a nice piece of 2x4 treated lumber, rout the edges with a router and a nice bit to make it look like an intentional finished product, and paint it to match the plastic post. Use some serious screws to attach it to the interior 4x4, like 4" deck screws.  If you have a hinge near the top of the added 2x4, it will be heavily loaded, so a 1x4 probably won't get the job done.

neo von retorch

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2017, 01:04:53 PM »
So what you're saying is I should buy a router?

But I think you're right on that thickness/strength. Just worried how this will all look in the end. Maybe OK if I learn how to use a router :)

(I watched my dad use one a few times, so there's that!)

paddedhat

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2017, 05:21:18 PM »
Well of course you should buy a router. The joy of DIY is that you now "need" tools.  Sadly, the truth is, only an obsessive tradesman like myself will ever give a rat's ass that you took the time to put a nice routered edge on your patched up gate post, so there's that.  But, you obviously need a router, LOL. Hell, I'm busy manufacturing a "need" for a cordless multi-tool as we speak.

neo von retorch

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2017, 06:21:16 PM »
Ha! I will hopefully improve the appearance soon. Thanks for the help!


neo von retorch

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2017, 02:27:29 PM »
This is a new question, but I'll stick to the related thread.

How do you make things square?

So I read that if you're making something square, the two measurements from the corners will be identical. But how do you get there in the first place? Obviously, my wood has a little warp, and the ends are only as flat as my fallible human hands and affordable tools could make them. So what's the next step?

(I'm asking because I'm about to start assembly on the second gate, and the first one is pretty noticeable not square, which no one has been cruel enough to point out, but I notice, and it annoys me.)

paddedhat

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2017, 03:10:14 PM »
This is a new question, but I'll stick to the related thread.

How do you make things square?

So I read that if you're making something square, the two measurements from the corners will be identical. But how do you get there in the first place? Obviously, my wood has a little warp, and the ends are only as flat as my fallible human hands and affordable tools could make them. So what's the next step?

(I'm asking because I'm about to start assembly on the second gate, and the first one is pretty noticeable not square, which no one has been cruel enough to point out, but I notice, and it annoys me.)

All kinds of ways. First, you can only cross tape the corners if  every piece of the assemble is the same length. Say you are making a 3'x4' rectangle out of a few pieces of furring strip. Now, according to the Pythagorean theorem, we know that the diagonal is going to be exactly five feet. So you cut two pieces exactly 36" and thought you cut the other two exactly 48". you are getting ready to put it all together and you simply can't pull a tape on the diagonal and hold 60" in both directions. You then discover that one of your pieces in actually 48-1/4", so you will never get it square.

So the first way is pulling a tape on both diagonals and adjusting until you get even measurements. The second is to actually use a calculator and do the math. Since the theorum is: A squared plus b squared equals the square of C, it's actually pretty easy. Lets call your gate 36" tall and 40" wide.  So 36 squared is 1296. 40 squared is 1600. Added together it's 2896. Hit the square root button on that and get 53.814. Now multiply .814 x 16 and get 13.02 so the diagonal on your 36" x 40" gate is  53-13/16th inches.
A third way is to use a framing square as a guide to keep the corners straight. A fourth is to lay the project out on a clean, piece of plywood or OSB (chipboard). and use it as a template to square the gate. Most 4'x8' sheet goods like plywood, are extremely square, since it's pretty tough to nail subfloors and other sheathing if it isn't close to perfectly.
I'm sure there are other ways, but that's all that come to mind at the moment, good luck.

neo von retorch

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2017, 03:18:20 PM »
Hmm - so I guess maybe this will sound crazy, but my problem is in 3D, not 2D! :)

My first gate actually came out "pretty darn square" in 2D, but then once installed, I noticed that the one corner is way off. It's like the gate is twisted, now. I suppose the only fix would be "really straight" wood, so that if you're square in 2D, then 3D will follow. But if you have advice along those lines, it would be helpful.

In this photo, compare the right side of the gate to the post, and how the gap widens noticeably as you get closer to the bottom.

paddedhat

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2017, 06:45:07 AM »
Ah, different problem. Good looking gate BTW.

OK, a lot of the issue is that it's crafted of pressure treated Southern Yellow pine. Now this stuff is a mixed blessing. It's fairly rot resistant, cheap and easily available. That said, it's total shit. It's literally grown like corn in the south, and it grows so fast that it's  unstable, and really low quality compared to other lumber from trees that are 60-100 years old, like fir, for example.  Now, it's nothing personal, since I have used truckloads of the stuff and will continue to use it.

There are two pro. tricks to ending up with a better job when using soaking wet treated lumber. First, when it comes to any exposed surfaces, never use a piece of wood that you haven't hand selected.  Good lumber, that stays straight and true, needs to have straight grain and a minimum of knots to perform. If you take one of those 1-1/2" rail pickets you used, and randomly grab it out of the pile in the big box store, it will never end well. A knot free piece, with grain that runs straight and true from one end to the other, is prime. If you install it correctly and seal it, it will be straight and twist free forever. OTOH, you grab a piece that is nice and knot free (called clear in the industry) and fail to notice that the grain wandered off and actually left the piece half way through, you have a piece that will turn into a hockey stick once it cures in the sun. Knots are another issue. Large knots in small pieces are a disaster. The manufacturers of the pickets don't care, and if you buy them by the bundle they often hide pieces inside that can be easily broken by hand since there is a huge knot in the middle of it. When I build decks for myself, and use a lot of pickets, I will often order all the lumber from my local yard then go to Lowes and hand pick each picket. Last time I spent about an hour "building" bundles of pickets by sliding them out of the bands and repacking then with the best ones. I ended up with 125 of them but looked at probably five times that as I culled the pile. This information is also critical when selecting posts. The bigger the timber, the lower the quality, when it comes to treated pine. 4' posts really need to be culled hard. Nothing like jacking up a new covered porch, to replace posts,  since the posts holding up the roof are a few months old and all twisted and bowed.

The next issue is fastening. The more you can secure a piece of treated pine, the more likely it will stay straight and warp free as it cures in the sun. This is why the typical 1" deck boards tend to be pretty problem free. They often have two spiral nails securing them to the joists, even 16", which means even crappy boards tend to behave. As you might imagine, all gates built of treated pine tend to be a PITA since they are free to twist and bow without restraint. I had treated gates on my last two homes, and I was forever screwing with them. Either moving the latch a bit, or adjusting hinges, or bumping a post since the opening shifted a bit and the gate stuck.

Finally, contrary to a lot of claims, you win when you get a sealer on treated lumber ASAP. A lot of folks somehow believe that you need to let treated "age" for six months to a year before you put a finish on. Often by the time you are done with the "aging" process, a lot of the wood is already twisted and damaged.  Treated is stupid heavy, until it's a few years old, and then it's a heck of a lot lighter. The reason is that there are two types of moisture in treated wood, cellular and intercellular. The later is how a wood can act like a sponge and soak up a lot of water and weight. Treated is made by drying pine to remove the intercellular water, then replacing it with a toxic solution,  in an autoclave like chamber. When installed, direct sun quickly dries the surfaces and pulls the moisture out of the wood. Since this process is uncontrolled and uneven, it results in warping and bowing. A sealer will slow and control the process. It is far better to complete the project then immediately apply a conditioner and sealer. The conditioner will prep "green" wood to accept a finish. The finish should be a penetrating waterproofing sealer. I really like Thompsons Waterseal. The thing to wrap your head around with a product like this is that it isn't a paint, or solid color stain. It's more like putting Armorall on your car's dash. In a year, maybe two, you will see that the water no longer beads on the wood and it needs another coat.

When it comes to your gate, my guess is that the 4x4 on the latch side is a mess, it's probably twisted, bowed, or both. I would remove it, and replace it with something different.  Find a nearly perfect 2x4x8 piece of treated. Cut it in half.  Now keeping the cut end together, nail it back together with 8d galvanized deck nails, creating a two piece 4x4.  Use  a pair of nails about every 10-12". When you join the two halves, take a good look at them. Is the grain slightly curved? Yes, well turn one so that the grain arcs left and the other so that the grain goes right.  cut your new laminated "4x4" to the right length and install it. 

neo von retorch

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2017, 06:52:29 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to share that wisdom! I'll take a closer look at the gate this weekend, and this may save my bacon before I finish assembly of the second gate.

neo von retorch

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2017, 06:52:35 AM »
Oh boy. Fun. Learning about an impact driver. I broke 3 drill bits and mangled two 4" deck screws. Neat stuff!

paddedhat

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2017, 06:13:08 PM »
You might want to try the Torx head screws and tips. They are also called star head, and they include a bit in the box. Once you try them once, you don't go back. It you are using these, or the square tip style screws and bits, and are breaking tips, well something is wrong.

jfolsen

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2017, 10:03:11 PM »
You might want to try the Torx head screws and tips. They are also called star head, and they include a bit in the box. Once you try them once, you don't go back. It you are using these, or the square tip style screws and bits, and are breaking tips, well something is wrong.

I have not broken the bits, but I have snapped the heads off the screws off with torx/square bits.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 10:06:10 PM by jfolsen »

neo von retorch

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2017, 06:29:48 AM »
Yup - I had seen some "impact ready" drill bits for sale at Ace so I stopped by and got them. (40 piece for $15. More than I've spent on bits in the past, but I'm optimistic they'll do the trick.) Going forward, I'm trying to only use the impact driver to "get over the hump" of tough spots, rather than do the majority of my driving with it.

neo von retorch

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Re: Reinforce deck post with plastic shrouding
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2017, 04:20:25 PM »
The final gate, sans latch.