How To Build A Deck Screen

  • How To Build A Deck Screen
  • How To Build A Deck Screen

Make your decking area a more inviting space by increasing privacy while blocking unsightly views.

Time spent relaxing or entertaining on the deck is always enjoyable but if it’s exposed to the neighbours or the street, it may feel like someone is constantly looking over your shoulder.

A solution is to replace part of the balustrade with a timber screen that will provide privacy as well as shelter from the wind and sun.

Made from H3 treated pine with 100mm wide palings, the screen is constructed as a series of panels measuring 375mm wide, bounded by 90 x 35mm upright posts. 

This screen was built to replace one entire side of the deck balustrade, plus a 1500mm wide section of the front balustrade.

The screen steps down from 1665 to 1365mm high at the front, creating a smooth transition to the existing 1065mm high balustrade and helping the screen blend into the deck design.

Customise the screen

No two decks are the same, so you will need to adapt this design to suit the dimensions of your structure. 

The first step is to determine how the screen will be secured to the existing handrail. On this deck, we simply cut the handrail and attached it to the side of the last post.

To make room for the screen, dismantle the existing balustrade, taking care not to damage the deck and making sure all exposed nails or screws are removed. 

Calculate how many full-size panels you will need to complete the side, then cut the panel closest to the house narrower as needed. 

Our panels measured 375mm from the centre of one post to the centre of the next.

For the most consistent look, use the same type of timber for the screen as was used for the original balustrade. The palings will be visible from both sides, so hand-pick the best boards you can find.

TIP Stain the balustrade to match the screen if needed, as it’s less work than staining the screen.  


Secure the posts to the outer joists and the blocks between the deck joists, using 90mm x 14g treated pine screws. 

Attach the corner, base, upper and top rails to the posts with 75mm x 10g treated pine screws. 

Use 50mm x 8g treated pine screws to secure the cleats under the top rails, and 50 x 2.8mm galvanised twist nails to secure the palings and horizontal trim in position.

How to build a deck screen 

Step 1. Notch and secure the posts

Use a circular saw to notch the posts and cut them to length with a 30º angle at the base. Secure with screws to the outside joist, using a rail offcut as a spacer. Install the first post 45mm from the corner, checking for plumb with a spirit level.

Step 2. Attach the rails

Position the base rails, keeping the outside edge flush with the edge of each post and securing with skewed screws, then secure the upper rails in the same way. TIP Use treated pine or stainless steel screws to avoid the fasteners corroding.

Step 3. Secure the top rail

Use screws to secure the top rail of the 1665mm section to each post top then trim it to overhang the corner post by 25mm. Check that the post next to the wall is plumb then secure it to the house frame using bugle screws or to masonry using Dynabolts.

Step 4. Complete the corner

Cut a 90 x 25mm notch in the top rail of the 1365mm high section to wrap around the corner post of the 1665mm high section, then position the top rail of the lower section and secure it to the corner post with screws.

Step 5. Install the palings

Position cleats on the underside of the top rail 20mm from the inside edge and secure them using screws. Position the palings with equal spacing between them and the posts, then secure them to the cleats and upper and base rails using nails.

Step 6. Add trim and blocking

Position 140 x 45mm blocking at 600mm centres between the two outer joists and secure using pairs of bugle screws. To finish, attach horizontal trim to the base and upper rails. TIP Get the exact length of the trim by measuring both sides of the rails.

Click on the diagram

Click on the diagram to see each element of the deck screen.

Click on the cutting list

Click on the cutting list to see what materials you will need for this project, and in what size.

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