Throughout the pandemic, we have been diligent in keeping just the two of us inside our Covid bubble. Yes, we have visited with kids and neighbours, but always while physical distancing. Until all this gets sorted out, we do not wish to risk our own or others’ health.
All that being said, the looming, cooler fall and cold winter weather has not eluded our notice. If we were going to continue to physical distance visit on our back deck, then we needed to make some modifications.
So, over the past few weeks, we have been brainstorming to come up with a solution. In fact, some of my best thinking was done while I lay awake at night, instead of sleeping.
It started with sourcing the kind of thick plastic that everyone’s Granma uses to cover their best linen table cloth. Found and ordered from Home Depot, the next thought was how to attach it. The simple answer was with cup hooks, but cup hooks could rip through even thick plastic and could also allow the plastic to detach in the wind.
Taking a page from the Red Green Show, we arrived at the answer of using duct tape. “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.” was Red Green’s trademark saying.
I did a whole lot of measuring and confirmed that way back 20 years ago, I had built my deck cover with a reasonably consistent opening height. Unrolling the plastic, my beloved and I worked as a team, measuring once and then measuring twice, before making a cut. Panel by panel, we cut the plastic, then attached a strip of duct tape on each side of the top and bottom edges.
Once that was done, it was out to the deck, where I measured the upper hook positions (used to hang our fabric sun shade in summer). This done, I punched the holes and pounded in the metal grommets. Once the top was hanging on the hooks, I lined up the positions for the bottom grommets, cut and pounded, then used flat washers and screws to attach them as tight as possible to the deck boards, using wall plugs in the gaps between the boards, so as not to damage the deck boards permanently.
Sheet, by sheet, I completed the installation, ensuring that all panel seams were lapped. As I worked, I could feel the deck growing warmer and warmer, as each successive panel blocked more and more of the wind.
The last problem to solve was how to fit the plastic to the sliding patio screen door. My Patty came up with the solution of using binder clips to grip the plastic. The only trouble was that the plastic covered the inside pull handle, so I added a binder clip at that location to resolve that issue.
Once closed up, the heat gain from the afternoon sun was noticeable. +22 C (72 F) outside, +28 C (82 F) inside, likely not the appropriate day to test it, but it will be cooler over the next two days.
With the addition of a small ceramic heater and using our patio lights, it creates a nice bubble for continued socializing as well as extending our deck time by a few weeks. Life is good, inside the bubble. Cheers to all.
These photos were taken September 3, 2020.
The completed project.
The night time is the right time.
Cool spell over, it was now time to test how easy it was to take the plastic down. Our September 9 temperature hit 22 C (72 F) and tomorrow is supposed to hit 26 C (79 F). With the film up and solar gain, this would add about 6 C (10 F) to the deck temperature. Not wanting to roast, I set out to open up the bubble. In a matter of about 10 minutes, I popped the panels off the top hooks and rolled them up on the deck. Flat white on the deck this afternoon and icy frappucino tomorrow. We love fall.
Here are the panels down shots, much better for bird watching too.