Day 13 was almost 13 hours of work to get all the rails assembled and installed.  We were both exhausted but it’s a good exhausted because it’s finally starting to look like a gazebo. We took yesterday off because both of us were tired to the bone and we do have other responsibilities to handle.

We are using a Trex brand product for the decking and rails. You can see from this picture that we also got post sleeves to cover the posts to match the rails.  The composite decking materials are not structural so they can only be used for the components you see here.  All structural parts must be from lumber.

I think I might have mentioned this before (maybe 12 times) making an 8 sided structure makes everything more complicated and this was no exception.  The rail kits come with supports that are designed to fit up into a slot under the top and bottom rails.  The problem is that they don’t fit if you try to install them at an angle…back to the hardware store for more angle brackets.

We came up with a pretty good system for measuring angles, assembling the rails and installing them.  After the first section things went pretty smoothly but no matter what it was still a lengthy process.  Fortunately we have an awesome neighbor who had a ladder for us to borrow.  I was very concerned about how we would get the post sleeves over the posts but in the end that was the easiest part of the project so far.

So here is what we did step by step.

  1. Slide the post sleeve over the post
  2. Measure, cut and fit the bottom rail
  3. Using the bottom rail as a template cut the top rail
  4. Install support brackets on bottom rail
  5. Measure, space and square balusters. Attach with a screw through the bottom rail,
  6. Attach support brackets to top rail
  7. Fit bottom rail/baluster assembly into place
  8. Place top rail and align assembly in place
  9. Attach bottom rail, then top rail to posts
  10. Square up each baluster and using a pneumatic brad nailer secure balusters to top rail.

All together this took almost 13 hours. Of course that included set up, trip to the hardware store and clean up along with several breaks along the way. 

We are getting closer but we still have a number of hard days work to get this done.  The next step is installing head rails and lattice panels around the top of the structure and then onto rafters!

I’m getting tired just thinking about the trips up and down the ladders for the next few days.