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Deck Privacy Screens

Shield your deck with screens that improve privacy and add elegant decoration with custom features you can tailor to fit your own deck.

Privacy screens on a finished deck

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 day

Estimated Cost


Tools and Materials

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Customize these instructions to fit the size and design of your deck by altering the vertical frame piece lengths or even using screens to replace balusters on an existing deck. These instructions detail how to make the smallest of the three panel sizes, but the project diagrams include part dimensions for the other two screen widths.

Build the Screen Frames

Step 1

You'll install these screen panels back to back in pairs, with each screen made up of an inside frame that faces inward toward the other screen and an outside frame that faces out toward the deck or yard. Regardless of the frame width, first cut four long vertical frame stiles (A) and four short stiles (B). See the Privacy Screen Project Diagram to cut four outside rails (C, E, or G) and four slightly oversize inside rails (D, F, or H).

Good to Know

Pressure-treated lumber may still be drying when you buy it. To avoid problems with the wood changing shape as it dries, pick the straightest lumber available at the store. Then assemble the parts and mount the screens as quickly as possible after bringing the wood home.

Step 2

Glue and clamp an outside frame

Glue and clamp two outside rails (C) to two short stiles (B). Handle this glued assembly with care, especially later when attaching the screen. Check two opposite corners with a square to ensure the assembly is square and let dry. Repeat for the other frame in the pair.

Step 3

Apply stain to the outside frames (B/C) and inside frame pieces (A, D). (We used Cabot solid stain in Sycamore for the pair of outside frames and Foothill for the inside frames.) Then rough-cut two pieces of screen wire larger than the height and width of the outside frame.

Step 4

Staple a wire screen to an outside frame

Using a staple gun and 3/8" staples, fasten the screen tight between the top, bottom, and sides of the outside frame. Trim away the excess screen and repeat for the other frame in the pair.

Step 5

Attach a long frame stile to a short stile

Mark the center of the short stiles (B) and long stiles (A). Apply dashes of construction adhesive (A continuous bead of adhesive could enable water to collect between the two frames, so leave a few gaps for rain or snow to escape) to the screen and short stiles, align the center marks, and screw the stiles together. Repeat for the other frame.

Step 6

Measure between the long stiles (A) and cut the inside rails (D) to fit. Then screw the inside rails to the outside rails (C). By screwing from the inside frame to the outside frame, you'll conceal screw heads on the installed screens. Repeat for the other frame.

Stencil the Leaf Pattern

Step 1

With painter's tape, mask off the edges and faces of the outside and inside frames on both assemblies.

Step 2

Print out a copy of the leaf stencil sized to fit the screen (a small screen, in this case). Tape the sections together to make one long stencil and use spray adhesive to attach the stencil pattern to a piece of plastic sign material. Then cut out the design using a crafts or utility knife.

Step 3

Spray-painting stencil

Tape the stencil in place at the center of the screen and use spray paint to create the design in a color of your choice (we used Royal Garnet). Repeat for the other screen; then remove the tape and stencils.

Step 4

To install the screens on a deck like the one shown, clamp the long stiles (A) to an overhead structure while you adjust the screens for plumb and spacing. Then drill 5/16" holes through the structure and stiles, insert bolts, and hold the bolts in place using washers and wing nuts.