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Outdoor Wind Break Wall

GregEJ's picture

This is my first post here.  I am in the process of building a privacy fence, arbor and trellis around our small backyard pool/spa.  We have prevailing winds from the North and would like to put up a wind break on that side.  We found 30 sheets of tempered solar glass approx. 30 x 82 on Craigslist.  Here is my challenge.  One side of this fence will be a straight run that is little over 20 feet long.  My wife really wants a trellis on top of it.  There is no perpendicular support in that 20 feet to prevent racking.  This makes me very nervous to stop in tempered glass in a structure that is less than solid.  Does anybody have any suggestions as to how to pick up some support on a wall like this.  One thing that I have considered is constructing some type of a decorative truss beam that would span the 20 feet from the intersecting wall and building.  This would provide a second support for the trellis and could stabilize it quite a bit.  As far as vertical support, the wall will be on slab.  I could go off slab and bury some 4x4's, but there is a propane line very close to where they would be buried and I am not fond of hitting a gas line with a shovel.....

Any thoughts or suggestions?  Does anybody have any creative ideas for a DIY decorative truss beam?  Obviously the load factor would be minimal.




(post #108868, reply #1 of 5)

Do not underestimate the wind load on this structure, particularly if you make it a solid wall. Better is to alternate panels, overlapping them with a small gap in between (wind gate).
Even in fairly calm locations I would never build anything that couldn't handle 50-60 MPH winds and the number is 130MPH here.


(post #108868, reply #2 of 5)

Excellent point.  This is my concern as well.  We do get the 50 - 60 mph storms.  Actually one thought I have is to make the glass panels removable for winter time..... Then we have the "freak" summertime storm.....  Darn Mother Nature....




(post #108868, reply #3 of 5)

I use tempered glass from old patio doors as panels on deck railings all the time. Two years ago they were subjected to 120 km winds during a storm with no ill effect - and at that speed the houses were losing soffits and roof shingles.

Building supply stores carry bases for setting posts on concrete slabs that will easily take the horizontal force that any winds you are likely to encounter. Tempered glass is actually quite flexible. You are much more likely to break the sheets hitting the edge with an poorly placed nail during install. I know you don't want to do a poor job, but wouldn't overthink this.

Good luck.

(post #108868, reply #4 of 5)

Are the downwind neighbors going object to your breaking wind out there? (I couldn't help it; someone was going to say it)

(post #108868, reply #5 of 5)

"Are the downwind neighbors going object to your breaking wind out there?"


Ahh, they're used to it.  I blame it on the dogs.....