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Translucent Deck Surface?

JohnSprung's picture

Over the weekend I tore our second story deck back to the joists to fix dry rot and termite damage.  The outboard posts and beams are OK, but everything else is getting replaced.

With the deck looking more like a pergola, we suddenly have a lot more light in the kitchen downstairs.  So, I'm wondering if anybody knows of a walkable, watertight, translucent surface material we could use up there.

Thanks --



-- J.S.




-- J.S.


(post #67606, reply #1 of 19)

In the Old Growth doug fir mills, we often used hydraulic debarkers (high pressure water) and the debarking tunnels had tempered glass windows, mostly so the tourists could view the debarking process.

Those windows were an inch thick.  I don't know what they cost, because we never had to replace one, but I salvaged one when we took one of the debarkers out....gave it to a neighbor for a garden project.

I mention this only because such a thing is available.  That glass was as sturdy, for walking-on purposes, as a steel plate, and I'm sure such a thing is still available.

One caution:  Even with a frosted surface, it's going to be a slick SOB if you have rain or frost.

(post #67606, reply #2 of 19)

I wonder if you'd be better off to leave a "light well" above each kitchen window.

It would require a railing, of course, and would take away from the deck space a bit. But it might be simpler than trying to come up with a walkable translucent surface.

It's not true that I had nothing on. I had the radio on. [Marilyn Monroe]

(post #67606, reply #4 of 19)

I thought of the lightwell idea, but the deck is tiny, only 6' x 27'. 

The trouble with a grating is that dirt would fall through to the patio and hot tub below.  Maybe some sort of fiberglass or plastic over a grating? Hmmm....



-- J.S.




-- J.S.


(post #67606, reply #11 of 19)

Actually, if you put a panel of plexi between the joists (under the metal top deck) and gave it a slight angle to one wall or the other, you could have the walkway and the light too - without the dirt and water falling through.  Think of it as an under-roof!

Rebuilding my home in Cypress, CA

Also a CRX fanatic!

YAY!  I love WYSISYG editing!  And Spellcheck!


(post #67606, reply #3 of 19)

Check under metal suppliers in phone book and ask about catwalk or walkway decking, I suppose.  Might be a tad industrial, and would likely need paint; but would let light in.  The expanded metal walkways for petro plants are non skid, too.

I suppose you could build some old wooden ship-style gratings--just not the sort of thing any sort of female shoe heel ought to get near (grating is usually material thickness-spaced--or 1.5 solid, 1.5 open, etc.)

Saw not long ago a source for "deck prisms" for wooden boats.  This is a quartz rectangle with an interior prism shape that "expands" the light passing through, but with a flush top.  Some work to set them in--probably have to make a special deck board, and bringthe rest of the deck around them.

Railing and light well(s) might almost be easier.

Occupational hazard of my occupation not being around (sorry Bubba)
I may not be able to help you Occupational hazard of my occupation not being around (sorry Bubba)

(post #67606, reply #5 of 19)

Edmond Scientifics had a sale on deck prisms recently--may be still on. The one I bought though was a hexagon (or whatever the proper name for a 3-D object with a hexagonal base is)--sort of like a pyramid with six sides.

(post #67606, reply #8 of 19)

Edmond Scientifics had a sale on deck prisms recently

Had not looked there--I'm pretty sure I was surfing a boat builder's catalog.

Occupational hazard of my occupation not being around (sorry Bubba)
I may not be able to help you Occupational hazard of my occupation not being around (sorry Bubba)

(post #67606, reply #6 of 19)

Concrete, mah man, translucent concrete.

Translucent concrete


A Pragmatic Classical Liberal, aka Libertarian.

I'm always right!
Except when I'm not.

(post #67606, reply #9 of 19)

Thanks, those are useful references.



-- J.S.




-- J.S.


(post #67606, reply #10 of 19)

Now that is cool. Well maybe not if the sun penetrates it but you know what I mean.

(post #67606, reply #12 of 19)

Excuse me, but I don't think most women would want to walk on a transparent deck surface.

(post #67606, reply #13 of 19)

At least not those who wear skirts.

But you could charge admission for the view from below..

Now as long as those workkilts, being discussed in another thread DON'T become fashionable, the view might be nice.

Edited 8/23/2005 8:57 pm ET by MisterSteve

(post #67606, reply #14 of 19)

You think looking up a kilt is NICE?

It makes me think of turkey necks and giblets.

Or did I misunderstand your post?  If so, I apologise!

Edited 8/23/2005 9:00 pm ET by Notchman

(post #67606, reply #15 of 19)

I used the caps lock on it now to eliminate any confusion.

(post #67606, reply #16 of 19)

OK!  It's been a long day.....

(post #67606, reply #17 of 19)

I'm thinking translucent, not transparent -- like frosted glass.  At $60 - $120 per sq ft, maybe not the whole deck.



-- J.S.




-- J.S.


Translucent decking (post #67606, reply #19 of 19)

JS, there is Translucent Decking panels available. The Globalgrid decking is a fiberglass material, with nonslip surface, which is maintenance free, and also water proof and termite proof. It is light weight (<4 lbs psf), but very strong (spanning upto 36" wide). Checking out the website for more details. JH


note:  Jason represents this company, so take it as spam or maybe just a useful source.