Three's a Charm: Back Door Awning.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

pressure treated door awning
All right.

I think we're good now.  Finally.  Whew.

If you remember, I had purchased one of those "modern" awnings over on the Amazons a bit ago.  Turns out the entire thing was tacky rickety plastic, it fell apart not only as I was attempting to install it thus requiring assistance, but it disintegrated in less than a year.  Holy frustrating.

Somehow we muddled through winter snow and spring deluges with a cobbled together piece of crap but something needed to be done ASAP, like yesterday, last was terrible.  So bad.

pathetic lame attempt at a back door awning DIY
I don't know if you realize how embarrassing it is to show you this.  Wow.
And it was plaguing me.  Not only because it was so horrifyingly bad but because it was...atrocious.

Aaarrrggg!!  What to do what to do what to do.  Hair pull, hair pull, as if pulling would yank an idea out of my brain.

Then!  The other day I happened to be over on Hometalk and came across this a/c unit surround that a person named Chas in Florida had built.


And the light bulbs popped.

Thank you, Chas!

Before running off to Menards (I swear, they're not paying me to mention them but they'd be smart to), did a lil' research on their website.  Turns out they had 1x2 pressure treated lumber.  All right!

See, 'cuz my idea was to use the same brackets I had built, why reinvent the wheel, the holes are already in the house.

For some reason I can't remember I was stuck at home, couldn't head to the store so I checked on the scenario out back first and dismantled the disaster.

I spent an unreasonable amount of time staring at these brackets from the ground, on a ladder, from the deck, trying to figure out their problem.

After lots of checking and hemming and hawing and chin scratching and surely the neighbors were pointing and laughing, turns out the right side bracket was lower than the other two.

Actually, the neighbor to the east did laugh at me as the day before I was working on the front porch.  He chortled and shook his head, "always doing something, aren't you?"

Ok.  Back out back, more hemming and hawing.  Ok, have to raise that bracket.  Yikes.  Two more holes, eeeeeeeeeee, not excited about that but the back piece covers over the nasty bits.  Eventually I got kinda close enough to a fix and headed to the store next day.

messing around with pieces and parts
No joke, I took off and put back on that plastic crap about four times trying to figure out the final design.  Yeah.  Lame.
Heh, so you can check in-stock quantities online, see, and I know they're never correct but usually they're kinda close.

The way it works with Menards is you can either grab a cart and load it up with your big awkward heavy unruly purchase or you can head to a counter, tell them what you want to buy, they print out a piece of paper, you pay for that piece of paper, then take your vehicle out back and load up.  I opted for option two.

Big mistake.

Their stock said they had sixty four pieces of 1x2 when in fact they had two.  Two warped ones.  So I had to go back inside for a refund.  Which ultimately was fine as I got to see Korey but then ran to a different Menards which claimed they had 102 sticks.

I asked the guy at the counter, you suurrrre you have 102 because the other store said they had 64 and they didn't.  He rolled his eyes at me like ugh really?, not another crazy, yes we do.  Another guy says "we just did inventory, we have 110".....I get back there and they have thirty.

Whatever, I got my pieces and left, an hour behind my schedule now.

After trimming the sticks down a hair, I got to use the folding workbench in the garage finally!  hahaha...

Figuring my new spiffy plan here, that it will be a larger or at least more pronounced end result, I opted to stain the wood an almost-matching-the-siding color.  So the awning will be present but it won't be blaaahhh in your face contrasting.

solid color outdoor stain in a light gray
Woot, solid color stain.  Bigger woot, using the workbench!
Who knows, I may re-color it next year.            ......Right?!

I know, don't yell at me for staining the wood too early.  There was no way I was going to wait to install everything until next year nor was I going to install everything and go up and down a ladder five zillion times staining it next spring.  Nope.

I had picked up some pole barn screws not necessarily because I was building a pole barn back here but for the look of them.  Everything was going to be monochrome, I needed a contrasting textural design element.

Mmk, so!  Took the first strip and jammed it up at the top, let it overhang the edge six inches.

Pilot drill a hole with this swanky  flip drive quick change bit* whooie was that thing helpful, sank a pole barn screw.  Perfect!

flip drive drill bit tool and pole barn screws
Waaaaaaayyy helpful tool, one side countersink, hidden inside is a Phillips head bit.  And the pole barn screws.
Using a piece of the cutoff, I had the exact spacing for the next piece.  Pilot drill, pole barn screw.

using a cutoff scrap piece of wood for a spacer
No brainer way to measure!
After attaching a few pieces, I moved to the other side, tacked those down, then the middle.

Rinse, repeat.

solid stained pressure treated wood awning slats
Repeated.  It does look a little New Englandy, east coast-y, traditional-y but it's far better than it was.
A day later…."Did you see what I’ve been working on in the yard, babe?"

Mike’s glancing around, around, around, around around around, “ah!  Oh!  Ok.  Huh.  I like it.  Third time’s a charm huh?"  Pause, head tilt, "yeah I like that though I don’t know if I like it because the last thing was so horrible or if it’s just cuz I like this.”  Though hours later he did say, not even outside, "I really like what you did, babe."

But thence began a clear plastic over it or leave it as is.  Because I mean c'mon, the exact reason we put an awning up is to protect ourselves from inclement weather while fumbling for the door key.

“I dunno, just leave it as is I think,” was Mike's final decision.

So a couple days later I picked up some thin clear plastic from Menards, not the right size but so be it, not to defy Mike's desires but to at least have some sort of weather shield.

plastic acrylic sheets for door awning
Yep.  Plastic sheets.  New versus tired, old, and broken.  That's not a metaphor for anything.
Found some zinc screws from the last awning adventure, and despite being super careful and pilot drilling through, cracked the plastic a tiny bit here and there when sinking the screws.  Yikes.  Hope it holds up.

attaching the acrylic sheets to the awning
Nice.  Please stay.  Please work.  Please.
Tada!  New awning!  Yayyyyyyyy!!!

rebuilt back door awning with solid color stained pressure treated wood
It's not crooked, it's the camera.
So again, thanks Chas, really appreciate the help with the idea there!

finished wood slat awning with acrylic sheets
Even Finn looks proud!  Thanks, bud!
*The pole barn screws and flip drive quick change whatever it's called countersinks are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. I wonder why you ask Mike for his opinion, when you've already got in mind what you're going to do and it's NEVER what he suggests??? HAHA Sounds like you've been married for a while. :) Can I ask, why didn't you join the plastic in the middle, won't the rain be coming through?

    1. Oh I 100% always listen to Mike's opinion and many times stick by it -- I probably don't convey that often or well. He tends to defer to me on all things house as house stuff isn't his thing. Several days had passed between our discussion, I was going to go sans plastic but ended up changing my mind. Knowing him (14 years of togetherness!) and Chicago weather, I knew there would be a day we'd both appreciate having a bit more cover.

      The plastic is crazy expensive and sizes larger than these 28x30's were an expense I couldn't justify, especially since I'm not sure if the plastic will last. Yes, some weather can get through but I felt blocking most is better than none.

      Thanks so much!

  2. Why are your brackets below the level of the top of the door? I am assuming your door must open inwards, but wouldn't it look better if it were above the door frame?

    1. There's a strange confluence of photographic distortion, illusion of black paint, and likely where I'm standing when I take the photos but the brackets are above the top level of the door. The main door swings in, the storm swings out and clears the brackets with no problem. I am limited by previously drilled holes and the light fixture above the door.

  3. Becky, you have given me a great idea to cover my front door (as I live in the country, I don't have to worry about neighbors or style.) Many thanks!!

    Could I please just mention that I like your formatting style of double justification, i e., letters aligning at the left and right margins. Yes, I taught computer applications for many years. However, reading your blog on my small cellphone screen, I see lots of lines that begin one space to the right of the left margin. This is caused by double- spacing after the period. Yes, we taught that for many years. It looked beautiful when typing directly on paper. However, when typing on a computer, the formatting changes according to the program you are using. The computer recognizes the first space after the period as the end of the sentence and basically ignores it. The second space it treats as a separate entity and includes it after your first sentence, before your next sentence. This is usually not noticeable on a full size computer screen, but very noticeable on a small screen - or in a narrow column of print in a newspaper or magazine. As I began working on my master's degree, this is one of the first things the professor drilled into the students: our work will not be accepted if we put two spaces after the period. Most word processing programs have an option in formatting to always use one space after a period. This is easier for the typist, as we type the period and then a capital for the next sentence. You could Google "APA Style" for more information.

    Again, thank you for the great idea!! I hope you don't mind my offering my formatting idea as well.

    1. Thank you, Mrs. Shugan, for your compliments and I'm thrilled you found this idea useful as well something you can adapt to your home!

      And yes, I've heard of the single space after a period -- truth be told, I grew up learning to type in high school on a typewriter (as I date myself, cough) and we were taught to double space after a period. I realize times have changed but I stubbornly have not! I appreciate your input on the matter and I will take it into consideration though I will say, some tricks are hard to teach to old dogs. I personally like the added space break between sentences which is partly why I continue to do it atop never changing with the times.

      Thank you very much!

  4. Absolutely love this article! Adding a back door awning not only enhances the charm of your home but also provides practical benefits like shelter from the elements. It's amazing how such a small addition can make a big difference in both aesthetics and functionality.

    1. Oh thanks very much! I agree, awnings are terrific for many reasons and make a big difference. Thank you!


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