shade slats on John Davis's carport

Supported in Style

Installing Shade Slats on a Carport

By John M. Davis

Above: The shade slats on John Davis’s carport create a light and airy architectural element that will last a very long time.

These pictures show a recent project in which I put WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy to good use. The shade slats shown were attached to their notched supports by ‘blind’ nails (8D hot-dipped galvanized finishing, with the heads clipped after being driven into the notches halfway) and WEST SYSTEM 105 Resin®/209 Extra Slow Hardener applied in a two-stage manner. After wetting out, the epoxy was thickened with 404 High-Density filler and applied to the notches before the slats were beaten onto the nails with hammer and block. Squeeze out was removed and used on the next slat. Before the setting epoxy had passed out of the ‘green’ stage, the joints were filleted with epoxy and 405 Filleting Blend. Only a few ‘through’ nails had to be used to keep a few stubborn boards in place until the epoxy had cured. Having generally unpenetrated top surfaces of the slats removes the eventual water intrusion and implosion problems common in this wet climate caused by nail penetration.

The joints also should never leak and those problems are also removed (at least until the distant future). These joints would have been hard to properly caulk and the joints would have been prone to leak.

But the biggest advantage is the strength imparted on an otherwise fragile assembly. The design of the structure makes it act like a big kite in the right wind conditions. As delicate as the whole structure looks, it is massively anchored to the ground and massively bolted together (all bolts are hidden) and nailed with ring-shank stainless steel commons. The weak points are the corrugated fiberglass roofing, which, being the heaviest weight available and screwed on, is as strong as we could make it, and the shade slats.

Their epoxy attachment was very time-consuming and not cheap material-wise. Besides the advantages of installing shade slats this way that I’ve already mentioned, our return on this investment was a ‘light’ airy architectural element that feels like it’s been carved out of ‘billet’ and will look as good as it is strong for a long, long time.

A closeup of the shade slats installed on John Davis's carport before they were painted.

A closeup of the shade slats installed on John Davis’s carport before they were painted.

For what it is worth, the entire structure is built out of Clear & Better pressure-treated, southern yellow pine, except for the 2×12’s, which are #1 Grade.

Design by Errol Barron of Barron & Toups Architecture, New Orleans, LA.