The type of fasteners you use to attach lattice to a deck depends on the composition and functional purpose of the lattice. You can use weather-resistant nails to install lattice designed to provide only visual privacy, where no one is likely to handle or lean on the lattice. However, most professional deck builders prefer to use screws for outdoor construction projects. Screws are more reliable than nails for joining vinyl or wooden lattice to a wooden frame because they are less likely to be affected by weather-related expansion and contraction.
Commercially available premade lattice panels are typically either weather-resistant wooden slats or molded vinyl. They are available in panels that range from 2- by 4-foot sheets to 4- by 8-foot sheets. The width of the slats and the spaces between them determine the amount of visual privacy the panels provide. Hand-made lattice panels are typically wooden slats that are nailed or screwed to a wooden frame in a crosshatch pattern.
You can measure and trim premade wooden or vinyl lattice panels to fit the space between the posts and rails of the deck. Then you position the trimmed lattice panel, level it and fasten it to the posts and rails with nails or screws. Once you have installed the lattice panels, you trim and attach wooden or vinyl lath-type molding or planks to conceal the edges of the lattice panels.
Fastening with Nails
Fastening the lattice to the deck with nails is quick and simple. Use nails that are long enough to pass through the slats of the lattice and go at least 1 inch into the post or rail. The nails should have wide heads and be weather- and corrosion-resistant. The disadvantage to using nails is that they can loosen over time as the lattice or deck frame contracts or expands with temperature fluctuation.
Specialized fasteners called lattice screws are corrosion-resistant screws with attached washers that effectively widen the head of the screw for secure and durable installation. Lattice screws have a sharp, pointed tip so you can install them without pre-drilling pilot holes. Installing lattice panels with screws takes a little more time and is slightly more costly than installation with nails, but it ultimately produces a longer-lasting outdoor structure.
Denise Nyland "Denisen" is a long term resident of Panama City, Fla. She studied radiologic sciences and education and has published articles in multiple professional journals and contributed to various educational texts.