Arbour Day of Wreckoning

So far, the most serious casualty of this winter-that-never-ends, besides me achin’ back, is our grapevine arbour which covers, or covered, much of our little patio. There’s a fairly solid (I thought) portion over the barbecue, which I built a few years ago, and a hanging-by-a-thread section at the other end, which came with the house. We added a couple of 1×3’s across the gap this summer, to give the grapevine some extra places to go, to provide more shade.

Broken Arbour (1)
(Click photo to view larger on Flickr)

After an all-too-brief period of slightly above freezing temperatures a few days ago, the snow got rained on and then re-froze. The extra weight proved too much for our little arbour to bear. I’ve got a couple of 2×4’s wedged under it to keep it from collapsing altogether.

The main section (which I built) seen in the photo above, gave way at in the middle of a small span that normally would have been adequate. Except in my cleverness, I decided it needed lap joints in the middle and an extra beam running lengthwise. This was the fail point, and in retrospect was something of a design flaw.

Broken Arbour (2)
(Click photo to view larger on Flickr)

At the other end (seen in the second photo, above) we have the “legacy” portion of the coverage. It consisted of a diagonally-placed 2×4, just toe-nailed (later reinforced with a screw or two) into the posts, and a piece of lattice thrown up there. I’m actually surprised it lasted as long as it did. But we just couldn’t keep up with the snow squalls this year.

So, looks a spring project for me! I’m thinking, first of all, no lap joints in the middle of the span. Duh. Maybe go to 2×6. I was thinking about doing something with joist hangers, but I think that would be ugly, so I’m still mulling it over. Having to build it UNDER the existing grapevine was one of the main challenges last time, so I’ll see if I can figure out a way to make that easier. And I think we want full coverage over the whole patio this time. And because of that, it should be a bit higher for more headroom. Even so, the grapes hang down through the cracks, so you have to be careful!