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outdoor woody

Original Post
A. Michael · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 40

People of the Earth,

I am thinking about building an outdoor woody. My back deck is over a walkout basement. I have about 12' of vertical from ground to the top of the deck rails.

Do those of you with outdoor walls have problems with weathering of the holds and hardware? What has the maintenance been like?

I live in Northern Kentucky. Hot and humid summer, not much sustained cold or snow in winter, though it does happen. We can get fairly heavy rains in the spring/summer.

Jordan Moore · · Berthoud, CO · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 80

I don't own an outdoor woody. But I work in construction...

Are you building it under the deck where it will mostly be protected from rain? By 12 ft from ground to rail did you mean 12 ft from ground to deck joysts (horizontal floor supports)? I would be more concerned about the hardware rusting if it was getting rain on consistently. If that's the case you could buy galvanized T-nuts and bolts. But reallistically it would take quite a few years to weather to the point of failure. And I wouldn't be concerned about the plastic holds weathering, regardless of the location.

Phil Sakievich · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 118

I have an outdoor wall and crack machine. The wall is under a carport, but portions still get drenched from windy storms. It also gets a lot of sun. The crack machine is completely exposed to the elements, but I coated it with deck paint and then sanded it smooth. I would recommend spending the extra time and $$ to coat it in deck paint. You will get good texture and lots of protection from the elements. The supporting boards for the crack machine were not coated and they are already starting to splinter and show signs of wear after 6 months. The crack itself is totally fine.

I live in Phoenix AZ so it's a very different climate but we are going through our monsoon season now which is somewhat similar to a southern summer.

I'm interested to hear what others have to say on this topic.

A. Michael · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 40

The lower 6-7' wall would be under a 2' overhang. I'd have to do something clever to make it actually protect the wall though. As it is, the water will just drain through the deck boards and onto the wall anyway.

I was thinking about extending past the "roof" and going up the outside to the top of the deck rails for a total vertical of ~12'.

Galvanized sounds like a good idea, though probably a bit more expensive.

MattH · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 420

I built an outdoor wall ~7 years ago, and it's still going strong. If I were to do it again, though, I'd never have built it outdoors. I never calculated a total cost but I'm sure it was at least 5-10 times what an attic wall would have cost. Further, despite giving the wall a legitimate shingled roof and siding on the non-climbing faces, rain and snow make it unusable during a good third of the year. Heavy rains (which you said you get often in the spring/fall) are going to soak your holds unless you build an entire weather-insulated shed. It's going to be just as hot and greasy to climb on as real rock in the heat of summer, too.

In order to build a wall that will hold up, you'll need to shell out for more expensive wood (pressure treated, then painted), stainless hardware, and so on. From a responsibility perspective, you'll also need to find a permanent padding solution, as it's going to be a major liability if you don't. Rubber mulch is IMO the only sustainable long-term solution, and it's horrifyingly expensive as an upfront cost.

I suppose it's easier to anchor a wall to an existing deck, but outdoor walls also need beefier framing/anchoring to resist high winds (they're basically giant wooden parachutes). You will likely need better support than any single pair of deck supports would provide (I'd suggest consulting a friend in construction/structural engineering). If you live in a tightly-run neighborhood you might also have restrictive HOA codes to abide by.

All in all, while I love my home wall, in retrospect it wasn't the smartest decision. Feel free to PM me with any questions about the process - I still remember all the logistics that were a pain to figure out the first time around.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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