Scissor Truss Shade Structure

Project by RedSweetGum posted 07-19-2010 03:20 PM 8212 views 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Maybe this project would be better posted over at the sister-site home refurbers, but I am so pleased with how it turned out and I am very proud of the joinery.

I have a sort of U-shaped patio on the back of my house that, because it blocks the prevailing wind, is unbearably hot most of the summer. A long time ago I saw someone install a huge high tension shade sail on a TV show and I have been searching for one off and on ever since. I guess they are popular down under, but have not caught on here in the States. Anyhow, I found this shade cloth (not a shade sail) in a Farmtek catalog. They have them in premade sizes, and I believe they are called Aluminet shade cloth. They are rated at 80% shade.

The problem was how to use one of these shade cloths to help my patio. Sketchup to the rescue!!! My U-shape measures 13’ along the sides so now I had the choice of Farmtek’s 13’ X 12’, 15’, or 20’ shades. Sketchup very quickly let me draw back to back triangles with 6’, 7.5’ and 10’ hypotenuses. I settled on the 7.5’ thus the 13’ X 15’ shade cloth ($150). Next, I had to draw a structure that would match those triangles. I settled on a scissor truss system because I wanted it to be strong but also interesting to look at. Sketchup allowed me the confidence to transfer angles and measurements to the 2 X 4s.

All of the joinery is very tight fitting half-laps reinforced with titebond III and screws. The trusses are tied together with a ridge beam along the peak and sit in modified joist hangers on a pair of sleepers along the roof which are raises up by 2X blocks to allow rainwater to go underneath. The shade cloth is then pulled taut and secured to the structure with Farmtek’s “snugger tie down” bungees.

It has been in place for over a year and I absolutely love it!!! It is easily 10-15 degrees cooler under this structure than in the direct sun!

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patio outdoor space framing sketchup

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6 comments so far

View BillyJ's profile


258 posts in 2987 days

posted 07-29-2010 01:08 AM

That is really cool. I like the idea. Good job. Thanks for posting – I’m going to see how I could use this in the area I have my outdoor grill.

-- No matter how many times I measure, I always forget the dimensions before I cut.

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6 posts in 2629 days

posted 08-13-2010 03:17 AM

Red, very nice and great way to cool down the area. I have several pergola’s in my yard with shade cloth overhangs….it gets really hot here….110+...in the summers…thankfully it is dry heat.

I don’t know the types of weather you have there…wind/storm wise….if you have an issue with them…I would suggest you put a web (support board from the peak down to your crossover)...this would help distribute some of the stresses a storm or high wind my put on the peak). I can’t tell for sure from the pic but it looks like the peak is laid horizontal rather then vertical? The angle of the pic perhaps…but it looks like it curves a bit in the back. This would happen if the board is laid down flat rather then on end. Of course with the weight of cloth this shouldn’t be a big issue….but wind/storms can put enormous pressures when caught in the cloth. Just a thought.

View hedgehog's profile


2 posts in 2627 days

posted 08-13-2010 05:03 PM

Thats really sweet, I’d like to build something like that, but in kansas, the wind can hit 60mph in the form of gusts, I’d have to probably web it like reggiek was saying. Good job!!

View Houston's profile


48 posts in 2615 days

posted 08-26-2010 01:16 AM

I’ve always appreciated these scissor trusses in A-Frame cabins.

-- If you need an electrician in Houston, we'll do a great job and respect your time. http://www.ontime-electric.com

View DouglasHarris's profile


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posted 08-13-2017 08:24 PM

This is really brilliant ideas are posted on http://www.ukessayservicesreviews.com/uk-bestessays-com-review/ website. I must appreciate for your brilliant and master piece development. But no doubt this really need a lot of time and hard work and it is actually showing in this project. Please do share the latest picture when you make complete your venture.

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