Tie Me Gazebo Down, Sport

Beer. Now there’s a temporary solution.

– Homer Simpson

A few years ago, I built a floating deck in the back yard. We wanted to put a gazebo on it to provide shade. One day, I intend to build a permanent structure, but for now our gazebo came in a box from Menards. It’s a nice gazebo with a roof made from canvas, and mesh sides that fend off mosquitoes quite successfully. The frame is made from steel that is about the thickness of graphene, but what do you expect for $130?

Unpacked and assembled, the gazebo looked very attractive sitting on the deck. There simply remained the matter of attaching it. At the bottom of each of the gazebo’s legs was a square, flat plate. Each plate had been thoughtfully furnished with several screw holes. So, this should have been an easy procedure.

I realized it wasn’t going to be so easy when Stacey asked me “How are you going to fasten the gazebo to the deck?” Now, she’s as sharp as they come, so I knew that she’d seen the screw holes, and that she understands the potential a deck screw has for securing itself in a deck board. Accordingly, it was with some trepidation that I ventured, “With screws?” “Hmmm,” she said. We’re not using screws, I thought. This was an interesting problem: attach the gazebo to the deck without defacing the deck boards in any way.

After some thought, the answer came to us. Use zip ties. The idea was to pass them through the screw holes and around a deck board. Our ties were too short, so we zipped several together. Stacey got the ties around the board by passing wire under the deck board, duct taping a tie to the end of the wire that emerged, and pulling the whole thing back under the board.

It worked like a charm, and has survived high winds (80 mph just the other night). When we take the gazebo down for the winter, we simply cut the ties and use new ones the following spring. And our deck boards remain unadulterated! Which was, apparently, more important than I knew.

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4 Responses to Tie Me Gazebo Down, Sport

  1. Jeanne says:

    We have a floating deck and I’ve been telling my husband we couldn’t do this very thing because I thought we couldn’t attach something like that to the deck due to the uplift loads. Apparently he’s right and I’m wrong? It’s been 2 1/2 years since you first posted this – all still good? Would love to hear if this held up well!


    • Stacey says:

      Hi, Jeanne! Thanks for stopping by. We haven’t had any trouble with this arrangement since we started it, but uplift is something we were concerned about too. We have at least two heavy-duty ties on each corner of the gazebo, and we leave it up year-round now (taking the cover off in the winter). The gazebo itself is not very heavy and the air moves through it easily when it doesn’t have the canvas roof (canopy?) on it, so uplift doesn’t seem to be an issue then. When it DOES have the roof on it, the fabric and the seams prove to be much weaker than the zip ties. We’re on our second canopy — one was ripped to shreds in a wind storm, but the zip ties didn’t budge. The second one is starting to fall apart, and it starts that process at the rather inadequate seams. I expect it to give way either when we try to put it back on this weekend or the next subsequent big wind. I found this info on tensile strength for zip ties that might be helpful: https://ziptieguy.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/zip-ties-and-tensile-strength/ (although if you found our post, you probably already saw that too!).

      NOW having said all that, I haven’t done any proper calculations, and I am completely on your side if you don’t think you should do it. It’s no fun to feel uncomfortable with something at your own home. And after all, it’s just a few holes if you chose to bolt it down instead. I was probably being too fussy about the deck, and now that it’s a few years old (the deck), the idea of holes doesn’t bug me as much.

      Please stop back and let us know what you do!

  2. Sandyanewme says:

    Thank you guys so much for the advice. I just purchased a metal pergola for my deck and was browsing to find out how to secure it without drilling holes in my composite decking. I’m ordering the extra heavy duty zip ties. I’ll let you know how it goes. Again Thank You.

    • Stacey says:

      Hope it works for you! We found they need to be changed every couple of years — UV eventually gets to them.

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