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I've started designing an outdoor shower for my house, and need some advice on the framing. The vertical posts are 4x4 PT lumber and are the only thing already in place.

As I've designed it, the sides are made of 1x8 PVC trim boards. I'm building a frame to support the (floppy) PVC boards, and my plan was to run 2x6 boards along the top and bottom of each wall, use them to hold vertical studs in place, and then screw the PVC trim into the studs (in addition to screwing the ends into the 4x4 posts). The 2x6s are also cosmetic, providing a little border above and below the walls.

You can see that I've notched out the ends of the 2x6s to fit neatly around the back of the post.

My question is: how should I attach the 2x6s to the 4x4s? They won't really be supporting a ton of weight (their own weight, the studs, and whatever weight from the PVC trim is transferred down via the studs). But this is a high wind coastal area and I'd like it to be rock solid.

There's no obvious way (to me) to bolt them in place. I've thought about using angle brackets underneath the joint, and/or routing a shallow dado into the post to receive the end of the 2x6.

What do you think? How would you design this joint? Any other flaws you see in the design? Thanks!

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  • What's the problem with your notch plan? That, along with toenailed screws or support brackets and you should be fine. You could also sister blocks to the posts underneath. – isherwood May 6 at 16:02
  • @isherwood I was wondering if there was a "right" way that I was missing. Putting support blocks underneath is a good idea. I'm a little worried angle brackets won't look good cosmetically. Are toenailed screws strong enough here? – Aaron May 6 at 17:29
  • If you do them well. The siding boards end up carrying most of the load anyway. – isherwood May 6 at 17:35
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You could add PT 2x4 to each side of the 4x4 post cut to the length between your 2x6 top/bottom trim boards, then screw your 2x6s into the end-grain of the 2x4s.

This would give you a 90° screw connection, but honestly, toe-screwing them in (from the bottom side so water doesn't collect in the holes) would probably be sufficient. If you're feeling fancy, you could even use a pocket-hole jig and screws to make nice neat holes in the 2x6.

Considering that people use pocket-holes/screws for assembling cabinetry that can hold 100s of pounds (I've got a tool rack in the garage that's pocket-screw assembled), that should be sufficient for your purposes.

As a side note: You may consider leaving a bit of a gap between your 1x8 PVC trim to allow wind to blow through a little easier. I doubt you'll have issues, but being in a coastal region, wind is an issue, and a bit of a gap will make it easier on the whole structure.

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  • I'm not sure small gaps reduce wind force that much. You'd have to leave 25% or better open. That suddenly gets much less private. :) – isherwood May 6 at 18:18
  • Fair enough, @isherwood. Wasn't sure how much "privacy" was needed since there's no apparent gap in these boards - generally a bathing suit is still worn at an outdoor shower, but, you never know... – FreeMan May 6 at 18:19
  • Thanks @FreeMan. Reassuring that toenail/pocket hole should be strong enough. I'm leaving 1/16" between the boards but that's just for aesthetics and to allow a small amount of light through. This is going to be a full on naked shower in a neighborhood where houses are about 10' apart, so privacy is a must. Roof will be added to the design next ;-) – Aaron May 6 at 18:25

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