Prefab versus homemade

Most lumberyards and home centers sell 4x8-foot prefabricated lattice panels for a cost that often is less than that for the lath alone. These panels are easy to install because the cutting and nailing already has been done.

Inspect prefab latticework carefully before you buy, however. Cheaper varieties often are made with lath much thinner than that sold in individual pieces, and the staples holding cheap lattice together may be thin and dislodge easily.

For the photographs on these pages, we used a prefab panel. To make your own latticework, build a frame like the one shown at top right. Then, if desired, paint or stain the frame and the strips of lath you'll use for the lattice. If you prefer to leave the wood natural, coat it with a wood preservative.

Once the paint is dry, lay the lath against the frame diagonally, placing the strips so each strip touches the next to form a solid screen. Nail every other strip, then remove the pieces not nailed. Repeat this process for the second course of lattice, starting in the opposite corner. For garden-spaced lattice, nail every third strip.

To avoid splitting the extra-thin strips, blunt the tips of nails by pounding on them with a hammer. After nailing all strips to the frame, trim the ends with a crosscut or circular saw.

C After the paint dries, lay the panel atop the ^s frame's first stop, then install a second stop on top of the panel. If desired, attach the lattice to the first stop with a staple gun before adding the second stop.

6 Fasten the frame to the posts with lag screws spaced about a foot apart. Predrill holes and. Jor a neater appearance, countersink them as well. Fit each lag screw with a washer before driving it. If you painted or stained the fames, touch up around the screws.

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