How To Build A Pergola With Roof?

Step by step pergola construction guide – Here’s your foolproof plan to building your dream pergola.

  1. Consult with your local council if they have any rules or regulations concerning backyard renovations, outdoor remodelling, or pergola construction.
  2. Begin designing your pergola. This step includes researching potential design ideas, figuring out what kind of material/s you want to use, etc.

NOTE: For even more convenience and cost savings, consider buying a DIY pergola home building kit. These customized kits supply everything you need to build your very own steel pergola at home, with very little effort and planning.

  1. Mark out where you want to place the pergola. You can use chalk, tape, sand, ribbon, or anything to demarcate the space.
  2. If you need to stain or paint your materials, now’s the perfect time to do so. You can touch them up again later, if necessary.
  3. Dig four holes, one in each of the corners of your designated space.
    1. If you’re doing the traditional method, dig two feet deep and nine inches wide. Add a bit of gravel to the bottom of the hole to absorb moisture. Place one of the beams in the hole, straight and upright, before pouring in pre-mixed quick-dry concrete. Repeat with all four beams.
    2. If you’re using steel brackets (which we highly recommend!), you can get better height or use less materials.
  4. Cut the 2×10 beams and fasten it to the pergola posts to create a base for your roofing.
  5. Cut the smallest beams into thin rafters in your desired size, and attach those stringers to the top beams.

What kind of wood do you use for a pergola roof?

Western Red Cedar and Redwood – () Western Red Cedar and Redwood are the two most commonly used woods for pergolas, aside from pressure-treated wood. Western Red Cedar (WRC) and Redwood are both naturally stunning woods and often lumped together. However, there are a few key differences between the two.

First off, despite having “red” in both names, Redwood has the darker red-brown hue while WRC is more on the yellow side. Secondly, Redwood can be found with a larger grade variety and its grain tends to be more on the subtle side compared to the more rustic and pronounced grain of clear WRC. Both species are naturally rot- and insect-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals.

Plus they’re both rather durable woods, Redwood being only slightly stronger than WRC. However, depending on where you are located, you may find these to be rather expensive options with limited availability, which can be very frustrating. If you’re wanting a more rustic and natural looking pergola, Western Red Cedar and Redwood are both good options.

What is the cheapest way to build a pergola?

10. Make use of existing garden structures to cut down on timber – How To Build A Pergola With Roof (Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies/Future) Another option for your cheap pergola ideas is to make use of an existing fence or wall as part of your design. This means you end up buying less timber for your pergola project, which can make it much more affordable.

  1. You can either match your pergola posts to your cheap fence ideas in terms of material and color, or alternatively choose a complementary or contrasting material and color.
  2. It’s worth checking out your local area for building sites where roofing projects are happening as loft beams are ideal for this type of DIY project.

Or you could try your hand at some clever pallet ideas for gardens and make a handy bench to go underneath your DIY pergola too.

Does a pergola have to be anchored to the ground?

Even though a pergola is heavy and difficult to move once assembled, it has to be anchored securely to the ground for a number of reasons. Primary among them is safety.

Is it cheaper to build or buy a pergola?

How much does it cost to build a pergola yourself? – Building a pergola yourself will be more cost-effective than buying one because you only have to pay for materials and not labor. The national average cost to build a 10 ft. traditional wooden pergola yourself is about $3,500; however, it varies depending on the project and the location.

Should I use nails or screws for pergola?

Nails or Screws for Pergolas? – While this is ulti­mate­ly a per­son­al choice, we rec­om­mend screws. A big advan­tage of screws is they make it easy to replace dam­aged wood. If you install a per­go­la post by attach­ing it with screws, you can replace the post with lit­tle to no dif­fi­cul­ty when it poten­tial­ly gets dam­aged.

What is the best roof material for a pergola?

Metal Louvers Are Best for a Pergola Roof – Whether choosing mechanized or manually adjusted louvers, the material the roof is made from is an important consideration. Marble and stone are best left to the ancients. Wood can impart a rustic or Old-World feel, but is prone to rotting over time.

How To Build A Pergola With Roof How To Build A Pergola With Roof

Do you need planning permission for a pergola with a roof?

Planning Permission for a Pergola How To Build A Pergola With Roof A question I’m often asked is, ‘Do I need planning permission for a pergola?’ Building regulations can sometimes be difficult to find, and even more tricky to understand! It is fine to develop your property. However, there are quite a few exemptions that require planning permission before you begin. Having said that, most pergolas should be fine. How To Build A Pergola With Roof

  • The first term that you need to understand is ‘curtilage’: the land within the boundary of your house.
  • On the ‘Planning Portal’ of the government website, pergolas are not listed, per se – sheds, decks, conservatories and summerhouses are, but not pergolas.
  • The Planning Portal is a really good place to start if you are adding any sort of outbuilding to your property, with interactive guides for houses and terraced houses, and information on flats and maisonettes.

Links to these pages, and the interactive guides, can be found below. They are in an easy to understand format, and you should be able to find out everything you need from here, although I have listed the main points, too. Even so, we have to take into account this phrase.”and many other kinds of structure for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse.”,so it would be wise to take heed of the points listed within the planning permission guidelines. How To Build A Pergola With Roof

In terms of the height of your pergola, the further away from the boundary the better:

  1. Within 2m of the boundary the max. height must be no greater than 2.5m (8′ 2″)
  2. Further away from the boundary it can be 3m (9′ 10″).
  3. A pitched-roof structure (A-shaped roof) can be up to 4m high (13′)
  • It mustn’t cover more than half of the area of your land.
  • You will need planning permission for your pergola if it’s on the front of your house.
  • You will need planning permission for your pergola if it is in a conservation area, on the side of your house between the house and the boundary wall.
  • If your house is in a conservation area and your pergola is more than 20m from the house and greater than 10 square meters, you will need planning permission.
  • You will always need permission if your building is listed.
  • Any sort of veranda, balcony or raised platform will need planning permission. This is primarily for your own safety! It will need to be built according to building regulations.

Do pergola posts need to be in concrete?

Pergolas & pavilions: – Since pergolas and pavilions have no base, they need to be attached to either a concrete foundation or continuous post footings that anchor the structure. Be sure to call 811, a nationwide service, to have local utility companies dispatched to mark the location of any water, sewer, or electrical lines before you dig.

How much does it cost to build a 12×12 pergola?

How much does a 12×12 pergola cost? – A typical 12×12 pergola will cost between $4,320 and $8,640 depending on your choice of materials and style.

How far apart are joists on a pergola?

Headers are spaced 4′ apart on a double beam. Rafters are spaced about 24′ apart. Purlins are spaced about 3′ apart.

Why use a pergola instead of a roof?

3 REASONS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER A PERGOLA Homeowners who have discovered the merits of relaxing and in their backyards are often considering the next enhancement they can add to their outdoor space. Backyard enthusiasts crave continued improvements, as each adds beauty, visual appeal, and an opportunity for enjoyment.

  • Landscape enhancements help create a mood or personality for your home and they extend your family’s warmth and hospitality.
  • If you are considering the next addition to your landscape, consider installing a pergola.
  • Here’s why: Pergolas (further) Extend Your Living Space If you have already installed a deck or patio, you likely added it to extend your living space beyond the walls of your home.

If you have found that you love your outdoor living area but that it’s not quite so useful on a summer afternoon when the sun is beating down or if you wish you had protection from inclimate weather, a pergola may be for you. A pergola extends your living space and increases the amount of time you can spend outside.

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Designed and oriented correctly on your lot, a pergola can cast enough to make even a warm afternoon enjoyable or if you still need additional protection, you can install a retractable shade cover for more shade. Some shade covers will even protect you from a light rain, perfect for those unpredictable summer storms.

Design Options Abound with Pergolas When you decide to add a pergola to your landscape the first thing you’ll need to decide is, “custom or kit?” A local landscape professional can help you design a pergola from scratch and can custom build it right in your backyard or you can purchase a kit from one of the many well-known manufacturers in the U.S.

You won’t have the same design flexibility—you’re typically limited to rectangles and fixed dimensions—but all the parts will be delivered to your home for your landscape professional to assemble and install. Your next decision will be materials. There are a variety of materials to consider and all come with advantages and disadvantages: Pressure-treated wood : A pressure-treated wood pergola is often your least expensive option.

They’ll have a reasonable lifespan but pressure-treated lumber can warp, crack, and check over time. This type of pergola generally looks best if painted or stained. Cedar wood : Cedar (typically Western Red Cedar) is a popular choice for pergolas. It’s naturally insect resistant and looks beautiful right from the sawmill.

  1. You can leave it untreated to turn a soft silver gray, or stain and seal it to hold its color.
  2. A cedar pergola is more expensive than a pressure-treated pergola, but you’ll typically get a longer serviceable lifespan from cedar.
  3. Vinyl : If you’re looking for a pergola that requires very little maintenance, vinyl is certainly worth consideration.

You cannot easily paint a vinyl pergola, however, so your color choices are limited. Fiberglass : Fiberglass pergolas are generally the most expensive way to go, but they come with significant benefits. Because fiberglass is so strong, you can span much longer distances without posts, (in some cases, about 20 feet) giving you a cleaner look).

Fiberglass can be painted any color you want, and the paint will hold up better than on wood. Finally, fiberglass pergolas are perfect for adding to either a deck or existing patio. Due to their light weight, fiberglass pergolas don’t require the same deep footers as other materials dictate. Pergolas Are an Entertainer’s Dream The real magic happens on many a pergola once the tools are packed up and it begins providing both form and function to your,

Pergolas provide support for everything from chandeliers and ceiling fans (check with your landscape designer first, please!) to small speakers, strings of lights, even fabric. You’re only limited by your imagination. Pergolas extend your outdoor space, offer a variety of design options, and can be tailored to fit even a modest budget.

Do you still get sun under a pergola?

Yes, sunlight filters through the roof beams of a pergola, which is designed to provide varying amounts of shade, depending on the structure’s style and design. A popular addition to outdoor living spaces, pergolas shade your deck or patio without impeding views or breezes.

Can you put pergola on grass?

Building a Pergola on Grass – This pergola placement is less popular than building it into a formal outdoor living space, but when done right, the effect can be tremendous. Placing a pergola in the middle of a greenspace can make an otherwise empty yard something of a focal point.

  • We’ve seen homeowners build beautiful mid-yard retreats, complete with furniture and beautiful landscaping.
  • While you might not expect it, building a pergola on grass tends to be more difficult than the other two pergola placements — however, it is still a great DIY option.
  • When building a pergola on grass, you need to install concrete tubes in the ground and attach the pergola posts to them,

If building a pergola on grass is something you’d like to try, our team can provide you additional information!

Attached or Free Standing : Free Standing Only Ease of Install : Moderate to High Benefits : Transforms Empty Space, Has a Unique and Gorgeous Look Popular Uses : Mid-Yard Retreats

How deep should pergola posts be buried?

Build a pergola –

Dig holes for all posts; these should be 30cm x 30cm (1ft x 1ft) wide and 60cm (2ft) deep. Prop a post upright in one of the holes, then do the same for its neighbour. Put a cross member on top of these two posts, then place a spirit level on top to check they’re level; if they’re not, infill or backfill the holes as necessary until they are. Repeat this with the remaining uprights until all are level. Nail lengths of scrap batten on the posts so each one stands unassisted.Mix a fairly stiff mixture of concrete, using just enough water to bind the ingredients together. Ask a friend to hold the post steady as the concrete is poured into the hole. Compact the mixture around the post with a piece of wood, taking care not to move the post from its position.Make sure that the post is level using a plumb line. Repeat these procedures with the remaining posts.Leave the pillars propped in position by the spare batten for two days to allow the concrete to fully hardenAs long as the pillars have been positioned correctly, building the framework should be straightforward. The sides of the pergola should be joined to the posts with halving joints cut at the end of each cross member. Bolt these into position and continue for the remaining cross members. With the aid of a friend, fasten the beams across the roof of the pergola, attaching them by mortice joints screwed to an upright at either end.Paint the pergola with a coloured stain if required and coat with clear water repellent.Add plant supports eg wires. These should be fixed securely to withstand the weight of the plants.

What is the lifespan of a pergola?

Wooden pergolas – Wooden pergolas are the conventional option, and their traditional and timeless style are perfect for any outdoor space. They do, however require considerable maintenance as they are susceptible to fading and rotting. With somewhat limited maintenance, a wooden pergola typically lasts about five years, although you can improve its lifespan to 10 to 12 years through annual cleaning, staining and sealing.

What is a good size for a pergola?

Popular Pergola Sizes for DIY Pergola Kits | Country Lane Gazebos Looking for the right pergola for your backyard or outdoor living space? Here are some of the most popular pergola sizes we sell. All our pergola styles are custom built to your needs, including dimensions. Our custom pergolas are available in,, or, They come as a or can be installed by our experienced installation crew. How To Build A Pergola With Roof Our 10×10 pergola is the standard size for a smaller backyard or patio. This pergola is the right size if you are looking to cover a small sitting area with 2 outdoor chairs. A 10×10 pergola also works well as a grill canopy or as the centerpiece of a backyard garden. How To Build A Pergola With Roof A 10×14 pergola is a great choice for creating an, with enough room to fit a rectangle outdoor dining table and chairs. It also works if you only want shade on part of your outdoor living space, say next to a pool or deck. How To Build A Pergola With Roof With a, you can fit a round dining table and chairs, or opt for a popular pub-style table and chairs. There is also enough room for an outdoor couch for a relaxed seating area. How To Build A Pergola With Roof As you expand a pergola to 12 feet wide, you start giving more room to move around in your outdoor living space. Our provides plenty of room for an outdoor dining table, chairs, and outdoor couches. How To Build A Pergola With Roof Looking for a larger pergola for your backyard patio? We can build custom wood and vinyl pergolas at any dimension. Popular sizes include 16×16, 16×20, and 20×20 pergolas. With these larger sizes, you can cover your entire backyard patio or create a comfortable spot next to a pool or lake.

  1. Whether you opt for one of our most popular pergola styles or need a larger gazebo for your needs, Country Lane builds all of our pergolas with quality craftsmanship you and your family will appreciate for generations.
  2. Contact Country Lane today and tell us about YOUR dream pergola.
  3. Be sure to visit our for more inspiration.

: Popular Pergola Sizes for DIY Pergola Kits | Country Lane Gazebos

Should I build a pergola with 4×4 or 6×6?

By Matt Weber – Pergolas have long been popular additions to a home because they add style and character to the outdoor living space. They can vary in size and design to fit different landscapes and have the added benefit of breaking up the sunlight (but not too much) in areas of the yard where people like to relax and entertain.

That was Steve and Blakeney’s reason for adding a new pergola to their backyard. The rear patio of the homemade is a nice place to congregate, complete with a fire pit, ample seating, and even a hot tub. The hot tub was exposed to direct sunlight, however, which can get overbearing at the height of a sweltering Alabama summer.

A pergola offered a good solution to decorate the patio and mitigate the heat and brightness of the shining sun. Pergolas are generally constructed with four support posts connected at the top with rafters and decorative cross-members. Typically built of treated lumber, cedar, or redwood, they are fairly simple structures in design, but you should keep some basic building practices in mind to ensure the construction of a pergola lasts for years to come. Support Posts To adequately support the lumber overhead as well as give the pergola a sturdy look, you’ll probably need to use 6×6 for the support posts. For a very small pergola with only 4 to 6 feet between posts, 4×4 supports will work. For anything larger, though, the 6×6 stock will not only offer a beefier look and greater carrying capacity, but 6×6 also resists the twisting associated with the more spindly 4x4s. Most pergolas are constructed square to the nearest building structure. Dig the post holes according to the depth determined by your local building codes to get beneath the frost line in your area. Compact the soil at the bottom of the post holes, add gravel for drainage, then secure the post bottom with concrete while ensuring the posts are plumb and aligned perfectly square with the adjacent post locations. The posts are made of 6×6 treated lumber rated for ground contact. Setting a tall 6×6 post is a two-man job. It helps to have one man plumb and align the post while a second worker secures the bottom with concrete and attaches the brace boards that hold the post plumb while the concrete dries.

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The braces are made of 2×4 boards nailed to two adjacent sides of a post and angle down to the ground to prop up the posts. Once the post is plumb, the braces can be fastened by staking them to the ground (nailing the stakes to the brace bottoms). Repeat this procedure for all four ground-supported posts.

The pergola shown in this article covered an existing concrete patio, and one of the support posts sat on the patio and was fastened to the wall of the house. Damp soil conditions required the builders to fortify this post footing with extra gravel and concrete. Realize that even after the posts are plumb, square, and set in concrete, they can still shift out of position. To help ensure a square, plumb, and rigid assembly throughout construction, take a cue from pro framing contractors and brace everything with temporary 2×4 cross-braces to bridge the posts (nailed into the sides).

  1. Spend a little time on any rough-framing job site, and you’ll see all manner of temporary bracing and blocking at play.
  2. Follow this lead and use whatever bracing you need to assist the project during construction.
  3. Lumber Size The key to designing a pergola is its visual proportion.
  4. With 2×6 posts, the girders and cross-members will need to be larger; otherwise, the top of the structure will look undersized and anemic.

You also have to consider allowable span based on the size of the pergola you’re building. A 12-foot span is much too long for a 2×6 board, for example. Not only will it look weak to the eye, but it will sag over time. Most builders use a minimum of 2×8 for the upper framing members, and that’s for a small pergola. Setting the posts square and plumb is a two-man job. A typical pergola design is to have the tails of all of the horizontal boards cut with a decorative pattern. The tails impart the pergola with its elegant signature design and can be cut to a curved scalloped profile or a more angular geometric design—or anything in between. Stake the post braces to the ground to hold the posts in place while the concrete dries. After deciding on a rafter-tail pattern, cut the first rafter and use it as a template to mark the others. Cut the pattern using a combination of a handheld circular saw and jigsaw (for making tight curves and to connect intersecting cuts). After cutting the first girder, use it as a template to cut the tails on each matching girder. The thin blade of a jigsaw cuts the curved profile. Sand the profile to prevent splintering. Girders The next step in construction is the installation of the girders. The double girders are attached near the top of the pergola and connect the side posts to each other. Install the girders level across the side posts. Again, installation is a two-man job requiring two ladders. Once you’ve aligned a girder at the proper elevation on the support posts, ensure that it is perfectly level and tack it to the post with some framing nails to hold it temporarily in place until you can make a proper lag-bolt connection. Make the final connection by drilling two 1/2″ pilot holes through the posts and double girders. When determining the height of the girders, keep in mind that these will be the lowest horizontal members of the structure, so be sure to leave adequate headroom below. Fasten each corner assembly with two 1/2″ lag bolts, washers, and nuts. When all girders are tacked in place, drill two 1/2 inch holes completely through the girders and posts at each connection and secure each corner assembly with two 1/2 inch lag bolts. Tighten a washer and nut over the end of each bolt. The two pairs of girders will support the weight of the pergola’s rafters and purlins. Use 2×4 braces to hold the support structure plumb and square while building the pergola. Rafters Usually, the rafters are slightly smaller than the girders and are installed vertically, bridging over the girders at 90 degrees and overhanging each side with the decorative rafter tails. The rafters bridge over the girders at 90 degrees. The spacing of the rafters will vary according to your visual preference and the size of the pergola. Spacing the rafters 16 to 20 inches apart is common. The most important rule in spacing is to keep the distance consistent between all the rafters.

  • Install the front and rear rafters first, fastening them to the face of the support posts above the girder.
  • With the top and rear rafters in place, use a reciprocating saw to cut the top of the support posts off flush with the top of the rafters.
  • Install all remaining rafters spaced evenly between the front and rear rafters.

Install each rafter perfectly square and vertical to the girders, and toe-nail the rafters onto the girders (two nails at each joint). Cut the posts flush with the top of the rafters. Purlins The final layer of lumber on this project was the 2×4 purlins that were installed vertically over the rafters at 90 degrees, essentially forming a grid. Toe-nailed over the rafters, the two outermost purlins on the sides of the pergola are fastened, so they align on top of the outermost girders. Mark rafter locations so they’re spaced evenly between the front and rear rafters. Staining and sealing the wood with a waterproof finish is a smart way to add your color tone of choice while also protecting the wood from water and insect damage. Cedar and redwood have natural preservative oils that help protect from insect infestation and rot, but treated lumber is notably less expensive. The rafters are made of 2×10 on this project, one size smaller than the 2×12 girders. The treatment of lumber with waterborne preservatives leaves moisture in the wood. This is why fresh PT lumber often arrives wet from the supplier, and the moisture can impede the penetration of stains and paints. Toe-nail the rafters to the girders using two nails at each joint. Final Thoughts Although simple in design, building a pergola does require carpentry experience, some reliable power tools, and smart decisions in the planning stage. Take time to carefully plan every aspect of the project, especially making specific notes on how to attach the pergola to an existing structure if that’s what is required with your project. On top of the rafters, a layer of 2×4 purlins is installed at 90 degrees to the rafters and fastened in the same manner.

Why do roofers use nails instead of screws?

Nails vs. Screws: What’s the Difference? – Both nails and screws have their pur­pose, but for a long time, nails were select­ed over screws on projects because they were quick­er to fas­ten in place. How­ev­er, advance­ments made in tool tech­nol­o­gy changed all of this.

Because screws are much eas­i­er to remove than nails (you just adjust your pow­er drill to reverse), they come in handy on tem­po­rary projects that might need adjust­ing lat­er on. Nails bring a few ben­e­fits to your project, but it depends on what kind of project you’re up to. Nails are a favorite for large jobs in con­struc­tion because they’re cheap­er than screws and offer shear strength — or the abil­i­ty to with­stand shear pres­sure, where two sur­faces slide past each other.

But screws offer supe­ri­or ten­sile strength over nails. ​ ” This makes screws bet­ter for projects when joined pieces are under ten­sion or bear­ing weight, like porch rail­ings or kitchen cab­i­netry. Anoth­er ben­e­fit of screws is their resis­tance to with­draw­al pres­sure, or the ten­den­cy of sur­faces to pull apart,” says,

How do you stop pergola rotting?

Keeping Rot Away From Timber Posts – Softwoods – Pergola, Decking, Fencing & Carports, Roofing Timber posts are essential components of decks, pergolas and fences. What can you do to keep them from rotting away? Rot is simply caused by fungi that see your timber structure as food.

  1. These fungi attach themselves to the timber and proceed to make a meal out of it.
  2. It gets even worse when the timber is damaged or cracked, as these hostile organisms find their way into the structure and cause more damage.
  3. Very soon the timber decays as it is consumed by the fungi.
  4. Posts also bear a lot of weight due to the function they serve and the stress of carrying heavy loads can accelerate their deterioration.

When you build your outdoor living extension in very moist areas or places close to water then you have the perfect recipe for rot — moisture, oxygen and food for fungi in the form of your timber materials. There are some species of timber that are naturally resistant to rot-causing fungi, such as Ironbark, Tallowwood and Yellow Cedar.

But the performance of these resistant species may be variable, depending on whether they are obtained from heartwood (which is quite durable) or from sapwood (which will not be as durable). Your best bet then, to prolonging the life of your timber posts is to use treated timber. When properly treated, even the non-resistant varieties such as Radiata Pine and Mountain Ash can serve you well for as long as 50 years.

Timber must be treated to its optimum retention level and maximum penetration — the treatment needs to be fully absorbed by the timber deep into its structure. Otherwise, if the treatment stays only on the surface and the timber gets cracked or damaged, moisture and eventually fungi can get into it and cause it to rot anyway.

  1. These references on the Softwoods website will help you learn more about and,
  2. There are a couple more techniques you can use to ensure the longevity of your timber posts.
  3. Using post shoes elevates the posts above ground and clear of any water.
  4. This is a surefire way of avoiding deterioration.
  5. Setting the post into concrete also seems to help with its longevity.
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Concrete limits shifting, settling and lateral movements of the posts and may provide protection from moisture and shielding against harmful fungi. When used with correct timber treatment, these methods can help keep away rot from your timber posts. : Keeping Rot Away From Timber Posts – Softwoods – Pergola, Decking, Fencing & Carports, Roofing

What is the best roofing for a pergola?

Metal and aluminum – Aluminum and steel are suitable roof options. If you want a lightweight roof that is resistant to rusting, an aluminum pergola is a better option. However, if you don’t mind a heavier cover, a steel roof is ideal for resisting strong winds, heavy rain, and locations that have harsher weather. How To Build A Pergola With Roof

What is the best material for pergola canopy?

FABRIC FOR SC4500 Zipper screens with windows – If you are needing SC4500 zipper screens with windowes, the best fabric to use is Ferrri 502. These fabrics are made with precontraint technology so stretch is minimal. These fabrics are opaque and also water proof. Ferrri 602 can be used buut it is heavier and thicker, so best to use 502

What is the best material for a pergola cover?

In many ways, vinyl is the best pergola material as it will last a lifetime with only minimal maintenance on your part.

Can I use 2×6 for pergola rafters?

By Matt Weber – Pergolas have long been popular additions to a home because they add style and character to the outdoor living space. They can vary in size and design to fit different landscapes and have the added benefit of breaking up the sunlight (but not too much) in areas of the yard where people like to relax and entertain.

  • That was Steve and Blakeney’s reason for adding a new pergola to their backyard.
  • The rear patio of the homemade is a nice place to congregate, complete with a fire pit, ample seating, and even a hot tub.
  • The hot tub was exposed to direct sunlight, however, which can get overbearing at the height of a sweltering Alabama summer.

A pergola offered a good solution to decorate the patio and mitigate the heat and brightness of the shining sun. Pergolas are generally constructed with four support posts connected at the top with rafters and decorative cross-members. Typically built of treated lumber, cedar, or redwood, they are fairly simple structures in design, but you should keep some basic building practices in mind to ensure the construction of a pergola lasts for years to come. Support Posts To adequately support the lumber overhead as well as give the pergola a sturdy look, you’ll probably need to use 6×6 for the support posts. For a very small pergola with only 4 to 6 feet between posts, 4×4 supports will work. For anything larger, though, the 6×6 stock will not only offer a beefier look and greater carrying capacity, but 6×6 also resists the twisting associated with the more spindly 4x4s. Most pergolas are constructed square to the nearest building structure. Dig the post holes according to the depth determined by your local building codes to get beneath the frost line in your area. Compact the soil at the bottom of the post holes, add gravel for drainage, then secure the post bottom with concrete while ensuring the posts are plumb and aligned perfectly square with the adjacent post locations. The posts are made of 6×6 treated lumber rated for ground contact. Setting a tall 6×6 post is a two-man job. It helps to have one man plumb and align the post while a second worker secures the bottom with concrete and attaches the brace boards that hold the post plumb while the concrete dries.

  1. The braces are made of 2×4 boards nailed to two adjacent sides of a post and angle down to the ground to prop up the posts.
  2. Once the post is plumb, the braces can be fastened by staking them to the ground (nailing the stakes to the brace bottoms).
  3. Repeat this procedure for all four ground-supported posts.

The pergola shown in this article covered an existing concrete patio, and one of the support posts sat on the patio and was fastened to the wall of the house. Damp soil conditions required the builders to fortify this post footing with extra gravel and concrete. Realize that even after the posts are plumb, square, and set in concrete, they can still shift out of position. To help ensure a square, plumb, and rigid assembly throughout construction, take a cue from pro framing contractors and brace everything with temporary 2×4 cross-braces to bridge the posts (nailed into the sides).

Spend a little time on any rough-framing job site, and you’ll see all manner of temporary bracing and blocking at play. Follow this lead and use whatever bracing you need to assist the project during construction. Lumber Size The key to designing a pergola is its visual proportion. With 2×6 posts, the girders and cross-members will need to be larger; otherwise, the top of the structure will look undersized and anemic.

You also have to consider allowable span based on the size of the pergola you’re building. A 12-foot span is much too long for a 2×6 board, for example. Not only will it look weak to the eye, but it will sag over time. Most builders use a minimum of 2×8 for the upper framing members, and that’s for a small pergola. Setting the posts square and plumb is a two-man job. A typical pergola design is to have the tails of all of the horizontal boards cut with a decorative pattern. The tails impart the pergola with its elegant signature design and can be cut to a curved scalloped profile or a more angular geometric design—or anything in between. Stake the post braces to the ground to hold the posts in place while the concrete dries. After deciding on a rafter-tail pattern, cut the first rafter and use it as a template to mark the others. Cut the pattern using a combination of a handheld circular saw and jigsaw (for making tight curves and to connect intersecting cuts). After cutting the first girder, use it as a template to cut the tails on each matching girder. The thin blade of a jigsaw cuts the curved profile. Sand the profile to prevent splintering. Girders The next step in construction is the installation of the girders. The double girders are attached near the top of the pergola and connect the side posts to each other. Install the girders level across the side posts. Again, installation is a two-man job requiring two ladders. Once you’ve aligned a girder at the proper elevation on the support posts, ensure that it is perfectly level and tack it to the post with some framing nails to hold it temporarily in place until you can make a proper lag-bolt connection. Make the final connection by drilling two 1/2″ pilot holes through the posts and double girders. When determining the height of the girders, keep in mind that these will be the lowest horizontal members of the structure, so be sure to leave adequate headroom below. Fasten each corner assembly with two 1/2″ lag bolts, washers, and nuts. When all girders are tacked in place, drill two 1/2 inch holes completely through the girders and posts at each connection and secure each corner assembly with two 1/2 inch lag bolts. Tighten a washer and nut over the end of each bolt. The two pairs of girders will support the weight of the pergola’s rafters and purlins. Use 2×4 braces to hold the support structure plumb and square while building the pergola. Rafters Usually, the rafters are slightly smaller than the girders and are installed vertically, bridging over the girders at 90 degrees and overhanging each side with the decorative rafter tails. The rafters bridge over the girders at 90 degrees. The spacing of the rafters will vary according to your visual preference and the size of the pergola. Spacing the rafters 16 to 20 inches apart is common. The most important rule in spacing is to keep the distance consistent between all the rafters.

Install the front and rear rafters first, fastening them to the face of the support posts above the girder. With the top and rear rafters in place, use a reciprocating saw to cut the top of the support posts off flush with the top of the rafters. Install all remaining rafters spaced evenly between the front and rear rafters.

Install each rafter perfectly square and vertical to the girders, and toe-nail the rafters onto the girders (two nails at each joint). Cut the posts flush with the top of the rafters. Purlins The final layer of lumber on this project was the 2×4 purlins that were installed vertically over the rafters at 90 degrees, essentially forming a grid. Toe-nailed over the rafters, the two outermost purlins on the sides of the pergola are fastened, so they align on top of the outermost girders. Mark rafter locations so they’re spaced evenly between the front and rear rafters. Staining and sealing the wood with a waterproof finish is a smart way to add your color tone of choice while also protecting the wood from water and insect damage. Cedar and redwood have natural preservative oils that help protect from insect infestation and rot, but treated lumber is notably less expensive. The rafters are made of 2×10 on this project, one size smaller than the 2×12 girders. The treatment of lumber with waterborne preservatives leaves moisture in the wood. This is why fresh PT lumber often arrives wet from the supplier, and the moisture can impede the penetration of stains and paints. Toe-nail the rafters to the girders using two nails at each joint. Final Thoughts Although simple in design, building a pergola does require carpentry experience, some reliable power tools, and smart decisions in the planning stage. Take time to carefully plan every aspect of the project, especially making specific notes on how to attach the pergola to an existing structure if that’s what is required with your project. On top of the rafters, a layer of 2×4 purlins is installed at 90 degrees to the rafters and fastened in the same manner.