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What is Involved in Building a Patio Roof?

What is Involved in Building a Patio Roof?


patio roofA patio roof can be a welcome addition to any patio. It provides shade, protection from rain, and added décor. There are countless options for styles of patio roofs – they can be full-cover wood, rafters for filtered sunlight, draped over with cloth, or screened with climbing vines and flowers. Although many homeowners might be uncomfortable with the idea of building their own patio roof, it is possible to make it a DIY project with the right materials and some building know-how. This is a rough outline of the steps that need to be taken.

What steps are involved in building a patio roof?

house-attached patio roof diagramMost basic patio roofs start with a base of separated wooden rafters. The rafters can be left as they are, covered with cloth or plant life, or covered with more wood. Since patios are commonly right next to their homes, many patio roofs can be attached to the house, which means they can take advantage of the house as a means of support. There are a number of steps involved in building a patio roof.

  1. Check with your city or neighborhood building code as to whether you need a building license or permit to construct a patio roof. Certain types of patio roofs may be prohibited by the building code depending on whether they are attached directly to the patio deck or to concrete slabs underneath.
  2. Plan out the area that the patio roof will cover. Determine where the roof will end. If you are attaching the patio roof to preexisting beams or joists on the patio, you can use heavy-duty bolts. If you are creating footings for the roof in a slab of concrete, you need to drill holes for post anchors that will support the roof columns.
  3. Determine where you will be attaching the roof to the house. Mount a horizontal ledger board along the house. The roof rafters will extend out from this board. Attach the ledger to the house with screw or bolts sixteen inches apart from each other, or as specified by your local building code.
  4. “Flash” the ledger to prevent water from seeping behind it when it rains. This means capping the ledger with sheets of aluminum.
  5. Plan out the layout of the roof boards by laying the pieces of wood out on the ground. Mark your measurements precisely – this is important to making sure that the roof will be sturdy and up to code. Double-check before you start putting up the rafters.
  6. Erect the roof posts, again making sure that your measurements are accurate. It is a good idea to cut the posts longer than necessary before putting them up.
  7. Cut your beams and rafters and prepare to put them up. You will need someone to help you lift them up onto the posts, as they can be very heavy and awkward. Secure all rafters to posts and the ledger with bolts or other tools.

freestanding patio roof diagramObviously, more specific instructions would be helpful for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of construction experience. It is feasible to build your own patio roof, but be sure to study the process beforehand and have help available.


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