I have a special treat for you today! My brother-in-law, Curt is sharing his first guest post here at Kenarry: Ideas for the Home. He and his wife built an amazing covered roof for their patio to provide a little shade and rain protection in their backyard. I think it looks incredible and was thrilled when Curt told me he wanted to share a tutorial for how to build a DIY covered patio on Kenarry: Ideas for the Home. I’ll let Curt take it from here!
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It is that time of the year when I start planning my summer projects. Most of the year I spend my time teaching English: grammar, styled writing, paragraph frameworks and a smattering of really good literature, but in the summer I am able to get my hands dirty and build stuff. This year I picked two major projects. The first is going to be a covering for our outdoor patio, and the second will be a natural swimming pond. This post will be covering the former and you can check out our DIY pond here.
Video Overview of DIY Patio Cover
Take a quick video tour to get a visual perspective on the scope and features of the DIY Covered Patio:
How To Cover A Patio
There are numerous ways to cover a patio.
My favorites include:
- Pitched roof structures
After carefully considering costs and benefits, the one that best fit the family’s needs was a modified trellis that not only created shade, but also a dry space.
DIY Patio Cover Size & Cost
The patio area to be covered is fairly large, 24’X12’, so spanning it became the major obstacle. The two choices were to run 12’ beams and then get 24’ engineered trusses to cover the span, or run 24’ beams and run 12’ 2X8’s to span the 10’ gap. If we had chosen the former, we would have gone with a gabled ceiling trimmed out with tongue and groove cedar, and covered with asphalt shingles.
In the end, the cost differential was substantial enough that the latter was a better choice. The final cost including all the finishing materials was just under $2000.
How to Make A DIY Patio Cover
Let’s start your project. This tutorial will walk you through every step. At the end, you’ll have a shaded patio that you built yourself.
1. Decide Patio Dimensions
Start the project by deciding your covered area’s dimensions: width, depth, and height.
Lumber has limitations, so it is important to get accurate information regarding expected loads and spans. The local lumber yard is a great place to start and can tell you what size lumber you will need for your project.
In this case, the span was over 24’ in one direction, which required an engineered beam, but the other span was only 10’ so the project only required 2X8’s 12’ long set 2’ on center.
The project also used 3’ 4×4’s diagonally mounted and secured with 6” lag screws.
2. Choose The Type of Wood to Use
Another consideration for this project was the type of wood to use. After comparing the cost and aesthetics of cedar vs fir, cost overruled looks for us and at a third less was the more viable choice.
The Sikkens teak cedar stain turned the #2 fir beautiful, but the one time that the can was shaken and not stirred, the wood was a lot lighter because the pigment was at the bottom of the gallon can.
3. Square Up The Posts By Measuring Horizontally & Diagonally
When you start putting this project together, make sure that you square up your posts by measuring horizontally and diagonally. If you do not take the time to do this you will face extensive headaches when you install the lattice and roofing.
4. Brace Everything
Next, you need to make sure you reinforce and brace it correctly.
The 4×6 posts were installed on peer pads with pre-installed brackets, but in hindsight, the posts should have been buried at least 3’. This would have helped eliminate some of the swaying that occurred when I was crawling across the 2x2s installing the Tuff-Tex. The project’s opening is nearly 13’ high and required extensive bracing.
The project was stabilized by attaching the 2×8 with brackets and strong-tie nails, extensive stapling of the lattice and screwing the Tuff-Tex down every other corrugated wave along the 2×2.
12” black steel strong-tie L brackets secured the beam to post, a flat iron strip was lagged into the beam and the house, and the hanging baskets structure finished stabilizing the structure.
5. Stabilize the Structure
In the end, 2×6 were attached to the outside and inside of the beams front to back, and then the end pieces that were cut from the posts were used between the boards. Besides further stabilizing the structure it allowed for hooks to be mounted and hanging baskets hung down the sides of the structure. I also installed a drip irrigation system that was very easy to install and works wonderfully.
- Decide on your dimensions.
- Visit the lumber yard and get help picking lumber that will meet your local area codes for snow loads and wind shear.
- Square up the post holes and install the posts, use a level and braces to keep them straight.
- Make sure the bad side of your beam is facing the sky.
- Mark out the top of your beams either 2’ or 16” on center, depending on loads and lumber size.
- Install your brackets on the marks.
- Lift and install your beams, re-check that your posts are level.
- Install the diagonal cross braces and lag screws
- Install your cross members and nail them with strong-tie nails to the brackets
- Next, it is time to staple your pre-stained lattice to the cross members.
- When you install your lattice put up enough sheets to check that everything is square before you start stapling things in place.
- In order for you to properly install your roofing, you will need to install 2×2 members perpendicular to the cross member. I used 3 inch galvanized nails but these could be screwed in place.
- Now install your roofing. Do not skimp on the screws. This structure will be a giant sail in the wind, and the roofing creates a lot of shear strength for the entire structure.
- Begin wrapping things up by installing metal bracing and if necessary secure the structure to the main building.
- Finally, add the final bracing and decorative touches.
When the final touches were finished and the drip irrigation was added for the hanging baskets, it was time for me and my wife to enjoy the evening fire.
More DIY Projects
While you’re here, be sure to check out other DIY projects on Kenarry: Ideas for the Home, like DIY Board and Batten Shutters or DIY Ceiling Mounted Garage Storage Shelves. If you enjoyed this tutorial for how to build a DIY covered patio, please share it with your friends or pin it for later:
Besides being Kent’s super awesome big brother, Curt has been a teacher for 23 years and put himself through college by working in the construction industry. He enjoys spending his free time with his family, fishing, projects around the house and tinkering with his home theater.
Originally published 2015. Updated June 2018.