How Tall Are Your Visitors
I say ‘visitors’, but it may only be used by you and your family, or even just you, if you like your own space. Nevertheless, the same principles still apply.
Here, Jimmy is standing under a pergola beam.; Thankfully it’s early in the evening and he hasn’t had too much to drink.;
At 6ft 2″ the beam only just clears his head;, something that needs serious consideration when people are socialising!;
Ooh, that’s close!
Even though these beams are seriously chunky, the pergola – strictly a gazebo – looks perfectly OK in this setting.
How To Determine Pergola Rafter Spacing
Careful pergola rafter spacing along with attractive hardware will make your pergola a thing of beauty.
I spent a happy eight months working as part of a carpentry crew at the Canaveral National Seashore in Florida. The seashore is a wildlife preserve, and to protect the unique ecosystem of the dunes, we were charged with building boardwalks, viewing platforms, and other elevated areas to keep visitors from treading the delicate flora of the dunes beneath their sandal-clad feet. Sometimes we would build pergolas on the existing deck surface of these platforms. The park service had a tendency to order too much lumber, and building pergolas was a useful way to use up the excess lumber while providing visitors with a somewhat shaded place to rest when theyd gotten too much sun.
These extra pergolas ended up being horrible time sinks. The reason was that the structures werent part of the original plans, and were added on halfway through. Usually, we did this by deciding to leave certain posts in the center of the platform excessively long so we could use them as posts in the pergola. This led to odd shapes, weird spacings, and constant trips back to boardwalks that were already completed to mess around with the rafters to try to get things to look right. It can be difficult to get pergola rafter spacing exactly right, especially if its a pergola with unusual dimensions.
Secure The Joist To The House
- 1.1;-;Determine the location of the joist: higher than the headers but the same height as the rafters.
- 1.2;-;Remove the aluminum, vinyl or wood exterior cladding 1 foot above the location where the joist will be installed.
- 1.3;-;Localize all structural elements. Studs are normally 16″ apart on either side of the door.
- 1.4;-;Start from the centre of the joist and mark the location for each joist hanger: every 14″ centre-to- centre.
- 1.5;-;Secure the metal joist hangers to the joist.
- 1.6;-;Strongly secure the joist to structural elements of the house.
- 1.7;-;Caulk the top of the joist and install galvanized steel flashing to prevent water from penetrating.
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How To Build A Pergola Adding The End Beams
We will add the first layer of beams, the outer beams . We will sandwich the 6 x 6 with two 2 x 12 beams. We know we want the overall height of our pergola to be at about 10 feet so we need to have the bottom of our 2 x 12 at 9 feet. Mark each post on both sides at 9 feet. The easiest way to attach the 2 x 12s is to place a scrap piece of wood at the 9 foot mark and either hammer it in or hold it with a vise. I suggest hammering it in. This piece of scrap wood will give you a brace to support the beam while you attach it to the 6 x 6. Dont forget to measure to make sure your 2 x 12 is centered.
Once the 2 x 12 is in place drill through the beam and post with a paddle bit and attach the beams to the post with a lag bolt, washer and nut.
After all four beams are attached to the 6 x 6s trim any of the 6 x 6 above the 2 x 12s off with your reciprocating saw.
Installing The Beams And Rafters
Before adding your support beams, use a 2×4 and level to make sure all the posts are the exact same height. Trim with a circular saw if needed.
Set each 2-by-8 board on edge on top of the posts, with an equal distance of overhang at each end. Mark with a pencil. Then temporarily fix a beam to the outer side of the posts at each end with two 4-inch screws. Attach the other three beams in the same way, using a level to check for evenness at the top.
Next, set each rafter in place on edge on top of the beams spaced 1-foot apart on-center with the end rafters over the support posts.
Measure to make sure the overhang of each rafter is the same all the way around.
Once all the rafters are in place, permanently secure the beams with 8-inch galvanized bolts. Use a ½-inch drill bit to pre-drill a top and bottom hole in the center of each post. Use a hammer to pound the beams through the holes. Secure with a ½-inch nut.
Now you can stain, paint, or finish your new pergola to match your home. Consider laying patio pavers for a low maintenance floor, adding furniture, a grill, and potted plants.
For more on pergolas, read TOHs How to Build a Garage Pergola.
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Prepare The Roof Structure
- 2.1;-;Draw the shape you want for the ends of the rafters and headers on a piece of cardboard.
- 4 x 4 Posts
- 2.2;-;Cut both 4″× 4″ posts at the same height as the joist
- 2.3;-;Mark the locations of the headers that will support the rafters on both posts.
- 2.4;-;Determine the location of the metal post bases on the deck, and screw in.
- 2.5;-;Anchor the posts in the bases.
- 2.6;-;Check that the posts are square and level.
Fixing The Cross Beams
Lay the cross beams over the main beams where they are to be positioned, ensuring that they are equally distanced at both ends. Mark where they touch the main beams, then take them down and cut out a notch so that the crossbeam slots snugly over the main beam. Try to make sure that you rebate each beam by the same amount, so that they are level across the top of the pergola.
Fix each crossbeam into place using wood glue and nails or screws.
You can give your pergola a decorative or oriental look by using a jigsaw to trim the bottom corner of each end of the crossbeams. Make sure you paint wood preservative on all cut ends.
All project content written and produced by Mike Edwards, founder of DIY Doctor and industry expert in building technology.
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Fixing The Upright Posts
Clear the area where your pergola is to be situated and dig holes for each upright, about 300mm x 300mm wide and 600mm deep. Prop posts in two of the holes, balance a crossbeam over the top and use a spirit level to ensure they are level. Remove or backfill mud if you need to level one of the posts.
Repeat this process for the other posts. It will help if you have some scrap pieces of batten you can screw to the posts to support them. Ensure all the posts are in line with one another as well as level. Fill in the holes with a stiff mix of concrete, or ready-mixed post-crete, making sure each post is level upright using a plumb line. See our Concreting Fence Posts project for more information.
Let the concrete set for two days before continuing with the build. This time can be reduced if you are using ready-mixed, quick-drying post-crete.
Shop Online For 12 X 12 Garden Pergola Kits 2x Beams With 6 X 6 Posts Made From High
- 12 ft. x 12 ft. in dimension
- The garden pergola kit has 2x joists
- with 6 x 6 pergola posts
- Actual post dimension: 6 in. x 6 in. x 8 ft. 0 in.
- Made from high-quality and sustainable source Western Red Cedar wood
- Choose wide selections of exquisite pergola top end cut design from A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H.
- Helps define your outdoor space and creates a visual interest in your backyard
- Beautifully designed outdoor structure which can increase the value of a home
- Can be freestanding or an outdoor extension of your home
- Creates an ideal shade platform for outdoor seating area
- Easy to hang plants such as vines or sheer curtains, install lights, and decorative outdoor fixtures
- Great outlining and separating outdoor spaces
- Has a unique beauty that surpasses that of most standard awnings
- Durable and low maintenance; inexpensive and easy to build
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Bottom Of Beam Height
Eight feet is head clearance height for standard shade shelters.
For sloped or step-down areas you will need longer posts and a higher headway.
There are also other types of pergola structures that would need it taller than just for headroom. For example, a car stall, boat shelter, farm equipment cover, or when tailoring for a sightline, etc.
The perfect combination of coziness and wide-open freedom is found in the height of the bottom-of-the-beam and roof height. We recommend that you never go under 7 feet height to a bottom beam for headroom.
How To Build Your Pergola The Simple Steps To Success
Over the years, we ended up creating quite a few more pergolas for friends, neighbors and family. Below, we share the simple secrets and tips we have learned over the years to create a beautiful structure that lasts. All of course, with keeping an eye on the budget!
Here is a look below at our biggest keys to success, step by step:
#1 Choosing;The Right Lumber
Building a strong, attractive pergola all starts with choosing the right lumber. One thing we have learned is that 4 x 4 posts are simply not strong enough to hold up over time. Nor is wood that is 1 inch thick or less for the top of the structure.
We use;only 6 x 6 treated posts, and 2x treated lumber for building our pergolas. Although there are thinner and less costly options, the thickness of 2x lumber gives the piece massive long-term strength and durability.
As for what type of wood to use, we have found treated lumber to be the most economical and durable choice. By far! Cedar is an option, but the cost of cedar is astronomical. And in many cases, cedar will still warp and twist.
Treated lumber has come a long way in the past few years. Its also extremely versatile. It can be left to weather to a natural grey patina, or painted or stained to match existing colors. And it builds one beautiful, strong and affordable pergola!
What Does It Cost To Build Your Own Pergola
How To Build A Pergola Deciding On Size
The first thing you will need to know is how large do you want your pergola. As I said we will work off a 10 x 10 example. The next question we need to answer is will the post be buried in the ground or attached to the concrete. If possible I suggest putting all four in the ground. We were only able to get two post in the ground.
Measure and mark where all four post will go, they should be 10 feet a part based on our 10 x 10 example.
Dig Holes For The Posts
For best results, start with a level site that has good drainage and measure out the dimensions to make sure it can accommodate the pergola. Once the site is ready to go, it’s time to dig holes for the footers. All footers should be to local codes, which is usually below the frost line. Dig three holes in the first row, eight feet apart. The second row will be set up the same way, 10 feet in front of the first.
Measuring Twice And Levelling Concrete
We measured where the tubes were set and patted ourselves on the back. But when it came time to set the post base, we realized that we were off a smidgen. It wasnt a HUGE deal, but it does look a bit funny when you consider how off-center the base is.;
Also, we learned levelling;off the surface concrete is extremely important. Any;valleys in the concrete will allow water to pool, which is not ideal for;wood. Its crucial to take the time and consider where runoff will go when;finishing your concrete.;
Choosing The Right Location And Pergola Plans & Designs
Because this DIY pergola project is made to stand independent of the house, you can either locate it right near your house as we did or let it stand alone in the garden. You can also consider using wood chips or gravel as a floor or even pour a concrete slab underneath. By keeping it unattached , you dont have to deal with moving existing gutters or matching eaves. You also dont have to mess with frost footings . However, if you have clay soil, its best to dig to frost depth for your footings to prevent frost heave.
Our existing patio was built over a sand and compacted gravel base, so we removed only the stones necessary to dig the 12-in. diameter holes to secure the posts. Youll most likely have a different situation.;Build a pergola over an existing patio saves you a lot of time, money and work.
If youll be adding a patio later, be sure to pour all the footings at the finished patio height as part of your pergola designs. Keep in mind any slope youll include in the patio. Most patios slope about 1/8 in. per foot to drain.
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How To Build A Stunning Pergola
Pergolas provide shade for your patio and can add an element of design to your backyard. Read this to learn;how to build a pergola in your yard.
Typically found in gardens and backyards, a pergola is a structure that says, Sit here. Lets visit awhile. It includes vertical posts supporting a lattice of crossbeams that provide limited shade. Pergolas come in all shapes and sizes and help to define an outdoor space, often for backyard entertaining. Vines like wisteria, honeysuckle, and jasmine provide additional shade on hot summer days.
Always check with your homeowners association and your countys building department before erecting any structure in your yard. Ask about permits and local codes, particularly the depth required for setting your posts.
Go Build Your Pergola The Easy Way
Forget digging pergola footings and use the as a solid alternative to common residential backyard pergolas.
This pergola is a bit of a twist on the traditional style you are used to seeing.; It incorporates the horizontal linear look of so many of Franklin Lloyd Wright’s timeless designs.
And yet it retains the common elements of most traditional pergolas.
If your soil is compatible with an auger style footing then this style of pergola footing may by perfect for your next project.
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Measure Your Soffits To Determine The Diy Pergola Column Centers
If pergola designs include building close to the house, first measure the projection of your eaves. Keep the center of the posts nearest the house at least 7 in. farther from the house than this measurement;to accurately position the column centers near but not too close to the house. Drive remote stakes an equal distance from the house, attaching a string to help mark and align the outer post locations.
To keep the posts in alignment, stake your post locations using remote stakes with a string. With the stakes driven beyond the work area, youll be able to undo the string while you dig and then reattach it later to check for alignment. To check for left-to-right placement parallel to the house, just measure the distance from one of the remote stakes and write this measurement on a notepad. To make sure the layout is square, adjust the diagonal measurements of the postholes so theyre equal.
Prepare Support Beams And Rafters
The support beams attach to the posts and carry the load of the structure. You need two support beams on each end of the pergola. The rafters sit atop the support beams.
Using a circular saw, cut your four 2-by-8 support beams and nine 2-by-6 rafters to the desired length. To create a decorative look on the end of the boards, draw a design on the wood with a pencil and cut with a jigsaw.
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Your Diy Pergola Makes Everything Even Cooler: Part 2
This weeks post was written by;Jen Woodhouse from;The House of Wood.
Hi friends! Im excited to be back to share how we built this gorgeous DIY pergola with Simpson Strong-Ties new Outdoor Accents® line. If youd like to read about how we built the floating deck, .
If you recall, we built the floating deck and pergola for our neighbors, who also happen to be a fellow military family. The deck and pergola are our welcome home gift to their deployed soldier. Arent they amazing? Im so thrilled that we were able to work with Simpson Strong-Tie and give our neighbors a beautiful new outdoor space that they can enjoy for years to come.
First and foremost, check with your local building codes and acquire permits if necessary. Because the deck is less than 30off the ground and isnt attached to the house, no permit was required. Our local code also doesnt require railings for decks under 30high. Be sure to check with your local codes for specific requirements. We did, however, have to obtain a permit for the pergola. About $36 dollars and a week later, we had a permit for the pergola and could begin our work.
We also contacted the local utility companies and had them come out and mark where the utility lines ran underground, so we knew where to avoid when digging. We had to secure the pergola posts into the ground, so we did that before building the deck around it.
Then we checked to make sure the posts were plumb and level before bracing them with spare 2×4 studs.