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How to Build Your Own Pergola Roof

How to Build Your Own Pergola Roof

Get your yard gorgeous with this DIY guide to building a pergola roof. You’ll want to put this on your to-do list.

Looking for a DIY project that will totally transform your garden overnight (or, well, over the weekend technically)? Why not build a pergola roof? Here’s everything you need to know to tackle this surprisingly manageable project.

What is a pergola roof?

Before we get started, let’s clarify some language. A pergola is a garden structure that has vertical beams supporting a lattice on top. It’s almost like a roof with lots of holes in it, and they’re used to create a link between various elements. In recent years, they’ve been used to facilitate indoor-outdoor living, and are often placed over decks, similar to where you might find an awning.

Step 1: gather your materials

Adding a roof to your pergola isn’t a huge job, and for your tools, you should have everything you need around the house.

  • A tape measure
  • Step ladder
  • Electric drill (or screwdriver)

And that’s it! For your actual building materials, it’s going to depend on what you want to do to your pergola. It’s best to talk to an expert to learn what materials are possible, and what’s going to work for your unique environment and needs.

For now, though, let’s assume you’re going to use standard corrugated fiberglass. You’ll need enough to cover your pergola roof and the right fasteners to attach it (in this case, screws with an armored neoprene washer head).

Remember to get a material that is sized correctly for your pergola terrace spans, since they’re effectively going to become the crossbeams for your roof.

The last step before you start is to make sure that your structure is strong enough to support a roof. While the roofing material will likely be extremely light, when the wind comes through, the roof will act like a sail, putting enormous pressure on the supports and the whole structure.

To make sure that your pergola doesn’t collapse during the first big storm, your support beams should be anchored in concrete. You should also check with your local building authority or city inspection service. They’ll be able to help you know if your structure is sound or if you need to reinforce it first.

You should also check with your local building authority or city inspection service. They’ll be able to help you know if your structure is sound or if you need to reinforce it first.

Step 2: start laying your panels

Now that you’ve got all your materials and you know your structure is sound, it’s time to start laying your panels and screwing them in. This is fairly straightforward, but there are a few things to consider.

First, you want to lay your panels starting in the lee of the prevailing winds. You can look up your local winds online and build INTO the wind. This way, each new panel protected the joint of the one behind it, and it’s impossible for the wind to catch an edge and damage the roof.

Step 3: protecting your roof

Your last step is to lay extra panels along the edges for additional protection since they’re the most exposed.

And that’s it! Your pergola roof is done.

All that’s left is to kick back and enjoy the sunshine without the sunburn.

About Gary Ater

Gary Ater

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