How To Build A Patio Canopy – We added a covered porch to our home and not just any patio… a 30 foot span patio!
It feels good to write this post because it means the patio is finished! This journey started with a little dreaming at the beginning of the year, then a lot of planning and then many nights and weekends of hard work. Yes, this was not an overnight or even weekend project! Since we did it we had to do it in stages. Not ourselves…we worked with Simpson Strong-Tie for awesome hardware, Paul’s Ace Hardware provided the wood, and we had some friends and neighbors help along the way!
How To Build A Patio Canopy
So let’s start with the design. My husband wanted a deep patio where we could get an unobstructed view. Our existing patio was 30′ long and the height was perfect so we didn’t cover our two bedroom windows. Our house is already on the dark side and we wanted to have as much natural light as possible. So we knew it was 30′ long, but how would we get to that large span without a beam in the middle? I didn’t think it would work, but my husband refused. So I went and talked to a construction friend and he said it would be possible with 18” glulam. He recommends adding another set of posts near the outside that won’t block the view but will help balance the look. I totally agree and it’s one of our favorite things. He also said we could get away with short joists, but since we left them exposed, I went with 3×8’s to fix it up again. As far as depth, we settled on 14′ to use standard 16′ joists instead of measuring the pine to 20′ and then cutting it to size.
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We got all the wood for the building from Paul’s Hardware. They are not your typical ace in that they offer a full line of woods and full house packages. But what I like most about them is their customer service. It doesn’t matter who you talk to there, everyone knows and everyone cares about the success of your project! If you’re local to me, I highly recommend checking them out for your next project.
Now on the building… I won’t pretend to tell you how to build a patio, add codes and permits and what not, so I’ll give you the basics and share what we’ve learned. Way the first thing we learned is hard formatting… #thishard! Finding straight lines and parallel lines and parallel lines is a problem if you don’t have to do it if you don’t know the tricks and tricks of the deal. I found the 3-4-5 method on youtube and it works perfectly and what we used to plan everything, is a way to measure and find the perfect angle in the construction process.
After everything was set up, hubby dug the footers and we poured the footers in two stages. I don’t think it’s common for your average patio, but because of our time and the weight of this glulam that’s the way our builder did it. The first pour was easy, we reinforced the hole with rebar and put another rebar in the concrete after pouring to connect the first pour to the second. For the second pour I made the form and we had to put the back bases in the concrete. It was difficult and difficult for us because we had to make sure they were in the right place. Luckily we measured everything and routed the wires which way to make it easier. But know that concrete work is hard work…it takes 45-90 pound bags to fill a foot! Oh and a tip: buy yourself a concrete angle grinder to remove sharp corners. We didn’t even think about it and we’ve never worked with concrete before, so now I have to sand the sharp areas.
#Demode was back! It was really nice to see the old patio coming down and that means things are happening! I got some wood and built a new porch dining table. If you haven’t seen that building yet, you can check it out here. It’s a matter of course when I tell people where I’m from.
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We wanted to get as much height under the patio as we could especially since the 18” glulam would block some of the views if it wasn’t tall enough. So we covered our roof the night before and put buttons on the outer wall of our house. In order to cut the shingles and sheathing exactly where we wanted, the circular saw was used with a deep set to cut only the trusses. Oh and the blade we used on the saw was called the Diablo Demo Demon. It did the job of cutting and we only needed 1 blade for what we did. We then cut the truss tails using a reciprocating saw with a combination shear blade, also from Diablo. The blade gave a nice clean cut. We are praying for rain on the open roof!
The next step for us was to fix the job. We had already put the post base in concrete, but we wanted to put the post before we had the crane to deliver the glulam. So I took them at the beginning of the week, cut them to the final height and sanded them. Then my husband helped to heat them. We used Accent Strong Tie Outdoor Accent Structural wood screws and washers. They were easy to install and the bolt connection looks great. Also, they have a little play so we had room to borrow and compare everything after installation.
That weekend we woke up to beat the heat and were ready to go…or so I thought. While the lumber truck was setting up the cage, someone measured the steel (5 1/2″) and then the glulam (5 1/8″)…as I instructed. But I assumed that one of those measurements was nominal and that would be enough. But they don’t! They make two sizes of glulam 5 1/8″ thick and 5 1/2″. 5 1/2″ thick called X-Lime. It’s enough to learn the details, but I know if next time. Needless to say our day was short and we sent the glulam back and waited for a new one. It was going to be the look of the patio and we wanted to make sure it looked good .
But I had brought in the joists and since we had to wait another week or two to get new glulam, I thought I wanted to get the joists. I was planning to do this after installation, but I’m glad it went this way because there was a lot of sand!!!
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When the crane came back with the X-beam everything happened quickly… the right beam, we measured it and there were no problems. We then attached the joist directly to the glulam using some Simpson Strong-Tie joist hangers that were custom powder coated for us. We designed the station to be easy to install and in retrospect we could have made a better station, well it did the job. On the joist side of the house we used one Simpson Strong-Tie bracket on both side joists to secure them to the top plate of our exterior wall. From the installation of the crane to the last joist was only four hours with four people. It’s a really nice day… so we decided to post my new DIY Cool Deck Box!
The following week I did some more sanding and polishing of all the wood using General Finishes Exterior 450.
Then the next evening and at the end of the week my husband and I installed the purlins (which we used to cover the roof of the house), which were shiny with tin. My husband is the most famous one here because he knows about metal bending and influence. For the transition from the old roof to the new roof we went over the metal, which had our broken roof poles, under the old straw on one side and over the new sheets on the other. We add more collars of foam strips and seal between the two
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