Our home has a somewhat large patio (12x16) that was laid when we purchased it, and over the last eight summers we've improvised with patio umbrellas and canopies, sadly nothing being permanent. Just a few short weeks ago, we hosted a home birthday party for our boys and it was so sunny and warm. I hated that our guests were having to trickle inside to cool off. That's when Chad and I made the decision that a pergola was a necessary addition to our patio.
The following week I spent many hours scouring the Internet for pergola designs, directions, and material lists. I found two websites (http://www.thehandmadehome.net/2013/01/how-to-build-a-pergola/) (http://homefixated.com/how-to-build-a-pergola/) that were helpful, so Chad and I took helpful hints from both sites and drafted our own plan of action.
Our goal was to build the pergola as large as possible, using as much of the patio as possible. The outer 4 posts are set approx. 15ft W x 10ft D. And because we needed a large amount of wood we enlisted the help of my brother to get the materials home. He's equipped with both a large truck and 16 foot trailer, making this super easy.
Our list of materials is as follows:
(6) 6x6x8 posts
(6) 6x6 standoff post base
(6) 1/2" x 3.75" concrete wedge anchor
(4) 2x10x16 pressure treated (p.t)
(14) 2x6x12 p.t
(2) 1x4x8 p.t
(12) 10" galvanized carriage bolts, with nuts and washers
(1) 5lb box 3" exterior screws
(17) 2x4x16 p.t
Since our concrete is in solid, excellent condition and plenty deep enough to drill into, we chose to set our posts directly onto the concrete. This is where the post bases and wedge anchors came into action. We measured and marked where the posts would be set, Chad scribed the concrete around each post base with a flat head screwdriver. We triple checked our measurements before we drilled, you know the saying "measure twice, cut once." Good rules to live by when doing any DIY project.
Chad purchased a concrete drill bit to drill the hole for the wedge anchor.
Here, Chad is using a small sledgehammer to hammer the anchor into the concrete.
Once the anchor is down enough, you top it with the provided washer and nut. While tightening the nut, the anchor is expanding under the concrete, giving it stability.
Chad was super excited to use his new Ryobi Compound Miter saw, purchased months ago. (You wouldn't know Chad was the excited one, Carson had to pose for the picture)
Our posts were 8ft long, but we cut them down to 90 inches, needing enough clearance between the soffit and top of the post to install the headers, slats and
lattice 2x4s later on.
We set the post into the base, checked for plumb and screwed eight of our exterior screws into the base and post.
With just two of us working, it took one full day to successfully install four posts. We both knew at this rate, this pergola was going to take a few weekends to complete. We were okay with that though, we wanted to take our time and do it right the first time.
Before installing our headers, we temporarily braced our posts with the wood on hand that we'd be using for the slats. Remember, safety first.
We also used a scrap piece of wood to make some "shoulders" to rest the header on while it was being temporarily screwed onto the posts.
Once a header was attached to each side of the post, it was time to go back and put in the carriage bolts, nuts and washers. Chad took out one screw at a time, marked his bolt placement and drilled out the hole with one of these
The carriage bolts were tapped in with a small sledgehammer, the nuts and washers applied, for a finished product that looked like this.
|if the carriage bolts are too long for your liking, they can be trimmed with a sawzall.|
Next came the cutting of the headers for the slats to slide into. The husband/wife team over at http://www.thehandmadehome.net/2013/01/how-to-build-a-pergola/ used this same technique when building their pergola. This plan works out best for us since we've made the pergola to sit up under our soffit and plan to attach
lattice perpendicular 2x4s on the top. Chad and I spent an entire day measuring, marking and cutting out 28 notches with a jig saw. (Are you seeing a pattern here? One entire day to complete one entire step)
Before I go any further, I need to state that we added two more posts before we moved on any further. After completing the cutouts, we noticed there was sagging in the middle. So Chad enlisted the help of his identical twin brother, Brad, to pop two more posts into the patio, giving the pergola the extra stability it needed. That's why you see six posts in the three pictures above.
We simultaneously finished the other 28 notches (14 in each header board) while cutting our slats and fitting them in.
We gave our slats a simple 45 degree miter cut on the front end only (the front end being the side you'll see from the yard).
2x4s instead of lattice (like previously planned) were laid perpendicular on top of the slats. 12 inches were cut from one end of the board, leaving 6 inches of overhang on each end. Chad put 14 screws into each 2x4, stabilizing them to the slats.
Lastly, were the finishing touches. We used our 1x4 board, cutting four 45 degree mitered pieces and making a simple box around the bottom of each post. We assembled these boxes using a staple gun.
And I just had to add some hanging baskets, to liven the thing up a bit.
And for the grand finale, after seven long weekends of sweat and hard work, here's our finished product.