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Setting a pergola on a concrete slab

Let’s say you have gone through all the steps for preparing your site for your pergola as covered here. Your yard may not big as the one picture above, but in the majority of examples people are looking for techniques and instructions on how to secure a pergola to a concrete slab since most patios are laid out with concrete, particularly the ones attached directly off the back of a house. So let’s cover those basic steps.

It really does take two people so please don’t try to do this on your own. Everything needs to be straight and level and true to ensure that your pergola is as sturdy safe and durable as possible. Start out by measuring to find the center of the concrete pad. You want to make sure you center the pergola on it properly.

Then measure from the center out 1/2 of the width projection of the pergola. Repeat on the other side and then use the same method for the length projection dimensions. Mark all the spots. Using a chalk line, connect the marked spots and draw out a perimeter. If building a square pergola, remember to check the diagonal measurements. They should be the same from corner to corner. Adjust the corner marks as needed.

And there you have your post locations! Bolt in your concrete base brackets and you are ready to put up your posts and get to the heavy lifting.For more information on the next steps to take to build your own pergola, please click here and check out our step by step guide. We’ve gathered everything we’ve learned from thousands of hours of personal experience, consultations with contractors and research in online builder forums. We’ve made all the mistakes, and even made up a few new ones! Hopefully, you wont have to do that. With the right information at your fingertips you might even have some fine with your do it yourself pergola adventure.

Pergola Material Selection

Choosing which material to use to build your pergola is dependent on many factors. Budget, of course, would be the first. It is quite astonishing how different the prices can be even amongst the different timber varieties. For instance, in the drawing above there are 24 pieces of wood (4 posts, 8 knee braces, 4 beams, 8 rafters).  Pressure treated pine would total around $400. Cedar would total $1,000 and redwood would break any budget! A similar vinyl pergola kit would run well over $1,000. So if you are determined to spend less than $1,000 is the pressure treated pine a valid option as far as durability and appearance compared to cedar?

Pressure treated pine definitely stands up to the durability test. As long as you make sure any ends you may have to cut to create your desired pergola design are also properly treated before final construction, then this very hard, solid wood will last for decades. We know of a properly drained set of pressure treated pine posts buried into concrete casings in the ground in an area of the country where the ground freezes that were still in fantastic shape after over twenty years. The old posts had to be removed to make room for a newer, larger pergola and even the timber that was in the ground was free of moisture damage.

The bigger difference between the two materials is in their appearance. A pergola built from pressure treated pine will definitely look more rustic or natural. There could easily be visible knots in the wood. Now, the pieces can be either stained to a darker hue or painted, but that ads an extra level of ongoing maintenance as weather and wind will wear down the exterior layer and need freshening up. Cedar looks beautiful and elegant on its own without any staining or painting needed. It’s natural oils protect it just as well as pressure treating.  If you are really determined to have the look of cedar, then shop around lumberyards for sales to try to bring the material cost down a little more. Otherwise, it may be completely worth it to spend the little bit of extra money to build a cedar pergola.

 

 

 

Pergola Design Options

Curved roof pergola

Curved roof, screen walls, lattice slats

Pergola designs are endless. As soon as you start looking for one, you can easily be overwhelmed with the many options! Look at this one – could you have imagined those possibilities? Curved roof line, one wall with a set of screens you can open and close for privacy, post base accents, full lattice roof cover for extra shade and lights strung through them.

These options all together are probably quite expensive though probably not all that much more difficult to install on your own. The expense would just be in the extra material for the bases, wall & lattice pieces. Curving a roof is actually quite common with outdoor wood structures. Think of an arbor which nearly always has a curved roof. It might be a little more expensive and a little more complex planning out measurements for the proper angles, but the only pieces that are curved are the beams and rafters. Just choosing a curved roof design on your pergola would be enough to make it elegant and upscale.

The lattice slats can be purchased in sections and just attached to the rafters as you would simple, straight slat pieces. The purpose of it’s use here is to create more shade and the look of a more complete roof. The advantage is that they are very lightweight pieces and don’t add too much to the load that the posts and beam need to bear. A very creative solution.

The screen walls on a pergola are quite unusual. Since the houses here are close together, the homeowner’s were looking for a way to have greater privacy when they sit outside. The use of the screens that can open or close allows them to let in light if they want to, but to close it when they don’t. This addition is probably the most expensive one since they are solid screens with hinges that need to be properly installed. However, it is certainly something to consider if you privacy is an issue. If you only add this feature and eliminate the others it might not put you too much over budget.

The post bases are beautiful and since they are only used on two of the posts, probably not too high priced. It’s actually quite easy to attach base or top trim to posts even after a pergola is installed. These are simple trim pieces that can be nailed or screwed into place quite quickly.

If you are considering building your own pergola, here are 5 tips to follow before you get started.

Learn How to Draw Your Own Pergola Plans

Attached, detached – or both!

It is entirely possible to draw up your pergola plans and then build a pergola in just a couple of days. There are a few things to consider at first, of course. For instance – where are you going to put your pergola? Will it be attached or detached? How will you secure the posts? There are many possibilities of course, but once you narrow those down you will have taken a huge step towards getting started.

Make sure you have a clear, level spot chosen, especially if you are digging your posts into the ground. If you are securing them onto a cement patio or on a deck, then your foundation is most likely level and ready. Use construction stakes and string to lay out post placement and measure the distances. Come up with your roof design. How far out do you want the rafters and to come out from the posts? Do you want a single or double beam design? A single layer of rafters, or will you ad slats on top for even more shade cover? Remember that the more weight at the top that you add, the stronger your posts need to be. The standard is to use 6×6 posts since they will support most designs. Columns are another option that delivers a completely different look to the pergola.

There are so many options, but if you look at it one feature at a time you really can narrow down exactly the design you want. There is an excellent, free email series you can receive just by taking a survey and signing up at this site. As an added benefit, people who sign up for the email series receive a substantial discount on the guide they also provide. It is a fantastic resource and if you do purchase their Guide to Building a Pergola in One Weekend you will have everything at your fingertips to help you answer all the questions asked above. You will know how to create your design, which materials would be best for you and also know the exact steps you will need to take – and tools to use – to build your own pergola. It is a fast, easy and inexpensive project and you will enjoy the results for many years.

How to Build a Pergola in One Weekend

Guide to Building a Pergola in One Weekend

It’s here! Our guide for learning how to build a pergola for your yard in just one weekend. Sign up for our emails and find out exactly how easy & inexpensive it can be. As a bonus, email subscribers get a special discount code for the newly published guide.

Handy pergola plans provide step by step instructions, materials options and detailed shopping lists. In just one weekend you can have a beautiful pergola in your yard. The best part is you can choose just about any pergola design you want. The variations are endless. Our guide will include additional information on how to draw your own plans to fit the unique design you choose for your yard.

Building a pergola is a very rewarding project. When you do it yourself you will save a lot of money and be able to take pride in your own handiwork. They are simple and very versatile and can add to the overall value of your home. Mostly though, you will be able to relax and enjoy the new cover for your outdoor barbeque and eating area, or the new place for displaying your hanging flowers and vines, or any other number of potential uses.

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