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Building a Pergola

Build a Pergola on an existing deck

As with any project, please ensure that you know your local building codes and laws, call 811 for utility lines and pipes, and always adhere to safety best practices. Use caution when working on ladders and scaffolds, and never lift a heavy object alone.

Materials Needed

  • pry bar
  • reciprocating saw
  • safety glasses
  • hammer
  • circular saw
  • miter saw
  • drill
  • spade bit
  • tape measure
  • level
  • lag bolts with washers
  • socket wrench
  • jigsaw
  • ladders
  • 4″ x 4″ Ground Contact pressure treated posts, 12′ long
  • 2″ x 8″ Above Ground pressure treated lumber, 12′ long
  • screwdriver bit
  • galvanized screws
  • 2″ x 4″ Above Ground pressure treated lumber
  • 1″ x 6″ Above Ground pressure treated lumber
  • louvered deck covering kit
  • carpenter’s square
  • ladder
pergola

Materials Needed

  • pry bar
  • reciprocating saw
  • safety glasses
  • hammer
  • circular saw
  • miter saw
  • drill
  • spade bit
  • tape measure
  • level
  • lag bolts with washers
  • socket wrench
  • jigsaw
  • ladders
  • 4″ x 4″ Ground Contact pressure treated posts, 12′ long
  • 2″ x 8″ Above Ground pressure treated lumber, 12′ long
  • screwdriver bit
  • galvanized screws
  • 2″ x 4″ Above Ground pressure treated lumber
  • 1″ x 6″ Above Ground pressure treated lumber
  • louvered deck covering kit
  • carpenter’s square
  • ladder
pergola

Steps for the Pergola

  1. Measure the existing deck and sketch out a design for the project. The new deck posts and roof frame can support a traditional roof, pergola beams or a louvered roof system. If using a louvered system, determine the finished size of the louvered panels before starting to make sure everything fits properly.
  2. Using a pry bar, remove the deck panels from the posts that are being replaced. If needed use a reciprocating saw to cut through nails. Do not cut through the panels, as you will reuse them with the new posts. Remove everything attached to the posts, including any benches or rails. Use a pry bar to remove the necessary posts from the deck. Ensure that you bend down any nails sticking out of the posts before setting them aside.
  3. Measure and cut the new Ground Contact pressure treated posts that will support the roof structure. It is important to note that you should have a height already in mind, ensure that you add any distance between the ground and deck to the overall length. Measure the notches in the old posts and mark the notch lines on the new posts. Use a circular saw to start the cuts for the notches, then follow up with a reciprocating saw to create clean inside corners. Use a miter saw to angle the top of the new posts to match the style of the old posts.
  4. Have a helper hold the new posts in position and drill two holes through the posts and into the deck frame. Drive lag bolts through the holes, tightening with a socket wrench. Tighten or loosen the bolts as needed to keep the posts plumb.
  5. Measure and cut a center post to help support the roof frame; the post should be long enough to sit flush with the bottom of the floor joist under the deck. Use a spade bit to drill a hole in the deck next to the floor joist; enlarge the hole so the post will fit snugly. Slip the post through the hole, line it up with the bottom of the joist and attach to the joist. Make sure the post is plumb and tighten the bolts with a socket wrench.
  6. Measure and cut 2-by-8-inch Above Ground contact pressure treated lumber to frame the outside of the posts, plus a pair of 2x8s to go between the center posts. The louvered panels will fit snugly inside these frames. Tip: Use a jigsaw to cut a decorative edge on the ends of the long beams and attach the beams to the tops of the posts with lag bolts.
  7. Use long, galvanized or stainless-steel deck screws to reattach the deck panels and any benches or other accessories that were removed for the project.
  8. The posts and frame are now ready for the roof treatment.

Steps for Adding Louvered Panels

NOTE: If you are adding louvered panels, please ensure that your measurements and cuts are accurate, as a small error can cause extra work and frustration at the end.

  1. Use Above Ground rated pressure treated wood 2x4s to build a large, square frame to hold the four sets of louvered panels. Square up the corners and attach the boards with galvanized or stainless-steel decking screws.
  2. Cut a 2×4 to fit snugly across the middle of the frame and attach with screws. Cut two more 2x4s to divide the frame in half in the other direction. When complete, the frame should be divided into four equal parts.
  3. Use screws to install the track system for the louvers on the inside of the frame. Make sure the tracks are level and lined up with each other.
  4. Use screws to attach the brackets to the track system. Double-check the dimensions and cut the 1×6 slats for the louvers, screwing them into the brackets. Following the manufacturer’s directions, attach the control strips that allow the louvers to move together.
Pergola

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