Patio Cover

Build Your Own Patio Cover
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This guide shows you how you can build a patio roof yourself and plan your roofing. Find out which steps are necessary for the substructure, the roof and a stable structure for the patio roof.

New terrace roofing – do you need a building permit?

If you erect a patio roof on your house, this can already count as a renovation measure in the legal sense. This means that you may need to get an official building permit. The exact conditions depend on the respective building regulations of your state as well as on the respective municipal ordinance. Therefore, first find out about the legal situation in your city from your local building authority before building.

Note: If you erect your patio cover without the required approval, you face a fine. In this case, the authorities can also require you to dismantle the roof.

Tip: The approval process for your patio roof can take some time. So plan to go to the authorities in good time.

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Components of the roof structure

The roof generally consists of support beams and purlins. Support beams carry the roof structure and purlins serve as supports for the so-called rafters. These carry the roof skin including roofing materials. Headbands stiffen this construction.

The number of the respective wooden components and the dimensions for the roof are based on static calculations or estimates and are dependent on the overall construction of the terrace roof. If you use double-walled polycarbonate sheets, the rafters should be about 85 cm apart according to the sheet width.

If the roof skin has a higher dead weight, the distance is reduced. This is the case, for example, with glass or roof tiles. For the latter, a rafter spacing of around 60 cm is recommended. Corresponding information is included with a kit.

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Terrace covering materials

Your patio roof should be durable and withstand severe storms. This makes the use of stable materials for the construction inevitable. Wood is a good choice for the scaffolding because it is sturdy and relatively inexpensive. The most popular types of wood for patio coverings include Douglas fir and glued wood. The latter is manufactured industrially and is particularly stable due to its glueing of at least three layers of the respective wood. In addition, glued wood is less likely to have cracks.

Wood is a natural material that should be installed and cared for, taking structural and chemical protection into account, in order to ensure a long service life. Recurring measures are therefore necessary to maintain wood. The relatively high weight of the material also means that the subsoil on the terrace must be compacted accordingly.

An aluminum construction with a so-called anodized surface is easier to care for than wood. This is characterized by the fact that it is hard and scratch-resistant and thus offers reliable protection against corrosion. Aluminum withstands wind and weather particularly well and is at the same time a very light and stable building material. A scaffolding for the patio roof made of aluminum is more expensive to buy than wood.

There are also various materials to choose from for the roofing of your terrace. If the terrace is to be darkened as little as possible, translucent roofs are recommended. Laminated safety glass, for example, is available in clear and milky.

Note: Please note that its high deadweight requires a particularly resilient substructure. Double-wall sheets made of polycarbonate or acrylic are easier to process. Acrylic is available in clear or milky glass and in a dark or tinted version. A particularly inexpensive alternative is corrugated PVC, which is available in transparent, semitransparent and colored versions, giving you plenty of leeways when designing your patio roof.

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Kit or your own design?

If you are technically gifted and you are capable of larger projects, you can dare to design your own patio cover. Since the processing of aluminum is very complex and requires special tools, a wooden patio roof is ideal for your project. Also take into account that the roof of a terrace needs static scaffolding. If possible, let a specialist help you calculate the statics to ensure the necessary stability.

Tip: The construction of the roof requires the competent handling of the drill and saw. You can have the individual parts you need cut to size. However, it is easier to use a kit. Prefabricated kits for a patio roof have already been calculated and designed accordingly.

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A solid base – the framework of the terrace covering

Regardless of whether you decide on a kit or the patio roof you have created yourself, the first step is to anchor the posts to the foundation. To do this, you need post bases made of steel that are cast in concrete or screwed onto a concrete foundation.

The posts are connected to these beams. With a patio roof made of wood, you not only give the construction support, but also protect the posts from waterlogging or rising damp from the ground. Note that post bases are not included in every kit and may need to be purchased separately.

Note: Pay attention to frost protection when laying foundations. The foundation should be at a depth where there is no ground frost. Usually this is the case at around 80 cm.

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