Houses are money pits. Between the taxes, the maintenance, and the repairs, it is a wonder any person could even afford to own one. One method to save a little bit of money is usually to take on some home repair and renovation projects yourself. For example, the bay windows at the back of my house leak during thunderstorms, and the backdoor freezes shut during winter. While it will be expensive and difficult to fix both the door and the windows, I decided that since both overlooked the patio of mine, a patio cover would effectively keep foul weather away from the bay window and back door, making it easier and cheaper to fix.
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Installing the Ledger Board First, I removed the 1/4″ plywood dressing right below the drip edge. I saw an excellent framing 2″x4″ underneath, ideal for connecting the ledger board, which attaches the cover to the roof frame. The area building code required a 2″x6″ ledger board, which meant I’d to saw off 2 inches of wood from the top of the bay window’s box.
Next, I pre-drilled 1/8″ holes, six inches apart, in the ledger board, since it was treated lumber and the deck screws would need a little help getting started. After connecting the ledger board with 4″ decking screws, I used a big staple gun to staple the phone, internet, and cable lines to it, on the inside toward the house, to better protect them from the weather.
Dig Post Holes It was just a little bit challenging to figure out where you can dig the post holes. I wanted them to be exactly 9.5′ from the roof edge, but the house’s foundation was recessed 2′ from the roof’s drip edge and stuck out 26″ from under the bay windows. How was I going to get an accurate measurement? I saw folks use all kinds of neat tools on Formulas and tv shows from various math classes flashed through the thoughts of mine. Here is what I did:
I stood up a few posts at the roof’s edge, using a bubble level to make sure they were perfectly upright.
Then I measured and marked 9 and a half feet on a couple of joist boards and laid them on the ground, with one end by the upright posts and the markings on the other end showing where the hole needs to be dug. I did this at both the ledger board’s edges and laid 2 more 10-foot joist boards between them.
I then used the square of mine, or perhaps angle iron, to make the corners square.
I marked the 3 post holes’ spots, with the middle post hole going exactly where the 2 ten foot joist boards met.
I then measured corner to corner, one way and then the other, and made small adjustments until both measurements came out the same. With the exact centers for the post holes marked, I marked 18″ circles around them since I planned to dig the holes 18″ deep and wanted them to be as wide as they were deep, by local building codes. (See pictures above)
I started digging the holes with a simple shovel, all the while thinking about those post-hole diggers, the ones with motors and big augers, that take 2 folks to operate as I saw used on various home improvement TV shows. Before I can formulate a plan for renting a hole digger, although, I’d by now finished digging all 3 holes with just a plain old shovel. Then I used my garden hoe to tamp down and compact the dirt at the holes’ bottom.
Make the Posts Even Next; I scratched the head of mine as I thought about just how I would make certain that the tops of the 3 posts will be even after they had been placed into the post holes. Additionally, with no one to help hold things in place, I needed to determine exactly how to connect the rest of the frame to posts that would be standing upright.
What I came up with worked, though I never saw it done on TV. I laid a board on the patio slab and set a bubble level on that board’s end. Then I took that end of the board to the hole and stood the 4″x4″ post up straight, holding it by hand, lifted the board with the bubble level up until it was level and then made a mark on the 4″x4″ post. I then laid down the post and measured 7 feet from its best, and marked it. The distinction between the 2 marks was exactly how much taller I wanted the post to be, so I attached a length of treated 2″x4″ to the end, adding sufficient length to the post so that its height will be perfect. I did this for all 3 posts.
Assemble the Frame The rest of the frame I assembled on the ground is solid, not wanting to carry everything in place with one hand while installing decking screws with the other.
Cut 4 braces at precisely forty-five-degree angles. I cut them from a single 10 foot long 2″x10″ board. I measured the board’s width with a ruler, then marked that length from the end of the board and cut from there to the corner to create a triangle of wood that was precisely the right shape. I measured the short sides of that wooden triangle-shaped block, and they were precisely the same, so I knew it was cut at a forty-five-degree angle. I used that to mark the lines I will cut to make the braces. I made the 2 outside braces 3 feet long at their outsides and the 2 inside braces 2 feet long at their outsides.
Raising the Frame To stand up the frame with no help, it was important to attach prop sticks; that’s, I used a single framing nail to attach a 10 foot long 2″x6″ board (I used my joists) to the exterior of the frame, one board length away from the bottom of the frame, on each side. These 2 boards will rotate on the nail of theirs, their end holding up the frame as I lifted, while the other end of theirs would be on the ground, preventing the frame from going back down.
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Pour the Concrete: At this point, I’d the frame attached to the joists and the joists attached to the house’s ledger board. To come up with the frame perfectly level across the top, I lifted the posts just a little and tossed in only a little dry concrete ready mix to raise its height just enough to make my bubble read perfect. Next, to help make the posts exactly straight up and down, I lifted and moved the bottom ends in the post holes, measuring with the level after each adjustment. After letting things settle for about a half-hour, I re-checked everything with the leveler again. It was square and plumb still, so that meant it was time to pour some concrete.
Finish the Job After it was straightforward but repetitive work. I attached 1″ x 6″ boards to the top of the joists and then screwed the corrugated metal roof to them. Probably the most difficult part was getting the top end of the metal sheets to go under the drip edge and roof decking of the house and to butt up against a bead of clear-drying roof cement I’d put in there with a caulking gun. Additionally, putting a bead of sealer along the metal sheets’ edge before overlapping them was a bit demanding, although necessary.
The job was done at that point. As for the corrugated metal roofing, I chose rubber washer metal-into-wood screws with ¼” bolt heads and used a ¼” magnetized drill-adapted socket to place them in. The screw-type goes into every valley at the bottom and top ends of the panels and every other valley throughout the other parts of the roof, into the 1″ x 6″ boards placed 24″ on center.