How to Build a Pergola Roof | Ep. 174

Pergola with no roof over patio.
You can use your outdoor space even when it’s raining by adding a roof to a pergola.

A pergola roof protects you from pop-up storms, so you can extend your time outdoors.

Tyler Schwall in Mobile, Ala., wants to install a tin roof over his pergola. But before he does this, he wants to know the best way to put the roof so it has a pitch for rainwater.

First, buy some pressure-treated 2-by-4s to cover each slat on the pergola. Make sure these boards are the same length as the ones on the pergola.

Then, rip each 2-by-4 at a slight angle from its full width down to nothing. Ripping a board means cutting it along its length. This will create a tapered strip. Make sure the pitch of the roof is at least two inches so the rain will properly flow off of it.

Next, apply some construction adhesive on the slats and place the ripped boards on top of them. This will add some extra waterproofing protection and keep them secure when you’re installing the tin roof.

After you’ve placed the ripped boards on the pergola, secure them with wood screws. To keep the tin roof from sagging, lay some 2-by-4s perpendicular to those. 

Once all the boards are secure, install the tin roof

Now, you can sit outside under your covered pergola and enjoy the sound of the rain dancing on the tin roof. 

Skip to [21:58] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.

Also in this episode:


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Simple Solutions

Finger twisting a bolt into the bottom of a wooden leg on patio furniture
This Simple Solution levels patio furniture and helps prevent wood rot.

Leveling Wood Patio Furniture — Start by boring a 3/8-inch diameter hole into the bottom of each table or bench leg.

Then, use a hammer to tap a T-nut into each hole.

Thread a hex-head machine bolt into each T-nut.

The bolts lift the bench off the patio to prevent rot, and they are adjustable to ensure the bench is level. 

Watch: Tip for Leveling Wood Patio Furniture  


A hacksaw cutting a bolt in a drill
If you need to cut a bolt to size, let a cordless drill do most of the work for you.

Clean-Cut Bolts — Here’s how to shorten a machine bolt — threaded rod or carriage bolt — without messing up the threads.

First, thread two hex nuts onto the bolt, then make the cut using a hacksaw or jigsaw with a metal-cutting blade.

Then, spin off the nuts, one at a time, using a wrench if necessary.

When the nuts come off the end of the bolt, they’ll re-cut and straighten out any threads that were damaged by the saw, making it easy to thread the nut back on.  

Watch: Tip for Cutting Bolts to Size 


Engineered wood flooring with tools needed for installing.
Engineered wood flooring drastically changes the look of the room, but you must have the right plank size before you begin. (digidreamgrafix, Getty Images)

Question of the Week

Q: I just bought my first house and I’m about to install some engineered wood flooring.

According to the installation instructions, the last row of flooring must not be less than half the width of the planks. (The planks are five inches wide.) But the instructions don’t tell you how to determine the width of the last row.

Can you please tell me how to figure that out? 

A: When installing flooring, the initial layout is going to define the success of the project. Don’t start with a full-width plank and hope the last row is wide enough. 

First, measure the width of the room and divide by five, the width of the plank. That will give you the number of full-width planks plus any fractions.

If the last row is less than 2½  inches, reduce the width of the first plank. 

Skip to [36:22] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.



Further Reading


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