Building a 10x18 pergola

mashmasherMarch 16, 2009

I want to build a 10'x18' pergola next to my pool. Do I need to dig post holes for the posts or can I just sink bolts into the concrete pad that is going to be poured?

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You could do both as well as bolting to the slab after placement. J.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 9:06AM
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You don't mention where you live or the frost conditions. Because a pergola is a structure, it would be best that it rest on a footing rather than a concrete slab which will only be 3 or 4 inches thick and subject to cracking. I'm sure it can be satisfactorily anchored to the concrete decking but you have the opportunity to provide a better base by installing footings.

We have a brick paver patio and the footings for our pergola were poured before building the patio. The post anchors and footings were then covered.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 9:19AM
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Nice pergola, can I get a copy of your design?

I live in Austin Texas so I don't have to deal with frost. I should also mention that my yard has a ton of limestone in the ground so it is solid.

If I understand correctly. I should make the form for the slab, and dig post holes for the footings for the six posts about 12" deep. Do I put a bolt into the cement while is dries? How deep should the bolt go into the cement?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 12:43PM
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Thank you. Sorry though, I don't have any plans. Was my own design. If you go to the link on "My Page" there is a file entitled Pergola with photos taken while it was being erected. You can see how the cuts are designed and make a plan for yours.

Basically yes, figure out where your footings need to be placed and dig, frame and pure those. However deep your code requires for the climate (here it was 48"). Mine are 12" diameter, belled at the bottom, then squared at the top. Set your forms so the tops of all footings are level. I placed an "L" bolt into the concrete - probably 8" deep for attaching the stand-off. When you pour the patio, some expansion joint against the footings would be a good idea. This way your can grade the patio while having the pergola level.

Good luck. I'll try answering any questions I can.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 1:35PM
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One more question. With the "L" bolts is there a reason your footing are raised about the surface of the patio pad? I've always seen the bolt coming out of the concrete pad conected to a u-plate that the post was connected to. Yours looks like it is 2" higher than the patio surface.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 3:57PM
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Good question and a couple explanations.

1) Our patio is fairly large - 24 x 26 and I built it with a crown and a grade away from the house. Accordingly, the with the pier heights all level, the clearance from the pavers to the top of the piers differs at all 4 corners. Also, I capped the concrete piers with 1.5" treated lumber, then 3/4" PVC. That gives me the base proportion I wanted and it's watertight.

2) We get lots of snow and rain here. I did not want the support columns in contact with moisture for extended time, thus the height.

I know it's overbuilt but that's what I wanted to do. If you pour your piers level with the patio, and create a grade with the patio, your column heights will need to vary for the pergola top to be level. That will work fine. In order to build one with interlocking pieces, as ours is, it is critical that the "puzzle parts" fit well so being level is necessary.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 4:38PM
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That makes sense, Thanks a bunch.

Snow? what's that :-) That is why I moved to Texas.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 5:56PM
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You're welcome. Austin is a nice city though I don't like the extreme heat any more than I like the snow and cold. This past winter has been brutal.

So tell me about mashmasher - it that a profession or do you home brew? Need the pergola to sip in the shade.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 6:43PM
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Actually mash refers to my bicycling style, I mash the pedals up hills :-) The pergola is to relax after a 100 mile ride by the pool.

Although having a cold one at that time is a great way to carbo-load :-)

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 9:48PM
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That's a new term for hill climbing! You're in much better shape than me - has been several years since I rode a century. My DW and I also have a tandem which, in our younger years, we would ride on several centurys each season. Our thrill was dropping the hot dogs who thought they could maintain the pace.

Not too much carbo-loading now or that pergola won't be plumb!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 8:50AM
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Please share what the framing timbers are for your pergola. We have to replace rotting timbers on ours and need 2x10's . Husband says cedar is best but very pricey. They will be painted .
Any info is appreciated ,

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 9:38PM
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Mine are 2 x 12 cedar. Cedar is a long-time favorite for exterior applications because it contains natural oils that slow deterioration. However, it does not hold paint well - recommend staining. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 8:12AM
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Your pergola looks like it is painted white, yet you recommend staining cedar. Is the paint coming off? Or did you use a "white stain" to get that color?
I want to paint mine as well. What did you use?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 1:46PM
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Mine is treated with an oil-based, penetrating, semi-solid stain. A white opaque and after two years, no chaulking or peeling. I believe I used Cabots but don't remember for certain. One coat was applied before assembly and another afterward. Was fairly expensive-$40+ per gallon.

Speak with your paint store. I'm confident they will recommend that you stain rather than paint cedar. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 2:56PM
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Was planning solid stain.........said "paint" by error; used to use Cabots OVTand liked it , but last painter used Sherwin Williams acrylic.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 3:02PM
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