cedar patio cover beams- how long of span?

nccmamaJune 2, 2009

We would like to have a patio cover built over our existing L-shaped patio. The contractor suggested that we go with a 24' cedar beam on the longest side, tied into the side of the house on one end and set into the ground, just off of the patio, on the other end. This would be for the longest part of the L, with the short side of the L also done the same way, but with beams not as long.

Constructing it this way would make it so that we did not have any posts on the patio itself to get in our way. I like this idea very much because beams would get in the way of the flow of traffic and furniture placement. But, I worry that this is potentially not sound construction. He said that the 24' beam is designed for this (it's 12x12, I think) and not to worry. But, this long side faces west and is exposed to a lot of wind, especially during storms, which we get a lot of in Texas.

All other bids have suggested one or two posts on the patio, though I never specifically asked if we could eliminate the posts. This guy has been doing this for quite a while and seems to know what he's doing. The cover he built for my neighbor last year has held up beautifully.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

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The specific size of the beam is critical. Plus I've never heard of a 12x12 solid beam as in "tree". Is it engineered? I'd get something in writing and ask him to make a copy of the span table sheet showing this size will go 24 ft.

These are the kind of posts we get, people having problems after its too late.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 12:20PM
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It might have been 12x6. It was a verbal quote, not written, though the contract would be written I suppose. I wouldn't give him the 1/2 down without one.

I'm just looking to see if it's even possible to build a cover with such a long span. If it's not, then this contractor should certainly know this, and I wouldn't want to hire him. He said that structurally, it would be the same with one 24' span, or two 12'with a post underneath. No cost difference or strength difference, just aesthetics.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 12:54PM
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"the same with one 24' span, or two 12'with a post underneath"

Well, that's not logical to me. Somebody needs to get their hands on a span table that covers a 6X12 (its proably three 2X12s sandwiched), I don't have one. You could start searching the web.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 7:44PM
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I would not use any cedar beams for deck support especially if low to the ground. I have replaced many a cedar beam around here that rotted out, even ones that were elevated several ft. above ground.

For beams stick with TP & wrap them if you don't like the look, that or steel or treated glulams.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 1:23PM
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"We would like to have a patio cover built over our existing L-shaped patio."

Define "cover."

You might be able to get away with a relatively long span if the loads are very small.

All the wood has to do is hold itself up.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 8:49PM
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