Building a pergola and cement patio

mconn77July 12, 2014

Hi All! I've been reading posts on here for the last 3 or 4 months - it's been a great help, but need some additional advice. We are building a cement patio and pergola simultaneously. The dimensions for the pergola are 14' x 18' OC. We'll use 6x6 posts, 4x6x18 rafters, and 4x12x20 support beems (shorter than we would have liked, but already purchased wood), notched to posts. We're using western red cedar (heartwood) w/ 4 knee braces and it will be about 8-9' tall. We have decided to put the posts in the ground in concrete w/ a 6" rock base - I know this is a big area of debate, but I don't think we have another option. I'm concerned that if we use the metal post anchors that go in to cement, we wouldn't be able to get it exactly square - if we mess up we're screwed. I don't think the anchors that go on top of concrete would be enough to prevent racking on such a long span pergola. So, we're back to posts in the ground w/ concrete. We've already prepped the patio area, now we're ready to put the posts in the ground. The posts will be 2 ft deep. After the posts set, we'll add 2 inches of subbase, then pour the 4 inches of cement. So the posts will be a total of about 2.5 ft down (we're in Alabama so no real frost threat). Is this the correct way to go about doing the posts and patio at the same time? Does anyone see flaws in the plan? We've done 90% of our research online - any help/comments would be appreciated.

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fnmroberts

Our pergola is 8 x 12 and rests on concrete footings using stand-off post bases. The rafters are nested (notched) so are effectively 2 x 6's. No braces, no racking problem.

My issue with posts into the ground is they can't be replaced and ALL posts set into the ground have a limited life. You should be able to at least locate an "L" anchor into the concrete with good accuracy and the post bases allow for adjustment of an inch or so. That would be my recommendation, otherwise you seem good.

I've linked our patio. If you go onto the second page there are photos of the pergola assembly where you can see the post bases. Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Patio and Pergola

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 3:17PM
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mconn77

Thank for the response. Your yard/pergola look awesome! Did you notch the posts yourself or did you buy them pre-cut? If you cut them, what type of saw did you use?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 11:22AM
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fnmroberts

Thanks for the endorsement. 18 years of continuous change.

The pergola is entirely DIY - design, fabrication and assembly. VERY careful measurements. Drilled holes at the corners, then made the notch cuts with a circular saw as far as possible and finished with a hand saw. Cut the narrow edge using a saber saw. Cleaned corners using a chisel. Following assembly, I installed a lag screw at each nested connection. The ogee ends were also cut using a saber saw. My double outside rails are not notched into the post, rather lag bolted using two, 1/2" bolts (2 each direction, 4 at each corner). Post are 6 x 6 pressure treated then skinned with cedar.

Been standing over 7 years though the footings were set as part of the patio build in 1998. Good luck with yours.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 11:53AM
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charlieboring

Here is a picture of our newly built pergola and patio. We have kiwis that will cover the pergola by next year.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 12:18PM
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