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Shade structure for patio

Posted by timtex (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 18, 12 at 10:41

I want to build a free-standing shade cover for my patio. Very simple design, just 4x4s attached to the patio with post stand-off brackets. Then, four joists attached with hanger brackets, and widely spaced lattice on the top to support shade fabric during the summer (removed during winter). I want to use Western cedar. My question concerns the 4 joists at the top. Can I get away with 2x4s, or do they need to be 2x6s? The footprint of the structure is 4 by 8 feet. I checked the American Wood Council site which has a span calculator, but if I change the deflection unit it changes the joist size. Also, should I be concerned about the structure twisting? This is kind of a "look don't touch" thing, no kids or dogs will ever be around it. Thanks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Shade structure for patio

We have a free-standing pergola on our patio. Concrete footings with post stand-offs. Size on this one are 8' x 12' on post centers so larger than you are planning. Used 6 x 6 PT for posts, then skinned with cedar. Structure above is 2 x 12 however nested so the strength would be similar to 2 x 6.

Yes, 2 x 4 will be more likely to warp. Depending on your on-center, should adequately support lattice and shade cloth.

I'm linking ours in the assembly phase and plan schematics. Been standing 5 years now. Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pergola

RE: Shade structure for patio

Thanks for posting the pictures and plans. Very impressive pergola. I plan on doing something smaller just to shade a window and some plants that can't handle the Texas sun. I wish I could pour footings, but the structure has to be surface mounted to the existing patio. I think I'll use 2 by 6's and sandwich the beams, then make a sturdy lattice panel and put it between two posts on the end to provide shade and make everything more sturdy. Thanks again for your input!

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