Monday, October 20, 2008

1st Pergola Build

A coworker wanted an attractive covering for her back porch, she asked me if I had any ideas, and if I could help.  This was the first home improvement job where I was actually going to be compensated with money, every project prior to this, was for dinner, beverages, and quality time with friends, which, of course, is always rewarding.  Last weekend was free for my cousin Justin and I, so we were off.

Here is the back patio Friday evening before we set the posts, from the angle of the sun you can see that we only have about an hour before darkness.  We set the 12ft - 6"x6" cedar posts in 3"-6" holes that we dug with a 10" 2-man auger we rented from The Home Depot.  Luckily we did not hit any sprinkler lines!  The 8" auger bit was not large enough, unfortunately, thanks to the Pythagorean theorem the 6"x6" posts had a hypotenuse length of about 8 and 1/2 inches, it seems like a little math can slow down any hastily planned project.  We set each post with two 60 pound bags of CTS Rapid Set Concrete Mix, (thanks Scott) about 10-15min working time and then you better be done.  When it sets up fully at 6000psi, after a couple of hours, those posts are not going anywhere, any time soon.  We finished up with the posts about two hours after dark, and called it a night. 

Our progress as of Saturday morning about 11am.  We showed up at 6, after a great Taco Cabana breakfast, and used a 20’ water level to set the 2”x10” and 2”x8”cross braces, and things are moving quick now, we initially would set the braces with a couple nails from my cordless Paslode framing nailer, then drill two ½” holes completely through securing each brace with two 10½” - ½” bolts, washers and nuts.  Also I am beginning to lay out the 2”x6”s across the top which will aid in blocking the sun, along with the 2”x2”s that will come later.  The 2”x6”s are toenailed at an 18” spacing I would have preferred to  put them closer together, but my friend wanted to keep the cost dowm as much as possible, and it looks great either way.

I laid the 2”x2”s out using small spacer block to get them 6” on center. Justin was down cutting, and throwing them up at me faster than I could nail them.  I spaced them out at 6” so that if later my coworker wanted to “upgrade the shade” we could easily place a 2x2 in between every one, and then would only have about 1½” space in between each 2”x2”.

 Here is the completed project; there is Justin in the background, a couple of summary notes: we cut the ends with a jigsaw and sawzall on Wednesday night before the weekend in my cousin’s shop, and we individually treated every board in the shop also, with a ten-year cedar sealer.  I also fashioned a cardboard spray shield, and spray painted the bolts and nut ends with a high quality Krylon.

Thanks to my wife for the excellent job she did with the paint roller and the sealer, while Justin and I were cutting the ends at the shop.  The Pergola came out really well, and my friend was extremely happy.  Also thanks to Scott for the concrete, and Justin for all the help!


  1. I forgot I helped with that! Thanks for the credit :) We need one of these over our patio!!

  2. Great job.. and amazing time!! May I ask how much the cost was in materials?