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Creating the Ideal Pergola

Aug 13, 2008
There's nothing better than having a pergola during those sizzling summer days. In spite of what people believe, constructing a pergola is fairly simple provided you are familiar with the procedure.

This sort of starter home project is just perfect for the novice carpenter who wants a functional yet artistic and beautiful addition to any home. And as hard as it seems, you really don't need to worry about getting over your head as long as you keep it simple and stick to your plan.

The best way to beat the heat during summer is with a pergola. However, there is no need to pay someone do the work, because with the right equipment you can make it yourself.

To create your pergola you will need a stock (2 x 4 and 2 x 8), post stock (4 x 4), several bolts and screws, foundation tubes, anchors, nails and paint.

You will also need a wheelbarrow, a shovel, ladder, stakes, hatchet, measuring tape, saw (circular or table). paintbrush, and a hammer or nail gun. Also get a drill.

First use the stakes to shape the pergola. For a rectangular pergola, use a piece of wood or anything straight as a guide. Next, you need to have a strong foundation, so use the shovel to create a hole wide enough for the posts and also about 4 inches deep.

Next mix the cement and pour them into the tubes. Place them some three inches beneath the surface, and then set the anchors, making sure that the concrete is still wet.

Get some strapping to put the post into the anchors. When you set the headers make sure that they are all even, and mark the level. When you have the right measurements, cut the posts and headers. The proceeding step is to paint the pieces. Paint it any way you like. Although some may prefer to paint later, doing it now is more preferable because the pieces are still separate. This makes the process of painting and drying easier.

Take the stock and slice according to the precise measurements. A 3-4-5 level (triangular) will help ensure that all the pieces are similar. Before you start to cut and paint though, make certain that there are no bends.

At this point you can put in a patio if you like, or some other flooring. Do not add any more pieces until you have placed the flooring, if you so desire.

Now is the time to connect the posts to the post anchors of the pergola. Use the countersink of the drill to manufacture openings in the holes in both the headers and the posts. Slice the blocks at the point where the headers and posts will join up. Use the screwdrivers to securely tighten everything into place.

Now you take the cross members and put them on top of the pergola headers, nailing the smaller ones into the larger headers. Some use a middle header. If you do, nail it as well.
About the Author
John Grant is a the author for a how to site where he is writing articles about how to build a pergola.
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