Pergolas can be freestanding or attached to your house. Many people attach them to their homes as a cover for their patio. It’s also a way of having most of the benefits of a deck without having to build one.
Pros and Cons of a Pergola Attached to House
- When a pergola is attached to the house, it makes it much easier to go to and from it. If a sudden rain shower should show up, you can go right back into the house without worrying about getting wet.
- A pergola attached to the house also provides more stability for the pergola itself. The house itself will protect against some wind pressure that can cause damage to the pergola. The stability of being attached to the house is often greater than that of a free-standing pergola.
- A covered pergola will provide more shade on that side of the house. It can protect your home against some of the hot afternoon sun if it’s on that side, making your home a bit cooler. It can also save your carpeting and draperies from fading caused by the sun if you have glass doors for an entrance. Those with a removable fabric top can have the top removed to let in the early spring sun.
- Pergolas do require some maintenance. They are standing out in the weather and won’t always look brand new after a few years. Any snow load on the roof, especially if it has a solid roof, is something you’ll need to address as well.
- You’ll also need to be careful to attach the pergola firmly to your house. This will mean more than just screwing the header board into the house’s fascia board. Keep in mind that this is a building attachment with some substantial weight, and it will need sufficient support and solid attachment to keep it from being damaged in windy conditions. You may also need to remove gutters or even some siding to ensure a good attachment.
- Of course, you’ll need a level base for the pergola. You’ll also need to make sure that no wood from the structure contacts the bare ground to keep the wood in good shape. Keep in mind that any bushes or trees that will be near your pergola area will grow over time and may affect the pergola in the future.
Do I Need a Permit to Attach a Pergola to My House?
This is something you really need to check out before you get started. Plan to have a detailed set of blueprints or at least detailed drawings with all measurements included. It would also help to have a diagram showing the proposed placement on the property, the distances from the pergola to other buildings, and the lot lines.
Building codes are in place to ensure that what you build or have built meets safety and fire requirements and that the location of the structure doesn’t violate zoning laws. There are usually set distances that must be maintained between one structure and others on the property and between structures and lot lines and fences. Distances also must be maintained from any utilities. There could also be height restrictions. You may need an inspector to sign off on your finished pergola besides having the permit.
If you live in an area controlled by an HOA, they may require additional restrictions. They could have rules concerning height limitations, keeping it out of sight from the street, or not blocking a neighbor’s view. Having a copy of those plans to show the HOA board will help.
Will a Pergola Make the House Darker?
This depends on the type of roof you put on it. Many pergolas are covered with a fabric that lets varying degrees of light show through. Some are easily removed if you want the sunlight unimpeded. Keep in mind that if your pergola is built on the western side of the house, it may help to keep that sun from heating up your house from the side during the hottest part of the day, especially if you have a sliding door or French doors on that side.
Can I Attach a Pergola to the Fascia Board?
If you want your pergola to be attached to the house, the fascia board itself will usually not provide a sturdy enough connection to the house. You’ll need to attach the header board for the pergola to the actual roof rafters for a secure attachment.
You’ll need a header board of at least 2 x 8 inch lumber the same length as the side of the pergola to be attached. You’ll probably need to take off the fascia board so you can locate the rafters and mark their location on the fascia board. Reattach the board, then use heavy-duty lag screws with washers that are long enough to go through both the fascia and header boards and two inches deep into the rafter ends.
Stain or paint your new header board if needed to match the rest of your pergola. Let it dry for at least 24 hours. You’ll need wood screws and joist hangers to finish. Attach the joist hangers to match the locations of the pergola joists, then mount the joists in the hangars and fasten them with wood screws.
If your pergola will have an actual solid roof, you will probably be better off consulting a construction company or other related source for advice or even hiring them to do the attachment.
Attaching your pergola to the roof rafters is often still not enough to handle the stress of a solid roof, especially during windy days or storms. Not only could the pergola get damaged, but even your home may sustain some damage if the pergola is ripped off in a storm.
How Do You Attach a Pergola to a House with Gutters?
Some people prefer to remove the gutter where the pergola will rest and cap off the existing ends of the gutters. The most common way is to use brackets to attach the header or ledger board.
Note how many lag screws are used to connect the gutter to the exterior wall of the house. Measure and cut six-inch lengths of 1/2-inch PVC pipe sufficient to equal the number of lag screws. You’ll probably need a hacksaw for this job. You’ll also need an equal number of Simpson ABU66 post base brackets.
Take out one of the lag screws with a power drill. Put one of the post bases between the back of the gutter and the fascia board. Put the lag screw into the hole in the post base and the front of the gutter. Slide the length of the PVC pipe over the screw, then slide it into place and secure it back to the wall with your power drill. Do this for each lag screw.
Set the header board into place on the side of the post bases. Mark the bolt hole locations on the board so you can drill holes for the header bolts. The gutters are usually tapered enough to allow space for the bolt and nut to fit between the header board and the gutter if you use the lower holes for this.
How Much Will It Cost to Build a Pergola Attached to House?
There are so many different ways to build your pergola and so many sizes that it’s a bit hard to estimate a ballpark figure. Of course, market prices for materials vary around the country and with the demand for materials, as does the cost of labor if you have it built professionally. Material choices affect the price as well.
However, the cost to have a pergola-built averages between $30 and $60 per square foot, including installation costs. This will give you an estimate of $1,200 to $2,400 for a 10 x 4 pergola, $4,320 to $8,640 for a 12 x 12 size, and $6,000 to $12,000 for a 10 x 20 size.
Roofing Choices for a Pergola
This is where creativity really comes in. There are many choices for covering your pergola that vary greatly in both look and style.
Static roof – This is a permanent roof, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be made out of wood. Other choices include waterproof canvas, metal, plastic and glass. A permanent lattice roof is not out of the question.
Retractable roof – These roofs will allow you to open your roof all the way or stop at any stage to let in more light. Retractable roofs come in metal, fabric and other materials.
Louvered roof – This type of roof combines the stability of a static roof with the adjustability of a removable roof. The louvers allow rain to run off, keeping your roof waterproof, but some are equipped with rotating louvers and will allow you to adjust their angle. You can let in more light or open them all the way to allow for a sky view.
Climbing or green plants – Many people are opting for this type of roof covering. Climbing vines will wrap themselves around the roof joists. There are many flowering vines available to create a virtual wonderland under your pergola, especially if the blooms are fragrant. Some popular choices include wisteria, clematis, honeysuckle, climbing roses, and trumpet vines.
If you don’t need your pergola to be rainproof, you might consider this type of roof. Just imagine watching hummingbirds flying through your sanctuary. Plants can also be planted on top of your pergola for a living roof.
Solar panels – If your pergola will see a lot of sun, why not consider roofing it with solar panels? It won’t cost much for the small roof area and will garner you some savings on electricity.
Canvas or fabric – There are many choices of canvas and fabrics to cover your roof. Many are treated with waterproofing. This type of roof also lets in some light. If you aren’t bothered with heavy snow in winter, this type may be right for you.
Pergolas are becoming popular as an alternative to a deck or awning. They can even be equipped with screen walls that are either permanent or removable to keep out the bugs. Some people use shade cloth, gathering it at the corners with drapery ties when they want to open up the space.
Take a look at some ideas online. It’s surprising to see all the ideas people have incorporated in their pergolas. With a little imagination, you can customize yours to make it uniquely your own.