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Patio Roof Maximum Beam & Rafter Spans

An essential part of planning a patio roof or gazebo project is determining the number, size, and spacing of rafters, beams, and posts, according to the loads they will carry.

maximum rafter spans

Maximum Rafter Spans for a Patio Roof

In areas with mild climates, patio roofs are generally designed for loads of 30 psf (pounds per square foot). For heavy roofs or in areas with substantial snowfall or winds, call your local building department for code requirements.

The tables below give maximum spans for rafters and beams. The figures are based on quality materials. For lesser grades, spans should be shorter. Keep in mind that these are maximums—in other words, shortening spans slightly will result in a more solid structure.

Find out the loads your overhead must bear, and then determine the rafter sizes. Next, calculate beam placements and how best to coordinate them with the rafters.

maximum beam spans

Maximum Beam Spans for Patio Roofs

Keep in mind that these are minimums for the spacing indicated—you can select larger sizes to handle excessive loads or for appearance. Of course, beefier sizes also increase your lumber bill.copyright-sun

Patio Roof Maximum Beam & Rafter Spans

An essential part of planning a patio roof or gazebo project is determining the number, size, and spacing of rafters, beams, and posts, according to the loads they will carry.

maximum rafter spans

Maximum Rafter Spans for a Patio Roof

In areas with mild climates, patio roofs are generally designed for loads of 30 psf (pounds per square foot). For heavy roofs or in areas with substantial snowfall or winds, call your local building department for code requirements.

The tables below give maximum spans for rafters and beams. The figures are based on quality materials. For lesser grades, spans should be shorter. Keep in mind that these are maximums—in other words, shortening spans slightly will result in a more solid structure.

Find out the loads your overhead must bear, and then determine the rafter sizes. Next, calculate beam placements and how best to coordinate them with the rafters.

maximum beam spans

Maximum Beam Spans for Patio Roofs

Keep in mind that these are minimums for the spacing indicated—you can select larger sizes to handle excessive loads or for appearance. Of course, beefier sizes also increase your lumber bill.copyright-sun

Building Gazebo Columns & Sides

Gazebo Construction Diagram

This article is a continuation of the articles How to Build a Kit Gazebo and How to Build a Kit Gazebo Floor. Once the floor is built, it’s time to erect the columns or side panels.

Gazebo Columns

If your gazebo kit’s columns are not an integral part of the floor system, the next step is to bolt them to the base blocks. See the illustration below.

Then assemble the upper column bands at the top of the columns. Just finger-tighten the nuts until all of the upper column bands are placed. Tighten the nuts, alternating between the right and left nuts on each column. Screw the inside trim blocks in place with 3-inch trim screws.

Gazebo Side Panels

Install the side panels by positioning each panel so it has equal margins on each side, and then attach each panel to the columns, typically with 2 1/2-inch screws.

Preassembled side panels are heavy and a bit awkward to maneuver, so be sure to have a helper on hand. You will also need a couple of tall stepladders.[GARD align=”left”]

Finishing Touches

Install the trim pieces, including the handrails. Set any exposed nail heads beneath the surface and fill the holes with matching wood filler. If you have stained or painted the structure’s pieces prior to assembly, touch them up.

 

Building Gazebo Columns & Sides

Gazebo Construction Diagram

This article is a continuation of the articles How to Build a Kit Gazebo and How to Build a Kit Gazebo Floor. Once the floor is built, it’s time to erect the columns or side panels.

Gazebo Columns

If your gazebo kit’s columns are not an integral part of the floor system, the next step is to bolt them to the base blocks. See the illustration below.

Then assemble the upper column bands at the top of the columns. Just finger-tighten the nuts until all of the upper column bands are placed. Tighten the nuts, alternating between the right and left nuts on each column. Screw the inside trim blocks in place with 3-inch trim screws.

Gazebo Side Panels

Install the side panels by positioning each panel so it has equal margins on each side, and then attach each panel to the columns, typically with 2 1/2-inch screws.

Preassembled side panels are heavy and a bit awkward to maneuver, so be sure to have a helper on hand. You will also need a couple of tall stepladders.[GARD align=”left”]

Finishing Touches

Install the trim pieces, including the handrails. Set any exposed nail heads beneath the surface and fill the holes with matching wood filler. If you have stained or painted the structure’s pieces prior to assembly, touch them up.

 

How to Build a Kit Gazebo Floor

This article is a continuation of the article How to Build a Kit Gazebo. The proper method for building the floor framing for a kit gazebo depends on the gazebo kit you buy. The illustrations at bottom show how floor joists can radiate out from a central hub; the gazebo’s posts connect to special column base blocks, as shown in the detail below.[GARD align=”left”]

With either style, you begin by fastening the structural members to the foundation pier at the center. The octagon’s points should be in line with the outer piers.

But before you begin to fasten the joists to the outer piers, site down each joist to make sure that its end lines up straight with the end of the opposite joist.

Gazebo Floor Sections

If your kit has individual joists, the next step is to connect each joist with the skirt boards. For the kit illustrated, each connection is made with a threaded rod, washers and nuts, aluminum skirt brackets, and column base blocks.

Be sure the skirt boards’ top edges sit flush with the top of the floor joists. Finger-tighten a nut (with washer) at each end of each threaded rod.

Then, tighten the nuts at the center plate, and, using lag screws, bolt the floor joists to anchors in the concrete piers.

To install the floor sections, line up each section’s edges with the centerlines of the floor joists.

If necessary, use a mallet to gently tap the floor sections toward the center until they are tightly together and the outer edges of the floor nailers are even. Then use galvanized screws to fasten the floor sections to the joists.

Gazebo Floor Structure

Low-Profile Gazebo Floors

Ideally, gazebos and garden rooms that have wooden deck-like floors are very low to the ground. You can usually lower the height of a floor by using smaller-width joists and beams. However, this change may require you to reduce beam and joist spans, which in turn may mean pouring more footings. Another strategy is to attach the joists to the side, not the top, of the beam. See three options in the illustrations below.

 

Gazebo Floor Joist & Pier Construction Options for Low-Profile

 

If the yard is level and the floor will be low to the ground, you will not need posts. However, the piers must all be level with one another.

To build with no posts, plan to install at least two rows of piers with identical beams placed along each row. Construct the beams with double 2-by members. Attach the joists with joist hangers on the inside face of each beam.

If building a kit gazebo yourself is beyond your abilities, please see our affiliate partner, HomeAdvisor, to receive free bids from local pre-screened gazebo construction pros.

NEXT SEE: How to Build Gazebo Columns & Sides

How to Build a Kit Gazebo

An expert guide on how to build a kit gazebo from manufactured sections, taking you step-by-step through the kit gazebo construction process.

Building a gazebo with your own hands is a challenging project, requiring the ability to install a wooden floor, construct walls, lay roofing—not to mention the carpentry skills needed for decorative detailing. Add to this that many gazebos have geometric shapes that include compound angles and difficult joinery and you have probably entered territory beyond the skills of even accomplished do-it-yourselfers. kit gazebo

Today, however, many quality manufacturers produce gazebo kits that already have most of the cutting and joinery done, with the pieces marked to correspond to the instructions for assembly. Some kits even come partially assembled. This not only makes the job of building a gazebo from the ground up infinitely easier but it also makes it a lot less expensive. All you do is pour a simple foundation and follow the assembly directions.[GARD align=”left”]

If building a kit gazebo yourself is beyond your abilities, please see our affiliate partner, HomeAdvisor, to receive free bids from local pre-screened gazebo construction pros.

Selecting a Kit Gazebo

When deciding on a kit, look for a model that uses screws for all connections, which results in the finished product having a high level of integrity. Also ask about a company’s shipping policy as shipping costs can tack on a significant amount to the bottom line. Many companies offer free shipping within a certain radius, so it’s wise to look into local manufacturers or larger companies with regional outlets. If time is of the essence to you, also inquire about when your order will be shipped. Some companies are prepared to ship within a matter of days.

Preparing to Build a Kit Gazebo

Before you begin assembling a kit gazebo, you will need to prepare a foundation according to the manufacturer’s directions. Though some kits are designed to sit on a concrete slab, most have wood floors supported by a system of concrete piers.[GARD align=”right”]

Proper layout of these foundation piers is crucial because the kit’s components are sized to fit this layout. You will also need to check with your local building department to make sure the foundation meet local codes.

One easy and sure way to accurately lay out the foundation is to do a “dry run” with the floor’s framing components. Start by creating a level pad for the gazebo and then spreading about 4 inches of sand over the area’s ground.

Next, loosely assemble the floor’s structural members. Once they are positioned, they will automatically indicate where the piers and posts must go.

Mark their placements with stakes, and then remove the flooring components and dig holes for the footings and piers.

NEXT SEE: How to Build a Kit Gazebo Floor