Build your own patio roof – the best DIY instructions

Build your own patio roof – the best DIY instructions

In summer, the terrace lures with warm temperatures and fresh air. But sitting in the blazing sun isn’t for everyone. Unfortunately, solutions such as large sunshades or pavilions are only of limited use: A strong gust of wind and the sunshade flew away. It is better to get a permanent solution. Read in this article what options you have for building your own patio roof.

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Attention, building permit!

Before heading to the hardware store, be sure to check your local building codes. A non-approved patio roof can result in a fine or make it necessary to dismantle it. Both are as expensive as they are unnecessary if you have informed yourself beforehand. This is especially true for extensions that face the street. But it can happen that the local building authorities also want to have a say in the rear garden design. Therefore: Information saves money and provides legal certainty.

In general, however, installing a patio roof is not a problem. Most building codes are limited to the materials chosen and the finish. You really have to pay attention to this when building a patio roof yourself.

Function of the patio cover

Above all, a patio roof should protect against the weather. Essentially, this concerns protection against direct sunlight. But rain and snow should also be kept away from a properly designed patio roof. Together with the unavoidable wind pressure, this results in high demands on the statics of a patio roof.

Detached or attached?

If the terrace is at the house, attaching the roofing is a lot easier. The wind can no longer blow from one side. A stable house wall is also ideal for fixing the patio roof to it. Although this is very tempting, we would like to advise against it: A thermal insulation composite system depends on a watertight and closed surface. This with steel anchors to perforate opens a gate for penetrating water. This can then cause moisture damage or mold growth on the inside of the outer wall.

Regardless of whether it is free-standing or leaning against a house wall, we would therefore recommend a four-post construction. Also designed as an extension, the terrace roof becomes an independent structure with self-sufficient statics.

Basic rule when building stud frames

When building stud frames of any kind, there is one golden rule

“Triangle stands – rectangle passes”.

This means: A frame structure must be secured in every direction by diagonal braces. An open rectangle has a very high static load and will collapse sooner or later. The diagonal brace does not necessarily have to go through the entire side wall. This would also be very inconvenient for entering the canopy. However, you should always install small diagonal struts at the crossing point between longitudinal, transverse and vertical beams. This makes the construction permanently stable and resilient.

Three ways to the patio roof

There are three ways to get a patio cover:

  • Custom made roof by carpenter on site
  • Purchased finished product
  • Build your own patio cover

A canopy installed by a craftsman is the most expensive option. Here you have to reckon with upwards of 3000 euros, depending on how extensive your wishes are. In return you will receive a guaranteed successful, statically correct and durable product, which increases the value of your house.

Purchased ready-made canopies are available from around 500 euros. The cheapest variants are made of wood. However, the majority of the ready-made range consists of polycarbonate-aluminium constructions. The prices are open here. For a canopy measuring 6 x 4 meters, you have to reckon with around 3500 euros. For comparison: A wooden roof costs about half. In return, you have a higher maintenance effort.

Building your own patio roof is a certain technical challenge. If you have no experience with such constructions, you should hire someone who has done something like this before.

Build your own patio cover

Of course, the first choice for a self-made roof is wood as a building material. It is the easiest to process, is inexpensive and offers good stability.

If you have complete freedom of design for your roofing, you can also go other ways: constructions made of screwed water pipes or PVC pipes filled with concrete are also possible. But you should think carefully about such experiments.

The classic timber frame construction consists of three elements:

  • foundation
  • wooden frame
  • roof

point foundation

Simple point foundations are sufficient as a foundation for the timber frame construction. A 10 liter cleaning bucket filled with concrete is basically sufficient. However, we recommend not setting the vertical support beams directly into the concrete. The trade offers shoes that are made of welded steel. These shoes are placed in the concrete with one side.

The support beam can now be placed and screwed on the top. This means that it can be replaced if it has worn out due to rot, fire or breakage. In addition, the construction is so much easier: the concrete can simply harden with the shoe in it. The beam is then put on and can be fixed in a vertical position at your leisure. There is no need to worry about the beam shifting from the concrete during hardening.

Straight corner beams

When the spot foundations are in place, the corner beams are placed. With the help of auxiliary supports, they can be brought into an exact vertical position. The auxiliary supports, simple slats are sufficient, are fixed on one side at the upper end with just a single screw. Using only one screw ensures that the auxiliary support can rotate at the point.

Now the other end is placed diagonally on the floor. The corner beam is optimally equipped with an auxiliary support in each direction. Now it can be precisely aligned using a spirit level. When the beam is exactly straight, a lug is rammed into the ground to the right and left of the grounding point of the auxiliary supports. The support is screwed firmly to the bracket. The corner beam is now straight and can no longer slip as the roofing continues to be erected.

roof pitch

When placing the crossbeams, attention must be paid to the pitch of the roof. An inclination of 5° is ideal. It ensures self-cleaning of the finished roof. This prevents puddles from forming on the roof, which can cause the structure to rot.

Fasten a wide board with only one screw to the top of the joist whose side the rainwater runs off (low point). Now go to the opposite corner beam where you want the top of the incline to be. Place a spirit level on the board and draw a line on the joist where you want the top of the roof to be.

Now you have to do the math. You now need the exact distance between the two corner beams, from outer edge to outer edge. This distance forms the base of a right triangle. You know that the acute angle of the triangle should be 5°. The roof slope forms the hypotenuse of the triangle. So you have the adjacent (distance between the vertical corner bars) the angle (5°) and you know it’s a right triangle. With the help of the tangent, the superelevation of the roof tip side can now be calculated. The tangent is:

Opposite side / adjacent side = tan 5°

The ancathete is known. Now you only need to use the rule of three to change the formula to: tan 5° x adjacent side = opposite side

The result is now the length that you have to count on the horizontal line on the bar.


The distance between the corner beams is 5 meters. Take a scientific calculator (or your smartphone with the appropriate app) and type in:

Tan 5° x 500 = 43

This is the result in centimeters. The corner beam on the roof peak side must be higher than the bottom beam by this amount. This will give you the desired 5° roof pitch.

Therefore, shorten the corner beams by 43 cm, which are on the lower side of the patio cover.

The corner beams are then connected to the ridge beams. The ridge beams are placed on top of the corner beams and screwed with the help of straps. Attention: The auxiliary supports still have to remain in place! The construction only gets its stability when the said diagonal struts are installed!

The four corner beams stand and are connected to the transoms. Now the roof needs battens. For this purpose, a row of slats is installed along the direction of the rain flow. The distance between the battens depends on which decking material you want to use.

We would like to advise against heavy roof tiles. This is too expensive and time-consuming for such a project. However, sheet metal is not ideal either, as it sounds very loud when it rains. We recommend the double-walled sheets made of polycarbonate. They are translucent, durable, light and easy to process. They are also weatherproof and will last for many years.

If you attach the patio roof to a house wall, you now have to seal the transition. Otherwise, a gap will form in the gap between the patio roof and the facade, in which dirt and water will collect. To do this, attach a folded sheet that covers the gap. The folded sheet metal should be approx. 20 cm wide on both sides. On the facade side, you still have to seal the sheet metal generously with silicone. In this way you have permanently avoided the risk of backwater and a constant dirt corner.

Don’t forget the wood protection

After completing the patio roof, you still have to protect the wood from the weather and vermin. We recommend using wax or organic oils here. This gives a pleasant, natural scent and is ecologically harmless.

solar cells

A patio roof is ideal for covering with solar panels. The modules are now very inexpensive and easy to install. For example, you can supply electricity to a refrigerator or a pond pump free of charge. The combination with a small battery and atmospheric lighting for your patio roof is also an option.