2 Jun 2012

How to Build a Pergola onto a House

Posted by bcsands

Building a pergola is an excellent way to add value to your home and create a gentle transition from indoors to the outdoors.

Essential Preparations:-

  • Measure up and plan your pergola’s proposed length, width and height to match available materials such as timber length, and proposed roofing and flooring dimensions.
  • Draw up a plan, and before you start building, check if you need to submit it to your local council.


Tools and Materials

Most of the tools you will need to build your pergola are:- Builder’s string and pegs, a spirit level, plumb bob, measuring tape, square, shovel, drill, circular or hand saw, spanner and paint equipment.

Materials include:-

  • 4 x Pergola posts
  • 4 x Post stirrups
  • 5 x Cross beams 140mm by 45mm
  • 6 x Battens 50mm by 25mm
  • 6 x Rafter beams 140mm by 45mm
  • Quickset or delivered Concrete
  • Bolts and nuts
  • Galvanised nails
  • Joist hangers (if attaching to the facia)
  • Wall plate (if attaching to a wall)
  • Paint or varnish
  • Roofing material of your choice
  • Paving of your choice


Preparing Your Site for a Pergola

There are 2 ways to erect a pergola and both are correct. You can build it from the top down or from the bottom up. The steps are almost the same, but just in a different order.

  • Mark out the area with builder’s string and pegs. Adjust where necessary and double check that it is square after each adjustment.
  • Mark the place for the vertical posts by measuring the beams that will span the top.
  • NOTE: If you are building from top to bottom, this is where you lift your basic pergola frame onto temporary support props before the following steps.
  • Dig out the post holes about 3-4 times bigger than the post itself.
  • Fill the holes with concrete and set the stirrups, ensuring they are in exactly the right place, level, plumb and square.
  • Attach the pergola frame to the house. You can attach it to the facia or directly to the wall.
  • If fixing it to a house with a wood facia, the strongest way is to bolt the beam directly to the facia and reinforce it with joist hangers in several places. A metal facia is not suitable to attach a pergola to.
  • If attaching a pergola to the wall of a brick house, drill expanding masonry bolts into the bricks (not the mortar) and attach the wall plate.
  • If you have a weatherboard house, ensure that the wall plate is attached through the timber studs of the house frame, and not just to the weatherboard.
  • Attach the pergola rafters to the wall plate or house rafters using the joist hangers or wall plates. Ensure everything is plumb, level and square.
  • Attach the battens at 90o to the rafters with galvanised nails and/or screws. If you live in a high wind area, you will need to screw them down as nails will not hold for long.
  • Paint or seal the timber using outdoor paint or finishing products.
  • Attach the roofing material. This can be shade-cloth, fibreglass, polycarbonate or even roofing metal, though this last option may cut the light to the indoors areas nearby.
  • In most cases if the pergola is an outdoor area without vehicle traffic then paving with brick or concrete pavers is a suitable finishing touch.


When all the hard work is done you can have enjoyable times under your pergola, cooking barbeques, hosting parties and of course relaxing with your feet up admiring your work!

BC Sands offers most of the supplies you will need to put your pergola together.

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3 Responses to “How to Build a Pergola onto a House”

  1. Thanks for this very detailed blog – hoping my hubby will find it so easy he will be keen to start on our pergola !



  2. Thank you for the article. I just about passed your we site up in Bing but now I’m glad I clicked the link and got to go through it.



  3. Excellent write up. The only other thing that I would add is to watch lots of Youtube videos of other people building pergolas, as you will find lots of handy tips by watching the pros.



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