What are the risks of installing patio covers yourself?
Patio covers are a great solution to add shade coverage and style. But, many problems can arise if a patio cover is improperly installed. Read on for some key elements to consider before installing a patio cover all by yourself.
Omer Reiner

Omer Reiner

Omer Reiner, Licensed Realtor, and President of FL Cash Home Buyers, LLC.

Too Heavy or Out of Regulation For Their Foundation

One of the most common issues I have seen when people install a patio cover is that the cover is too heavy or otherwise out of regulation for their foundation. The foundation helps hold the patio up, and in many situations, the foundation may not be enough to include a cover. Even a cloth cover can create a shift in weight that causes the patio to become unstable on the foundation, especially sand foundations, which are typical for a patio. When installing a patio cover, ensure the foundation is within regulations to hold up the patio as it is, and then see if the foundation can hold up the patio with a cover too.

Doing the Tie-downs Improperly to Prevent Wind Damage

What can go wrong if you do patio cover installation yourself? One serious issue you could run into if you don’t install a cover properly is with the tie-downs. Many people overlook the importance of tying down to prevent wind damage. You need to first assess where the cover is placed and if in an open area you would want to apply even strength on all the corners to a ground stake or even to cement bags or anything else that can hold it down.

If attaching to a house you would want to ensure that you add in grommets in the cover if not present and then screw these into the side of the building or house using properly sized screws where the head completely covers the grommet opening.

Anton Schwarz

Anton Schwarz

Anton Schwarz, CEO of Lawn Care Guides.

Roland Foss

Roland Foss

Roland Foss, Senior Operations Manager at Bellhop Phoenix Movers.

Unwanted Leaks

Patio covers have two major vulnerabilities that will probably come up in the event of a failed DIY installation: wind and rain. While patio covers aren’t designed to be perfect rain shelters, they are meant to generally keep the rain off, and more importantly, to drain the water that falls on it away from the house.

Improper installation can lead to leaks where your patio cover is attached to your home, or puddling across a sidewalk or close enough to the house to seep into the basement. Improperly installed patio covers are also at considerable risk of blowing away in the event of severe weather. Make sure you get these aspects of your installation right if you choose to do a project like this for yourself.

Lacking the Tools and Know-how Required for Installation

Patio covers are a great way to add some shade and style to your patio. But don’t let their simple looks fool you. Before rushing in to put one together there are a few key things to consider.

    1. This is probably the most obvious but overlooked…do you have the time and tools required for installation? While there are kits that you can buy from your local big box store, most patio covers are professionally installed and custom-built. On average, these can take up to three to four days for a professional installer to build. Not only is it laborious but an installer will have thousands of dollars in tools to get the job done right in this time frame. Don’t own a small woodshop worth of tools? You may want to consider hiring a pro.

    2. Is the cover freestanding or is it anchored in the grounds or to the house? Freestanding ones bought from a store can be really easy to assemble but won’t have the wow factor of a custom-made pergola or portico. Custom-made ones can require digging footers two feet deep with concrete and attach to the house which requires a pro-level knowledge of flashing and affixing to ensure water damage doesn’t occur to your home. If both aren’t done properly you could potentially have a structure that prematurely fails to cause thousands in damages and repairs, not to mention re-building.

Shane Heath

Shane Heath is the founder and owner of Battlefield Custom Deck and Patio.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors’ statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.

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