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Adding a roof to save a roof

Clear corrugated panels provide needed coverage

Photos by Marc LaBossiere / Winnipeg Free Press Clear corrugated panels are affixed to the 2x4s atop the 2x8 veins, supported by 2x8 tandem beams mounted to 6x6 posts.

The top view of the clear roof panels reveal an overlap at every long seam, fastened using hex screws with rubber grommets.

Now protected from snow accumulation, the gazebo’s canvas roof need not be removed every fall.

Summer projects are typically dreamed up and completed in hopes they will help us enhance our outdoor experience — with the benefits typically enjoyed during the warmer months.

Although these homeowners quickly validated this theory last spring, an ulterior motive for the completion of their exterior project also eliminates a taxing but necessary autumn chore.

Following a rear deck facelift that first entailed replacing all top decking boards, staircases, railings, and lattice skirting, the gazebo at this home, which has been enjoyed three seasons per year — was repositioned along the backside of the main deck tier. Once fastened to the new top decking, the homeowners and I also repositioned the canvas roof of this eight-by-10-foot metal-framed gazebo. The task was somewhat tedious, as the canvas roof is rather heavy and manoeuvring it to its exact position was quite tedious. Throughout the process, the homeowners were clearly annoyed with this fall-time nuisance — evidently, the canvas roof cannot tolerate the weight of snow, and must be removed to avoid snow accumulation which could threaten the canvas roof’s longevity, not to mention damage or even destroy the gazebo’s entire metal framework.

Upon further discussing it with the homeowners, I suggested we build a sloped pergola whose canopy would completely cover the gazebo, and include a clear corrugated roof that withstands snow accumulation. As a result, such a structure would eliminate the need to remove the gazebo’s canvas roof every fall, and the slope would also provide shelter from and channel the rain during the milder months. A quick 3D sketch revealed my proposed design, and subsequent modifications to the canopy’s elevations allow the pergola roofline to begin tucked underneath the house soffit, providing total shelter while exiting the back door onto the rear deck, and into the gazebo. The plan was exciting to my clients, and the project was set to proceed.

Within a few weeks, the treated lumber was delivered and the pergola build began.

To provide proper support for the upper canopy, 6x6 posts were erected along all four corners of the pergola’s footprint. To meet aesthetic expectations, the outer most posts were fastened along the inner edge of the railing whereas the two posts closest to the house were set in line with the pathway created by the entry side of the gazebo, and the existing configuration of the deck’s staircases (up to the back door, and down to ground level). Measurements were taken of the house’s rear roofline, so that the slope of the pergola canopy would match. As such, after a few more calculations, the 6x6 posts along the high side nearest the house were cut to a length that would allow the 2x8 veins to rest atop the 2x8 tandem beam with a couple of inches clearance below the soffit. The outer-most 6x6 posts were cut shorter, to the specification required to match the desired slope. Each vein was notched to fit along the front and back tandem beams, set into place one by one until the canopy was completed. Above the 2x8 veins, 2x4 cross veins were fastened every 24 inches, providing support upon which the clear corrugated 12-foot by two-foot panels could be affixed. Starting at the centre of the top of the canopy, the panels were fastened using hex screws with rubber grommets, overlapped along each long edge until the panels fully covered the entire wooden canopy.

Once the job was finished, the homeowners retired into the gazebo, and invited me to join them for a cold beverage after a long day’s work. There was a sense of relief on their faces, knowing the hassle of removing the canvas roof would never again stir up anxiety before winter.


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