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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just signed my first pergola project. I'm excited but have a few question about it. The yard is south facing and the pergola will be just west of south. along with looks the project is also to add shade.

Thinking about it I would figure it would be best to run the rafters east to west or would north to south be better?

Another thing is the house bumps out a bit beside where the pergola is going to be built. The soffit is at 8'6" would it be better to be above the roof line completely or should I stay below it and above standard door height?

Any other pergola related tips would be great. Thanks
 

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Couldn't give advice on which way rafters should run without spans, typically they run on the shorter span, with the beams running the longer spans.

The higher the pergola the less effective they are for shading unless you do something on the sides. Some folks don't like them to be too low, they want the a big open feel. These are things you need to discuss/decide with the customer I would think.
 

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I would orient them for the most shade in the summer... This depends on your lattitude. Here, the sun is nearly overhead in summer, so I would run rafters n-s to maximize early and late shading.

8'6 is pretty low, so I would probably go a little higher and set it out a little from the eave
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
redwood said:
Rafters alone are not going to give much shade. On our pergolas, shade is accomplished by the slats on top. Varied in size and spacing determined by the amount of shade required. You will get best shading results if the slats run perpendicular to the path of the sun.
That's exactly the answer I was looking for. Thanks
 

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In reference to your arbor/pergola there are other ways to determine the amount of shade achieved. I would ask my customer at what time of the day they want shade the most, early in the morning and late in the afternoon, or at noon. If they want more protection at noon you would want to run your materials east - west, if they want more coverage for early morning and late afternoon run your materials north-south. Also what season are you building this in because the sun location varies with the season and the geography.

Now there are variables on the spacing of your materials. some people set their joist at various spacing's, the closer together, say 16 inch on center, gives a lot more shade and that again depends on what size boards you are using, the higher the profile the greater the shade. Now lets talk lath or slats for the top most people around here use 2x2's for lath the question is how far apart do you space them, the closer more shade, the further away you just get the look of an arbor/pergola.
You may want to use 2x4's on edge much more shade based on how far apart they are spaced.

These are all things you need to discuss with your customers explaining the differences and the benefits. You would be surprised how many people have no idea what goes into getting the correct product for their money.

As far as the height goes you said the soffit is 8'6", correct? I would build above the soffit, presuming your project is free standing, I always figure the bottom of the beam to be 8 to 9 foot high. Most people want to be able to install ceiling fans underneath to give a comfortable breeze. Make sure your customers know that they will need to make sure they are buying a ceiling fan rated "WET".

By the way my advise on the purchase of a ceiling fan is let your customer provide it to you, not you go out and buy it for them. I made that mistake once it turned out to be the wrong color, wrong light kit, wrong size, and the blades were not the right shape, lesson learned.

Thanks for the opportunity for me to be able to give back.

I think I exceeded the quick reply here.

Bob
 

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Laying out an arbor-pergola has quite a few things to consider that need to be talked about with your customer. I think that if the soffit is 8'6" in height the bottom of the beam for your project should be 9' to 10' in height to the bottom of the beam. your beam or joist can extend over the house a bit to aid in more shade and ties it into the architecture better.

Depending on the season you are in and the season you are building its usage for and the time of day coverage concentrate of the run of the materials.

Midday shade the materials run east-west, early morning and late afternoon run the materials north south.

Here in Texas most lath that is used are 2x2's. You can also use 2x4's. The closer the lath the more shade. The closer the joist (16"oc) equates to more shade. Now all this also depends on the size of the beams and joist you are using. A 2x10 will give more shade than say a 2x6.

If your customer is thinking of installing cloth for added shade, than think spacing your materials closer together.

I hope this helps and I thank you for allowing me to give back a little.

Bob
 

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weird is correct.

I am the culprit. I thought the first post was swallowed up by the abyss, but to my surprise it showed up again after I had already sent the second one.

I apologize for the confusion, I will blame it on old timers syndrome.

Bob
 
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