When it comes to protecting yourself, your family, or even your furniture from direct sunlight on the patio, awnings are a great solution. Aside from the useful shade they provide, awnings also add style and aesthetics to your home.
Over the years, the popularity of awnings has skyrocketed, and all for good reasons. From retractable awnings to motorized awnings, they have become an integral part of many households. In fact, they have become a highly-sought after window treatment in the US today.
The problem, however – they are expensive!
In this article, we will look at the cheaper route of making your own and provide you with a detailed step-by-step guide on how to build a wooden awning frame. We hope that after reading this article, you will learn the tricks of the trade to build not only a sturdy wooden awning frame but also one that looks great!
Benefits of Awnings
Before getting into the comprehensive guide on how to build your wooden awning frame, first let’s discuss its benefits. There are plenty of good things that can be attributed to awnings, but here are the most important ones:
Awnings Make Your Home And Outdoor Space Cooler
Did you know that awnings installed on your patio can make it 20 degrees cooler? If you have natural vegetation around your patio, expect it to be even cooler!
Awnings do their job by providing shade. They also restrict the amount of sunlight that goes onto your patio, or any part of your home for that matter.
Since the outside is much cooler, the cooler temperatures also extend into your home, bringing down your indoor temperature. Estimates suggest that an awning can lower your indoor temperature by as much as 15%. This will have a significant effect on your energy bills!
Awnings Are Cost-Effective
Although awnings are not “cheap”, installing an awning is definitely much cheaper than installing additional roofs. Consider having an awning if you intend to have free-flowing air on your patio or any part of your outdoor area.
Awnings Are Easy To Install
Forget about the technicalities and the sophistication of installing window treatments. Awnings are definitely one of the easiest types of window coverings to install.
Aside from easy installation, you should also bear in mind the convenience they give.
Awnings Are Low Maintenance
With the exception of motorized awnings, awnings are pretty easy to maintain. They also won’t need you to spend much if you want to hire someone to maintain or clean it. Having said this, you can easily do your own maintenance and cleaning.
There are plenty of guides online that you can follow for keeping your awnings in great condition. From cleaning awning fabric to keeping it bright, you can easily do this yourself without breaking the bank!
What You Need When Building An Wooden Awning Frame
Before we get into the action, make sure you have the following tools at hand, otherwise, you will end up wasting your time having to run to the nearby hardware store.
- Tape Measure
- Speed Square
- Framing Square
- Impact Driver
- Power Drill
- Miter Saw
How To Build A Wooden Awning Frame: A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Decide On the Location
Find a wall where one board of the awning and two diagonal braces will be attached. This is important as this will provide the structural support of the awning frame. After, mark your chosen location’s wall studs with a pencil.
The studs are vertical beams that support the frame on your wall.
They are normally positioned about 16 to 24 inches apart from each other and made from thick wood or even metal. Attaching your awning frame to your studs is a good idea as it can securely hold screws and they are much more secure than drywalls.
When deciding which location would be the perfect spot to have your awning, it’s important to observe the sun during the day. You need to pinpoint exactly where sunlight is most harsh during the day. This is where you need to have an awning installed to minimize, if not eliminate, sunlight. From this observation, you can decide which part of the house (or part of the patio) needs protection from sunlight.
Step 2: Measure The Awning’s Width
Remember that awnings vary in length. You can get ideas and inspiration on the style, but the measurements will come down to your particular situation.
After deciding, grab your pencil, paper, and measuring tape to measure the dimensions of your awnings. This will serve as your basis for cutting the wood for your awning wood frame. Don’t forget to make room for minor allowances.
This will allow you some elbow room for changes that might arise later on.
Typically, you need to add an extra 3 inches to your measurement to make way for the diagonal braces.
Step 3: Cut The Fascia Board And Ledger
Using a miter saw, cut the fascia board and ledger. Cut two 2x4s to the length the rafters should be. These are the ledger boards and the fascia board.
Step 4: Make Distinct Markings on The Layout of The Rafter And Cut
Here’s a warning: what follows is quite technical in nature. You might want to grab a calculator as you need to be precise in order to have an effective awning.
Rafters are typically placed at an approximation of 24 inches apart. In order for the outside rafters to be accommodated, subtract 1 ½ inch from the length of the ledger board.
After which, divide this figure by 24. This shall determine how many rafters you will need inside. Round off if it is not a whole number.
Next, divide the rafters by the sum which is the length of the ledger board. The result will give you an idea of the distance between each rafter.
Now you can have markings on the distances between rafters on the ledger board. A speed square is needed in this step. This will ensure that you will come up with a straight line with utmost precision.
Put fascia and ledger board at their edges. With the aid of a framing square, you need to switch the marks made on the ledger board to the fascia.
Mark the measurement of your studs in the middle of the ledger board. Once complete, you can cut the rafters using a miter saw. Remember to cut using the measurements you made note of earlier.
Step 5: Create Diagonal Braces
The outer surface of the ledger board needs to be attached to one end of the rafter board. Using two 3-inch structural screws, screw them from behind the ledger, through and into the edge of the rafter.
Put one end of the rafter board next to the outer surface of the ledger board. Use two 3-inch structural screws and screw in from behind the ledger, through and into the edge of the rafter.
Follow the same step for the opposite side.
You can now secure the rafters further by utilizing two 3-inch structural screws. Drive them into the inside rafter that should be held flush with the markings on the ledger board.
Once all the rafters have been secured, take the opposite end of the rafters and place them on the layout marks on the fascia board.
Step 6: Assemble The Pieces
This step will require someone to help. As it can be a heavy job, consider having someone who can carry considerable weight.
Position the awning where you want it installed. This is where you need to hold the frame’s ledger board. The markings on the studs you marked earlier shall be your guide. Make sure that these markings line up with the ledger board.
You need to make a 4-inch deep hole through the ledger board. This should be through into the marking where a stud is located. Push a 4-inch lag bolt through the pilot hole through an impact driver.
Step 7: Hang And Secure
Cut a 45-degree angle at all ends of the 2x4s. You need a miter saw to do this.
. Take this piece of 2×4 and place one end under the awning and the other flush against the wall.
Screw into position to maximize full structural support. You need 2 ⅓ inch structural screws driven into the brace, as well as in the rafter above. At the other side of the brace and into the wall stud, drill a pilot hole. This hole should be 6 inches deep and should be drilled at a 45-degree angle, so the angle of the miter brace is accommodated.
Screw a 6-inch lag bolt into the brace and into the wall. For this, you need an impact driver. You will need to repeat this step on the opposite end of the awning.
Step 8: Cover With Appropriate Awning Fabric
Now that you have completed the tricky part, you will now be able to install a covering on the apex of the awning. This shall ensure that your awning will provide maximum shade and protection.
Tips For Building a Sturdy Wood Awning Frame
Before you do it yourself, consider the following tips:
1. Come Up With A Good Design
Awnings will be an integral part of your house and will be there permanently. Check the internet for awning design ideas so that you will come up with the perfect solution for your home.
2. Prioritize Your Safety
As you will be using industry-grade equipment, ensure that you have the essential protective equipment. This includes, among others, protective glasses and gloves. Do not overlook safety!
3. Good Lumber is The Key
It is not enough to simply come up with a good design in order to have an awesome awning. Most of the time, the durability of a wooden awning frame lies in the lumber that is used. As such, scout for the great available wood in your area. Remember that it will have to last a long time, cheap wood may break after a short period of time.
Highly-Recommended Awning Fabric You Can Buy
Now that you have a sturdy wooden awning frame, the decision on which awning fabric to buy comes next. Here are Blindio’s recommendations on highly-recommended awning fabrics:
You will love its heavy-duty fabric made of tightly woven polyester. This ensures strong, durable, and long-lasting protection against ultraviolet rays. It is water-resistant which makes it perfect for your deck or patio.
One good thing about this is that it is compatible with all sizes of awnings. Its exact dimension is 19.3 feet (width) and 9.8 feet (length).
Made of vinyl, Suncode offers reliable protection against weather elements. It is notable for its durability, as vinyl fabrics can stand up to light and extreme temperatures as compared to any other material.
Its 4.5 ratings make Suncode a fabric of choice among many Americans for awning coverings. More than its style, its function in blocking ultraviolet rays makes it a crowd favorite.
This product is known for its resistance to sun fading, which most awning fabrics are prone to. This is made of polyester fabric that makes it perfect for your awnings.
It is compatible with most awning sizes. Whether it is for your balcony or courtyard, this product is truly a great choice.
Building a wooden awning frame is a challenging one. Make sure that you thoroughly read the detailed instructions above.
You may find that you are better off paying a professional carpenter or at least getting some further advice on your specific situation before going ahead.
Remember that certain windows and doors require a different setup. As such, our instructions above may vary, especially if you want to achieve a complicated or elaborate design.
If in doubt – buy an off-the-shelf awning or call your local window treatment company, but be warned – it will be far more expensive.