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post #1 of 8 Old 04-01-2013, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Pergola Questions

So, my wife and I just bought our first home together and we are looking at projects to increase the value of the home. We've decided we would like to put a pergola on our back patio area. The area is 12'x16'. We found a local guy who builds kits and you assemble it yourself. I'm trying to determine if we would save a lot of money building it ourselves or if the kit is the way to go. The kits are really nice - they use Douglas Fir rough-sawn timbers and are pre-stained. The kits use 8"x8"x10' for the posts, 4"x12" for the support beams, 3"x10" for the rafters, 2"x6" for the shade planks, and 3"x10" for structural knee braces. The jointing looks amazing on their kits.

Here's a link to their work: http://www.westerntimberframe.com/pergola-kits/

So, the pergola we want to build was quoted around $5000 for the 12'x16' area. Any idea on how much the lumber would cost for this kind of project? I have little experience, so I am wondering if this is a little too ambitious as a DIY project.
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-01-2013, 01:25 PM
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I built a pergola out of pressure treated lumber in 2011. Total cost was around $400, and it's a fairly simple project to finish in a weekend once the posts are set. Tolerances need not be super close for it to turn out nice.

Last edited by knotscott; 04-03-2013 at 02:39 PM.
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-02-2013, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PharmD View Post
<snip>
So, the pergola we want to build was quoted around $5000 for the 12'x16' area. Any idea on how much the lumber would cost for this kind of project? I have little experience, so I am wondering if this is a little too ambitious as a DIY project.
If you get a decent set of plans, it's not too ambitious.

However: it sounds like you probably haven't done much woodworking, since you're not sure how to price lumber. That implies that you probably don't have much in the way of tools. It also implies that if the plans aren't quite right, you won't have much experience in figuring out how to fix them.

That's not to say you shouldn't do it. Everybody gets started somewhere! But it means that, in addition to the lumber, you'll likely need to buy tools and things that some people here already have. If I were going to build something like that, I'd probably use the same timber knotscott did, which isn't exactly cheap. Cutting the ends of the posts straight can't be done trivially with a circular saw (it's doable, and not really that hard, but it takes some practice), so a chop saw would probably be a good idea. You'll also probably want to set the posts in cement foundations of some sort.

None of this is hard, necessarily, but it takes a certain amount of thought to figure out how to do it. You may find that the kit more than equals the investment of time and money you have to make to do it on your own, or you may not... that depends a lot on how much time and money you have at the moment.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-02-2013, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amckenzie4 View Post
If you get a decent set of plans, it's not too ambitious.

However: it sounds like you probably haven't done much woodworking, since you're not sure how to price lumber. That implies that you probably don't have much in the way of tools. It also implies that if the plans aren't quite right, you won't have much experience in figuring out how to fix them.

That's not to say you shouldn't do it. Everybody gets started somewhere! But it means that, in addition to the lumber, you'll likely need to buy tools and things that some people here already have. If I were going to build something like that, I'd probably use the same timber knotscott did, which isn't exactly cheap. Cutting the ends of the posts straight can't be done trivially with a circular saw (it's doable, and not really that hard, but it takes some practice), so a chop saw would probably be a good idea. You'll also probably want to set the posts in cement foundations of some sort.

None of this is hard, necessarily, but it takes a certain amount of thought to figure out how to do it. You may find that the kit more than equals the investment of time and money you have to make to do it on your own, or you may not... that depends a lot on how much time and money you have at the moment.
Thanks for the input. This is what I am wrestling with - not much experience, not much in the way of tools. I do have a 12" compound miter saw, jig saw, and a nice set of chisels - but that's about it. I would like a table saw eventually - but that probably won't happen soon - I've maxed out my tool limit for a while with the chop saw.
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-02-2013, 10:14 PM
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The pergola "may" increase the value of your house, but by no more than 50% of what it cost.

I would not start a project like that just to increase house. Build the pergola because you want one and be glad if there is some property value increase.

George
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-02-2013, 11:33 PM
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Just remember - you're going to be penalized every year that you own the house.............with an increased property tax bill

As far as building it yourself, try and find a friend who can help you and whose handy at that, and then repay him by helping him with one of his projects.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-02-2013, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
The pergola "may" increase the value of your house, but by no more than 50% of what it cost.

I would not start a project like that just to increase house. Build the pergola because you want one and be glad if there is some property value increase.

George
We definitely want one too and will enjoy it - the added value is just a perk.
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-03-2013, 10:56 AM
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Why buy a kit? The pergola is such a simple thing. It's 2x6 and 2x8s ( or whatever you please to use) screwed or nailed on a Cartesian pattern (or any pattern you please) with the ends jigsawed to some pleasing shape like radii that can be concave convex complex or simple.

The claims by the kit maker about eliminating hardware is all hooie~!! Nobody I've ever seen used such stuff in a pergola.
Commonly where people use but joints toe nailed and put a little pleasantly jigsawed wood support bracket underneath.

But you can also just notch the boards and lock them together that way too. Most pergolas are built notched, that I've seen anyway.

If you are insecure about designing your own just input "Pergola Plans" (without the quotes) into Google and you will be rewarded with oodles and buckets of designs and images and what all. Don't forget to check out the images section on google

Hey~!!! It's a hobby~!! It's not supposed to make sense.

Last edited by Cliff; 04-03-2013 at 11:02 AM.
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