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How to Build a Shade Canopy Frame To A Deck

Step-by-step instructions for building a shade canopy frame structure for your deck.

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deck project includes canopy, seating and lights Watch Video

Step 1: Determine the Size of the Area

Determine the size of the area to be covered and order the canopy. The key to your design is to figure out how much of the deck you want to be covered by the canopy and how far the canopy will project out from the house. The deck that was used for this particular demonstration is small: 12' x 14-1/2'. The canopy covers most of the deck from the house to the first step off the front of the deck.

Step 2: Build Support Boxes

Build rectangular boxes to support the canopy base posts. These boxes are mounted flush to the top of the deck stringers and kick-plate on the first step off the deck surface; are attached to the boxes.

build rectangular boxes to support canopy base

Step 3: Notch Deck Planks for Posts

Visually line up the posts and mark out a notch in the decking planks to accommodate the 4x4 posts. Using a saw, cut out the notches and clean the cuts with a sharp chisel.

notch deck planks for posts

Step 4: Notch Posts to Accept Header

Clamp the upright canopy posts together and notch out where the headers attach to the posts. Make a series of parallel cuts to create a notch, break it off with a hammer, and clean up any ridges with a chisel. Be sure the chisel is sharp and always cut along the wood grain.

notch posts to accept header

Step 5: Attach Front Posts

Raise a post into place and plumb it with a level. Support it with 2x4s angled to the ground. Attach the post to the rectangular box below the deck using galvinzed nails and or long screws. Use carriage bolts to attach the post to the deck itself. Repeat for the second post.

attach front posts

Step 6: Attach Double-Sided Header

Measure and cut each header while on the ground. Raise the first header board into the its appropriate notch on the posts. Raise the other header and place it in its notch on other side of the posts. Clamp both headers in place and drill holes for the bolts. Ratchet the bolts into the headers.

clamp both headers in place

Step 7: Attach Return Boards

Measure the distance between the outside header board and the frieze board, which is a 2x6 board attached to the house with a small lip where the canopy frame can be attached to the house. Add to the overall length any amount of desired overhang. Cut the "return" boards to length. Raise the boards and rest them on the headers and frieze board. Make sure the returns are square to the house and to each other. Attach the return boards on both ends with galvanized metal brackets.

attach return boards on both ends

Step 8: Attach the Shade Canopy

The canopy comes with tracts that are pre-cut to the proper length. One end attaches to the house frieze board and the other end to the frame header.

Mount the brackets for the tracks under the return boards. Cut a little piece out of the frieze board molding (Image 2), and space them far enough apart to allow for the roller mechanism to function effectively on each side of the fabric.

Screw in the brackets (Image 3) that are supplied by the canopy manufacturer, and, using the locking bolts that come with the canopy tracks, attach one end of each track to the house and the other end to the header (Image 4).

Note: The canopy comes pre-assembled with cross-members. On the end of each cross-member there's a roller; the rollers go directly into the tracts.

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