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The Right Way To Attach a Pergola to a House Roof

Traditionally attaching a pergola patio cover to a house meant fastening the pergola directly to the roof, sidewall or eaves of the house. However, these options create multiple challenges that include weatherproofing the connection, allowing for air circulation and dealing with debris accumulation.

The Skylift Option

SkyLift’s Roof Riser attachment method eliminates all of the challenges that come with connecting a pergola patio cover in the traditional manner. The Roof Riser connects the pergola directly to the structural framing of the house. The wall essentially becomes part of the support for one side of pergola.

Make the Connection

Installation of the Roof Riser support system is straightforward. After determining where the pergola should attach to the house, measure to a point on the roof directly above the house wall. Carefully remove the roofing material (typically asphalt shingles) at that location a few feet from the edge of the pergola. Save the roofing to be replaced later.

Cut Away the Sheathing

With the roofing removed, peel back any underlayment (roofing felt) to expose the sheathing. Carefully cut away about a 1-ft. wide section of sheathing between rafters, and set aside the piece that you removed. The top plate of the wall should then be visible directly below the opening.

Attach the Roof Risers

Set the base plate of the roof riser on top of the wall plate, positioned properly side to side. Fasten the Roof Riser to the plate using 1/4-inch by 3-inch structural screws. (Marking and drilling guide holes for the screws can make this step go more smoothly).

Stabilize the Support

In many situations, such as in high-wind or seismic areas, SkyLift’s Lateral Stabilizer Straps can add stability.

These straps need to attach to the house framing, so cut and install a length of 2-by stock to fit between the rafters next to the Roof Riser. Cut a hole in the sheathing scrap you removed earlier to fit around the Roof Riser, and then reattach the sheathing.

Secure the steel Lateral Stabilizer Strap to the reinforced sheathing per the SkyLift instructions. Be sure to drive structural fasteners through every hole in the strap.

Weatherproof the Installation

After the attachment and reinforcement is complete, a roof boot slips around the Roof Riser vertical extension to create a seal similar to what is used around plumbing vent pipes. Reinstall the underlayment and roofing, integrating the flashing apron with the courses of roofing to complete the weatherproofing. (SkyLift sells Ultimate Pipe Flashing (UPF) boots made specifically to fit around the Roof Riser).

Beams Carry the Pergola

For most pergolas, two SkyLift Roof Risers are all that are needed to support the structure on the house side. Saddles on top of the Roof Risers are made to fit either a 4-inch or 6-inch beam that the pergola structure sits on and attaches to. The free side of the pergola sits on a similar beam supported by posts.

Long-Lasting, Maintenance-Free Attachment

SkyLift offers its Roof Risers in many different heights to accommodate the roof pitch of any house. With the pergola patio cover attached to the house using SkyLift’s patented Roof Riser system, the pergola sits above the roof plane of the house. Having the two structures separated reduces any possibility of water incursion into the house. This separation also decreases the chance of rot from the two adjacent surfaces not drying properly.

The space between the roof and the pergola also allows for air circulation, allowing warm air below the pergola to exit freely and keeping the shaded patio below the pergola much more comfortable. Lastly, the separation of the structures keeps debris from building up, which eliminates the need for the regular cleaning required when a pergola is attached to a house by traditional methods.

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