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How to Build a Patio Cover – Part 2

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Welcome back! hopefully you were able to get a lot of useful information out of the first little write up on building the awing in my back yard.  If you haven’t already, check it out here.

The second part of the awning sums up all of the remaining bits like electrical work, ceiling paneling, trim work, and building out some boxes at the base of the awning posts.

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Things I Used In This Video:

Lighting

Before moving forward with finishing the ceiling I needed to decide on how I wanted to do the lighting. Fortunately the side of the barn already has power which I temporarily disconnected at the breaker while i built this awning. I chose some shallow mount recessed lighting since I only have 2×4 ceiling joist. These lights are LED’s and have a really low power consumption.

I decided on six lights evenly divided as pairs over the length of the awning. My husband will spend a lot of time under this awning in the evening cooking on his grill so I figured six lights ought to do the trick. After figuring out the mounting locations, I mounted all of them to the rafters.  These come with nails already installed in the plastic so installation was super fast. 

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I began pulling wire by cutting a short 4’ jumper to jump from the first box to the second box and just left about 8” or so of wire stuffed through each box. The second light box gets a wire pulled from the existing building wire to the second box.  To make the junction at the building, I used yellow wire nuts and secured the wire junction inside of a junction box which was already installed inside of the wall of the barn.

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The remaining two sets of lights got the exact same treatment.  However, the remaining sets required the wire to span from one set to the next. Which basically means I now needed to drill a hole through each of the ceiling joist in order to route the wire. This went pretty quick with a 3/4” paddle bit.

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Ceiling Panels

Once the wire was pulled to each light box, and the wire connections at the barn buttoned up in junction boxes, I focused on the underside paneling. I went with a 3/8” paneling known as “Plybead Paneling”. It is a light panel type of tongue and groove plywood that has a bit of texture with the long groove lines in it

Installing the panel was really a 2 person job so I had to call in my husband from his shop and help out with lifting some of this stuff up to the overhead. This is where good project planning and craftsmanship really paid off during the framing. With all of the rafters exactly on a 16” layout, the panel material went up very fast.

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After the panel material was cut to length, it got slid into place at the barn wall first, then pushed up on the short side, and finally held in place with a nail gun.  I used 2” ring shank nails to ensure they don’t have a problem backing out.  They’re probably overkill but that’s what I had on hand : ) When putting it up, just make sure the edge of the panel material falls on the middle of a rafter.

TIP: If for some reason your material falls short of or even goes past a rafter, you can easily attach a small scab board on the side of your rafter so that you have something to nail to.

Cutting around the light boxes is the most challenging part of paneling the ceiling.  I’ll be honest, this part is very easy to mess up if you’re a “newb” like me. I say it’s challenging because you have to map out the cut locations of the plug boxes on the ground, then, after cutting them out, put the tongue and groove material together, and hope that the cut outs line up correctly! lol…maybe the pros have a trick for this but I don’t know any of them : )

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Mapping out the cut outs for the light boxes goes exactly how you might already imagine.  You basically have the measure the location of the plug from the edge of the plywood paneling already nailed to the ceiling and from either the cross beam or the building wall…basically an “XY coordinate”… It helps if you have an extra light box so you can trace around it once you have the location plotted out on the plywood. Once it’s all laid out, you can simply cut it out with a jigsaw.

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The very last panel went in pretty smooth. It only needed to be ripped down the length of the panel since the awning length wasn’t perfectly divisible by 48” wide panels. With the awning just over 30’ long and only about 6’ wide, I used a total of 8 panels.

Final Touches

I wanted to keep the trim easy and straight forward.  I chose 7/16 x 11/16 quarter round trim for all of the trim between the ceiling panel and the new awning materials. 

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I have limited experience cutting trim for so many corners so I was sure to take my time and keep the order of my miters in check. I used a brad nailer with 1-1/2” brad nails to attach all of the trim. On the wall side of the awngin I used 1×4 cedar for the trim. I wound up going with paint on the wall trim so I could have just used regular ‘ol yellow pine here. 

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Following all of the quarter round trim I came back through and caulked all of the seams in order to be ready for paint.  I took a small sample of paint from the trim and the main wall of my barn for paint matching up at the big box store. Call me crazy but I really enjoyed rolling on all of the paint on the overhead ceiling and the wall of the barn. So far, I’m really liking the way this awning is coming together.

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After about a day or so of the paint drying, I could finally button up the lighting.  If you recall from above, I left about 8” of romex wire hanging from each light box for hooking up the lights. Some of the lights went easier than others. The connection end of the job is very easy; just color matching the wires, connecting ground, and twisting on some wire nuts.  Because of the “sleek and shallow” mount design of the light, there is not very much room for stuffing in this thick solid 12 gage wire, which made the install portion kinda difficult.  I found that carefully stuffing the wires in with needle nose pliers really helped rather than using my hand strength.

TIP: Sometimes threading on a wire nut can be kind of difficult.  I do not have a lot of hand strength and find it easiest to use a set of pliers to really tighten the wire nuts down snuggly onto the wire connections. A lose wire inside a wire nut can be hazardous so pay special attention if this is the kind of thing you plan on repeating

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With the lights wired up I took the time to double check everything electrically before throwing the breaker on.  Fortunately, everything checked out and all the lights worked just as they should.  Now for the final installation of the lights – lemme tell you, these things were a real pain. The lights come with a bracket which screws into the light box and then the light basically “snap fits” onto the bracket…..yeah right lol.  After fighting with each light mount, I finally got them all installed nice and tight.  They look good, but man were they a bear to install. : )

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Posts

As I mentioned above, I needed to build out the bottom of the posts to give them a proper finished look.  Additionally, the posts are mounted to the deck with posts mounts which need to be covered up. 

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There are a million and one different ways to build out the bottom of the posts to give them a finished look. I’ll be totally honest with you, I wanted something that was simple and nice looking but not too much.  I kept it easy and went with some 2×8 material to trim out the bottom with a 1×4 on top to give it a “boxed” look.

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Because the deck is sloped, I had to make a small angled cut on the bottom so that when the 2×8 rested on the deck, the top edge is level. I had to use a bit of spacing material between the post and the 2×8 in order to clear the post bracket but that was really only the “tricky” part to it.

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Last but certainly not the least is the sanding and staining.  I used an orbital sander to knock down all of the hairy cedar which will splinter into your skin very easily if you’re not careful.  I did not go too rough on the material and really just wanted to knock the “fuzzy” stuff off of the wood.  After the cross beams, rakes, and posts were sanded, everything got a coat of stain/sealer to match the fence I recently installed.

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All and ll I am super happy with this build.  I am not a professional contractor by any means but like you I am hungry to learn from others around me and take pride in whatever I build.  Ultimately, if you take the time to do the proper research, you can build almost anything your little heart desires.

I hope you enjoyed this write up and appreciate you taking the time to learn more about my journey.  Take care and happy building.

April

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