Hire an Architect to Design a Patio Cover
LESLIE: Annette in Arizona is on the line and needs some help with a patio project. Tell us about it.
ANNETTE: The problem that I’m having is I’ve been wanting a patio cover put on my house for the last 20 years.
ANNETTE: Well, now that my kids have grown up, I’m able to do that now. So, the problem is everyone is telling me that I have a very low roof and my ceilings in my house are only 7½-feet ceilings.
ANNETTE: So, I don’t have much of a clearance. So of course, everything else seems to be lower in the backyard.
I’ve called probably eight or nine different builders now to see how much it would cost, this patio cover. And it’s straight across, so it’s 56 feet long, the whole length of the house.
ANNETTE: And I think probably six of them never called me back.
TOM: That’s pretty typical.
ANNETTE: And so the two that have, one of them is a very good friend of mine and I really do trust him in building this patio cover. But he says I need to cut 6 feet into my roof in order to get the pitch that I need for at the very end. So I really wanted a 56-feet-wide by 10-feet-out patio cover.
TOM: Right. So what he’s saying is that if he adds a roof that starts at the edge of your roof and then kind of comes out from that, you’re not going to have much pitch, is that correct? Because you’re starting so low.
TOM: So I think your builder friend is probably correct, from your description. That said, the problem that you have with different builders giving you different advice can be completely avoided if you get a design professional to go in there first.
So if you’re able to find, for example, an architect in your area that wanted to take on a small project, have them design this patio cover for you and then you’ll have a set of specifications. You can work through all the angles with the architect or the designer. Then you’ll have a set of specifications. You can call those contractors back and say, “This is exactly what I want. Now, just give me a price to build it.”
Otherwise, you have no way of comparing apples to apples, because every builder is going to have their own solution. And you’re going to get different prices and you’re really not going to know how to compare them, because who knows what one guy is doing versus another. Does that make sense to you?
ANNETTE: Yeah, I understand. And the problem is I wouldn’t mind him doing it but I am so afraid that wherever he cuts into it to build out – I’m so worried that I’m going to start having problems leaking.
TOM: I really wouldn’t worry about it, OK? Because builders know how to build roofs and they know how to build roofs that don’t leak. And somebody built that roof that’s over your house right now and there’s no reason to think that your builder can’t attach another roof to it and then reroof that area properly so that you don’t get leaks. I think he’s giving you the right advice, because you can’t – if you start low and then go out, you’re going to end up with almost a flat roof and that’s going to leak like a sieve.
So if you have a good pitch, that’s going to be the surest way to avoid leaks. I would not worry all about a contractor that has to dig into an existing roof; that’s done all the time. It’s not a big deal. If somebody knows what they’re doing, they can roof it properly, flash it properly and you will have no leaking issues – new leaking issues – as a result.
ANNETTE: Alright. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate your answer, because my worry was it’s going to start leaking. And then I’m going to have major problems because it’s going to be leaking over the family room, the dining room, the kitchen and the bedroom and the – I said – that’s another problem that I don’t want to get into.
TOM: Yeah, well, now that the kids are gone, I think it’s time for you to get that project done and enjoy it, right?
ANNETTE: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Annette. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.