Author Topic: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?  (Read 1283 times)

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4836
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« on: October 22, 2021, 12:40:24 PM »
Hey all, what would the best kind of cover be for putting on top of a pergola (attached to side of the house) to shelter from rain and also to provide additional shade?

Something like this?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Suntuf-26-in-x-6-ft-White-Opal-Polycarbonate-Roof-Panel-159856/206395301

Or is it viable to place some type of solar panel array on top of the pergola instead, which would double as the above + source of power? Something like this?

lthenderson

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2070
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2021, 12:49:32 PM »
I just installed Menard's version of those on a building I'm erecting. It went together quite well. I got the crystal clear ones though since part of the building is to be a greenhouse.

Morning Glory

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3935
  • Location: The Garden Path
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2021, 12:54:25 PM »
I really like plants growing on a pergola to provide shade. Something like a big squash vine would also give you food and provide some shelter from rain, although I don't know your climate or growing season well enough to make any specific suggestions. Pumpkins for Halloween maybe?

uniwelder

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 974
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Appalachian Virginia
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2021, 01:39:05 PM »
I like the solar panel idea. You’ll have 3/8” gaps between panels though, so if you want it waterproof, you’ll need some other roofing system underneath.

cchrissyy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1018
  • Location: SF Bay Area
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2021, 08:33:26 PM »
I have climbing roses, which came with the house very well established. They look nice and provide shade, but if I was starting from scratch I would have picked grapes. Always loved how that looks.
Neither option is a rain cover or provides solar power ; )
I suppose you have to decide how much that utility matters, vs how you will use the space and how much you'll see and appreciate different styles.

Greystache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 508
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2021, 09:35:39 AM »
If you go with solar panels, be aware that there is some wiring on the underside that will be visible.
If you go with clear or translucent plastic panels, you may get a build up of dirt or leaves that is visible from underneath especially if there is little or no slope to the roof.
If you are more concerned with shade than keeping dry, you could try shade fabric that is sold in the garden section of your home improvement store.

lhamo

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1983
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2021, 12:24:27 PM »
Here in rainy (in the wintertime, at least) Seattle this type of product is a common solution:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Suntuf-26-in-x-12-ft-Polycarbonate-Roofing-Panel-in-Clear-101699/100049922


jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4836
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2021, 03:01:28 PM »
Here in rainy (in the wintertime, at least) Seattle this type of product is a common solution:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Suntuf-26-in-x-12-ft-Polycarbonate-Roofing-Panel-in-Clear-101699/100049922

Thanks all.

Yea, I was thinking just to do the polycarbonate roofing but perhaps in white...not sure.

As far as solar, I've heard it also has to be per certain code (like the panels are supposed to be raised a foot from whatever structure theyre on or something). Anyone know more about this?

uniwelder

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 974
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Appalachian Virginia
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2021, 03:58:21 PM »
I know standard solar panel racks put about 5” between the panel and the roof to allow for airflow. Don’t know any more about it.

Abe

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2519
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2021, 08:23:24 PM »
Here in rainy (in the wintertime, at least) Seattle this type of product is a common solution:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Suntuf-26-in-x-12-ft-Polycarbonate-Roofing-Panel-in-Clear-101699/100049922

Thanks all.

Yea, I was thinking just to do the polycarbonate roofing but perhaps in white...not sure.

As far as solar, I've heard it also has to be per certain code (like the panels are supposed to be raised a foot from whatever structure theyre on or something). Anyone know more about this?

We think alike! I was looking at something like this when we lived in SoCal. Our current house has a big tree in the yard so didn't make sense.

There's a certain height over the roof they should be to allow for access to wiring and airflow for passive cooling. You may need to see about earthquake code (but don't think there's anything specific about solar panels for that). Permitting will be the hardest and most annoying part, the actual installation should be very easy.

Also your panels should be tilted ~30 degrees for maximum efficiency (if you're facing them south, especially). That may limit the number of panels, so maybe having more panels and keeping them flat is a better option in this specific case (since the area is limited).

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4836
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2021, 05:19:12 PM »
I probably won't do the solar thing btw. I'm considering just putting polycarbonate roofing up there - do I need to orient them a certain way? And how do you best secure to the alumawood? Best to use the existing bolts securing the lattice beams downm punch holes through the polycarbonate roof and secure them back down on top of the existing lattice beams with the same bolts?

Abe

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2519
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2021, 06:09:17 PM »
I’d check what the code is for earthquakes and follow that. There may be certain fastener and spacing requirements.

Bummer on the solar panels; but makes sense.

lthenderson

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2070
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2021, 02:30:13 AM »
I probably won't do the solar thing btw. I'm considering just putting polycarbonate roofing up there - do I need to orient them a certain way? And how do you best secure to the alumawood? Best to use the existing bolts securing the lattice beams downm punch holes through the polycarbonate roof and secure them back down on top of the existing lattice beams with the same bolts?

The polycarbonate panels I installed are directional. They have a coating only on one side for UV so you have to make sure  you orient that side skyward. It says it all over the protective film that you eventually peel off during installation so it is hard to miss. Also, mine have internal cells that run the length of the panel and these need to be oriented so that any condensation will drain out with a slight slope. Mine came with detailed instructions you can print off for installation practices as you needed to use special tape to seal the ends that allow moisture to wick out but keep bugs and insects out of the internal parts.

They also come with special screws to use. They have a larger diameter boring shank to oversize the holes enough for expansion and contraction. I think you can get them for wood or self tapping for aluminum. The instructions also came with specific hole patterns to hold down the polycarbonate so I'm guessing you will have to punch new holes in the aluminum. Shouldn't be a big deal as the old holes will essentially be sealed over at that point.

When researching this before I installed them, along with many other things, I google up installation instructions first before purchasing as this gives me a good idea of all the accessories I need to obtain for projects like this. I've had mine installed for a month now and really like them on our greenhouse.

StashingAway

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 743
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2021, 10:29:53 AM »
What is your snowfall like?

I can't vouch for this option as it is still on my to do list, but here is what I'm planning for our Pergola:

https://www.sailrite.com/How-to-Make-a-Slide-On-Wire-Hung-Canopy-Video

Not waterproof, but will help with a drizzle and shade and is the most aesthetic option in my opinion.

WSUCoug1994

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 536
  • Location: Bay Area, California
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2021, 08:28:46 AM »
Although not a cheap option I assume - we are planning an Pergola project in the future and have fallen in love with these louvered pergola set-ups.  You can open or close them, many are automated for rain/snow.

https://outdoorelementsusa.com/gallery/



simonsez

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1229
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Pergola covers for rain, shade, etc? Solar?
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2021, 01:09:35 PM »
Although not a cheap option I assume - we are planning an Pergola project in the future and have fallen in love with these louvered pergola set-ups.  You can open or close them, many are automated for rain/snow.

https://outdoorelementsusa.com/gallery/
Love the louvers idea on a pergola, especially if they could be manipulated fairly easily - seems that would be super practical with the weather.  Sometimes you want more sun, sometimes you don't want any, and then with the precipitation, man that stokes all kinds of backyard patio setup ideas.