Do it Yourself Aluminum Patio Awnings

Aluminum is often the preferred covering for a patio awning.
Aluminum is lighter than wood and other metals, easy to cut, and durable. It will not rust or degrade in harsh weather, and can be bought in a variety of attractive styles. You will need help installing your aluminum patio cover. Even though aluminum is light enough that even large panels are not heavy, you will need ladders and assistance to lift pieces into place and fasten them. Many aluminum patio covers come as kits, complete with poles, installation components, and instructions.

Step 1

Measure your patio area (length and width), and decide what style of aluminum awning you want -- solid panel, lattice or other variation. Also decide whether you want to attach it to the wall of the house (if the patio abuts the house), or if will be free-standing. Then figure your square footage (length times width) and order enough aluminum material to fit. Many aluminum patio roofing kits or awnings come as kits, complete with support poles and installation hardware. If you buy separate components, decide what kind of support and framing poles you want (aluminum, steel or wood) and buy those, with hardware.

Step 2

Erect corner posts, if your patio does not already have them. If you attach the awning to the house wall, you can either place posts abutting the wall, or nail a ledger board (a 2- by 6-inch board) on the wall to support the aluminum framework. Sink posts into the ground at the corners of the patio, in holes as deep as about one-third of the height, and secure them with concrete. Or, mount pole plates on the concrete patio -- these are square or round holders with flanges that screw or bolt into the concrete patio. If your patio is bigger than your aluminum panels, add center posts for support.

Step 3

Frame your aluminum cover, around all sides and, as needed, in the center. Use wood framing (2- by 4-inch lumber) if your exterior posts are wood, or use aluminum rails, which are box-like tubes that can be joined at corners with right-angle connectors -- the tubes slide into the connectors, which then mount to the posts with screws. If you buy an awning or roofing kit, poles and connectors will come with it.

Step 4

Cover your frame with aluminum panels, screwing the panels into the side rails and posts. Start at the bottom and work up, so that panels overlap at the top seams. Make sure there is a slight slope away from the house so that water will run off and not collect on the aluminum roof. If you need center posts, you can make them taller, so the aluminum awning slopes away on both sides; then cover the peak with peak caps. Some solid aluminum panels come with interlocking sides, so one panel slides into the next. You will need ladders and help to install roofing panels. Use tin snips or a metal saw to cut panels to fit, as needed.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Post hole digger (optional)
  • Concrete (optional)
  • Ladders
  • Aluminum posts and covering
  • Wood posts and framing (optional)
  • Tin snips or metal saw
  • Screw gun or screwdriver

About the Author

Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.