Connecting a Pergola to free standing deck

by Mike
(Kansas City,Kansas)

I want to connect a pergola to a free standing deck that is about 10x11 to add some shade on our deck.

The deck is free standing and only 16" above ground. Can I attach it to the overhang above the bay windows or should it be attached to the deck itself?

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Jun 16, 2013
Prefer not to attach to the house
by: Editor - Rich Bergman

Technically speaking you should not connect any structure that is floating with the soil to a home. The reason is because the home has foundations set well below any frost line and is stationary in all seasons. Or it should be.

Lighter structures like a free standing deck don't need expensive deep concrete footings in most cases and so floating footings are common and affordable solutions.

Your pergola will have its posts connected to this deck which will be free to move a tiny bit up and down over the season. As little as a 1/4" and as much as 1/2" in a place with moist clay and a cold winter.

So the pergola connection to the eaves of your roof will be acting a bit like a hinge. Hardly noticeable to the eye but still it will act that way.

This may be of no concern to you and may have very little real effect in the short term. But it is not the proper thing to do. It would be best to keep the pergola connected securely to the free standing deck only with about 3/4" or 1" gap from the house. You will get all the shade you want and no risk of damage to your roof.

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