Which comes first deck or patio cover?

by Christopher Smith
(South jersey)

I am planning to build a deck and patio cover over the next several months. But I'm not exactly sure which to do first. Any thoughts on how to tackle this simple but important question? Any first starting steps would also be appreciated.
Thank you so much for your help.

Editor's Comments

There are two ways to proceed depending on whether the patio cover is attached to the house or if it is free standing.

Attached To House

If your patio cover is going to be integrated into the side of the house then you should begin by digging deep frost footings for the support posts for the cover because the cover structure must never move relative to the house.

Once the footings are set you can begin the rest of the project. This would entail securing the posts to the piers, opening the envelope of the house and securing a ledger for the roof to the house and flashing diligently.

The siding will have to be reintegrated to cover up the flashing. This is a big job and must be done professionally.

Free Standing

A free standing patio cover that is secured into the joist framing of the deck or surface mounted to the deck is a simpler method but will not have the same kind of permanency or visual appearance as a cover that is part of the home itself.

However, it is potentially a DIY project and certainly less complicated.

For this kind of a project you would build the deck first - either ledger connector and built on frost footings or a free standing structure.

The support posts for the cover can be integrated into the deck framing or surface mounted depending on the stability of the roof structure itself. The roof/cover has to be fully capable of standing on its own and must be stable by virtue of its construction.

So those are the two general options when building a patio cover.

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