Yesterday I started working on the portico to go over the side door of the studio. These are the two that I chose to use as my inspiration.
This is the first project I’ve done in about four weeks because of the back, shoulder and arm issue I’ve been nursing. It felt so good to get back at it, but wow! Did I choose a doozy of a project to jump back in with!
The building process was actually pretty easy (so far). The installation of the top parts was challenging (mostly due to the fact that I’m only 5 feet tall), but I finally figured out the solution. I pulled my truck as close to the door as I could safely get it and set up my 8-foot ladder in the bed of the truck.
😀 That’s probably not an OSHA-approved method. 😀
But working out in the heat and sun just about did me in. I’ve been sedentary in my air conditioned house for the last four weeks, so actually having to break a sweat, staying out in the 100-ish weather for hours on end, and working directly in the sunlight about half the time was almost more than I could take. But I pushed through, and I got all of the basic frame for the portico cut and put together.
So let me show you how I got to this point…
I’ve ordered some large traditional style brackets (found here) to use on this portico, and they measure 24″ x 36″.
But since the portico needs to be built before the siding goes on, and the siding will be installed this week (hopefully!!), I had to work around not having the brackets in hand just yet.
So I built some brackets out of 2 x 4’s, and I made them so that the inside measurements are 25″ wide and 37″ high. I cut the top piece 26.5 inches and the long piece 37 inches, and then screwed them together using 3-inch deck screws in this configuration with the short piece sitting on top of the long piece…
Next I cut another piece with 45-degree angles on both ends. This piece, on the long side, measured 32 inches. This piece is temporary on my brackets. When my pretty brackets get here, I’ll just remove this diagonal piece and slide the pretty brackets in there in its place.
Then I predrilled two holes on the long piece and started two deck screws in the holes.
And that bracket was ready for installation. I had already marked some lines on the house so that I knew exactly where I wanted to put the brackets (12 inches from the inside of the door jamb). I held it up to the marks and screwed it onto the wall. Since I had already started the screws in the holes, this process was very easy.
And then I repeated that whole process with the second bracket. The only difference is that when installing the second bracket, I didn’t just rely on my marks. I also used a long board sitting on top of the brackets with my level on top of the board to be sure that the brackets were level with each other.
With the brackets installed, I was ready to move on to the two little trusses. This was a bit more challenging just because it involved some math, and my brain doesn’t like math. 😀
The first step was to figure out the pitch of my roof. Pitch is simply the number of inches that the height of the roof rises in a 12-inch span. So I used my level to draw a horizontal line (1). Then I picked a random spot and used my level to draw a vertical line (2). And finally, I measured over 12 inches and drew another vertical line using the level (3). Then it was just a matter of measuring the length of both vertical lines and figuring the difference.
I was a little confused because my short line was 6 5/8 inches, and my long line was 12 inches, which means that in a 12-inch span, the height of the roof rises 5 3/8 inches. Chuy (the project manager on my garage conversion project) said that I could go with either a 5/12 pitch or a 6/12 pitch for my portico, but he said that my house looked more like a 6/12 to him. So that’s what I went with.
And with the magic of Google and the help these nifty charts available online, I found that the angle needed to create a 6/12 pitch is 26.5 degrees.
So I cut an 8-foot 2 x 4 in half, and then cut one end of each board with a 26.5-degree angle and screwed the two boards together using three deck screws. With the first truss roughly put together, I tested it by setting it on top of the brackets…
I had marked and measured the middle of the door so that I knew exactly where the peak of the truss needed to go.
Once I had the truss in place, I used a pencil to place marks on the truss right where the outside of the brackets met the truss. I did that on both sides.
I transferred that mark to the face of the board at a 26.5-degree angle. If your miter saw has a laser guide, you can use that laser line to know where to draw the line at that angle. Then I measured and cut the board 4 inches from the pencil line using the same angle. I repeated that on the other side.
Next, I measured up on that same line 1.5 inches and placed a mark. Then I repeated that on the other side.
And then using a long straight edge (i.e., a 1 x 4 board), I lined up the straight edge with the marks I just made and drew the horizontal lines.
And using my jigsaw, I cut along the lines to make these cutouts that would sit on top of the brackets.
After finishing the cutouts, I tested each truss to be sure the fit was just right.
Next I determined which truss would go in the front (since it’s visible, I wanted it to be the nicest). I cut a spacer 2 x 4 to 23.5 inches long, and I screwed the spacer to the back of the front truss as close to the peak as I could go. Then I set it in place, making sure each truss was exactly where it needed to be (I designed this so that the front truss sits back one inch on the bracket…just because I wanted to), and then I used a pencil to trace around where the 2 x 4 hit the back truss so that I’d know where to screw them together. It didn’t exactly match the placement on the front truss because 2 x 4’s can be a bit twisted and imperfect, even if you try to find the best ones.
I didn’t actually screw the spacer to the back truss yet. There are still a few steps that need to happen before I do that. So this is where I stopped for the day.
It’s still a bit rough, but there are several more steps and lots of finishing that needs to happen before this portico can be called finished. But at least we can see the general shape coming together. I think I’m going to love it!