How to Install Corrugated Polycarbonate Sheet Patio Covers

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One affordable method of adding extra space to your home is to incorporate outdoor living areas. Adding a corrugated polycarbonate roof over a patio provides shelter in summer and winter for your family and friends. The lightweight panels allow the sunshine in while providing protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 2-by-2-inch boards
  • Saw
  • Construction glue
  • Drill with a screwdriver bit
  • Deck screws
  • Corrugated closure strips
  • Corrugated polycarbonate panels
  • Screws and washers for polycarbonate installation
  • Silicone sealant
  • 2-by-8-inch board, 8 feet long
  • Flashing
  • Measure the patio space. Install the support posts every 8 feet around the perimeter. Determine the angle of the rafters and install them according to the local building codes. Generally, the recommended pitch, or rise, of the rafters is 1 1/2 inches per foot.

  • Add purlins every 2 feet across the tops of the rafters. In a lightweight application such as a patio roof, a purlin is usually a 2-by-2-inch board that spans the rafters.

  • Measure and cut 2-by-2-inch boards to block the ends of the outside rafters, providing additional vertical support to the polycarbonate panels. Attach them to the rafters by running a bead of construction glue onto the support; then predrill and screw them together with 3-inch deck screws.

  • Attach the corrugated closure strips to the tops of the purlins. Glue and screw them together with the screws recommended by the manufacturer.

  • Align the first corrugated panel on top of the purlin, beginning at the outside edge of the patio cover. Predrill and screw the panel to the purlin at the top of every other corrugation.

  • Measure and cut a piece of panel to fit between the first panel and the inside edge of the patio if necessary. Overlap the panels by at least 6 inches. Run a bead of silicone sealant along the top of the first panel. This will prevent leaks. Predrill and screw the panels to the purlins.

  • Use the remainder of the second panel to start the second row. Run a bead of silicone sealant along the long edge of the first two panels. Place the third panel at the outside edge of the cover, overlapping the first panel by one full corrugation. Predrill the panels and screw them to the purlins.

  • Measure the space from the third panel to the inside edge of the patio cover. Add 6 inches to the measure, then cut the fourth panel to fit. Apply silicone sealant, predrill the panel and screw it to the purlins. Continue installing panels until the patio is covered.

  • Lay a long board across the polycarbonate panels. Use the board to distribute your weight as you install flashing between the top of the panels and the wall of the house.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult the local building permits department and determine if permits are necessary before constructing a patio cover.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions when preparing and installing the corrugated polycarbonate panels.
  • Paint or stain the supports and rafters before installing the polycarbonate patio cover.
  • Corrugated polycarbonate panels are available in 10-foot lengths. Plan the patio to fit the panels so you don't have to cut the polycarbonate.
  • If you have a pre-existing patio cover, remove the old cover. Install the new polycarbonate patio cover on the original frame if it is in good condition.
  • Never step directly onto the polycarbonate panels, as you may fall through the panel to the ground below.
  • Never work alone on a roof.
  • Wear gloves and safety glasses when working with the polycarbonate panels; they may chip or the drill may throw off splinters. Protect your eyes and hands from injury.

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