How to Build a Pavilion


A pavilion provides shelter from the sun during summertime barbecues and other outdoor functions. The pavilion could have a cement floor, a wood floor or it could natural. When choosing the size of the pavilion, keep in mind how many people you typically entertain. It should be large enough to cover one standard-size picnic table for small gatherings, and at least two for larger gatherings.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • 2-by-4-inch boards (treated)
  • Rebar
  • Cement
  • Post hole digger
  • 4-by-4-inch posts (treated)
  • Scrap cement pieces, pavers or stone
  • 2-by-6-inch boards (treated)
  • Hurricane straps
  • Plywood (treated)
  • Roofing paper
  • Flashing
  • Shingles
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Hammer
  • Drill with screwdriver attachment
  • Measure the area for the floor. For cement, dig 2 inches into the ground. Arrange 2-by-4-inch boards as borders against the edge of the dug-out area. Wedge rebar between the boards so the rebar sits at least 1 1/2 inches off the ground. Place a piece of rebar every 4 feet. If the rebar is not long enough, support the end with a small stone.

  • Pour the cement into the form. The easiest way is to hire a cement truck to pour this much cement. You can also rent a portable cement mixer, mix the cement and pour it yourself, but the floor might not come out even enough if the pavilion is big. Allow the cement to cure according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

  • Dig post holes every 6 feet, 4 inches away from the cement and 2 feet deep. Set the 4-by-4-inch posts into the post holes. Arrange the scrap cement or stone in the bottom of the holes. Use just enough to support the posts. Pour a bag of quick-setting cement into each post hole. Add enough water to the cement to thoroughly dampenit. Allow the cement to set for at least 24 hours or according to the manufacturer's suggestion on the bag.

  • Nail or screw 2-by-6-inch boards around the top outside of the posts to form a frame. Build enough trusses to cover the pavilion from end to end, 4 feet apart. A truss is a triangle made of 2-by-4-inch boards. The steeper you want the roof, the sharper you need to cut the angle. For a low-sloped roof, cut shallow angles.

  • Attach the trusses to the frame with the hurricane straps. The hurricane straps have screw holes where the screws are to be placed.

  • Cover the trusses with plywood, nailing it in place. Starting at the bottom of the roof, cover the plywood with rows of roofing paper (tar paper). Overlap each row by 6 inches. Nail the paper sparingly--use just enough nails to hold it down.

  • Lay out the first row of shingles on the roof. Nail the first shingle with one nail vertically centered on the outside edge of the shingle. Overlap the first shingle with the second shingle, then attach it with a nail vertically centered on the outside edge of the second shingle. Work your way across the bottom of the roof.

  • Slide the flashing under the first row of shingles. Screw across the bottom edge of the bottom row of shingles, using two to three screws for each shingle, making sure to screw through the flashing.

  • Start the second row of shingles by overlapping the bottom half of the second row over the top half of the first row. Overlap each shingle on the second row the same way that you did with the first row. Nail each shingle (and its overlapping neighbor) with three nails evenly spaced, 2 inches from the bottom of the shingle. Complete the rest of the rows on both sides of the roof in the same manner.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want a wood floor, skip steps 1 and 2. Once the posts are up, create a 2-by-4-inch frame attached to the posts. Use additional 2- by 4-inch boards (standing on the 2-inch side) for floor joists. Run the joists from side to side of the frame, 4 feet apart. Nail 2-by-4-inch boards across the joists to make a deck flooring.

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