Awnings are an easy way to make your home more functional and attractive. Mount them on top of exterior windows to add an extra pop of character, or place a small awning over a door for shelter from the rain. If you're dreaming of relaxing in the shade on sunny days, install an awning over your back patio.
Pre-built models can be expensive. Fortunately, you can make an affordable DIY awning using basic power tools and woodworking supplies.
Pick a wall for the awning, and use a stud finder to determine the distance between the studs. Mark the location of each stud, making sure to consider the additional framing studs around doors and windows.
Determine the width of the awning; the left and right sides should line up with studs for strength and stability. Mark the endpoints on the wall.
Rafters are the top supports that form the slope of the awning. Decide how many rafters you need; for small awnings that cover a window or a door, you may only need a rafter at each end and one in the middle. For larger awnings, aim to place boards every 24 to 32 inches; each one should line up with a stud.
Choose the slope of your awning; 45 degrees is a traditional option. Then, decide on a length and a vertical height. Using these measurements, draw the side profile of your awning on a piece of plywood or sturdy cardboard.
Draw a straight line to connect the outer edge of your awning to the bottom of the vertical support; this creates a triangular shape; cut it out to create a cutting template for the rafters and side supports.
Cut a 2x4 board to the width of your awning. This is the ledger board; it forms the top edge of the awning that sits flush with the wall of the house. Mark the locations of your rafters, making sure each mark sits at the center of the stud. Then, subtract 3.5 inches — the actual width of your 2x4 ledger board — from your vertical awning height to get the length of the vertical supports.
Cut two 2x4 boards to this length; they will serve as the backs of the triangular brackets on either side of the awning.
Lay a 2x4 board on a hard, level surface. Place your triangular cutting template on top of the board, aligning the top edge with the outer edge of the board. Trace the lines where the template meets the board; this is an easy way to create the correct angles for your roof. Cut along these lines to create a rafter. Repeat this process for each additional rafter.
Lay your cutting template on the ground. Position a rafter and a vertical support piece along the corresponding edges of the template. Then, lay a 2x4 board along the angled edge of the template. Move it inward, leaving a few inches of the rafter and vertical support exposed. Mark the cut lines and the places where the angled piece connects to the rafter and vertical piece.
Cut the ends, and use the board as a template to cut the other angled support piece.
Take one of your rafters and align it with the outer edge of the ledger board. Screw it into place from the back of the ledger using lag bolts. You may need a helper to hold the pieces steady. Repeat with the other rafter boards.
Ask one or more people to help you lift the ledger board and attached rafters. Place the back of the ledger flush with the house, aligning it with the pencil marks on the wall. Using 4-inch lag bolts, attach the ledger to the studs.
Take one of your angled side pieces, and use structural screws to attach it to a vertical support piece; make sure it's aligned with the marks you made earlier. Repeat with the remaining vertical and angled pieces.
Take one section, and line it up with the left end of the ledger board. Attach the vertical piece to the studs using lag bolts. Connect the loose ends with structural screws. Do the same on the right side.
With assistance from a helper or two, hold a 2x4 board against the front edge of your awning frame. Use a pencil to mark the outer edges of the left and right rafters. Cut along those lines. Using a drill and structural screws, attach the front board to the rafters.
Use medium-grit sandpaper to smooth the rough edges of your awning frame. Clean off the dust, and add a coat of paint or stain. Depending on the look you're going for, you may choose to match or contrast with the exterior of your home.
Allow the frame to dry completely.
Choose a material to use for the roof of your awning. Weather-resistant fabric is a classic choice, but you can also opt to use boards or metal roofing.
Cut your material to fit the top of your awning frame; if you're using fabric, leave room for an overhanging front flap. Fasten the roof to the frame using screws or heavy-duty staples.