How to Make a DIY Outdoor Awning

Have you ever sat on your porch only to get a sunburn or have rain ruin your outdoor fun? Then maybe it’s time you considered installing an outdoor awning. Since these things can be quite expensive, how about I show you how to make your own?

To make an outdoor awning, you will need a few materials (mostly lumber, fabric, and screws), tools (like a miter saw or an impact driver), and protective gear. It shouldn’t take you more than 8 hours, and it won’t cost you more than $200 or $300. 

What to Know First

Safety Considerations

The construction of an awning calls for the employment of various power tools. You shouldn’t undertake this job unless you are confident in your ability to operate these tools safely and if you have all of the appropriate safety equipment on hand. Always safeguard your eyes and ears by wearing protective gear.

Depending on how high you intend to position your awning, you will most likely need a ladder. This is not a project suitable for people with limited mobility or those who, for whatever reason, won’t be safe if they climb up a ladder. This includes pregnant women, those with health issues like epilepsy and vertigo, elderly individuals, or anyone with inexperience with ladders.

It’s best to enlist the assistance of someone who can hold the ladder steady while you work and who can also call for assistance in the event of an incident or other unexpected occurrence.

Awning Sizes

The amount of space that has to be shaded and the direction in which the awning will be facing are the two primary elements that determine the size of any awning.

Take measurements of the space you want the awning to cover and use those numbers as a starting point for choosing the right size awning. This comprises areas with patio sets, door walls outside, or many windows in the upper part of the wall. The measurements you take will provide you with an estimate of the size of the awning.

You’ll probably want to install an awning that is as wide as it can possibly be on houses that face either the north or the south. For the size of the awning, it is recommended that an additional three to four feet be added to the breadth of the area that will be covered.

How To Make an Outdoor Awning

If you’re ready to start working on an outdoor awning, you’ll first have to gather the following materials:

  • Exterior caulking
  • Exterior wood filler
  • 4-inch and 6-inch lag bolts
  • 2 and a half-inch exterior-grade structural screws
  • 3-inch exterior-grade structural screws
  • 2×4 exterior-grade lumber
  • Safety gear
  • Spirit level
  • Impact driver
  • Power drill
  • Caulking gun
  • Framing square
  • Speed square
  • Carpenter’s pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Miter saw

Step 1: Identify the Wall Studs

Since stud finders don’t really work for exterior walls, you’ll have to get creative. The best way to locate the wall studs is to do so from the interior and transfer the measurements outside. 

Grab a carpenter’s pencil and mark the location of the studs. You can drill a small hole in the siding to ensure you’ve measured correctly and marked the studs accordingly.

Step 2: Measure the Width

Measure the width of the space that your future awning should cover to determine how long the ledger board needs to be. Make sure to measure from one stud to another and add 3 more inches to the measurement so you can fit both end rafters.

Measure the distance between the wall and how far you want your awning to go when extended. You now have the measurements for your awning.

Step 3: Make the Cut

Take a look at the measurements you got in the last step and cut the 2x4s to length using a miter saw. One of these will serve as the fascia board, and the other one will be the ledger board. 

Step 4: Identify the Rafter Layout

This step is complicated, but the premise is always the same: the rafters for your awning should have a minimum of two feet of space between them. Look at the ledger board’s length and subtract one and a half inches. Then divide that by 24 for how many rafters you need. 

Divide the number of rafters by the ledger’s length to see how far apart the rafters need to be. Take your pencil and mark the distance between the rafters on the ledger board. 

Put the fascia and the ledger board edge to edge to transfer the marks you just made using a framing square. Also, transfer the wall stud measurements onto the center of the ledger

Cut the rafters using the miter saw.

Step 5: Make the Diagonal Braces

When you are finished, make sure that the end of one of the rafter boards is flush with the outer surface of the ledger board. Drive two structural screws measuring three inches each into the end of the rafter, through the ledger board, and into the end of the rafter. Repeating this process on the opposite end of the ledger board is necessary.

You can attach the inner rafters to the ledger board by positioning them to flush with the layout markings you drew, then drive two structural screws measuring three inches into each.

When you’ve properly placed all the rafters, place their other end on the marks of the fascia board. Secure them using two 3-inch structural screws at the end. 

Step 6: Assemble the Frame

Call in some backup because this is at least a two-person job. Place the frame’s ledger board against the wall right where you plan to install the awning. Line up the mark, so they match those on the wall. 

Drill a 4-inch pilot hole into the ledger and the wall, following the stud mark you previously made. With your impact driver, fit a 4-inch lag bolt into this hole. Repeat the process for each stud mark on the ledger inside. 

Step 7: Secure the Frame

When you’re ready to hand the awning frame, take the miter saw and cut 45-degree miters at one end of the 2x4s. Position the cut end of one brace to the wall, under the outside rafters. The other end of the brace has to be aligned with the inside of the rafter. 

Let the top rafter edge guide you in this step. Mark a straight line on the diagonal brace right where it connects to the rafter. As you cut the brace here, the end should be flush with the rafter’s top edge. Make the cuts using the miter saw following the marks you made. 

Step 8: Secure the Braces

With the diagonal brace back in the right position, drive three two-and-a-half-inch screws through the brace to connect it to the rafter. Make a six-inch pilot hole at the end of one brace through its bottom edge and into the wall stud. Using your impact driver, screw a six-inch lag bolt into the wall. Do this for the other side as well. 

Step 9: Install the Material

Take the fabric you want to use for the awning and cut it to size. Secure it to the top of the awning.

Alternative Methods

If you don’t want to invest in an outdoor awning but also don’t have the time or patience to make it yourself, here are some alternatives that might prove more suitable to your needs:

  • Roller shades
  • Sunscreens
  • Hanging plants
  • Linen blinds
  • Roman shades
  • Window film


Are awnings hard to put up?

It might seem difficult to install an awning, but as long as you take your time when measuring and checking that your brackets are level, you will be able to install your awning without incident and start enjoying the shade on the same day.

Can you attach an awning to the roof? 

Awnings can be attached to the roof, the walls, the soffit, and the fascia. However, depending on the exact location where you want to attach them, there are different mounting requirements that you have to take into consideration. 

What metal is used for awnings?

Awnings constructed of metal can be fabricated from various metals, the most popular of which are steel and copper. Copper is one of the most dependable and effective metals, stainless steel delivers unmatched durability at the expense of increased cost and weight, and aluminum awnings are impervious to rust and humidity by their very nature.

Final Words

An awning may be a delightful addition to any outdoor living space since it serves two important functions: it provides a useful covering for shade and is an attractive design piece. Sadly, both the cost of the product and the labor to install it might be high. 

If you make your own awning, you have the flexibility to personalize the appearance of the awning while it is being constructed, allowing you to create an awning that meets all of your desired requirements. When you’re ready, check out the massive selection of outdoor fabrics on our site.

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