How To Add Roof To Existing Pergola (Find Out)

Trellis, pergolas and arbors are an excellent addition to any yard. They provide shade, privacy and a place to sit on those hot summer days. 

However, if you have an existing pergola that doesn’t have a roof or if your current roof is falling apart after years of use, it may be time to replace it with something new. You can either hire a contractor or do-it-yourself with these tips below.

How to install clear roofing over #Pergola DIY
Adding a roof to an existing pergola can provide additional protection from the elements.
Proper planning and design considerations are essential before adding a roof to a pergola.
Different roofing materials can be used, such as polycarbonate sheets or fabric canopies.
Ensuring proper drainage is crucial to prevent water buildup on the pergola roof.
Depending on the complexity of the project, professional assistance may be beneficial.

Add A Roof Of Lattice To An Existing Pergola

Your first step will be to decide whether to use wood or metal for your lattice. If you are in a humid climate, wood may be more susceptible to rotting and cracking, while metal will last much longer.

Next, decide if you want a painted or stained finish on your pergola roof. A painted design can be as simple as stripes or squares in contrasting colors; it’s also possible to make more elaborate designs using stencils and spray paint. 

A stained finish is often easier than painting because there is no need for masking tape around the edges of each plank before staining them individually (which can lead to bleeding between planks). 

However, stains tend not last as long as paints so if longevity matters most consider choosing a color that best matches the existing structure of your pergola so that it blends seamlessly into its surroundings

Adding a slope to the pergola roof is crucial for proper water drainage and improved aesthetics. Our expert advice on how to add slope to a pergola roof will guide you through the process, ensuring a functional and visually appealing roof design.

Use Shade Sails On Your Pergola

Another option is to install shade sails on your pergola. Shade sails are easy to install and can be used as a shade cover or as a windbreak. 

They’re available in various colors, styles, and materials, so you can choose one that suits your taste and needs. 

If you want to position the sail close to the pergola, attach it directly onto the structure with clips or ties. You can also hang it from another nearby structure like a tree branch or roof overhang if you’re worried about damaging your pergola by attaching anything directly to it.

Add A Corrugated Steel Roof To Your Pergola

If you want to add a corrugated steel roof to your existing pergola, you’ll need the following items:

  • Metal brackets (used to attach the roof structure to the structure of your pergola)
  • Sheet metal screws (to secure brackets)
  • Roofing felt or tar paper

Once you have all of your supplies, follow these steps:

Use your measuring tape and pencil to mark out where on top of your columns each bracket will go. 

You’ll want them spaced evenly apart so that they support each other as well as hold up any potential weight placed on top of them. Think about how much weight might possibly be added roofs can’t handle a lot!

Proper alignment of pergola posts is essential for structural integrity and visual appeal. Take a look at our recommendations on how to align pergola posts to ensure a stable and beautifully balanced pergola structure.

Add Solid Panels Or Shingles To A Wooden Pergola

If you’re going with solid panels, use a hammer and nails to secure them. If you have a nail gun, that will work too! With shingles, it’s easier to use the nail gun since shingles aren’t self-securing like panels are.

Once the roof is in place, make sure everything is level by using a level on top of each panel as you go.

Create A Shade Canopy For The Pergola

A shade canopy can be created to cover the pergola. A canopy can be made of canvas or other material, and it can be attached to the frame using rope or chain.

  • Use rope or chain to secure the end of the fabric to each post at eye level.
  • Cut out a square shape in one corner of your fabric, and attach it with more rope or chain across all four posts in an X-shape (see image).
BrandCanopy TypeMaterialFeatures
CoolarooShade SailHDPE FabricUV protection, breathable material, various sizes
SunjoyRetractable CanopyPolyester FabricAdjustable coverage, motorized or manual operation
Garden WindsReplacement Canopy CoverRipstop FabricCustom fit, easy installation, replacement option
EurmaxPop-Up CanopyPolyester FabricPortable, adjustable height, quick assembly
Quik ShadeInstant CanopyPolyester FabricOne-piece frame, multiple sizes and colors available

Paint Your Old Vinyl Pergola With Deck Stain Or Water Sealant

Paint your old vinyl pergola with deck stain or water sealant. Once you’ve got the roof on, it’s time to give your pergola a fresh coat of paint. 

You can use just about any type of paint for this project even leftover paint from other projects in your home. 

Just make sure that whatever paint you choose is safe for vinyl fabrications and will withstand exposure to the elements (and rain).

Use a roller to apply the paint evenly across all surfaces of the pergola. Use a brush to get into tight corners and edges so they’re coated well, too. Let dry 24 hours before letting people use it again!

Enhance your outdoor living space by adding a pergola over your existing deck. Our expert advice on how to add a pergola over an existing deck provides step-by-step instructions and practical tips to help you create a stylish and functional deck and pergola combination.

Cover Your Existing Metal Pergola With Bamboo Roofing Material

The next step is to cover your existing metal pergola with bamboo roofing material. Bamboo is a fast-growing renewable resource that can be used for roofing, decking, fencing and much more. It’s strong and durable. You can nail it down or attach it with screws if you prefer (we chose the latter).

BrandMaterial TypeProsCons
Cali BambooBamboo ReedEco-friendly, natural appearanceRequires regular maintenance and sealing
Forever BambooBamboo PanelsEasy installation, durable and weather-resistantLimited design options
Backyard X-ScapesBamboo ThatchTropical aesthetic, provides shade and insulationMay require additional framing for support
Tiki BrandBamboo RollQuick and convenient installationLimited coverage area per roll
Sunset BambooBamboo MattingVersatile and customizable, can be trimmed to desired sizeRequires proper sealing and protection against weather elements

Add A Roof Made Of Old Barn Wood Planks To Your Pergola

The roof you choose can be made of old barn wood planks. You will need to buy a saw and cut these planks to length, then attach them to the pergola with screws or nails. You may want to use a hammer and nails for this task if you do not have access to power tools in your area

Attach Pvc Plastic Panels To Pergola

Use the screws or zip ties to attach the PVC plastic panels to the pergola, making sure that they are waterproof. 

If you are using zip ties, it’s a good idea to prime them first so that they don’t stick together and make holes in your roof. Use a drill bit slightly larger than the screws you’re going to use and drill holes into each panel at least every 18 inches (46 cm).

Looking to add a pergola to your house? Our comprehensive guide on how to add a pergola to a house offers valuable insights, from design considerations to installation techniques, ensuring a seamless integration of a pergola into your home’s architecture.

Attach Aluminum Sheeting Over The Existing Wood Slats In The Pergola

Once the aluminum sheeting is in place, attach it to the pergola frame with screws or rivets. You can do this by drilling holes through your aluminum sheets and into the wood slats below. Or if you’re not worried about damaging your existing pergola, simply use strong adhesive to stick the pieces together.

The only remaining step is to paint or leave your new panels raw; whichever option you choose will depend on whether they’ll be visible from inside or outside of your home. If you want them to be visible from inside, consider lighting up their tops with solar lights!

Attachment MethodProsCons
Screw FasteningSecure and durable attachmentVisible screw heads
Rivet InstallationStrong and reliable connectionRequires specialized tools
Adhesive BondingClean and seamless appearanceMay require surface preparation and careful application
Clip SystemConcealed fastening for a clean lookSpecific clip system compatibility required
Snap Lock MechanismQuick and easy installationLimited flexibility for adjustments or modifications

Use A Canvas Canopy Over The Existing Pergola Frame

A canvas canopy is an easy way to add shade to your existing pergola. These canopies are lightweight and easy to clean, making them a popular choice for patios and outdoor dining areas. They’re also durable and inexpensive, so you won’t need to replace them frequently.

Add Shade Cloths Over The Top Slats Of Wooden Or Metal Pergolas

You can add shade cloths over the top slats of wooden or metal pergolas. Canvas is a good choice for shade cloths because it’s easy to install and remove, it can be painted to match your home, and it’s durable and long lasting.

Anchoring a pergola to a deck is essential for stability and safety. Learn how to securely anchor your pergola with our informative article on how to anchor a pergola to a deck, which provides practical tips and guidance to ensure a secure attachment that withstands various weather conditions.


If you’re looking for a way to add more comfort to your outdoor space, consider adding a roof to your existing pergola. You can use it as an extension of your home, or simply use it as an outdoor retreat. 

There are many options available and some will be more cost-effective than others depending on what materials are available at the time of construction.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources you may find helpful for further information on adding roofs to pergolas:

How to Put a Roof on a Flat Pergola: Discover step-by-step instructions and tips for adding a roof to a flat pergola, ensuring a durable and functional outdoor structure.

Installing Clear Pergola Roof: Learn how to install a clear roof on a pergola, allowing natural light to filter through while providing protection from the elements.

Pergola Roof Ideas: Explore various pergola roof ideas and design inspirations to enhance your outdoor space, from retractable canopies to stylishly covered pergolas.


Here are some frequently asked questions about adding roofs to pergolas:

How do I choose the right roof for my pergola?

Choosing the right roof for your pergola depends on various factors such as the desired level of sun protection, aesthetic preferences, and local weather conditions. Consider options like solid roofs, retractable canopies, or transparent materials to find the best fit for your needs.

Can I install a roof on an existing pergola?

Yes, it is possible to install a roof on an existing pergola. However, it is important to ensure that the structure is capable of supporting the additional weight and that the roof installation is compatible with the existing design.

What materials are commonly used for pergola roofs?

Common materials used for pergola roofs include polycarbonate sheets, metal panels, fabric canopies, and thatch. Each material has its own advantages and considerations, such as durability, transparency, and maintenance requirements.

Do I need a permit to add a roof to my pergola?

The need for a permit to add a roof to your pergola depends on local building regulations and the extent of the modification. It is advisable to check with your local authorities or consult a professional to determine if a permit is required for your specific project.

How can I ensure proper drainage for my pergola roof?

Proper drainage is important to prevent water buildup and potential damage to the pergola structure. Design considerations such as adding a slope to the roof, incorporating gutters, or using materials with built-in drainage features can help ensure effective water drainage.