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Do I Need A Permit To Build A Patio Cover?

Do I Need A Permit To Build A Patio Cover?

Is it necessary to get a permit for patio covers? Do I need a permit to construct my patio cover? The answer to these questions is Yes! A permit is required when building a patio cover in your home.

A new patio cover or deck could be just the thing to breathe new life into your backyard. Be keen before you start laying the foundation for your deck or putting together your patio cover. You should check into any local laws that may apply to the design and style of your decking or patio cover.

Permits To Build A Covered Patio

Why Building Permits Are Required

Just like any other home improvement project, you do need a permit to install a new patio or pergola in your yard. The purpose of the permitting process is to ensure that the construction is safe and secure. 

It’s tempting to try to get away with not getting the proper permit, but you should never do so. If you don’t get a permit, it will come back to bite you when it comes time to sell your home. Or even worse if the structure of your pergola fails. (JW & Lumber, 2019)

State, County, And City Requirements

Let’s look at what permits are for and how to figure out if you need one for your deck or patio cover.

Local governments issue permits. This is to ensure that new construction or renovations are done as per the building codes. These codes are intended to keep homeowners safe.

They may also affect insurance coverage. For a residential patio cover project, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to determine whether a permit is required.

When it comes to patio cover permits, one of the most common areas of confusion is managing multiple jurisdictions. Which of the state codes, county codes, or city codes do you follow?

The answer to this is the most local requirement. The most general building codes are usually found in state statutes. They set the bar for minimum safety standards.

Cities and counties frequently create their own permitting rules. But, they can only be stricter than state law; local governments are never allowed to relax the rules. 

If you’re in a city with its own permit requirements, you must adhere to those rules. If your city does not have its own code, you must follow the county’s permitting requirements. (JW & Lumber, 2019)

What Is Included In A Code?

You should never disregard building permit requirements. This is because the majority of them are there to ensure your safety. Some of the most common aspects of patios that are covered by city, county, and state codes are as follows:

The Height

The height of the deck determines whether a decking permit is required in most areas. This height may vary between cities or local governments.

Materials for  A Covered Patio

The highest point of your patio cover must not be higher than 12 feet off the ground. There should be a 6-foot-8-inch clearance between the ground and the lowest part of the cover. This is to ensure easy access under the patio.

Span chart

The span chart is a grid that helps you determine proper wood dimensions. It is covered in the majority of patio cover permit regulations. To carry the added or lesser load, you’ll need either larger or smaller dimensions of wood, depending on the span of your cover.

Distances, Depths, And Diameters

This includes the distance between beams, the distance between posts, and the depth of posts. It also includes the depth of the foundation slab and the diameter of the posts. They are usually included in the permit requirements. (Backyard Scape, 2021)

Differences in materials and structure

Patios are typically made of wood. But, aluminum is a stylish and cost-effective alternative. Aluminum patio covers frequently have different code requirements than wooden structures. Be sure to read the permit rules carefully. 

Look for differences in the code requirements between enclosed roof patio covers and open-air beam patio covers. Patios with closed roofs function as giant umbrellas. For this reason, they must be able to withstand strong upward wind drafts. (Sacco County News, 2017)

Permit Requirements: Do It Yourself or Hire A Licensed Contractor

When it comes to patio covers, most homeowners choose between hiring a professional and doing it themselves. For both, here’s how the permit application process works:

Hiring a Licensed Contractor:

You should hire a contractor who is already licensed. Your city and county permitting requirements will be familiar to licensed contractors. They will be able to obtain the necessary permits for the construction of your patio cover. They will also include the cost in their estimate.

Permit Requirements for patio covers

ProTip Takeaway: Most cities and counties offer a way to see if the contractor you’ve chosen has applied for a license. For more information, go to the city’s Development Services website.

Do It Yourself Project

If you want to do a project on your own, you’ll need to get permits from your city or county. Most cities provide an online or phone-based guide to help you find the exact permit you’ll need based on the specifics of your project.

You should contact your local governing body to ensure that you’re following the proper building codes. This will also help you in obtaining the necessary permits. The more local the governing body, the more thorough the building codes are.

ProTip Takeaway: Before granting a permit in a Do It Yourself situation, some cities may need you to pass a Homeowners Exam. This test will prove your skill in specific trades.

What Do I Need to Do to Obtain a Patio Cover Building Permit?

 It is a good idea if you’ve hired a licensed contractor and verified their license. This is because shouldn’t have to do anything else to get the correct permits for your project.  A licensed contractor should be able to obtain all the necessary permits to complete your project safely and on time. 

There’s no need to be concerned about the permitting process if you’re completing your patio cover project yourself. It may appear difficult to get a permit on your own. There are a few simple steps to follow that will make the process simple and quick.

 Here’s what you should do:

  1. The first step is to contact your city’s building official and set up an appointment. This call may provide you with advice on what to bring to your appointment.
  2. It’s also a good idea to bring the following information with you to your appointment:
  • A detailed drawing of the patio cover or deck you want to build.
  • Materials are listed in a material list.
  • The types of footings you’re planning to use (concrete, deck blocks, etc.)
  • Joint spacing as proposed at the job site
  • Make a note of where your stairs will go if you’re building a deck with a patio cover. Make a note of the deck’s length, width, and height as well.

Permits will almost certainly cost you money. A permit for a patio cover with or without a deck can cost up to 500 dollars on average. 

ProTip Takeaway: Once you present the details of your proposed structure, your local building official should be able to provide you with exact costs.

Consequences of Building Without A Permit

Assume you decided not to get a permit before constructing your patio cover. In that case, there are a few things you should know and be prepared for.  Building a structure on your property can have a negative impact on your safety, financial stability, and your reputation.

There may be no immediate consequences if your structure is built without a permit. But there are several instances where failing to get a permit can jeopardize your financial security.

Your structure may be unstable and someone is injured as a result of it. You may be held personally liable for damages and medical bills.

Let’s say you file an insurance claim for damages caused by a faulty structure. It then turns out that the structure was built without a permit. Your insurance company may decide not to cover any damages in this case. This will leave you financially responsible for the damages.

Your state, county, and city governments will require you to obtain a permit to construct a patio cover on your property.  You need to ensure your safety, the safety of your family and friends, and your financial well-being. To do this you must obtain a permit before beginning construction. (Renaissance Patio Products, 2021)

Are You Ready For Patio Cover Remodeling?

The answer is Yes! Yes, you do need a permit to build a patio cover in Houston Texas. All residential developments in Houston require a permit. 

There are some circumstances in which a permit is not required. These exceptions usually apply only to routine maintenance or repairs on existing structures. It is important to note that these exceptions do not apply to new developments or additions.

If you need to hire a licensed contractor in Houston Texas, talk to us at Smart Remodeling LLC. We have a licensed contractor who understands building codes to give you an easy time when building your patio cover. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation so we can help you get started on your new patio cover in Houston, Texas right away.


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