How to Build a Metal Canopy for a Building

Written by bob haring
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How to Build a Metal Canopy for a Building
One type of metal canopy. (canopy on the beach image by Olga Khoroshunova from

Metal canopies are used for a variety of functions, from home carports to farm and ranch hay storage to business parking and service station covers. How they are built depends on the purpose. What they share is a basic design -- posts or pillars supporting a metal covering. Materials vary but all canopies are coverings to protect against rain and other weather. You can buy canopy kits or build one yourself.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Wood stakes
  • Post hole digger
  • 4-by-4 posts
  • Concrete
  • 2-by-4 framing lumber
  • Hammer
  • 3-inch framing nails (10d or 12d)
  • Corrugated metal panels
  • Roofing nails
  • Tin snips or metal saw
  • Metal roof cap (optional)

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  1. 1

    Build a metal canopy with a wood frame, much like a pole barn structure. Mark the outlines for the canopy with stakes where posts will be set, making sure corners are square.

  2. 2

    Dig holes for 4-by-4 posts at the corners and between corners if the span is more than 12 feet. Hole depths should be about one-third the height of the finished post. For a 9-foot post that is a 3-foot hole. Set the posts in concrete, making sure they are plumb on all sides. For a slanted roof, make the poles on one side higher. For a pitched roof, either set taller posts in the centre of the canopy or build pitched roof trusses.

  3. 3

    Nail 2-by-4 framing boards around the outsides of all posts. For a slant roof, nail joist hangers on each side board, 24 inches apart, then nail in 2-by-4 joists across the span. For a pitched roof, make trusses with a 2-by-4 board to span the width, rafters up to a peak with a ridge board at the top. Brace internally with 2-by-4 upright boards. Nail one truss across each set of posts.

  4. 4

    Add metal roofing. The most common materials are corrugated aluminium or galvanised steel. Check a building supply store for other options. Nail the corrugated metal to the roof frame. Start at the bottom and work up. Overlap sections as needed lengthwise. Overlap seams across the roof by putting one valley of corrugation over a valley on the adjoining section. Cut panels to fit with tin snips or a metal saw. For a pitched roof, finish with a metal roof cap on the peak.

  5. 5

    Buy a metal canopy cover as an option to roofing panels. These come in various sizes, in sections to be fastened together on the roof.

Tips and warnings

  • Metal canopy kits, with pre-finished roofs and metal poles for framework, are available. Most come with corner and internal braces to fasten sides together.
  • Check local building agencies before starting. Some areas have regulations governing or limiting use of canopies.
  • Be careful cutting metal; edges are sharp and can cut hands and fingers

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