How To Build a Shade Structure With Roof and Rainwater Collection System

Difficulty: Very Complex  |  Estimated time: 8 hours  |  Help needed: 12 volunteers

Shade is a very important topic for many communities when it comes to their children. The structure not only provides a bit of relief from the sun but also adds to the aesthetic quality of the overall playspace. The more inviting a gathering area is, the more likely community members will begin to treat it like the “town square” it should be.

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Materials and tools

Quantity: Materials:
1 4x4x12' board
4 4x4x10' boards
7 2x6x8' boards
4 2x6x12' boards
6 26"x8' PVC roofing panels
1 8' aluminum gutter
1 8' aluminum downspout
8 ½"x8" galvanized carriage bolts
8 ½" galvanized nuts
8 ½" galvanized washers
4 LS30-R skewable angle braces
8 H2.5A rafter ties
5lbs 2 ½" deck screws
2lbs 1 ½" N8 nails
5lbs Roofing screws
1 Rain barrel
6 Gutter hangers
1 Left gutter end cap
1 Right gutter end cap
1 Downspout outlet
Tools needed:
Miter saw
Circular saw
Drill
¼" or larger drill bit
Metal snips
Pencil
Tape measure
Safety glasses
Carpenter's square
Hack saw/hand saw
Ladders
½" long drill bit
Screwdriver bit
Sandpaper
¾" socket with ratchet or ¾" open-ended wrench

Preparation instructions

  1. Sort all materials into piles by like items to ensure you have materials needed to complete project.

  2. Set aside the 8' aluminum downspout.

  3. Take the 4x4x12. Cut into [4] 4x4x36" pieces.

  4. Take [2] of the 26"x8' PVC roofing panels. Cut down to [2] 26"x48", for a total of [4] 26"x48" PVC roof pieces.

  5. Do NOT cut the following:

    • [4] 4x4x10' boards
    • [7] 2x6x8' boards
    • [4] 2x6x12' boards
    • [4] 26"x8' PVC roofing panels
  6. Angled Cuts:

    • Take the [4] 4x4x36" pieces cut in step 2. Using the miter saw, cut 45° off both sides, creating a 36" trapezoid.
  7. Gutter Cuts:

    • Take the 8' aluminum gutter. You will cut the hole in the gutter for the downspout. This can be done by drilling a hole through the gutter and then using metal snips to cut a hole the size of the downspout outlet (the piece that attaches the downspout to the gutter). IMPORTANT: Make sure the hole is 6" away from the edge of the downspout and the hole is slightly smaller than needed. It is better if the outlet fits snugly into the hole as opposed to being loose, which will allow water to leak.

Build instructions

  1. Before building, inventory and sort all of your materials.

    Quantity: Inventory:
    4 4x4x10' boards
    4 4x4x10' boards
    4 4x4x36" trapezoids
    4 2x6x12' boards
    7 2x6x8' boards
    4 26"x48" PVC roof panels
    4 26"x8' PVC roof panels
    1 8' aluminum gutter with hole
    1 8' aluminum downspout
  2. First, the 4x4x10s must be set in the ground as posts. Each post will be buried 2' in the ground with concrete. The footprint of the shade structure is 9' long and 6' wide. Holes need to be 24" deep with an 8" diameter.

  3. The posts need to be level both side to side and front to back. They also need to be in a straight line with proper alignment. A string-line can be helpful for this.

  4. Let the concrete set for several hours before completing the shade structure.

  5. The four 2x6x12' boards will be the headers that sandwich the posts, as shown. Since the rain must run off the roof and into the gutter, the rafters need to be angled from front to back. The rafters should be 9 ½" below the top of the back posts as shown in the picture below. Attach the posts using 2 ½" deck screws to temporarily hold them in place, then drill a hole through both 2x6x12s and the 4x4x10. Place a carriage bolt, washer and nut through that drilled hole for extra stability.


  6. Next attach the 4x4x36" trapezoid braces. Make sure the 45° angle sits flush with the 4x4 post but also passes through the 2x6x12 header. Attach the lower end of the 4x4 trapezoid brace to the 4x4 post using the angled brackets and the 1 ½" nails.

  7. Cut the 9 ½" off of the back two posts using the hand saw so that the tops of the posts are roughly flush with the rafters.

  8. Attach the 2x6x8 rafters on top of the headers. Start by attaching one rafter on both ends of the shade structure. Be sure to center (side-to-side) these rafters on the headers. Attach the rafters by using the H2.5A rafter ties.


  9. Install two rafters back-to-back 8' from the front of the shade structure. The back edge of the first rafter should be at 8'. This is where the roofing panels will meet and it is important to have two rafters together for additional support.

  10. Attach the remaining three rafters evenly spaced on the headers.

  11. Lay the four 26x96" panels at the front (higher end) of the shade structure. The panels will overlap each other (side-to-side) by about 2". The panels should be flush with the ends of the rafters on both sides and the end of the first rafter at the front. Use the roofing screws to attach the panels to the rafters. Don't screw the panels into the back rafter just yet -- slide the 48" panels under the 96" panels first.

  12. Now you'll slide the 26x48" panels under the end of the 96x48"panels. Again attach the panels to the rafters using the roofing screws.

  13. Next attach the gutter using the gutter hangers provided in your bucket. Make sure there is a slight slope to the gutter so that the rain water runs towards the downspout.

  14. Next you'll attach the downspout to the gutter.

  15. Lastly position the rain barrel under the downspout and cut the downspout so it is at the proper height to fill the rain barrel.