SkyLift Official Blog

Scope, Material & Labor of Patio Cover Project

Posted by SkyLift Hardware



Many times, people ask me, "Well, how much does it cost?" That's the typical question we're going to ask is: how much does it cost and how long does it take? So here we wanna address, how much does it cost? When you're considering a project, fundamentally, there's three areas that you will consider in your cost category. As you're considering your project, think of these three things.


These three elements help moderate cost:


Scope of Work

Regarding a project, we have what's called the scope of work. Now scope can be defined as the design and the size, so depending on the scope of your project, that will help moderate the cost. 1.) scope is the size. 2.) Scope is also the design. Consider the scope of your project regarding cost.




The second area is, what type of materials are you using? So material cost also affects the bottom-line cost of your project. For instance, is your cover material going to be polycarbonate? Is it acrylic? Is it roof sheathing with shingles? That all varies in the cost of your materials. So material cost varies greatly depending on the design of your project and the effect that you're after. So that's the second element that will moderate the cost.


Second area that we would like to talk about today and to help you understand when you're budgeting is material cost. As you look at the ledger column, kind of coming up with, "Okay, this is kind of what we'd like. We'd like the scope to be this," now you have to determine your materials that you will be using? Again, these are the areas of your project that influence cost.


Consider this, in the materials, what's the dimension of your materials? A 2” by 6” cost less than a 2” by 8”, 2” by 10”, 2” by 12”. Your beam sizes can also include 4” x 6”, 4” x 8 or 4” x 10”. This is the dimension of your materials. The material cost varies depending on the dimension. You don't want to under-dimension a project.


If you skimp on the dimension, you will be sorry at the end because your project is deflecting or sagging because you are underestimating the dimension of your lumber.

Be careful. If you're, you know, trying to figure out the span of things, make sure it's appropriate. Don't feel like you should skimp on that. We like to say "once and done." Build your project once and you will not have to revisit it.


ALWAYS consider the dimensions of your materials.


The second is the species of material. So, your cost is going vary versus fir. Douglas fir varies considering Southern Yellow Pine. And there are different materials in different regions of the country depending on where you live so consider what species of wood you’ll be using. Then the third area is, what type of finish are you going to have on that material that you're building? Is it a painted painted finish or a stained finish? Or is it natural? The finish that you put on the wood is also going to influence the cost. Are you doing the finishing or are you hiring someone to do the finish for you?


You want to consider that when you're budgeting. Consider the type of hardware that you're using. There are many ways to build a project, many different applications of hardware. Consider that when you are scoping your project out.


And then the final one is the roofing. Are you going to build a pergola with no cover over the top? Are you using a polycarbonate? Are you using acrylic? These are terms that you may not be familiar with but familiarize yourself with the type of material that you're using for your roofing. Some people want to match the cover of their house. Are you using composition shingles or tile roofs? These are the things that you consider when you're scoping out the project. It's not as daunting once you understand the applications and material that will affect the final cost.


Labor Cost


The third is labor. If you're doing this yourself, you're certainly going to save on labor. If you're having someone help you or a contractor to perform labor and they're doing all the above, labor is also the third area of cost. Labor affects the cost of your project. Consider these three areas when budgeting your project or how much they'll cost. We'll go into each of these areas and give you some further information, but these are the things that we want to consider when we're trying to moderate the cost of a project.


Let's look at the one item we talked about regarding the cost of building a patio cover or pergola or an outdoor structure. And that's called scope. So how we would define scope is, what is the size of your project? The size is reflected in the total material cost and the labor to build that. If you have a 12’ x 16’cover, that's a lot different than if you're building a 20’ x 24’ cover. These are things to consider when you're reflecting cost, is the size.


How are you going to design your cover?


Is it what we call a flyover patio cover? Is it a gable end patio cover? Is it some other type of project? Is it a pergola? The design is going to influence the type of materials, the quantities of materials. Again, we refer to this as scope.


And then the third area, and this is often overlooked also, but regarding scope is, what areas of the house or the structure are we touching? The more areas you're working in, of course, this influences the scope. So how many areas are you touching also affects what we call scope of work. And these are the things that you want to consider when you're budgeting your project. You carefully want to consider these three elements when it comes to scope of work.




This can be the most significant cost savings or cost of a project, depending on how you're going to do your project. The first area of labor you might consider is DIY. DIY stands for "do it yourself." This is a primary area of a project that could save if you have that ability or life experience. And also, life experience says, "Well, I'm not doing that. I'm gonna have someone else help me." So that's always something to consider in cost. Second area is, well, maybe you want some help with your project. You might what we call subcontract or partial labor. Part of the project someone else is going to help you with some technical aspect of the project that you're unfamiliar with or you're not sure you can do. In that regard, you could do part of the labor.


Let's say you wanted to finish the material yourself and didn't hire a painter to do that. You could certainly do that part of the project and save some cost. This is also what we refer to as, in the contracting world, as owner participation, so you're helping part of the project cost. And then the third is having the project general contractor. This person is responsible for your project from the start to the finish. Perhaps you've come up with a design and a contractor is going to take care of the build. Perhaps hire them and they do the design, the planning, the permitting and the whole build. And often, people do this.


Consider: scope of work, materials and labor. These are the areas to remember when you're putting together the cost of the project.




About the Author


Doug Lethin literally grew up in the building industry. His father launched C&R Remodeling in 1961 in Salem, Oregon, and Doug was born right around the same time. Lethin took over the business in 1989 and invented the SKYLIFT roof riser hardware in 2010.