SkyLift Official Blog

What Is A Cantilever?

Posted by SkyLift Hardware

We try and post regular instructional videos to our Youtube channel. Below is one of our most recent videos and the corresponding transcription. "What Is A Cantilever?"

Video Transcription Below:

All right, let's talk about cantilevers. What is a cantilever? A cantilever is when we are using a structural member and extending it beyond the support of that member. You can consider and understand that this would be what we could call the fulcrum, and it's like a lever, but we call it a cantilever.
So, a cantilever, the distance that you can safely use a cantilever, the beam size is going to be three times back this way when it extends this way. So, if this is extending 3 feet here, your beam back here is 3 times 3. This would be 9 feet. You would want your beam to be a 12-foot overall beam length for a 3-foot cantilever. You're going to go 3-foot, 3 times 3, 9 feet back this way, and that will safely give you a structural cantilever.
It does depend on the depth of your beam as far as how you would cut this. A typical cantilever, the 3-foot, what you might see here... See, this is a 16-foot beam, so we have a 16- by 12-foot patio cover, and if we're going 3 feet on each side, that's a 10-foot space in between. In this case, we would use a 4 by 10 beam. This is a 4 by 8 beam set on a SkyLift saddle, and this is a beam detail on the end. This is a short cantilever, but it's the same application as the 3-foot. We want to go back three times the distance this way.
That's how you can safely determine how far you're going to do a cantilever. And it is also about the looks, the type of beam end, and looking and making sure that you're structurally sound for the distance of your cantilever.
So, that's a little bit of information about cantilevers. They're effective because you can use fewer SkyLift brackets, if that were the case, by leveraging this out. But, you have to do the math. You have to make sure the beams are the right size for this extension here. You can't use a small beam. You've got to increase the depth of the beam the further you go out, and then you have to go further back.
That's, again, a little bit of information about canti
levers using beams on patio covers, and how you can safely extend those out. Thanks for asking.





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.