Labor costs average $25 to $40 per square foot to install a roof over your patio or deck. Looking for some backyard patio inspiration? A covered patio can extend your outdoor living space and increase the value of your home. Installing a patio roof typically costs between $1,300 and $24,000, with an average of $6,500. The labor cost is a significant factor in this price range. In this article, we’ll explain the different costs associated with adding a patio roof and help you determine whether you can take a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach or need to hire a pro.*
*Article cost data via Angi, Fixr, and Home Advisor.
Factors Affecting Labor Costs
Labor installation costs play a large role in the price of building a roof structure over your deck or patio. Outdoor labor could cost you more for several reasons, including:
- Demand: Prices jump when demand for labor increases.
- Insurance: Contractors sometimes get injured on the job, so hourly rates include built-in insurance fees.
- Location: The regional economy plays a factor in labor pricing.
- Project size: A larger project costs more because the contractor works longer hours.
- Seasonality: Labor costs are higher during favorable weather conditions, such as spring and summer.
- Skill-level: You’ll pay extra if the project is complex and requires advanced skills.
Professional vs. DIY Labor Costs
It’s tempting to take on this project yourself to reduce the labor costs of installing a roof cover. While it may be an easy task for experienced DIY’ers, cost is just one consideration factor.
Installing a patio roof takes time and requires construction and design knowledge some homeowners may not have. Here are the benefits of hiring a professional versus DIY patio labor considerations.
Professional Labor Costs
Labor costs average $25 to $40 per square foot when a contractor installs a patio or deck roof. Even though you’ll pay more in labor than if you DIY it, contractors have valuable experience. Here are some reasons to hire a professional to install your deck covering:
- Expertise: A professional contractor can help you decide which types of coverings are right for your lifestyle, patio setup, and budget.
- Permit knowledge: Some towns and cities require building permits if the structure is attached to the house, but you may need one even if it’s freestanding. Professional contractors have permit knowledge and the ability to file them.
- Special tools: Contractors have all the necessary tools to build a roof. The average homeowner may not have the proper equipment and will have to rent or buy it.
- Warranties: If you perform the labor yourself, you don’t have coverage if something goes wrong. A reputable contractor offers a warranty.
DIY Labor Costs
When you take on a big home improvement project, consider everything that goes into it. It’s easier to perform the work if you have some experience constructing buildings, sheds, or other structures. An experienced DIY’er will spend about $1,250 to $1,350 installing a basic roof cover.
Consider these other factors before you start installing your patio covering:
- Design options: Your chosen design and cover type depends on the type of patio you have, what your space allows, and your preferred style.
- Materials: You’ll need to purchase materials to build your roof cover. The average material cost is $5 to $70 per square foot.
- Shipping: You have to factor shipping costs into your budget in case your local hardware store doesn’t have all the materials you need.
- Time: According to TheCoveredPatio.com, this project takes a contractor one to two months to complete. If you choose to do it yourself, expect it to take at least that long, if not longer.
- Tools: Collect the equipment you need to erect your structure properly.
- Truck rentals: Before heading to the store to pick up what you need, measure your vehicle to ensure everything will fit. If you don’t have enough room, consider renting a truck.
Additional Factors Affecting Patio Roof Cost
The cost of a new roof depends on more than just labor. Roof size, materials, and cover type all play a role in determining price. We’ve broken down patio cover costs by factors.
Larger roofs require more materials and installation hours which adds to total cost. Coverings over a certain square footage may require additional permits, adding to the overall total.
Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, the materials you use affect your patio cover’s total cost. Roofing materials vary in price. Below are a few examples and the material costs by type of roofing material:
- Aluminum: Aluminum patio covers are less expensive than some other cover options, plus they’re lightweight and easy to install. An aluminum roof will cost you between $3,800 and $8,300.
- Wood: Wood lends a natural look to your space. Wood patio covers are durable, but come with some risk of warping in wet climates. A wood patio cover costs $10,500 to $18,900.
- Vinyl: Vinyl is an affordable, low maintenance option, but it still looks good. It costs between $2,550 and $6,100, depending on the design. For example, adding lattice to your vinyl covering is more expensive than installing a solid roof.
Some patio coverings are more expensive than others. Here’s a list of different types of covers:
- Awnings: Awnings come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can get a permanent awning, a retractable one, or a motorized version. They cost between $1,400 and $4,200.
- Gable roofs: These coverings are A-shaped and the most common type of roof. Their price range is $3,000 to $18,000.
- Louvered roofs: This covering type is horizontal and features adjustable slats. They cost between $4,350 and $20,700, depending on whether the slats are manual or motorized.
- Pergolas: Pergolas are structures attached to your house, but a contractor can also build a freestanding covering. They cost between $2,100 and $6,000.
- Shed roofs: Shed roofs are also called lean-to roofs. They slope in one direction and are steep. This is a simple covering type and costs about $1,500.
If you’re building a covered patio, you may want to include some special features to enhance your outdoor space. The additional costs associated with these add-ons include:
- Fireplaces: A fireplace costs $1,500 to $6,500.
- Heaters: Including a heater will cost between $100 and $500.
- Lights: If you choose to add light fixtures, you can expect to pay between $260 and $4,500.
- Outdoor kitchen: If you have enough space to add an outdoor kitchen to your patio, it’ll cost $7,000 on the low end and $20,000 on the high end.
- Screens: Keeping bugs out is a major plus, but it costs extra to screen in your patio. This add-on typically runs between $30 and $47 per square foot.
Your town or city may require you to file for a permit since building a structure comes with some risk. Homeowners have to file permits so that an inspector can ensure the patio coverings are up to code. Contact your local municipality to find out if you need a permit and how much it will cost. Permits average between $425 and $2,300.
How to Reduce the Cost to Add a Roof Over Your Patio
Here are a few ways to decrease your covered deck or patio’s final cost:
- Build your own flooring: When you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to install the deck or patio before building the roof cover. Save some money by building a patio paver yourself.
- Nix the add-ons: Another way to reduce the total cost is by avoiding high-end extras, such as lighting and fireplaces. You can always add them later if you decide you really want them, or choose a less expensive version, such as a firepit instead of a fireplace.
- Opt for a lean-to covering: The patio roof costs vary greatly according to its type. A lean-to roof offers a minimalist look and is very affordable.
- Repair it yourself: Once your structure is standing, you’ll enjoy it for years to come, but it will inevitably require maintenance and repair. Since the price of repairing a roof isn’t something you factor into your initial budget, consider repairing it yourself when the time comes.
How to Hire a Professional
If you’re going the professional route, we have advice to help you find a reputable contractor who will work with your budget to build a beautiful patio covering:
- Check that your contractor’s license is current. Professional contractors must be licensed. Contact your local government to find out where to look up a contractor’s license online. For example, California residents can find licensing data on the state’s consumer affairs website.
- Create a plan before you interview contractors so that you can communicate your wishes effectively.
- Read reviews to learn about the contractor’s work ethic and abilities.
Installing a cover over your patio protects against inclement weather, creates more living space for you and your family, and increases your home’s resale value. But this project requires a certain skill level, so if you aren’t equipped to perform the labor, we recommend you hire a professional.
Adding a Roof Over Your Patio FAQ
Can you build a roof over an existing porch?
Yes, you can build a roof over your existing deck, patio, or porch. If you choose to take the DIY approach, you’ll save money on labor costs, but hiring a professional ensures the structure is properly installed.
How much does labor cost to frame a lean to roof?
The labor cost to frame a lean-to roof, also known as a shed roof, costs approximately $75 per hour. Most lean-to roofs take about two hours to construct.
How do roofers calculate labor?
Roofers calculate labor costs according to the regional economy, seasonality, job size, and project scope. These factors play a critical role in how much a roofer charges per hour, which is typically $45 to $75 per hour.