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Beat the heat, install a patio cover

Tips on proper installation

When summer temperatures soar, the backyard is definitely the place to be. But if your patio or deck bakes in the sun more than you'd like, it might be time to consider a patio cover to get yourself some welcome shade. Patio covers range from the simple to the ornate. They can be large or small, painted or natural wood, and covered with anything from wood slats to solid roofing. But remember that when summer's sun is replaced with the ravages of winter your patio cover needs to stand up to the elements, so whatever your design, make sure it's built correctly. For most yards, patio covers are simply a shed roof with a moderate slope that extends off the rear or side of the house. Most designs consist of a ledger -- a horizontal board to which joists or rafters are attached -- against the house with a series of rafters extending from the ledger to a beam some distance out from the house. The beam is supported by posts, and the rafters are then covered with the roofing materia...