How-To Tips

Do It Yourself (DIY) Patio Cover & Outdoor Living Projects

Learn From the Experts

J&W Lumber is more than just a provider of outdoor building materials; we’re a full-service resource. With that in mind, we’ve provided some installation tips for common DIY patio projects below. Check back often, as we’ll be adding more on a regular basis, and let us know if there’s a tip you’d like us to include.

  • Patio Covers: The Foundation of a Custom Outdoor Room

    Have you been dreaming about a unique outdoor room where you can gather with loved ones, regardless of the sun or the rain? Then you’ve come to the right spot because a covered patio space sets the stage for creating great memories, big and small, with those you hold dear. 

    In this guide, discover whether you should be saying Pergola or Patio Cover, reasons why many homeowners opt to install a patio cover, and your options for customizing your patio cover.

  • A Blooming, Beautiful Backyard Escape

    Garden accents are a simple way to add life to your outdoor space and increase your privacy at the same time. Not sure where to start? Here are several options to use for inspiration, which you can weave into your own garden setup and extend your usable space to the outdoors.

    In this guide, we’ll give you tips for creating an outdoor space where you can grow your veggies and herbs while also enjoying the fresh air.

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Building a Fence

    Fencing offers more design possibilities than you might realize, giving your outdoor space a refreshed, customized look. Between materials and hardware and board spacing options and height variations, there are multiple ways to customize your fence.

    In this guide, our fencing experts share what you need to know to get started.

  • Building a Deck: A Guide to Get Started

    Is building a new deck next on your home renovation list? If so, this is the guide for you.

    In this starter guide, our decking specialists provide tips and considerations for building a deck that will create the outdoor oasis you’ve been dreaming about.

  • The Latest Patio Covers Ideas & Materials

    Unlike adding a whole new room to your home, patio covers deliver more bang for your buck while creating dramatic change to your livable space. If you’re still thinking, “all patio covers are pretty much the same,” think again.

    Get some fresh inspiration from these trendy ideas and the latest materials.

  • Buyer’s Guide to House Siding

    Adding or replacing siding can update the look of your home immediately. With so many styles, materials, and applications, there’s a siding option for every aesthetic.

    In this guide, our house siding specialists provide tips on selecting the right type of siding, share what to consider when budget planning, and insights on the latest advancements in materials.

  • Backyard Hacks, Tips to Optimize Small Yards & Outdoor Spaces

    Just because your space is small doesn’t mean it has to be without the warmth, beauty, and accents of a large area.

    With this guide and the right lumber and building supplies, you can create an attractive, inviting outdoor space, no matter how little room you’re working with.

  • Top 10 DIY Lumber Projects

    Tackling a DIY lumber project is a great way to freshen up the look of your house without a major remodeling investment.

    In this guide, learn our top ten DIY lumber projects to put on your home improvement list.

  • Fencing Factors: Costs, Materials & Upkeep

    Looking to replace an existing broken-down fence? Interested in increasing the privacy of your front or back yard? Concerned with adding security and safety measures for your kids and pets?

    Whatever the reason behind building a new fence, there are a few factors that you’ll want to consider. In this guide, we share our expert insights into creating the perfect fence to transform your yard.

  • A Homeowner’s Guide to Create a Private Outdoor Space

    Southern California is best spent outside. What better place to enjoy the sunshine and blue skies than your own peaceful private outdoor space?

    In this guide for homeowners, we share innovative ideas to create your own personal haven, right in your back yard.

  • Patio Cover Project Basics

    Installing a new patio cover (or “pergola” — we use the terms interchangeably) can dramatically change the look of your outdoor space. Like any home improvement project, there are many important decisions to make before you pick up the first nail. If you’re thinking of upgrading your patio with a new cover, here’s what you need to know to get started.

  • Working with Lumber 101

    If you’re thinking of starting a lumber project or are already in the middle, you should spend some time at the lumber yard familiarizing yourself with materials, learning about new techniques and asking lots of questions. In this guide, our experts share what you need to know about lumber to make your next project as easy as possible.

  • Simple Guide to Siding

    Home siding is one of those improvements that can dramatically change the appearance of your house. It’s a pretty big decision—from an investment and an aesthetic standpoint—so you should consider your options carefully before making a commitment. Download this guide to learn your options when it comes to siding.

  • Top Decking Mistakes

    A basic deck update or repair might seem simple at first glance, but when things go wrong, problems escalate quickly. Even a new deck project that seems straightforward can go south quickly if you don’t know what you are getting into. Download this quick reference guide to learn the top mistakes we see homeowners and ambitious DIYers make when tackling a decking project.

  • A Buyer’s Guide to Patio Covers

    Learn everything you need to know to choose the right patio cover for your house. There are a lot of benefits to covering your patio and in this guide, our patio cover experts share tips to help you discover the right patio cover for your backyard, whether it’s a pre-cut kit, wood lattice, a canopy, sailcloth, aluminum, or a louvered cover. Download the guide to find the right patio cover to meet your needs.

  • Lumber Yard Checklist

    A quick-reference checklist for a smooth trip to the lumber yard. We work with a lot of first-time customers at our stores. We understand that while we do this every day, it’s often a new and possibly confusing experience for homeowners. To make your upcoming visit to a lumber yard quick and painless, we’ve put together a quick worksheet on how to prepare for your visit to the store and what to bring with you.

  • DIY Guide to Building a Deck

    A quality deck can last for decades and provide a lifetime of memories. That’s why it’s important to get it right the first time. In our DIY Guide for building a deck, our experts share insights on what you need to know before building, where to build your deck, what decking permits you may need, choosing the right materials, and how to illuminate your deck.

  • Love Your Landscape

    Get tips and ideas to reclaim your outdoor space. In Love Your Landscape, the experienced outdoor building pros at J&W Lumber share tips for making the most of your outdoor space with design ideas for creating a welcoming backyard and modern ways to light up your garden.

    Download your free copy today by clicking the button below.

  • Ultimate Fencing Guide: Design & Materials

    Your complete resource for selecting the right fence for your home. In the Ultimate Fencing Guide, our fencing design experts walk you through all the considerations you need to make before building a new fence, including how to determine your fence “priorities,” what functionality you need, and the best materials for the job.

    Download your free copy today by clicking the button below.

  • Garden Box 101: Everything You Need to Know

    If you are new to garden boxes or have built a few, we’ve got the essentials guide for you. In Garden Box 101, you get tips on everything from what materials to use for your garden box, whether a garden box kit is the best option, where to place your garden box, and more.

    Download your free copy today by clicking the button below.

  • Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

    Whether you are getting your home ready to put on the market or are looking to make your home more inviting, there are a variety of projects that will revive or change the look of your home. In this guide, we take a look at several home improvement projects that will boost the curb appeal of your home.

    Download your free copy today by clicking the button below.

  • Lumber: A Starter Guide

    Redwood, Cedar, Douglas Fir, architectural timbers, engineered wood products, pressure-treated lumber – with so many options, how do you pick the right lumber or wood product for your project? We’ve got you covered. In this starter guide, we cover the basics on the most popular lumber options and the fundamentals on each type of lumber.

    Download your free copy today by clicking the button below.

  • Backyard Design Essentials

    Whether you have a smaller patio or an extensive backyard, there are several things you can do to turn it into a comfortable, outdoor oasis. In Backyard Design Essentials, we take a look at the main aspects of your space, like fencing, shade structures, and furniture, that can turn a piece of land into a welcoming outdoor space for entertaining and relaxing.

    Download your free copy today by clicking the button below.

  • Deck Planning 101

    You’ve been dreaming about a beautiful deck, where you can spend time with your family, friends, and neighbors. It’s time to make that dream a reality. In Deck Planning 101, our experts share the basics of building a new deck – including everything from how to determine the right design to suit your needs, the right materials to build your deck and how to maintain your deck once it’s built. Download your free copy today by clicking the button below.

  • Tips to Create a Great Outdoor Space

    Whether you are a do-it-yourself homeowner or a homeowner working with a contractor, there are various home and garden projects that can make your outdoor space great. In this guide, we provide tips on what to consider when starting outdoor projects, the most popular projects, the types of lumber and composites to use for projects, and tips for starting your garden – even if you don’t have a large yard. Download your free copy today by clicking the button below.

  • Installing redwood decking

    2×4 and 2×6 Redwood decking will span 24″ on center run perpendicular to joists, when run diagonally decrease joist spacing to 16″. Typical builders today will use 16″ O.C. for most applications just to assure no sponginess in the feel underfoot.

    Leave 1/8″ spacing between boards and always predrill holes at the ends of the board to help prevent splitting. It is preferable to install boards with the bark side up (frown down) to help prevent grain lifting, but this is not mandatory. Typical installations will have the best looking face upwards.

    J&W recommends installation with Hot Dip Galvanized (HDG) or Stainless Steel screws using two fasteners at each joist. Use fasteners long enough to penetrate into the joists at least 1 1/2″. This pattern will hold the board in place and help to further reduce any chance of cupping.

  • Installing Mangaris

    Keep deck boards clean, covered and out of direct sunlight prior to installation and sealing.

    Allow product to acclimate to the temperature and humidity on your jobsite for 4 to 7 days prior to installation.

    Install Mangaris™ Diamond at least 12” to 16” above ground and allow sufficient ventilation underneath and to the sides. Airflow is vital to dimensional stability on all hardwood products. Do not enclose the lower section, use lattice panels to shield understructure if so desired.

    Safe Handling

    Installers should wear protective respiratory masks to avoid wood dust, wear gloves and eye protection to avoid allergic reactions. Avoid working in an enclosed area whenever possible and remove splinters promptly to avoid infection.

    Cutting, End Sealing, Drilling

    Carbide tipped saw blades and quality drill bits and countersinks are needed for working with Mangaris™ Diamond and all hardwoods. Choose a counter sink bit that is designed for use with the fastener you’ll be using. After end cutting Mangaris™ Diamond always seal fresh cut ends with a wax, J&W recommends “Anchorseal” to help prevent moisture “wicking”. End waxing will help prevent cupping, warping or splitting.


    Always consult your local building codes to assure you are complying with your local building codes. Generally speaking 1×4 and 1×6 can be installed on joists that are 16” on center. 5/4” and thicker boards can be installed on 24” O.C. but many builders prefer 16” O.C.

    When installing deck boards on an angle reduce joist spacing to 12”. Consult local building codes for the final say.

    Residential Installation Guidelines for MANGARIS™ DIAMOND and PREMIUM

    Storage and Handling:

    • Keep your MANGARIS™ boards clean, dry and out of direct sunlight before installation and finishing.
    • Allow the material to acclimate and stabilize to the local climate (4-7 days) prior to installation.

    Ventilation and Air Flow:

    Allow adequate ventilation for proper air flow to reduce cupping potential.

    Install a vapor barrier to cover ground for decks with less then 24” ground clearance.

    • Minimum recommended clearance is 12” with vapor barrier and proper ventilation.


    • Reduce moisture “wicking”. Seal all fresh cuts with Anchor Seal (liquid paraffin wax) available from Lumber Dealer.
    • We recommend finishing MANGARIS™ with deep penetrating oil, with ultraviolet inhibitors, on all four sides. A periodic light coat of finish will be required in order to maintain original color or allow to weather to a silver grey look (Read finishing instructions on can prior to coating)

    Fasteners and Spacing:

    • MANGARIS™ deck boards are kiln dried. Unlike air dried boards shrinkage is very limited; however, excessive moisture may cause the boards to expand slightly.
    • Recommended spacing is ¼” for 5-1/2” deck boards and 3/16” for 3-1/2” boards. Also allow ¼” from any structures such as foundations or rail post.
    • Pre-drill Pilot holes ¾” from edges and ends and countersink for all screws using a minimum 2-1/2” #10 Fat head or Bugle head Stainless Steel screw. Coated deck screws may be used but could cause staining. Minimum screw penetration into joist of 1-1/2”.
    • Hidden fasteners. TATA approves the use of Tiger Claw TCG clip in conjunction with TATA’s factory Pre-Oiled and Pre-Grooved 5/4” board only. Not approved for 1×6.
    • When installing MANGARIS™ hardwood decking, as with many other wood products, we recommend the use of a protective respiratory mask, gloves and eye protection.
    • For technical or installation questions, call 1-866-901-DECK, 8AM – 5PM Pacific Time.

    “Installation Alert”

    MANGARIS™ DIAMOND (MERBAU) is one of the most durable rot resistant wood products in the world today due in part to a heavy amount of the natural chemical (Tannins) found in all wood species.

    Even though it is these Tannins that contribute to a Class A Flame Spread, Rot resistance and termite resistance they may also bleed out when exposed to excessive moisture. For that reason, please use Caution when installing: Not recommended for second story applications or where there is the potential to stain surrounding areas, such as patio furniture or light colored exterior walls. If used in this application please make sure to thoroughly condition boards prior to installation by exposing to moisture until all signs of the red tannins have dissipated. Contact TATA Enterprises for additional information. (866-901-3325)