As a deck builder in California, I often get asked to build
a pergola in conjunction with a deck project (1). Most
customers want the pergola to hang right off the existing
fascia, rather than have posts next to the house. But there's
usually a gutter in the way, so I had to devise a technique
that would allow me to secure the pergola ledger without
disturbing the existing gutter.
I use a Simpson ABU66 post base as a bracket, inserted between
the fascia board and the gutter (2). The post base's U-shape is
wide enough for the gutter to sit between its legs without
There are two holes on each vertical leg of the post base that
allow for fasteners. I slip a bracket between the gutter and
the fascia at a rafter-tail location, then attach the gutter
and bracket to the framing with long TimberLok lag
I use a length of Schedule 40 1/2-inch PVC pipe as a ferrule
(3), which keeps the vertical legs of the bracket in fixed
position while allowing me to firmly attach both the bracket
and the back of the gutter to the framing.
Before attaching the ledger to the brackets, I clamp it in
place and mark the locations of the lag-screw heads. After
countersinking these points, I fasten the ledger to the outer
leg of the bracket with galvanized bolts.
Finishing the framing is a simple matter of attaching joist
hangers and setting the pergola rafters.
William Bolton owns DeckCreations in Santa Barbara,
Quick Barrel Ceiling
The carpenters on this remodeling job in Berkeley, Calif.,
could have used 2x4s to frame the barrel-vaulted ceiling of a
But rather than fuss with the many compound cuts wood framing
would have required, they saved time by using light-gauge steel
studs. The steel is plenty strong for the plaster finish, and
all the crew had to do was snip the studs to length, bend
"nailing" flanges at each end, and screw them in place.
This method seems particularly appropriate for a barrel vault
— the studs butt edge-to-edge, just like the staves in a
— David Frane
Storage for Rent
Full-size semitrailers work great for job-site storage
— as long as you can get a tractor trailer onto the
Recently, smaller storage units — like the one shown here
— have become more common, especially on tight sites or
in suburban areas. They come in different sizes; this
8-foot-by-8-foot-by-16-foot unit, in use on a Baltimore job
site, rents for about $170 per month (plus delivery costs) from
Pods (www.pods.com, 888/776-7637).
Loading and unloading is a lot easier than with a full-size
storage trailer because the doors are at ground level instead
of up on wheels. The contractor in this case used inexpensive
plastic shelving to provide rack space for lengths of
16-foot-long trim, leaving room for tools and other materials.
— Andrew Wormer