Rafter and Beam Cut Ends

One great way to give your pergola a unique look is customize the cut ends of the beams or rafters. There is a wide variety of options to choose from here are a few.


There is a wide variety of cut end designs for beams and rafters

Types of cut end styles

Choices of corbel styles for rafters and beams

Standard options of corbel cut ends.

Do-It-Yourself Pergola

How To Build A Wood Pergola (Without a Saw!!!)

A pergola is a great way to enjoy your backyard and give your outdoor space some added design. If you need a custom pergola in Vista, CA visit this page here. We service San Diego County and surrounding areas.

If your yard permits you might consider a Costco pergola. You can get a basic Costco pergola kit for around $1000, or if you’re handy enough and have the time, you might just build one yourself. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

When choosing wood for your Do-it-Yourself Pergola make sure your boards are as straight as possible, avoiding boards with the following problems.


2x4's common wood for pergolaTypes of wood board warping





What You’ll Need:

4 – 4x4x10 – pressure treated posts

2 – 2x6x10 – common wood, ex. Douglas Fir

8 – 2x4x10 – common wood, ex Douglas Fir (at least 8, more if sufficient shade is required)

4 – Bags of Concrete 

4″ Lag screws and washers (4)

3″ exterior screws

Exterior paint


Bucket of Water



Backyard wood pergola

Basic wood pergola with straight-cut ends.


  1. Measure where to put your pressure treated posts first. They will be 8 feet apart on center.
  2. Dig a 12 inch square hole around the middle of where your post will be set. Dig a minimum of 18 inches deep.
  3. Center and level post on both verticals. Make sure all posts have the same vertical height from the ground up, or very close.
  4. Follow directions on cement bag for water/mix ratio. Pour cement and water into hole and around post. Poke a few holes in the cement to be sure the water drains properly. Hold post until it is sturdy enough to stand on its own.
  5. Decide what kind of cut ends or corbels you want for the cross beams. Click here for some examples. For this project we are just using the straight-cut ends from the factory cuts. No saws needed! 
  6. When the cement has dried COMPLETELY and the posts are sturdy, you are ready to fasten the beams. You’ll want to install 2 parallel beams so you can set the next pieces on top of those. Use another pair of hands to help you hold each beam up and into place. There should be about 8″ of hangover on each side. Use a level and fasten with a lag screw and washer into the 4×4. 
  7. Now evenly measure and space out the next row of wood pieces for the roof. The more wood you use, the more shade your pergola will provide. Fasten wood with 3″ exterior screws. See image above.
  8. If all has went well, you should be out of the building phase, and into finishing. Paint your pergola with a primer first and 2 coats of paint for maximum protection from the elements. Allow proper drying to occur between each coat.


Why should I hire a General Contractor?

Do I need a General Contractor (GC)?

Whether you are experienced with home projects or not, it can be of great benefit to hire a General Contractor to help see your project through. There are many reasons to hire a General Contractor, but here are a few:

1. It’s easier to let your GC contact his network of tradesman rather than try and find qualified individuals yourself.

Sometimes even small projects can involve 3 to 4 different trades.

2. Your GC can save you money.

They know the products, the fixes, the shortcuts, the money-savers, what looks good/what doesn’t etc…

3. They become the personal liaison to your project.

Don’t understand the difference between eggshell and enamel? Wondering about putting a door or window in? Pushing walls back and creating more living space? Repair or Remodel?

The General Contractor is your go-to for questions like these and many more. They’ll help you through the process by holding your hand through each step and by listening to your wants, needs, and desires for the project at hand. In the construction business, aka “the business of solving lots of little problems” experience can be invaluable. Things can go wrong in a hurry, but a good GC will keep your project moving forward and always headed towards completion and deadline.


A good working relationship with your General Contractor can save you lots of time, money, and headache.

When Do I Need A New Roof?

Do I Need A New Roof or Do I Need A Roof Repair?

Re applying tarp for roofYour Roof Is The First Line Of Defense From The Elements

You want to make sure that your roof is sealed tight and there is no water getting in. This is without a doubt. But some contractors will tell you that you need a new roof, when in fact, you just need a repair. So what determines this decision?

First, find out where your leak(s) is coming from. If you have many leaks, chances are it’s time for a new roof. But if you have leaks in just a few places, you might be able to repair them to last 10-20 more years (depending on the situation) and save lots of money.

You might just need a few new shingles. Maybe some new tarpaper, or even some wood replaced but any way you look at it, it’ll be a lot less work than an entire new roof. Most shingles are easily available which makes for a reliable repair.

Bottom line: Ask your contractor about repair options, it can save you a lot of money.

*Homeowner tip – You can put a 2nd layer of asphalt shingles on top of the original shingles to save the cost of removing that layer


Custom Outdoor Furniture? What about IKEA?

Why Build Custom Outdoor Furniture? Can’t I Just Order Online?

It will last longer. It will be unique to YOUR home and YOUR needs.

If you want to add more value to your home and enjoy a unique outdoor setting, custom outdoor furniture is a great way to do that.

Custom Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture can extend the character of your home.

Instead of opting for an IKEA patio furniture set that will last a few winters and fall apart, build something that will withstand the test of time and be enjoyed for years to come. A lot of IKEA-style furniture is made very cheaply and doesn’t withstand weathering well.

By building with stronger building materials (wood, concrete, metal) you can be sure you’ll have something that won’t be easily destroyed, by weather, or even a clumsy friend or family member.

It will be original

You could spend all day online and at IKEA stores to find the “perfect” patio furniture set, but NOTHING will fit your home like a custom designed furniture set in the style you choose. Or make your neighbors more jealous of your outdoor seating.

Decide on which style, and what needs you have for your outdoor furniture. The options are limitless, but keep in mind that if you were to sell your house, would the new homeowners appreciate your custom addition?

Choose a style that fits your house, and has multiple uses, and you’ll add economic value to you home.

And that’s more than I can say for the IKEA-style patio furniture.

Custom Patio Furniture


You can apply a beautiful stain or choose from other options. …Add Years To Your Wood Fence (similar applies)

Custom outdoor furniture

What Wood Should I Use On My Deck?

What Wood Should I Use On My Deck?

If you’re going to have a deck built, it’s important to decide what you’re going to build it with. Luckily, there are a few options.

Pressure Treated:

You can make the entire deck out of pressure-treated wood, which will provide durability from the elements without any need for paint or stain. Of course, visually, it can leave a lot to be desired.

Common Wood:

For a little bit less money, you can add some common wood (Douglas Fir) and it will provide a more finished look. Unlike the pressure treated, you’ll need to protect it from the elements so be sure to budget a little more for painting or staining.


If you want to go high quality at a relatively fair price, I would suggest redwood. It’s going to warp less and is less prone to termite damage. If you have termite problems I’d suggest going with either Cedar or Redwood, the termites don’t like them as much. The redwood can be stained for a beautiful effect or painted, either way you’ll have a professional looking deck/railing that will have a better finished product by choosing redwood.

Beautiful variations in stained redwood


This can be a great choice for homeowners who want a deck with minimal maintenance. It will cost you about twice as much as a redwood deck, in materials and labor, but it will last a long time without any need for replacing boards.


3 Ways To Add Years To Your Wood Fence

3 Ways To Add Years To Your Wood Fence

#1 Paint It

To add some weather protection on your new or existing wood fence you can simply paint it. For best results, use a primer and allow that to dry fully. Then apply an exterior grade paint, I recommend Sherwin-Williams Superpaint, but similar quality will do. This will provide the best protection. Paint every 3-5 years.

#2 Stain It

Staining your fence will provide less protection than painting it, but it will cost less to apply and will hide imperfections well. It also provides a natural look and can be reapplied throughout the years for a deep stained wood effect. Reapply every 1-2 years for best results, but the original stain will last much longer than that as it fades. MiniWax stain is fine or similar quality.

#3 Stain And Finish It

If you really like the look of natural wood and stained wood, I would recommend putting a finish on your wood to further protect it from weathering. A topcoat polyurethane finish will protect the stained wood underneath from fading. It will also provide a sheen or shimmer that you won’t get with just stained wood. I use ZAR Polyurethane Water-Based finish that can be found at Dixieline.  You’ll want to reapply yearly for the first couple applications and after you’ve built up a thin protective layer you’ll be able go more and more years before another coat is necessary.