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Installing a Clear Pergola Roof

Installing a clear pergola roof was the best decision ever. It has turned our side yard is a three season patio that we can enjoy in any weather.

We love our new patio pergola, but the only thing that could make it better was installing a clear pergola roof. Now even if it decides to rain for an entire month (like it did in September), we can still enjoy gatherings on the patio.

Adding a roof to a pergola seems like a big deal, but we partnered with the Home Depot to make it easy! Now we cannot wait for another storm so we can test out our new clear pergola roof.

Installing a clear pergola roof was the best decision ever. It has turned our side yard is a three season patio that we can enjoy in any weather.

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After installing the SunTuf corrugated roofing on the kids outdoor playhouse, I knew I wanted to use it again. It looks so nice and is absolutely DIY friendly.

But my favorite part is that it lets the light in but blocks out the UV rays. Blocking UV rays on the patio means all our patio furniture will last longer. No more fading and sun bleaching! And we can enjoy the patio even if the weather decides to rain out another of our parties!

Turn your pergola into a covered porch. You can now use it all year round. See how we installed a clear pergola roof.

The biggest decision we had was whether to use the same Solar Gray color on the patio as we had on the playhouse roof. I love that the playhouse has the extra shading so the kids can play in it all summer long and it stays a bit cooler.

Originally I had planned on using the shading color for the patio pergola too. Then I realized the patio is completely shaded by the house in the late afternoon on and our neighbor’s trees block most of the direct sun in the morning, so we would only have direct sun for a small portion of the day.

This patio is perfect for creating an outdoor dining area. The clear pergola roof is perfect for creating a room that can be used all year.

I was a little worried that the patio area might be a little dark with a shaded pergola roof, so I consulted my home design expert (aka, my mom) and she agreed with me. A clear pergola roof was the way to go! So off we went to the Home Depot for the clear SunTuf panels and I haven’t regretted my decision once!

See the sky through your pergola roof with a beautiful DIY clear roof. The entire roof was easy to DIY.

The clear pergola roof still blocks some of the sun (about 10%) so the patio still feels cooler than the non-covered area. And being able to see the sky through the roof is so beautiful.

I seriously cannot wait for a rain storm so we can sit under the roof and watch the rain drops dance on it. Since it is later in the fall season now, we may have to be bundled up with a cup of hot cocoa, but you better believe we are not going to miss our first storm under the new clear pergola roof!

Create a beautiful covered patio. See how we transformed our unused side yard into a beautiful space with a clear pergola roof.

The best part of the SunTuf corrugated roofing panels is you can attach them to an existing structure. You only need to add purlins to the existing structure to attach the panels to. So if you have ever wanted to add a roof to an existing pergola, porch or even chicken coop, you are going to want to read on.

This pergola is gorgeous! See the complete plans for the DIY pergola and clear pergola roof at

 And don’t forget to check out the complete patio pergola build and the rest of our woodworking tutorials.

How to Install a Clear Pergola Roof


Installing the Purlins

We installed the purlins to the top of the pergola from 2×3 boards. To match the pergola, I first painted the boards (way easier than painting after installing, trust me).

This is so smart. Paint the purlins before installing them so it's easier to install the clear pergola roof.

Once dry, it was time to install. This isn’t a very hard step especially if you have two people. However, I decided to try to get it done one afternoon while my husband was at work.

I think I went up and down the ladder a thousand times that afternoon (I know it was a lot because my bootie hurt so bad the next day). And I only completed 3 out of 7 purlins. The next day my husband helped me and the other 4 purlins were installed in no time.

The moral of this story, get an extra set of hands to make this so much easier on yourself.

Because our pergola is large (20′ x 11′ to be exact), it took multiple boards for each purlin. To make sure they were super sturdy, we cut the 2×3 boards so they broke over a pergola cross beam. So each purlin had to be measured to make sure the cuts with the saw were braced on the center of the beams (see where the extra set of hands comes in nicely).

Secure 2x3 boards as purlins for the clear pergola roof. Get the full tutorial from

We measured and cut the boards then started screwing them into the 2×6 cross beams so they were perpendicular to the cross beams. We secured them with 2 1/2″ construction screws and made sure to screw them into each beam.

Our purlins were spaced 21″ on center apart. The requirement for our snow load was 24″, but 21″ made them even on the total pergola width so I figured less is better!

Attach a clear roof to your pergola with this tutorial. It's so easy!

Installing the Closure Strips

After the purlins were attached, we needed to attach the SunTuf horizontal closure strips. We attached them to the bottom of the purlin on the far edge of the pergola and the center of other purlins with 1 1/4″ construction screws.

They are super easy to install because they just snap together at the ends. We just climbed on top of the pergola and made quick work of it.

The horizontal closure strips are super easy to attach and made installing the clear pergola roof so easy.

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Under the eave of the house it was a very tight fit. We barely had enough space to add the pergola roof. We had to be a little creative to attach the purlins and horizontal closure strips.

First we attached the horizontal closure strips to the 2×3 boards. When the board ended and we needed to attach another closure strip, we marked where the new strip would start on the next board.

Attaching the horizontal closure strip to the purlins. I love how the clear pergola roof turned out.

In order to attach the purlin on top of the header, we had to screw up from the header of the pergola into the purlin. We did this by pre-drilling a pilot hole at an angle then securing the purlin with a screw. I added a screw on each side of every cross beam.

Next we attached the vertical closure strips. These go in between the ends of the horizontal closure strips just on the outer edges of the roof.

We needed to add 2×2 boards in between the 2×3 purlins to bring the sides of the pergola up to the same height. These were painted before installing again.

Then it was easy to cut the boards to length and secure with 2 1/2″ construction screws. The vertical closure strips were cut to fit and then attached with the 1 1/4″ screws.

Using the vertical closure strips to secure the edges of the clear pergola roof.

Installing the Clear Roof Panels

Now we were finally ready for the roof! All that prep took way more time that actually adding the roof, but I know proper prep is important (but I definitely prefer being able to see the instant results).

We discovered that our house is not square on the property and made our pergola line up with the fence so it didn’t look crooked. So our roofing had to be measured carefully to ensure the overhang was the proper distance all the way down.

So we measured the start and end of every 26″ panel and cut each one individually. It ended up being that each panel was 1/4″ longer at the back end than the front end. We put the slightly diagonal cut line against the crooked house and left the factory cut line at the overhang.

Learn how to install the clear pergola roof. The panels are so easy to work with.

To cut the panels, we clamped a level to create our cut line and used a circular saw to run right down the edge of it. It was super quick to measure and cut each one. The sound of the saw hitting each corrugation is a little scary at first, but it cuts so clean that there is no need to worry.

I love how easy the clear corrugated roof panels are to cut. You can easily DIY a pergola roof!

After cutting we placed the beautiful clear roof panels on top of the pergola. They just sit onto the horizontal and vertical closure strips. Once in place, it is time to start securing it.

Each screw hole needs to be predrilled with a 1/4″ drill bit first to allow for expansion and contraction due to change in temperatures. Without this there might be cracking and that is not desirable! So we used both sets of hands to make quick work of it.

One person predrilled the holes and the other one came in behind with the special screws.

See how easy it is to install a clear pergola roof with these roof panels. The final pergola turned out amazing.

You have to be careful when fastening the screws so they do not sink into the roofing material causing a dimple. After a few screws though, we figured out the groove and were able to quickly insert each screw perfectly. We installed screws in every other corrugation except the last one where the next panel would be overlapping it.

To install the next panel, we measured and cut to the correct length. Then overlapped it one corrugation with the first panel and started pre drilling and screwing in the screws. We found it was easiest to add the screws all the way down the top of the overlap first, then go back in and fill in the rest of the panel.

Overlap each new panel with the old panel to keep everything water-tight. See how easy it is to install a clear pergola roof.

The rest of the day was all about measuring for the next panel, cutting, then securing it to the roof. Luckily it was a beautifully sunny day, with temperatures in the low 70s. A perfect day to install a clear pergola roof!

It was not hard work, but there are a LOT of screws on the top of our pergola so it did take the better part of the day to complete. But when that last screw was finally attached, we cheered a little bit and then had a few minutes to admire our work before the kids needed us.

The next day I couldn’t stop myself from wandering out onto the patio every couple hours to admire the new clear pergola roof. It just looks so beautiful with the trees and sky behind it.

There are a lot of screws on the top of the pergola, but the new clear pergola roof looks amazing!

And now we finally get to fill the patio up with furnishings so we can start to enjoy it! The plan is to create an outdoor dining and kitchen area so we can have many family dinners together.

Next I will be sharing the build plans for our outdoor kitchen island. It is going to be the perfect place to store all our outdoor eating and cooking supplies. And even has a bar area for stools so the kids can sit up to it and help cook. Stay tuned for lots more patio fun!

We added a clear pergola roof to the pergola. Now it's the perfect place to enjoy family gatherings no matter the weather.

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-Kati with picture of blog author Kati

Thank you to the Home Depot for sponsoring this post. I only recommend products that I use and love and all opinions are 100% my own. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.


Tuesday 3rd of October 2023

Did you install a gutter on the end so all that rain doesn't pour over the fence onto your neighbors property? Just curious, might stop an argument down the road.


Tuesday 24th of October 2023

Our roof ends 6" before the fence line. There is a gap between the fence and the cement patio for the water to run to. But it also prevents the berries from our neighbors trees from dropping all over our patio ;)


Saturday 29th of July 2023

Hi Kati... And here I thought this was my own original idea! 🤗 When I told a deck contractor what I wanted, he looked at me like I was nuts. I love brightness and the outdoors. When I decided to cover my new deck I dreaded the shade darkening the interior of my house. Clear panels,was the obvious choice. It was completed 2 weeks ago and I'm still trying to get used to such brightness when I step out. It feels like there's no roof. It's raining and it feels odd. I absolutely love my choice. My contractor didn't know how to cut the panels so 2 pieces are longer by a few inches. Not happy about that. He chose foam strips supporting the panels but I highly doubt their longevity. I need to add an eaves trough because the water drops right onto my garden bed. I love seeing the sky and trees through it, and rain falling and watching it run off the roof. I'm in Ontario Canada where we can get significant snow some years so I'm waiting with bated breath to see if it will hold under the weight. I'm thinking I might have to heat underneath to melt it off if it gets too bad... Cautiously, of course. The slope isn't what I wanted but the contractor insisted on sticking with building codes ... 1" per foot. At 10 feet, it's only sloped about 9-10 inches. So we'll see. I hope others see your article as this roof type solves more issues than rain, wind and snow... Except from the sides, alas. Need curtains and planning to add a retractable awning as I get a lot of sun which is too much on hot days but great on cooler days. The best of all worlds!

Marlene O'Malley

Monday 12th of June 2023

I have never seen wood used to build your pergola that had slotted holes every where. Never. I live in a hurricane state and believe that might weaken the wood, making it go up in the sir a lot quicker.


Friday 17th of March 2023

Kati I enjoyed your post on covering your pergola. I do have a question regarding the SunTuf clear panels. Have they yellowed or discolored any over the time you have had them up? The summer sun is quite intense in southern Alabama and it also shines brightly year round. I have seen corrugated plexi-panels, both clear and colored, that discolor or become cloudy with time.


Saturday 29th of July 2023

@Rick, This is something I was wondering about, too. About 10+ years ago I put a clear panel from Home Depot (I think probably SunTuf) along my fence sideways to prevent my neighbours plants from drifting onto my garden. Over the years it has maintained its clarity on the upper side but the side sitting on the ground has developed a green algae/mildew that looks like it will wash off. It would be more difficult on a roof. I've seen tv ads for a spray window cleaner you can apply from the ground using your garden hose. It might work on these panels. But that green is because it's sitting on the ground surrounded by plants. Unless your roof is buried under a bushy area and very damp, this should not be a problem. The top edge is perfectly clear even after 10+ years. I can see absolutely no discoloration - and it gets lots of sun exposure.

Kati Farrer

Saturday 18th of March 2023

Hi Rick, We had zero discoloration in the two years we used them. (We have moved) I expect they are still doing great. Water/Humidity might play a different role in Alabama than the dry Utah air.


Saturday 3rd of September 2022

I have installed these as well the clear panels, they are great. I did find because of the slant I did not like the way the water fell over the edge so I put a strip of eavestrough which helps a lot. What type of blade did you use on the saw as I have been afraid to cut for a different area

Kati Farrer

Saturday 3rd of September 2022

I use an 80 tooth plywood blade from diablo.

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