Do I Need a Permit to Build a Patio Cover?

Patios are a growing trend in the United States, but many homeowners don’t know if they need to apply for building permits. This article explores whether you should get a permit and how it affects your legal options.

The “patio cover permit requirements” is a question that has been asked many times before. If you want to build a patio cover, you will need a permit.

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Patio covers or pergolas may be a beautiful and functional addition to your backyard, but you may have concerns about how to construct or install one in your house. Is it necessary to get a permission for patio covers? Do I need a permission to construct my patio cover? 

Building patio covers requires the acquisition of a permit. In principle, constructing a patio cover does not need a permission. However, if the city issues a citation during the construction process, homeowners may be charged. When reselling a property, or worse, if a building breaks, homeowners might run into problems.

Continue reading for a list of instances in which permits are needed, when more than one are required, why you should always build to code, and what may happen if you don’t.



Contents Table of Contents

  • Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional: Requirements for obtaining a permit
  • When Do Patio Covers Require Additional Clearance?
  • What Am I Required to Do in Order to Obtain a Permit?
  • What Happens If I Don’t Get A Permit For My Patio Cover?
  • Conclusion


Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional: Requirements for obtaining a permit

Before constructing an attached or detached construction, most incorporated communities will need you to seek a permission. The permission procedure is designed to guarantee that constructions are built safely and securely. When it comes to patio covers, most homeowners choose between hiring a professional and doing it themselves. Here’s how the permit application procedure works for both:

  • If you’re going to engage a contractor, be sure they’re licensed. Most towns and counties provide a mechanism to determine whether the contractor you’ve chosen has filed for a permit. For further information, go to your city’s Development Services page.
  • Your municipal and county permitting regulations will be known to licensed contractors. They will be able to secure the necessary permissions for the construction of your patio cover and include the cost in their estimate.
  • If you want to do a job on your own, you’ll need to get permits from your city or county. Most towns provide an online or phone-based guidance to help you get the precise permit you’ll need depending on the specifics of your project. 
  • Before granting a permit in a Do It Yourself scenario, some towns may require you to pass a Homeowners Exam to verify your skill in specified trades. 
  • To guarantee that you’re following the required construction rules and collecting the necessary permissions, you should contact your local governing authority. The more local the governing body, the more rigorous the building rules are. 

When Do Patio Covers Require Additional Clearance?

For general safety, states have minimum construction regulations. Cities and counties often create their own permission requirements, which are typically more stringent. As we’ve seen, the more local the governing body, the stricter the construction standards must be, but certain scenarios need even more clearance.

HOAs may impose limits on the design, height, and even finish material of your home. Homeowner’s Associations are frequently founded in single-family home communities and neighborhoods to enforce community regulations, so you should find out whether your house is part of one when you move in.

It’s a good idea to contact your Homeowners Association before you start construction, even if you don’t need a permit, since HOAs might limit the height of your project. If you can locate a local qualified contractor that has done work in your HOA before, they should be aware of the regulations.


Homeowners associations have the authority to impose fines on property owners who do not adhere to building height and completion criteria. HOAs have the authority to impose reasonable penalties on homeowners who do not obey the HOA’s rules. The Homeowners Association cannot compel you to sell your house and relocate, but they do have the power to file a lawsuit that might result in foreclosure. 

What Am I Required to Do in Order to Obtain a Permit?

Here’s some good news if you’ve hired a licensed contractor and confirmed their license. You shouldn’t need to do anything extra to get the permissions you need for your project. A qualified contractor should be able to secure all of the essential permissions in order to execute your job safely and on schedule. 

There’s no need to be concerned about the permission procedure if you’re doing your patio cover job yourself. It may seem difficult to get a permit on your own, but there are a few basic procedures to take that will make the process straightforward and fast. Here’s what you should do:

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  • The first step is to contact your city’s building authority and set up an appointment. This call may provide you with advice on what to bring to your visit.
  • It’s a good idea to carry the following information with you in general:
    • A comprehensive sketch of the patio cover or deck you want to build.
    • Materials are listed in a material list.
    • The sorts of footings you’re planning to utilize (concrete, deck blocks, etc.)
    • Joint spacing as proposed
    • Make a note of where your steps will go if you’re creating a deck with a patio cover. Make a note of the deck’s length, breadth, and height as well. 

Permits will almost certainly cost you money. A permit for a patio cover with or without a deck may cost anywhere from 0 to 500 dollars on average. After getting the specs of your planned project, your local building authority should be able to provide you with accurate pricing.

What Happens If I Don’t Get A Permit For My Patio Cover?

Assume you choose not to get a permission before constructing your patio cover. There are a few things you should know and be prepared for in such case: Building a building on your land might have a negative impact on:

  • Safety
  • monetary stability
  • Reputation

Before beginning building, all of these factors must be considered.

Security and Safety Risks

A patio cover installed without a permission may endanger you, your family, and anyone else who uses your patio or deck. Permits are required to guarantee that constructions are constructed in accordance with the most recent and stringent building rules. These codes guarantee that constructions are strong and safe. Once your project is complete, building inspectors will pass or fail it, and there will be no inspection if you don’t have a permit.

monetary stability May be in Jeopardy

If your structure is built without a permit, there may be no consequence in the short term, but there are several instances that can affect your monetary stability by not obtaining a permit.

  • If your construction is unstable and someone is injured as a result of it, you may be held personally liable for damages and medical expenditures. 
  • Let’s say you make an insurance claim for damages caused by a defective construction, and it turns out that the structure was erected without a permit. Your insurance provider may decide not to pay any losses in this situation, leaving you financially liable.
  • If your city discovers that your building was erected without a permission, you may be required to demolish it or pay back property taxes. 

The stakes are high when it comes to reputation.

If you have a structure on your property and are trying to sell it, a building inspector will almost certainly discover it if it is judged hazardous. This revelation might jeopardize any bids you’ve received for your house, or perhaps cause the transaction to fall through. 

Any of the scenarios listed above might jeopardize your reputation as a homeowner. The last thing you want is for someone to be injured on your property as a result of a construction you built without a permission. As a consequence, your friends and family may be hesitant to visit your patio cover or deck in the future. 


Your state, county, and local governments will need you to get a permission to construct a patio cover on your property. To safeguard your safety, the safety of your family and friends, and your financial well-being, you must get a permit before beginning construction. 

You may start shopping for patio covers for your backyard now that you know how to get a permit! Check out our post on how to cover your fence on a budget if you’re interested in one of our fencing solutions. We also have an article that explains how to manually ignite a patio heater, which you may find useful.


J&W Lumber

Outdoors by AquaTerra


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