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How to Build a Palapa Tiki Hut

If you’re inspired to create a tropical landscape possible in your outdoor space, you could start by building a palapa umbrella to cover your patio or deck. But if you’d like to go one step further than that, you may be even more inspired to build a palapa. A palapa is the ancient Mexican architectural structure that became what we know today as the tiki hut.

The palapa is constructed with bamboo or wood that closely resembles bamboo. It may or may not be fully enclosed; often, it has one or more open sides. The roof is thatched, which means it is topped with thatch material made from treated and woven palm leaves.
The palapa is the symbol of a lifestyle that embraces relaxation and peace at the seaside. If you want to know how to build a palapa, here’s how to get started.

Source Your Foundational Materials
In order to have a true palapa structure, you’ll need:

°Real wood poles made from pine or bamboo. To hold up palapa tops, these should be at least eight feet high. For a higher palapa ceiling, you can find poles all the way up to 12 feet high.

°A frame for your roof base. You can purchase these in palapa kits that include the hardware you’ll need to easily complete construction.

°Tiki thatching rolls for your palapa covers. In order to calculate how much tiki thatching roll you will need, measure width of each side and add on the square yardage of your overhang.


First Steps to Building Your Palapa

To begin installing your palapa:

°Dig a 12 inch round hole in the ground.

°Use a three foot long PVC pipe 6" or 8" in diameter and a concrete PVC pipe, two feet in the ground and one foot out of ground. This will act as a sleeve for the main pole.

°Slide the main pole inside the PVC pipe and secure it with lag screws.

°Rap the PVC pipe with rope to hide the PVC pipe. This will also help when hosing down the concrete deck. You may need to rent a core machine from a hardware store in order to complete this step.

Palapa Kits and Tools
When researching how to build a palapa as a first-time DIY project, the best way to go is with a pre-ordered palapa kit. At Palapa Umbrella Thatch Company, our palapa kits include the lumber you need pre-cut to the sizes you need for your project, in addition to the hardware to assemble them and the thatched roofing material to create an authentic tiki roof. In fact, you can even request a 36” table for an even more out of the box solution. The only natural element you’ll need in addition to the palapa and wood is cement, along with a cement mixer and funnel to process it. The cement will be used to fill in your holes and anchor your wood poles. It’s indispensable in order to construct a permanent palapa.

From there, all you’ll need is a basic set of tools. We recommend:
°Bolts
°Nail gun and framing nails
°Zip ties
°Tape measure
°Shovels
°Safety items like gloves, goggles and earplugs

Creating a Palapa Foundation
After all your measurements are determined, mark your position and layout of the palapa in the ground. Now, it’s time to dig your holes for the poles. The holes should be deep enough to secure the poles in the ground without significantly lowering the height of the palapa. Fill your holes with cement and secure your poles. Allow them to dry 24 to 48 hours before moving on to the next step.

Building a Palapa Roof

The next step in how to build a palapa is constructing the frame of the roof. The roof poles must be connected with your bolts and other hardware in your palapa kit. To keep the structure stable, the roof frame should have a horizontal beam through the middle of the structure If desired, you can also use plywood to act extra stability to the base.

Now, it’s time to place your tiki thatching roll on the roof. All you do is unroll, place and staple – but it’s critical to do this in tight layers with no gaps. Don’t forget to allow for overhang of the thatch for that classic tiki hut appearance. Remember, treating these natural palapa tops with our thatch sealer can protect them and extend their life.

Call us for More Information
To learn more about how to build a palapa, contact Palapa Umbrella Thatch Company. We are available for customer service Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Call 1-866-944-TIKI (8454) to place an order.
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