A patio cover can be designed to protect your from sun, rain, or both. The type of cover you decide upon depends on the exact purpose you want it to serve, personal aesthetics, and installation preferences. The following guide can help you pick the type of cover most suited to your needs.
These permanent structures can be freestanding or designed to extend from the house. They have a vertical grid of timbers along the top that are supported by strong corner posts.
Materials used: Traditionally, pergolas are built from wooden landscape timbers, which may require periodic painting or sealing. There are modern versions available made from vinyl that require virtually no maintenance.
Best uses: A standard pergola works best in areas where you want partial shade over the patio, since the cover will allow in dappled sunlight. Often, vines or plants are grown over the top to increase shade. There are also fabric retractable covers you can purchase, which can be closed over the pergola for full shade or even to protect against light rain.
The ubiquitous metal cover is a favorite permanent installation around patios. It is most commonly used for attached patios since it is most sturdy when anchored to the roof.
Material: Aluminum is popular and lightweight, but there are also steel panels available. You will also have a choice of designs, from basic corrugated panels to flat or standing seam styles. There are also different edge designs, including scalloped and curtain edges.
Best uses: A major reason for popularity, beyond durability and low maintenance needs, is that the cover protects from sun and all types of weather. As long as the bolt holes that secure the cover are sealed, water will not leak through the cover nor will it damage it.
Fabric awnings are becoming more popular as a cover choice, due to increased affordability and flexibility of use. Most are retractable, which means you decide when you want an awning to cover the patio.
Material: Some awnings are made of canvas, must most are made of a synthetic outdoor fabric. They are treated to protect against UV sun damage as well as moisture damage like mildew. These awnings also come in a wide range of colors and designs. They do require regular maintenance – they must be washed periodically and they can't be stored wet.
Best uses: Awnings are most suited as a sun shade. You can change the angle of the shade, which is helpful as you can lower it to block the sun when it is low on the side or raise it to allow in more light at midday. You can also stow it away completely if you don't desire shade. Some awnings provide protection from light rain, but most need to be stowed immediately if it is windy.
For more help in choosing a cover, contact a patio cover installation contractor like Aluminum Builders Home Center.