Common Patio Cover Materials

Common Patio Cover Materials

If sitting on your deck has become a hit and miss situation due to the varying weather, you may want to invest in a patio cover. Let’s face it: most people love the sun but too much can spell trouble. And the pitter patter of rain can be wonderfully cooling but getting drenched is no one’s idea of fun. 

But beyond this, installing a patio cover will likely create the feeling of having an extra room in your home even without walls. It’s likely to encourage you, your family and friends to spend a whole lot more time outdoors. As an added boon, a cover will add protection to your outdoor furniture and decorations. 

In comparison to other architectural spaces, patio covers are a relatively inexpensive way to add protection from the elements. Of course, the type of material, the size and style, and the amount of labor used will determine the cost and this can vary greatly.

By giving you the full view and feeling of the outdoors with some added protection it offers a unique experience that the indoors just cannot. 

Adding Architectural Beauty

You don’t just have to think of your patio cover in practical terms. Think also that you can be adding a beautiful architectural piece to your home. There is such a wide range of materials and styles to choose from that there is no doubt you will be able to find a patio cover that will be a perfect fit just for you.

1. Vinyl Patio Covers

Vinyl tends to be a low maintenance material when it comes to patio covers. Installation tends to be fairly easy and the cost is very reasonable. Vinyl covers are starting to feature more choice in color options. 

Pros:

  • Less expensive than many other patio covers
  • Low maintenance
  • Can be molded into different shapes
  • Rustproof and waterproof
  • Choice of latticed or solid roof

Cons:

  • Aesthetically, vinyl is considered a less attractive option
  • Color may fade over time
  • Lower quality vinyl will crack over time – higher quality vinyl is less likely to rot, crack or warp over time
  • Is not the best choice for extreme heat – may deteriorate over time with heavy sun exposure

2. Aluminum Patio Covers

Aluminum patio covers have improved markedly in the last couple of decades. Generally, only high grade aluminum is used. Because it is so popular, they are sold to be easily customizable and as unique as you would like it to be.  Choosing thicker aluminum results in less likelihood of denting.

Pros: 

  • Lightweight, yet sturdy
  • Pest resistant
  • Sturdy to the elements, no visible wear and tear from moisture or heat
  • Can choose from a wide choice of colors, post and column styles
  • Priced competitively
  • Fire resistant
  • Can be customized to have a motorized, louvered roof
  • You can choose a wood embossed aluminum – this provides a lovely textured appearance but without the maintenance of wood

Cons: 

  • May be more dent prone than other material
  • Metal conducts heat, so may be uncomfortable when the weather is at its hottest

3. Wood Patio Covers

Its unlikely that any patio cover beats wood for its aesthetics and charm. Wood can be strong and durable (with preparation) but it depends on your choice. Cedar wood or oak are good choices in terms of durability and strength. 

Pros:

  • Perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing material of all
  • Very customizable
  • Can be shaped into almost any style you like
  • Creates a homey, relaxing, nature inspired atmosphere

Cons:

  • One of the more expensive choices in patio covers
  • More susceptible to the elements than most other materials
  • UV and winds can make wood covers fade
  • Needs regular upkeep and maintenance
  • Some wood needs sanding, priming, painting and staining before using 
  • Wood may crack, split, warp, and peel under extreme weather conditions
  • Vulnerable to fire and pests

4. Polycarbonate Patio Covers

Polycarbonate patio covers are made of a thermoplastic material and as the name suggests, can withstand extremes of temperatures, both hot and cold. This makes it extremely durable as a patio cover. Applicable to industrial, commercial and home use, it’s uses are many. Although lightweight it can undergo a lot of stress without breaking or cracking. Polycarbonate patio covers are available in panels. 

Pros:

  • UV and heat resistant
  • Can come in various tints, allowing for customization with the amount of light you want 
  • Minimize glare
  • Lightweight, yet almost unbreakable
  • No fading or discoloring with age

Cons:

  • One of the most expensive options
  • Is prone to scratches and dents if not handled correctly

5. Fabric Patio Covers

With advanced technology, fabric patio covers can adequately protect you from rain, sun and ultraviolet rays. The fabric patio cover is usually made of polyvinyl chloride coated polyester cloth and poly tetra fluoro ethylene coated glass finish cloth.  

Pros:

  • Can accommodate any patio size and shape
  • Can be stored away during the off season
  • Comes in many styles and colors to suit your personal taste

Cons:

  • May not be able to withstand harsh weather conditions
  • Could tear or fade over time
  • If put away while wet, may become moldy 

6. Patio Umbrellas

If you’d rather not cover your whole patio, perhaps one or more patio umbrellas might be more your style. It’s important to have some protection from the hot sun and rain, and an umbrella can do just that. They also can be opened or closed at any time which makes them particularly practical. Make sure though, that the fabric is treated to be UV and fade resistant. They can be wall mounted, center poled (on a table) or offset mount (cantilever). There are several different materials that can be used. Two of the best fabrics for umbrellas are: 

  1. Olefin is UV resistant and dries quickly, and is durable
  2. Acrylic fabric is also UV resistant, soft and available in many colors

Pros:

  • Very economical and practical
  • Easy to set up
  • Comes in many sizes, colors 
  • Easily removed when not needed

Cons:

  • Unless well bolted down, it may not withstand strong winds
  • Avoid a string or pulley based mechanism. It will likely degrade over time and harsh weather conditions

Patio covers have a variety of styles and materials. We at Sunshine Sunrooms in Dallas will help you decide which is best for your home. Contact us today to get your Patio Cover installed, and take advantage of our Summer Sale! Call 972-243-5390 or visit us online.

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