After completing a beautiful patio with elegant furniture and a rich garden, homeowners are often faced with the challenge of finding the perfect cover to match their charming outdoors. There is a vast array of patio covers available in the market and looking through each solution can prove to be an impossible task. The purpose of this article is to help buyers filter through the seemingly infinite number of choices in order to find the best cover for their patio.
Types of Patio Covers
When searching for potential options for patio covers, buyers are guaranteed to encounter terms such as Awnings, Solid Patio Covers, Pergolas, Umbrellas and Lattices. These are the various types of patio covers, each with distinct design features, materials and costs.
Awnings are shading solutions that function as an extended part of an establishment, similar to an extra roof that is connected to the main structure of a house or building. Awnings have evolved significantly through the years as shading solutions, compared to when they were first utilized in ancient Egypt and ancient Syria. Nowadays, buyers can choose from retractable or fixed awnings, which are made either of canvas material or aluminum. Depending on the design, awnings, especially retractable ones, provide complete, flexible and excellent shade from environmental factors such as sunlight, UV rays, rain and snow.
Pergolas and Lattices on the other hand are structures that are easily identifiable because of their cross-beam roofing structures. Lattices are often mounted as an extension of the main house or building structure, while pergolas are built separately and are typically mounted to four or more pillars. Pergolas and Lattices give patio owners with a great sense of openness while still being able to receive ample shade from the sun. Pergolas are also more flexible in the sense that they are standalone structures that can be situated anywhere in your backyard.
Patio covers can also come in the form of roof-like structures made from various materials such as vinyl, aluminum or wood. Patio roofs that can be installed on top of lattices or pergolas. This option provides excellent shade while still maintaining the aesthetic appeal of cross-beamed structures. They may also be installed as simple, solid patio covers and provide the same amount of shade and protection while maintaining a minimalistic and potentially less costly design. Another similar cover solution to lattices and pergolas are the adjustable louver patio covers. These covers are built and function similarly to open-and-close vents but are instead installed as a roof to block sunlight, rain or snow.
Similar to retractable awnings, slide-wire patio covers are simple and adjustable shading systems that can easily be deployed or retracted to form a “hung-canopy” roofing structure. These patio covers can be installed below a lattice structure or a patio cover frame. They are commonly made of canvas or vinyl material that allows them to be flexible and retractable.
Materials for Patio Covers
Patio covers can be made out of four types of materials. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Vinyl patio covers are perhaps the most common materials used for such applications. Such covers are perhaps the most cost-effective option presented to buyers and can be utilized in various applications such as retractable awnings, slide-wire patio covers, umbrellas and more. These materials are light-weight and can be relocated easily should the need arise. However, it also important to note that vinyl and similar materials may be prone to color fading and may not be repainted due to the properties of the material itself.
Wood is another classic material used for patio covers. These are typically used either as solid patio covers or as beams for lattices and pergolas. Wood emanates a natural ambience and can be stained, painted and finished with various methods to achieve the best desire possible. Wood patio covers can potentially rot due to water damage. The finish can also peel depending on the type of finishing technique used and the exposure to shifting environmental factors.
Aluminum is perhaps the most durable material that is commonly used for patio covers. These provide excellent protection from environmental factors as they can completely block sunlight, rain and snow. Aluminum can further be used with innovative patio covers such as adjustable louver covers or can be used as solid patio roofing. Perhaps one of the biggest downsides of aluminum covers is their heat retention aspect. Aluminum, being a metal, is a good heat conductor. Thus, when exposed to sunlight, the heat that it radiates may be uncomfortable for individuals under the cover.
If buyers wish to gain a compromise between the durability of aluminum and the aesthetic appeal of wood, a material called Alumawood® might be the perfect solution for their problems. Unlike ordinary aluminum, Alumawood® does not retain as much heat and can be designed to have intricate wood grain patterns. Alumawood® also deliver the superior shading capabilities of aluminum and do not rot like wood patio covers.
Patio Cover Installation
Patio covers are crucial additions to any outdoor environment, whether at home or in a commercial space. Such structures can accentuate elegantly designed and landscaped outdoors but may also become eye sores if not installed properly. While skipping professional help for installation can present cost benefits, the ordinary do-it-yourself worker may not have the right skills or equipment to execute, or complete, a project with optimal dimensions, design and the intended purpose. More importantly, an unskilled worker may simply consume too much valuable time and may be exposed to hazards such as falling heavy objects or sharp objects. Thus, the overall amount of money that can be potentially saved through DIY projects can be negated by time consumption, injury or poorly executed work.
Hiring Professional Help
With the considerations presented above, it is highly advised to seek quality professional help when installing the different kinds of patio covers. Ideally, a customer should start his or her search process by seeking trustworthy contacts from family, friends or the local community in general. This enables a customer to view several finished or work-in-progress projects by a provider and determine the level of workmanship and quality that a provider has. After building a list of qualified providers, a buyer can then determine who to choose on the basis of professionalism, credentials, transparency and schedule constraints.
A customer must also be able to communicate with his or her contractor. It is ideal to let the service provider to visit the area where the patio cover will be installed. During the visit, both the customer and contractor can get a better understanding regarding the details of the project. Additionally, a customer will be able to judge whether the provider is somebody that can be trusted with the work. A good contractor should be able to communicate and address the concerns of a customer in the most respectable and professional manner.
Finally, it is the responsibility of a customer to write a comprehensive and detailed contract. A contract should cover all sections of a project and should provide detail regarding crucial aspects of the service such as project timelines, materials, costs, payment options and working schedules.