Once you’ve found your dream house, it may seem like the journey is over and you can just sit back and start enjoying the good things in life. But sometimes it isn’t that simple. If you want to spend time outside with your family or host outdoor events like neighborhood barbeques as part of your dream life in your new home, then it’s time to think about what to do about the outside of your house.
The most obvious choice to make your dreams a reality is to build a patio! It makes a nice spot for cooking and just sitting and talking with neighbors, but the weather can sometimes but a damper on your outside adventures. That’s where patio covers come in. But just like buying the perfect house and building the perfect patio, buying and installing a patio cover takes some time and research to ensure you get just what you want.
All that work just sounds like a drag when you’re so close to having everything perfect, doesn’t it? That’s why I’m here to give you the ultimate patio cover buying guide. By the time you finish reading this, you’ll be a master at buying patio covers and will know just what to look for when you go out to get your own!
Choosing Your Material
The first thing to consider when buying a patio cover (aside from what size you want it to be, of course) is what material you want your patio cover to be made out of. This will determine things down the road like budget, the complexity of the style you want, and whether you hire a professional to install it or do it yourself.
The three main types of materials for patio covers are wood, vinyl, and aluminum. In addition, there is Alumawood, which is a specially manufactured material that takes aspects of all three materials and combines them. I’ll list below a few pros and cons of each.
Wood has a wide variety of colors, textures, and finishes, making it ideal for those who want a unique look for their patio cover.
Wood has a traditional, natural appearance that can be made to match almost any home.
Wood is durable in the face of nature’s whims, making it a long-lasting, sturdy choice.
On the other hand, wood patio covers are extremely expensive.
They also require more maintenance and will eventually wear out – rotting, being eaten by bugs, and other natural issues can damage your wooden patio cover greatly.
Vinyl is a much more cost-effective choice for a patio cover.
It requires little maintenance once set up.
However, vinyl isn’t as tough as wood – it can be damaged more easily in places where tree limbs fall often.
Vinyl also has less variety to choose from, and some communities restrict its usage.
Even more so than vinyl, aluminum can withstand climate and nature issues to provide a durable patio cover requiring little to no maintenance.
Aluminum is the least costly of the materials for patio covers.
Like vinyl, there are some restrictions on the use of aluminum in certain communities, so be sure to research your local ordinances before installation.
Alumawood has the strength of aluminum, the variety and authentic look of wood, and the low maintenance of vinyl, making it the all-round best choice of the materials that patio covers can be made with.
Types of Shading
Most would recommend choosing the type of shading you want for your patio cover first, but I think it’s important to first decide what material you want to work with. This will allow you to better judge costs and decide what type of shading would work best for you. Below I’ll describe the types of shading your patio cover could use.
Awnings are a lot like curtains, except they extend outward instead of down. You can choose from traditional awnings to high-tech ones at your leisure. Their main benefit is providing shade that cools you down.
I think everyone already knows what umbrellas are! But I will say that their benefit is that they can be easily moved as the direction of the sun changes to provide shade 24/7!
These are a thinner, more simple form of shading, that leave space for sun, making them more aesthetically pleasing to most. You also have the option of putting fabric over it to increase your shade. Lattices are most often made out of wood.
A solid patio cover is just that – a solid piece of material that creates protection from sun and weather. It can be considered an extension of your home and can add value to your property if you plan on selling in the future.
DIY or DIP
For the sake of cost effectiveness, it is possible to buy a patio cover kit and simply set it up yourself. If you have the tools, knowledge, and the time, I say go for it! If you don’t, however, it might be time to call in some professionals.
Here are a few ways to find reliable professionals in your price range to install your chosen patio cover.
First and foremost, get some local recommendations. Not only are you assured of people’s honesty in their recommendations, but local workers are more likely to give deals and work harder for the sake of their reputations than a major corporation. You can also check the Yellow Pages or websites that advertise local workers.
First, look at the reviews and credentials of each business, and consider maybe not going with a business or individual that has no review or feedback, as you can’t tell anything about the work they’ve done.
If you decide you like their reviews, contact them to say you are looking into having a patio cover installed and would like to know about their availability and prices. Let their reply speak for them – how long does it take them to respond, is the price they suggest within your range, do they ask questions about your patio cover, can they guarantee to work with your schedule? Once you’ve found a professional that fits, your job is done, and you can sit back and watch your ideal patio cover become part of your dream home!