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Patio Covers Which type to install Fabric, Metal, Vinyl, or Wood Patio Covers?

May 6th, 2006

Patio Covers  Which type to install Fabric, Metal, Vinyl, or Wood Patio Covers?

Sunsetter's Retractable Awning

As the sun starts to heat up for the summer months you may have thought about installing a shade structure on your home.  There are many different types of patio covers and sun structures that can offer you outdoor shade in the hot summer months.  Depending on the location of your home, you may have certain building requirements that will help in making your decision.

You can have the patio structure installed by a professional or a small contractor that is willing to build a cover.  The benefits to having the professionals handle the work, is that they will have to get the permits to build the structure and may also have knowledge about adequate reinforcement for withstanding weather and wind.  One downfall of having a professional install a patio cover is it can be expensive.


Depending on where you live, you may be faced with strong winds that need extra reinforcements so that the patio cover will not blow away when gusty winds happen.  This may be an extra expense in the construction of the patio cover.  You also may benefit from a wood structure that might withstand more wind.  Metal patio covers can sometime be very thin metal on the lower price range and may not be rated for heavy winds.

The downfall to a wood patio cover is that is more susceptible to rotting and termite damage, which can weaken the structure over time.  That is a downfall to wood. There are heavy duty metal patio covers available that are usually much more expensive than building a wood cover.

Plastic or vinyl patio covers will only last so long as well.  They also need to be rated for the weather conditions where you live.  The vinyl patio covers may not meet building requirements where you live.

An enclosed patio can be a wonderful extra room outdoors, however you could find without proper air circulation the area will be hot and stuffy.  It may even cause condensation inside the room.  You should have ventilation to allow for air to come in the hot summer months.  Enclosed patios cost considerably more that a regular patio cover.


Awnings are a unique approach to shade and could be one of the easiest to install.  You would likely want the retractable awning that will allow you to protect the awning for storm damage, winter storage, and also limit the amount of sun damage to the fabric.  Because it is retractable, in the winter months when you want the sun to shine into your house to warm it up, you will be able to keep the house sunny and bright.  Often the patio cover can cause the house to be blocked of any sun from coming into the house.  Having no sun coming through the windows in the summer is great, but in the winter it is not so great.


Make sure to call your local building authorities to see what the requirements are for building a patio cover.  Ask the professional patio builders what they would recommend and the reasons why they like the particular manufacturer.  You will likely spend more for a patio cover if you live were the weather and winds are strong.

You could build your own patio cover out of wood, but you still are required to get building permit and following local building codes.  There are many do-it-yourself books that show how to build a patio cover step by step.  There is work involved, but you can save thousands of dollars if you do the work yourself.

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Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication

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