Patio Covers, Shade
Sails and Awnings – Compare Fabric, Metal, Aluminum, Vinyl, or Wood
Patio Covers and Enclosed Patio
June 14th 2006
Now that the summer is beginning to heat up, homeowners are thinking
about providing some shade by installing awnings and patio covers.
There are many types of patio covers and shade structures to choose
from. Decide on the style before you decide whether to do it yourself
or have professionals install it?
There are benefits to having professionals install your cover. First
they will get the permits. Second, they have experience and can get the
job done in less than half the time it will take you. Think of all the
trips to the hardware store you will be making and the hammer drills and
other equipment needed.
Professional installers also have an understanding of the materials and
techniques that work best for your area. Through years of experience
they know what materials to use, where to attach the awnings and the
best anchors to use.
Do you have lots of wind where you live, or are you in an area that gets
lots of snow or rain? If the awning is installed on the windward side
of the house it will need to be reinforced. It is no uncommon for high
winds to damage patio covers.
So should you choose wood, vinyl or aluminum? Wood patio covers are
susceptible to rotting and termite damage. This can weaken the
structure. Treated wood is more expensive but can save you a bundle
over the long run. Wood is also much heavier than aluminum or vinyl.
Heavy duty metal patio covers are usually much more expensive than wood
Vinyl covers are susceptible to sun damage, but are very lightweight and
not prone to termites or other rotting problems. These covers may not
meet building requirements for where you live. Professional contracts
can help with determining which type is best for you.
Aluminum covers are extremely popular and can be durable. You should
look for contractors that use the thicker aluminum. This will assure
that it will withstand high winds. The wind can come in underneath the
cover and push the roof up. Also, snow can pile on top of the roof and
collapse the cover.
You may want to consider building an extra room or enclosed patio.
These can become stuffy and hot if not ventilated properly. Enclosed
patios do cost considerably more than standard patio covers. These can
be constructed with wood, vinyl or aluminum.
Shade Sails have become popular in the past few years. They can be
relatively inexpensive and easier to install. Shade Sails are triangular
shaped canvas covers that are fastened at each of the corners. Some of
the newer Sail Shades come in a square shape as well.
You may want to consider awnings over the windows to keep the sun from
heating up the rooms. They are relatively easy to install and may save
you money on electricity during the summer. Some companies offer large
awnings that can function as retractable patio covers. Retracting the
cover during the winter can save you money on energy.
The bottom line is you should keep your options open and compare both
materials and styles. Compare contractors and brands. It may help to
ask your friends and neighbors what they like and dislike about their
patio cover before you make your final decision. Always make sure your
contractor is licensed and insured.
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