Your deck should always be the focal point of your outdoor space. It’s a guaranteed flat space for seating and tables, and provides the natural transition from inside to outside. A deck is a great place to gather for parties or just watch your loved ones runs around, enjoying the seemingly endless Calgary summer days. However, the hot summer sun can quickly bake an uncovered deck, making it too hot to use during the day which defeats the main point of having a deck in the first place.
Deciding to install a patio cover will automatically take your outdoor living experience to the next level. Not only will it provide protection from the sun and rain, but you’ll also create the feeling of an extra room in your home. You’ll be surprised at how the presence of a patio cover encourages people to see the patio as a permanent hangout space instead of somewhere just reserved for parties and formal eating. The roof seems to make your deck feel like a new room, even though there are no new walls. It may even inspire you to add some artwork to the outside of your home, or buy brand new deck furniture to make the whole space feel brand new and ready for summer.
However, as soon as you start researching your patio cover, you’ll find a dazzling array of options to choose from. Each one has specific benefits and costs that you’ll need to take into account before you embark on your patio cover project. Here are some of the most common patio covers:
- Wooden lattice – this is by far and away the most common type of patio cover as it gives you so much flexibility. Large beams are overlaid between the sections of your patio, and you can leave as much space in between as you like. A smaller lattice gives you greater cover, while a larger lattice keeps your patio big and spacious. You can then grow plants to cover the lattice, leave it open to the elements or cover it with removable material. The main downside is that the wood needs to be treated for it to last, and it’s the heaviest option, meaning you’ll need bigger and stronger posts. Many people choose wooden patio covers to match their deck and the outside of their home, and it definitely provides the best transition between home and garden from a visual perspective.
- Vinyl – if you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful patio cover, then vinyl is for you. It can be molded in what shape you need and because it’s a plastic based material, it’s automatically waterproof and rustproof. Vinyl patio covers are often sold in sets, so you can add additional guttering as well as connecting it your existing roof drainage system. The main downside of vinyl is that it’s weak, meaning it’s more susceptible to heavy Calgary snowfall and any debris in a storm. Many people think it looks ugly too, so you’ll have to work hard to get the right look.
- Fibreglass – if you’re looking for a halfway house between a wooden lattice that lets the light in, but also allows the rain to come through, and the solidity of vinyl that can make your deck too dark, then translucent fibreglass may be your best option. It lets all the light through while providing protection from rain and debris. It suffers from the same drawbacks as vinyl, and even though it’s see-through, it still looks like corrugated plastic and some people think it makes your majestic deck space look tacky and cheap.
- Metal – A more solid and dignified look can come from a metal patio cover. The two most common materials here are steel and aluminum. Steel is much more expensive, but it’s stronger and looks fantastic especially when supported by thick wooden beams. Aluminum is weaker and doesn’t look as great, but it’s a much cheaper option and is also more flexible. This means that you can form and mold it to fit the contours of your house and deck.
- Cloth – cloth patio covers are great if you want a look that is completely adaptable, changeable with different seasons or events, and provide an additional layer of decoration to your outdoor patio. Depending on the design of your patio cover structure, you can make it so that the cloth cover retracts and covers to meet your needs. The main downside of cloth is that it isn’t strong at all and is exceptionally prone to water damage. You’ll need to make sure you have a good drainage system in place, and a gentle slope for water run-off, to make a cloth patio cover successful.
As you’ll find out when you’re talking to one of Desert Sun Patio’s patio cover experts, there are plenty of decisions to make even on such a simple home improvement project. However, it will ultimately boil down to choosing between the different materials. The main factors when you’re choosing between these different types of patio cover is the level of protection you need, how exposed your patio is to the elements and your budget. A high level of protection will take you down the lattice route, a sheltered patio will look best with a cloth cover and those looking to save money should aim for a vinyl patio cover. Deck owners look for total protection from the elements should think about fibreglass or metal, with the amount of light required being the main decision maker between these two full coverage options.
The best thing about any of these different types of patio cover options is that they are all relatively quick to install. The team at Desert Sun Patios will be able to work with you to design, measure and build your perfect patio cover project in a short period of time. This makes it the ideal spring project so you can get out and enjoy the summer without baking in the hot Calgary sun.
I like the idea of a wooden lattice patio cover with plants growing over it. I’ve been trying to think of ways to include more low-maintenance greenery into my backyard. A lattice cover with vines may be a great option for me.