The coming summer months in Calgary are a call to arms for all homeowners to start making their outdoor plans. Top on many people’s list is to spend more time on their deck or patio, but it’s not long before the wind, bugs and heat start to make it hard to make this dream a reality. It makes sense to create some sort of shade, but the time and cost of installing a whole new room, like a screened in porch or a four season sunroom, can be prohibitive. This spring should be the year that you make a patio cover your number one priority.
What is a patio cover?
Making the decision to install a patio cover this year will be one of the best home improvement projects you’ll undertake. A patio cover is a permanent structure that provides a roof over your patio, giving you much needed shelter from the sun, wind and rain, meaning that you can use your patio all summer long. They can be free standing, looking more like a covered pergola, or attached to your home, making your patio feel like a luxurious extension of your house. However, it can be hard to work out whether to choose a custom patio cover or a store bought patio cover.
Store bought patio covers
An off the shelf patio cover is one that you buy at one of the big box stores. It comes as a kit that you would need to install yourself (or pay a professional to put together for you). Some of the benefits of store bought patio covers:
- Lower price – an off the shelf patio cover will be considerably cheaper than a custom built option. This is in part because of the lower costs associated with bulk orders, and in part because the box stores can sell them for cheaper as they are all standard sizes. It also tends to be the case that the off-the-shelf patio cover kits use lesser quality materials to bring the price point down which can you more in the long run.
- Quicker project time – given that most store bought patio covers are sold as kits with a set of instructions, you can go from dreaming of a patio cover to having your new outside space in under a week. However, to make your patio cover match your dream, you need to make sure you’ve got a good eye for details and that you’re capable of accurately constructing larger projects.
- Good for standard sized areas – if your patio is a regular sized square or rectangle, you’re in luck with the store bought patio covers. You won’t have to do any trimming or extending, and the project should go up fairly quickly. It’s unlikely that you’ll have a truly standard shaped patio or deck, which means that you’ll either have to pick a patio cover that extends over the boundaries of your outside space, or have one that doesn’t quite protect your entire area.
Custom patio covers
Your other option for patio covers to have one custom made for your space. Given that you’ll have hired a contractor to map out and design the work, it’s also likely that they’ll do the install for you. Some of the benefits of buying custom patio covers include:
- Adapts to your needs – there are very few patios that are truly “standard”, so by choosing a custom patio cover, you’ll get a design that meets the needs of your patio, home and garden to create a seamless transition from one to the other. A custom patio cover often comes with a design team who will come to your home and talk throughout the project in person. This gives you a truly personalized experience and will make sure that your patio cover is everything you dreamed about.
- Better quality materials – the low cost of the store bought patio covers comes from using cheaper materials, which can degrade over time. Custom patio covers allow you to pick and choose which materials you want to use, and it is highly in the interest of the company you hired to do a good job that lasts for a long time so you’ll recommend them to your friends. Better quality materials also mean less to do each year, and this time can be almost zero if you choose an aluminum or vinyl finish to your patio cover.
- Professional finish – a downside of off the shelf patio covers is that the mass produced materials can end up looking cheap and raw, and often require a lot of work to look luxurious. A professional doing your patio cover work will make sure the final product meets and exceeds your expectations. You’ll also find that you’ll get a lot of professional advice about how to maintain your new patio cover, as well as some ideas about how to furnish to help you get the most out of your new entertaining space.
Another benefit of having a custom patio cover made by Desert Sun Patios is their considerable amount of local knowledge. It can feel like Calgary is the windiest place on earth at times, and this definitely plays a factor in designing your custom patio cover. The expert design team will help you work out the most common wind flow across your deck or patio and where to best put your patio cover to create a wind break as well as shade from the sun and heat.
It’s clear to see that there are pros and cons of both types of patio cover. However, many custom patio covers will also come with a full design and installation team backing them up. This takes the stress off making your project look great, and the team will also let you know if there’re any rules or regulations surrounding your plan. Given the zoning and building permits in Calgary, this benefit is worth considering to make sure that you don’t have to take your new patio cover down upon inspection.