Three Ideas For Building A Patio Cover

If you have a patio in your home, and you can’t sit on it while the sun glares, you might consider going for a patio cover. Patios can be useless when it’s too hot or when it’s raining. A cover is a simple structure that can be put up even with the most plain materials and tools. Make use of these ideas to build your own covering.

Idea one:

Arbors are the most frequently used cover. An arbor is a structure or framework that supports the growth of plants and creepers like orchids. It is typically made from metal or wood. The structure is being supported by vertical columns, which are made from similar materials.

The upper portion is a matrix or grid of lightweight beams. After installing the arbor and erecting the roof, hang or plant the orchids and creepers on the framework. This helps you make your patio a lot cooler.

You can use lighter and well-suited roof to stop the rain from pouring into your patio. Roof tiles can be attached or mounted on the arbor as well. If you plan to do so, you need a durable material like wood or metal for the arbor.

Idea two:

You can go for the “sail away” technique of installing sails. The sail is a piece of canvas, which can be connected into supporting holes or tied down into the upper part of the arbor. It is at times 100% water proof. This method appears to be the handiest as it can be tied and removed as often as you want.

Use different umbrellas for the patio. Just like the sail, these umbrellas can be very convenient as well. The umbrellas can be installed and removed quickly.

You can choose from different colors, sizes and fashions. The umbrella manufacturers came up with modern ideas such as hanging umbrellas, those that are placed on stands and those that are shaped like canopies.

Idea three:

This idea is considered to be very weird. The entire patio is covered thus resembling a different room. Its sides have large French doors with a covered up roof. This can withstand any type of weather condition.

These are the ideas that you can use when you’re planning to put up your own covering. You can try out other innovative ideas. Just let your imagination roll. Think about how you could make your patio a better place to stay despite the rain and the glaring sun.

Installing a patio cover is a great way for you to enjoy your patio. Choose the idea that suits your taste best and get started. This will surely give you and your family a very good opportunity to enjoy the view of your surroundings.

Choosing a Prefabricated Patio Cover Kit

There are three basic styles of patio covers manufactured, Flat pan, W-pan and Insulated. Each manufacturer has their own proprietary specifications with all the parts designed to fit together.

The design of the roof panels in combination with the thickness of the metal that the panels are made from will determine the spanning capability of the roof panel at a specific design load. Patio covers made from aluminum are rot and rust free providing decades of service at a reasonable cost. The prefabricated nature of the product makes them a good do-it-yourself project.

For example: a 3″ tall W-pan formed from.025 aluminum will give you a 20# snow load at a 10′ span. Each suppliers design will have different spanning capabilities so check with the supplier for exact numbers. Your local permit office can tell you the snow load for your area.

“W” or “V” Pan Style Covers are typically 2.5″ or 3″ tall and 8″ to 24″ wide. The name comes from the v or w shape of the pans. The panels interlock and are used with a “G” shaped exterior fascia/gutter frame work to complete the cover. This style cover is available formed from.020,.025,.032 and.040 thickness aluminum. A few companies offer a steel version. This style cover is popular because of the excellent shade and weather protection afforded at a reasonable cost. “W” pan styles are more difficult to keep free of leaves, hail damage dents will show, and they do radiate some heat from the sun.

Flat Pan Style Covers are most often 3″ tall, in a 8″ or 12″ wide pan. The lost common thickness is.030 aluminum. This style cover is popular because of the excellent shade and weather protection afforded at a reasonable cost. The covers are most often sold with an attaching channel, side fascias and a front gutter section to complete the top of the cover. Because of the flat style they can be used as a top for a screen room. They are subject to hail damage, the resulting dents will show, and they do radiate some heat from the sun.

Insulated Covers are made from two sheets of aluminum bonded to a closed cell foam core. The density and thickness of the foam core combined with the thickness of the aluminum all effect the spanning capability of the panels. Insulated panels carry greater loads, do a great job of blocking out heat from the sun,and make a very good roof for sun rooms and screen rooms. This type of cover gives you a ceiling, roof, and insulation in a low pitched compact area.

Eave attached or wall attached. Your cover can be installed on the eave or under the eave. If you are installing the cover in corner situation local code will require a wall mounted installation with gutters on the house above the cover.

With a few extra parts it is possible to work around fireplaces. For areas where you have a bay window or an angled wall you are attaching to the insulated panels are more accommodating.

The next consideration is the supporting post and beams. Set back beams support the roof panels and create an overhang. Typically, over hangs are 6″ up to 24″, an over hang of 18″ looks the best. The design of the beam, the thickness of the metal and the size of the beam will determine the beams spanning ability between post. Spans between post can be 6′ up to 20′ with 8′ between post the most common.

Post can be installed on the concrete slab or deck on a bracket or mounted in the ground in cement. The most common post are 3″ x 3″ x 8′ or 10′ lengths. Larger sizes and a host of post styles are available to accommodate most any architectural style. For screen rooms the screen wall framing eliminates the need for post and beams, as the screen walls act as supports for the roof.

Pre-fabricated Patio Covers offer a variety of solutions to providing shade and weather protection for your patio area. Covered patios get much more use then non covered decks and patios. They add value to your home and enhance your out door living environment. Options include ceiling fan accommodations, sky-lights, wall enclosures, custom arrangement of parts to accommodate your needs.

For example, arbor parts can be combined with a patio cover for a southwest look, or to provide partial shade.

Pros and Cons of Aluminum Carport and Patio Covers

Aluminum carports and patio covers have become a popular and attractive home improvement. The product itself has been in use for years. As a light weight and durable material, aluminum can be a great alternative to stick built or steel structures. Features, colors, and styles have evolved over the years to give homeowners many choices. Today we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these popular aluminum structures.


1) Durability – My parents have been living in the same house for over 30 years. Their patio cover was installed in the late 1960s, and is still standing and functional. This product will stand the test of time with little more than a cleaning once a year. Most companies engineer their units to withstand wind and snow loads. As a result, baring natural weather disasters, your patio cover or carport should give you years of use.

2) Attractive – As stated above with a little maintenance your carport or patio cover will stay looking good for years. The aluminum pans will never rust. There are a variety of colors to choose from and several styles of framework that should satisfy any homeowner.

3) Structural simplicity – Because of the light weight nature of aluminum, a patio cover can be attached directly to your patio slab, and carports can be attached directly to your driveway. Also attachment to the house requires minimal anchoring. Note: some areas may require posts to be set in concrete, check with the codes department in your area. One of the best advantages of Aluminum structures is the minimum fall required for installation. Aluminum carports and patio covers require only ΒΌ” of fall /ft. spanned. A shingled roof requires a minimum of 4″ of fall /ft spanned, which often creates problems with head room on the outside.

4) Functionality – Very few home improvement projects can provide the quality usefulness that an aluminum patio cover or carport can. Patio covers over decks and patios offer escape from direct sun and weather, and can make them much more useful and enjoyable. Aluminum carports (free standing or attached) can provide great shelter for your vehicles when a garage is not available .


1) Bird Nests – The W-pan aluminum is notorious for attracting birds. There are several plugs that manufacturers offer and it is highly recommended you insist on these at the time of installation. They do add cost but will save you from the endless hassle of cleaning out the pans.

2) Trees – All Aluminum carports and patio covers come with built in gutters and downspouts, in the fall if you live in a wooded area leaves are a constant problem. Since aluminum structures do not require as much slope on the roof, leaves and debris is much more likely to accumulate. The most common problem I see is where this accumulation of leaves is left unattended, stopping up gutters, backing up water and ultimately causing the panels to bow and leak.

3) Rust on framework – Most aluminum patio covers and carports are installed with steel bar joists, and posts, and while painted before installation, the natural exposure to the elements will eventually cause the parts to show rust (especially at ground contact)

4) Hail – The single most, problem with aluminum carports and patio covers is hail. We replace several of these each year. Because of the light weight nature of aluminum a hail storm can leave small unattractive dings in the panels. Most homeowners insurance cover this and in most cases if hail is hard enough you will have other damage to your home

As a contractor for many years, I have learned to appreciate the functional beauty of aluminum carports and patio covers. The advantages of these products far out weigh the disadvantages. Almost all the disadvantages can be prevented with simple maintenance.

Enhance Your Outdoor Living Space With a Patio Cover

Without the shelter of a patio cover, a patio is just a slab of concrete in your backyard. Building a patio cover can transform your backyard into an alluring outdoor living space that will not only increase the value of your home, but will add to your enjoyment of the outdoors.

Here’s a look at some of the decisions you’ll need to make when considering a patio cover:

Types of Patio Covers

Patio covers can come in a variety of materials, but fiberglass, plastic, aluminum and wood are the most common. When deciding which type of cover you want to install, it’s important to choose a material based on your needs.

Aluminum, plastic and fiberglass. These materials are relatively inexpensive, which makes them a popular choice for many homeowners, and they come in a variety of colors so you can match them to your home. Solid covers made from aluminum, plastic or fiberglass are also lightweight, easy to install and require little maintenance. Plastic and fiberglass offer durability but can split or break over time, especially in snowy areas, whereas aluminum is more likely to hold up. For extra protection from heat, homeowners can choose an insulated aluminum cover, which consists of foam insulation sandwiched between pieces of aluminum.

Wood. The advantages of wood include strength, design versatility and a more natural appearance. On the other hand, wood is susceptible splintering and rotting. Wood covers are more challenging to install, but they are available for a wide range of budgets. To create an outdoor living space with full, year-round protection from the elements, install a solid patio cover made of wood beams or slats. If you prefer a more airy, spacious feel, consider a pergola-style cover on which you can grown vines such as Japanese wisteria to create natural shade.

Patio Cover Design Ideas

When designing your patio cover, first consider the function of your outdoor living space. Are you a cocktail party type, or a backyard grilling type? Do you want an elegant place to entertain guests, or a comfortable spot for the family to relax outside? Are you looking for a little shade or full protection from the rain and sun?

Once you decide how you want to use your patio, consider what type of design will best suit the style of your home. Here are a few simple patio themes you can create in your backyard without hiring a decorator.

Outdoor oasis. Hang weatherproof curtains around the sides of your patio to create a luxurious, private space. Complete the look with a standing rock-wall water fountain, bamboo reeds and patio furniture with big, fluffy cushions.

Rustic theme. Hang flameless lanterns from the posts of your cover to give your patio a rustic charm. Include a wooden outdoor dining set, outdoor speakers and a weatherproof sectional facing a fire pit.

Wine country. Place lattice at each post of your cover and train grapevines up the lattice and over the beams of the cover. Install outdoor lighting at each corner of your patio and use wrought-iron furniture outdoor furniture bring the look of an outdoor winery to your home.

~Flora Richards-Gustafson, 2010