A patio cover, carport, or sunroom offers an opportunity to expand the footprint of your home and increase the living area. In San Antonio and Bexar County, this can be a very important outdoor product. Consider our 100-degree summers and the lack of shade available in new construction homes. Think about how often your family stays indoors because the comfortability of being exposed to the heat and elements limits the functionality of your backyard.
Many homeowners spend a lot of time planning the perfect sunroom, carport or porch but give less thought to what goes on top. From pergolas to aluminum to patio covers and awnings, which roof will work best for your space?
Types of Patio Covers
Patio covers come in a few basic materials: aluminum, wood, and a hybrid alumawood. Additionally, they can be insulated or non-insulated. The insulated core roof offers protection from the sun’s harsh rays and other outside elements and extreme heat.
Whatever your needs, you have the option to create the perfect patio cover for your outdoor space.
The term patio cover can mean a variety of things to people. To some it is a steel cover and to others it could be a wooden structure. Our contractors specialize in aluminum patio covers, awnings, sunrooms (often called glass enclosures), and screened porches (often called screened rooms or patios).
Aluminum Patio Covers
Aluminum patio covers and awnings can be attached to a structure (your home or other building) or can be free standing. Aluminum is low maintenance and cost effective. Additionally, they are reinforced with structural support beams to ensure your safety in all types of weather.
Aluminum patio covers can be insulated or non-insulated. With our extreme Texas weather, it is always advisable to install an insulated patio cover. The cost is slightly more, but the comfortability and long-range benefits drastically outweigh the small increase in price. An insulated aluminum patio cover will also cut down the radiating heat and will allow you to install ceiling fans under the cover to enhance the comfort level of your covered space.
If your vision of an outdoor space is reminiscent of an Italian garden, a pergola might be the perfect covering for your project. Constructed of wood beams that are oftentimes made of beautiful cedar, pergolas are most often used in garden areas or for outdoor gathering spaces, such as a barbecue area around a pool. The ceiling of a pergola may be flat, curved, or crisscrossed in a lattice type pattern, and the sides can be open, created with a variety of boards cut in the same size, or constructed of one solid piece of board.
Pergolas are not as strong as patio covers or awnings, and they are rarely used on outdoor spaces that need protection from high winds, heavy rains or extreme sunlight. Though a pergola may not be an option for those in need of a stronger, more permanent covering, it is a great addition to an outdoor garden space set up for casual entertaining or simply relaxing among the flowers and shrubs.
Sunrooms are a great low cost way to create more living space. It is like adding an additional room to your home for about half the cost. Again, we recommend using insulated panels, and energy efficient doors and windows. Once a sunroom is constructed and insulated, an air conditioning unit can also be installed to enhance the livability of your space.
Cruise the neighborhoods of Florida and chances are you’ll find beautiful awnings in various shapes and sizes protecting porches and outside patios from the elements. Homeowners across the country enjoy the versatility of awnings, and for good reason.
Retractable awnings offer homeowners the ability to pull in the covering in the event of a strong storm or heavy winds, and they can be either manually or electrically controlled. Though some awnings are able to withstand hurricane force winds, it’s always best to retract the awning when it is not in use or in the event of a heavy storm to protect your investment.
Which patio covering will work best for you?
To determine the option best suited for your needs, consider how much you want to spend, how you will use the space and the overall size of the patio or deck. Then ask yourself the following: Will you use the outdoor patio as a secondary living space? Is your outdoor space a garden or a room? How much do you want/have to spend? What design style will look best with your home?
Where should I build my patio cover?
A patio cover should be built right off the house in an area in need of protection from sun or rain. Most homeowners choose to locate a patio cover right off their back door so that it serves as an extension of their living space. Common places for patio covers include over a patio, dining area, built-in grill or outdoor fireplace.
How big should my patio cover be?
The size of a patio cover is dependent on the size of the area you wish to protect or shade. If building a patio cover to accommodate dining or other patio furniture make sure the posts are spaced wide enough for people to easily walk around the furniture.
The height of a patio cover can range from eight to twelve feet tall. Keep in mind that the taller a cover is the less protection from the elements it provides. Additionally, the lower a patio cover is the more cramped it will feel. Check with a landscape architect or patio cover installer to decide on a height that is proportionate to the desired length and width.
How do I decide between an open and solid roof patio cover?
Open and solid patio covers provide different levels of protection. An open, or lattice roof allows light to filter through, creating a partially shaded area. A solid roof will block all light and rain or snow. Typically solid patio covers are made of aluminum. However, you may have a solid patio cover roofed with shingles to match your house.
A carport is a covered structure used to offers protection to vehicles from the elements. The structure can either be free standing or attached to a wall. A carport does not have four walls, and usually has one or two. Carports offer less protection than a garage, but the ventilation is better and the strength of today’s materials means a carport will last a lifetime. Carports also add to the value of your home and curbside appeal.
Modern carports are typically made of metal (predominately aluminum). This allows for a greater level of protection for your vehicles from rain, hail, flying debris, and extreme heat. In Texas, a carport can help keep your car a few degrees cooler in the summer. Considering our summers reach over 100 degrees and you will be thankful for the coverage and slightly lower internal car temperatures.