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  • September 5, 2014

    What you need to know before building a patio cover

    Cedar patio cover

    One of the best ways to create an inviting outdoor living environment is having a patio cover constructed.  These structures are typically attached to the home and have two posts supporting the outer portion of the structure.  The amount of shade and protection from the weather desired will help determine what type of roof fits best for you. The roof can be open air with a trellis or solid with a metal or shingle roof.  There is a third roofing option: polycarbonate panels. The panels will provide light to enter from above and provide protection from moderate amounts of precipitation.

    Where should you build your patio cover?

    While the answer to this question seems obvious (over your patio… duh!), there are shade and functional considerations that need to be taken into account.  Most patios are typically off the back door but that location may not provide an adequate shaded area.  Covered patios are ideal for outdoor living areas, dining areas, built in fireplaces or outdoor kitchens. It is best to consult with a design professional to determine where the maximum amount of shade and functionality can be achieved in your backyard with your new patio cover.

    One other major factor in location of any new structure is city building codes and Home Owners Associations (HOA) restrictions.  All cities have certain guidelines pertaining to where an attached or detached structure can be built.  In addition to the City requirements, HOAs will have a set of guidelines pertaining to design, finish material and height restrictions among other things.  Once again, it is best to consult a design professional that is familiar with your city’s requirements and HOA guidelines.

    Patio cover over outdoor kitchen

    How big should your patio cover be?

    The old adage “Form follows function” fits perfectly when we try to answer this question. The size of your new structure will vary depending on the space it is intending to cover.  Careful consideration must be made for furniture size to ensure there is adequate circulation around any columns or posts.  Furthermore, you will need to make sure you get the desired amount of shade from you new patio cover.

    In addition to length and width, height of the new patio cover will also need to be considered.  A typical arbor or covered patio can vary from eight to eleven feet tall. One of the pros of a shorter patio cover is you will be able to maximize the amount of shade. One drawback of these type of structures is it may start to feel cramped.  The higher covered patio will feel more open but you will lose some of the shade coverage.

    large open air patio cover

    Open or solid roof: How do you choose?

    Different levels of air circulation and protection from the weather are provided with open or solid patio covers.  An open arbor with lattice roof will allow a lot of ambient light through while creating partial shade, but you can count on little to no protection from the occasional spring shower.  Air circulation is maximized with an open lattice roof, so the need for ceiling fans is not necessary.

    Solid patio covers will maximize the amount of shade and provide the best protection from a light rain shower.  One of the drawbacks of a fully covered structure is that it is not always the coolest.  The solid roof will actually trap heat and make it hotter, even though it is in full shade.  This makes ceiling fans a necessity for fully covered patios.

    As we mentioned earlier, there is the polycarbonate panels option.  These semi-translucent panels allow light through while providing adequate protection from a light rain shower. These panels, similar to a solid roof, will trap some heat so ceiling fans may be needed to help keep cool under the structure

    patio cover with Polycarbonate panels

    Do you need to discuss more with a design professional? Are you ready to start your new project today? Contact us today to discuss how AquaTerra Outdoors can help.

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