Once you have made the decision to build a patio cover, you have to select a material. The best one depends on your needs. To help you make that selection, evaluate the pros and cons of each.
Wood is a natural material that has been used for thousands of years, and it provides an organic beauty that is hard to match. Since it’s available in many different types, textures and colors, it will be easy to pair up with your home’s style. Depending on the type of wood, you can also get away with minimal cost.
However, wood is prone to peeling, rotting and warping. It is not recommended for homes near the ocean or in humid climates because sunshine, humidity and salt accelerate these factors. Even in non-humid climates, wood requires maintenance in the form of sanding and repainting. Wood is an ideal material to use as a patio enclosure cover in drier climates or if you don’t plan on staying at a residence for more than a few years.
As the world’s most abundant element, aluminum seems to have it all. It is inexpensive, durable and only requires minimal upkeep. It doesn’t weight much, but it is strong. An aluminum patio cover provides excellent protection because it doesn’t crack, warp or rot.
Since it’s a metal, it does conduct heat easily. That’s why aluminum patio covers turn the air uncomfortable in the sun, even in the winter. As such, it’s recommended for use in cloudier climates.
As a low-maintenance material, vinyl makes a good option for patio covers. Since it doesn’t tend to peel, rot or crack, it’s more durable than wood. Vinyl comes in limited colors, but you can’t paint it. This might make it difficult to obtain a color that matches your home. Vinyl also fades in time, and some people might say it looks cheap. It does make a good option for places in harsher climates and for those who don’t mind limited color choices.
While wood, aluminum and vinyl are the traditional choices for patio covers, you have another option: alumawood. This material has the beauty of wood but requires little maintenance. It can also withstand the elements, including termites. While it’s durable and tough, it does cost more than wood. Since it contains aluminum, it also conducts heat.