It’s that time of year again. Summertime. The sun is out and the sky is bright. And you’re ready to spend time in your favorite spot: your patio.
There’s just one problem: with the sun out and the sky bright, your patio quickly becomes too warm.
That’s where a patio cover can help, making your patio a space that’s usable all day (and stylish to boot). Here’s what you need to know about patio covers of Idaho and how to choose your own.
What is a Patio Cover?
First, the basics: what is a patio cover, anyway?
A patio cover can look like quite a lot of things, but all patio covers of Idaho are basically shade structures for your backyard, usually attached to the back of your home.
Types of Patio Covers
The nice thing about patio covers is that they come in all kinds of different shapes, sizes, and styles. That’s part of what makes the patio covers of Boise so diverse and interesting. If you want shade but don’t like one type of cover, chances are there’s another cover out there that does suit your style.
Here’s a quick look at some of the most popular patio cover options you’ll see on the market today.
A pergola is an outdoor structure with columns supporting a roofing grid of beams and rafters. After that, though, pergolas are pretty much what you want them to be.
They can be freestanding, or they can be attached to your home. They can have a solid roof, or the roofing grid can be left open to the elements for a breezy, summery feel.
If your vision of an outdoor space looks like an outdoor garden in Tuscany or the French coast, a pergola is the perfect fit. It’s a stylish form of patio covering that adds a certain finished look to your patio. If you’re a gardener, you can take advantage of your pergola as a vertical gardening space with climbing vines like bougainvillea, Virginia creeper, or wisteria.
Keep in mind, however, that while pergolas offer quite a lot of style, they’re not as hardy as other forms of patio coverings, which means they’re not a practical choice for homes that need wind protection. Plus, an open pergola doesn’t give you as much sun protection as a patio cover.
Pergola vs. Gazebo
At this point, we should quickly distinguish between a pergola and a gazebo. A gazebo is a related outdoor structure, but it has a few critical differences from a pergola.
First, a gazebo always has a closed top, while pergolas may be open. Many gazebos are further distinguished from pergolas by their rounded shape and raised floor.
But the key difference in this case is that a pergola deliberately functions as a patio cover, while a gazebo is a freestanding structure.
An awning is a much simpler form of patio covering than a pergola. If you’ve ever visited Florida or somewhere equally warm and sunny, you’ve probably seen awnings all over the place.
Basically, an awning is a type of supplemental roof cover providing sun control and heat. They can be retractable or stationary, and typically consist of a fabric covering over a frame. Unlike pergolas, they typically don’t have columns supporting the roof structure–instead, the awning is an extension of the building it’s attached to.
The primary benefit of awnings comes from their shade capabilities. They help shield your patio from the sun, but they also work well to shade your windows, helping keep your interior temperature down.
The nice thing about awnings is that they’re one of the cheaper patio coverings on the market and they’re super easy to customize, thanks to the fabric. Want something light and summery? Go for a light summer pattern. Want something bold? Get a covering in a bright, of-the-moment color. Or, if you’re feeling subdued, you can go for a neutral cover that goes with everything.
Technically, a lattice patio cover would qualify as a type of pergola, but it is worth mentioning separately because it does give you a different style option than you would find with a closed pergola.
Basically, a lattice cover offers the same basic construction as a closed pergola–columns supporting a rectangular roof structure. But unlike a closed pergola, a lattice covering is open and the roof is done in a latticework design.
Lattice covers tend to be lighter, with thinner, simpler pieces than closed pergolas. This helps give them an open, airy feeling that’s perfect for summer.
That said, if your backyard gets quite a lot of sun and you’re looking for a patio cover that offers a respite, a lattice cover probably isn’t the right choice. It does offer some sun covering, but it doesn’t block the sun as other patio coverings do, so you’ll still be exposed to a certain extent.
Last but not least is a simple, solid patio cover.
The structure is made out of columns, roof beams, and sheeting. This offers you complete protection against the sun as well as various forms of precipitation (snow and rain, anyone?)
Because of this, solid patio covers are a great choice for homeowners who want all-out patio protection, whether your backyard is full-sun or you’re worried about protecting your patio furniture from sun and rain damage.
This also makes solid patio covers a great choice for homeowners who want the benefits of a patio cover all year round. A solid cover can still protect your patio in the winter just as well as it would in the summer, since it can block snow and ice from falling and damaging your patio furniture.
Plus, solid patio covers, like awnings, are a great choice for those who want a stylish, flexible covering. The type of sheeting is completely up to you, which means solid patio coverings are easily adaptable depending on the style of your home.
Why Get a Patio Cover?
Now that you know your options, it’s time to ask the serious question: why should you get a patio cover?
The short answer? If you love spending time on your patio, a patio cover is a great investment to make that time even more enjoyable than before.
Here are a few reasons why you might decide to invest in a patio cover for the summer.
One of the biggest reasons to spring for a patio cover is sun control.
Think about the last time you sat on your patio. Think about the feeling of sitting in the sun. It was nice at first, but after an hour, the sun got to be unbearable. And there wasn’t any shade to escape to, which meant there wasn’t anywhere to cool down. And when you went indoors, the sunlight and heat coming through your windows meant you had to turn up the air conditioning.
If so, you’re in the position of many patio owners. You want to spend time on your patio, but when the sun reaches a certain point in the sky, it’s just too hot to spend time outside, no matter how beautiful the weather is.
That’s where a patio cover can help. With a bit of shade, you can spend all the quality time you like on your patio when the summer sun comes out and the weather is too perfect while the day is away in the air conditioning.
Better still? It will protect your patio furniture as well, which means it will stay looking fresh, stylish, and undamaged for years to come. All told, it translates to significantly more enjoyable time on your patio.
Water Damage Protection
Of course, the sun isn’t the only thing that can damage your patio, and a patio cover won’t just protect your patio against sun damage.
When rainy days come knocking, it’s rough for your patio. If you have wood furniture, rain is an invitation to mold and rot. If you have metal furniture, it’s an invitation to rust. And either way, when the rain finally goes away, you’ve got a mess on your hands.
A closed patio covering is particularly good at shielding your patio from the effects of water damage–literally shielding your patio from the rain. The same can be said for snow. That way, your patio will stay in top condition for years to come.
Extended Square Footage
When the days get long and warm, you probably spend as much time on your patio as you do indoors. When the weather is so nice, it feels absurd to stay indoors. And with all the back-and-forth, your patio starts to feel like an extension of the indoors.
The difference, of course, is that this particular corner of the indoors is exposed to the elements.
An outdoor patio allows you to expand your indoor square footage by offering some of the same protections outdoors. That way, your patio becomes a bit more like an extra living room, with (almost) all the comforts of your actual living room.
How would you use that space? Spending quality time with your family? Entertaining guests?
Enhanced Visual Appeal
There’s also something to be said for the curb (er, backyard) appeal of a patio cover.
Adding a patio cover helps give a patio a more complete, finished look, as if it really is another complete, beautiful living space just outside your house. It elevates your patio to more than just a collection of furniture.
Avid gardeners can also use a patio covering as a perfect opportunity to expand their green workspace. A pergola, for example, is the perfect complement to climbing vines. Give them enough time and your vines might just provide a canopy of their own.
Even if you’re not an avid gardener, introducing a patio cover into your backyard gives you an extra area to show your style. Are you modern and sleek? Artsy and bohemian? Cozy and casual? For a homeowner with an eye for design, a patio cover is just another way to express yourself.
Increased Home Value
Remember earlier when we said that a patio cover allows you to turn your patio into an extension of your indoor living space? That has an added benefit for your home.
Whether you’re looking to sell your home now or in ten years, making an investment in a patio covering is a fantastic way to improve your home value. By investing in a patio cover, you’re investing in another completed living space for your home, just like you would invest in finishing the basement or redoing the attic.
And just as you and your family spent hours of quality time in your outdoor living space, future homeowners can do the same. At that point, the finished, polished patio becomes an extra feature for your house.
And even if you’re not looking to sell your home anytime soon, a patio covering still offers plenty of added value for your family right now–the value of another place to spend quality time.
Popular Patio Cover Materials
You know what patio coverings are and you know why you might consider investing in one. If you’re eager to get your project in motion and invest in a patio cover, the question then becomes: what kind of patio cover do you want to get?
Or rather, what kinds of materials will you use for the project?
After all, the materials are just as much an expression of style as the design of the patio covering itself. You’ll also get different benefits from different materials, from cost to durability. It all depends on what you’re looking for.
Here are three of the most popular patio cover materials on the market right now.
Vinyl Patio Covers
When it comes to outdoor structures, vinyl is the perfect material for the job. It’s lightweight, easy to clean, and has minimal maintenance requirements.
And if your heart is set on a wood patio cover, we have good news: vinyl patio covers can actually be designed to look like real wood. The difference, of course, is that vinyl is far more affordable, since it’s made of plastic. This makes it a fantastic material for homeowners on a budget who still want their cover to look fantastic.
Plus, for homeowners with an eye toward the environment, vinyl is actually a great eco-friendly option, since the materials are often recyclable.
Aluminum Patio Covers
Another popular patio cover material is aluminum. In fact, aluminum is the most commonly used material in metal patio covers, which makes a lot of sense given that it’s durable, lightweight, and highly flexible. It’s also one of the most affordable types of metal patio cover, even though it still looks great as the years wear on.
That’s thanks to the surprising durability of aluminum, which pairs beautifully with its flexibility as a material. The look of the metal works well with many different styles and can be adapted quite easily.
Alumawood Patio Covers
Last but not least are Alumawood patio covers.
Alumawood is the best of both worlds between wood and metal. It’s metal, but the metal has been styled and designed to look as if it’s wood. Because of this, Alumawood has become the best option (if not the only option) for homeowners who want the look of wood combined with the durability of metal.
Better still, many homeowners find that Alumawood gives them the appearance of wood they’re looking for without the price of wood that would take them well outside their budget.
How to Choose a Patio Cover
The truth is, there’s a patio cover out there for almost any homeowner and almost any design style. The real question, then, isn’t whether or not the right patio cover is out there. The question is how you know when you’ve found it.
The key lies in knowing what you’re looking for before you start researching potential options. That way, you don’t have to waste time looking through options that aren’t actually the right fit for your home or your style.
Think About What You Want
The first question is simple: what do you want from a patio cover?
Sounds pretty basic, right? But it’s a more complicated question than you think. It’s actually asking what your priorities are in relation to your patio cover.
For example, do you want sun control above all, or is sun control an added benefit? Do you want a patio cover that’s more stylish, more functional, or a happy medium between the two? Do you want your patio cover to help you turn your patio into a kind of extra living room, or do you want your patio to be a firmly outdoor space?
Knowing the answers to these basic questions will actually narrow your options considerably. If sun control is a major concern, for example, you’ll likely be happier with a solid cover or closed-roof cover than an open pergola. Conversely, if you want your covering to make your patio into an extension of your garden, you might want something more airy.
Think About Your Style
This leads naturally into thinking about your own design style.
Are you sleek and modern? If so, an old-fashioned wood pergola will probably look hilariously out of place. Conversely, if your tastes run toward the rustic, a modern, sleek metal design will stick out like a sore thumb.
When in doubt, turn to your own home for guidance. Chances are, your design style on your patio is highly reflective of your design style indoors. By looking at your preferred color palettes and design styles indoors, you can recreate that affect outdoors and use your patio cover as a natural extension of your indoor design style.
Think About Your Space
Of course, it also helps to think about your space.
For a start, think about how much space you actually have. If your patio is on the small side, a large pergola might overwhelm it. And with a closed roof cover, you have to be careful to ensure it doesn’t make your space appear smaller than it already is.
Conversely, with a large space, you want to make sure that you know how much coverage you need, and you don’t want to have so much coverage over a large patio that it makes the back of your house feel cave-like.
When choosing your patio cover style, you’ll also have to think about the layout of your space. Pergolas, for example, need to rest on columns. If you’re already pressed for space, you may be happier with a patio cover that doesn’t touch the ground, like an awning or solid cover.
Think About Your Budget
Last but not least, think about your budget.
Some materials are always going to be more expensive than others, and the more materials you need, the more expensive the project will become. Similarly, an elaborate patio cover will be more expensive than an understated one, since it requires less labor to construct.
It helps to know your budget before you talk to builders. That way, they can talk you through a quote and you can understand exactly how far your money is going.
Looking for Patio Covers Boise?
If you’re looking for the best patio covers of Idaho, we’re here to help transform your patio this summer. For more than 25 years, our team has proudly offered the best selection of patio covers to our customers across Idaho.
Ready to change your patio for the better? Get in touch today and let us know how we can help.