Outdoor patio covers protect furniture, grills or other outdoor kitchen appliances or the deck itself from the elements and bird droppings, among other things. A patio with a cover is much cooler in the summer and more comfortable to dine on out of the sun in the hotter months of the year. Patio covers can be built or installed by the homeowner, though for more complex additions to cover the patio, it might be a good idea to hire a carpenter to build it for you.
Aluminium Patio Covers
One of the most popular patio covers, aluminium covers are virtually maintenance free and easy to clean. They come in many sizes, shapes and colours and are light and easy to install. They will not rot, split or fall apart easily, which is one of the main reasons why they are so popular--that and their inexpensive cost at the base level. Wood-looking aluminium patio covers can be installed to look nicer then they really are. The only downside is that when it rains, the aluminium covers can be noisy.
Wood Patio Covers
For serious entertainers, wood patio covers are the best that can be installed, though unless you're a talented carpenter, it's usually better to hire someone to help you build it or build it for you. The options for wood patio covers depend on your budget and the level of protection you want to provide. Wood covers usually blend perfectly into most surroundings, making them aesthetically pleasing. Taking the weather into account also is important. While all covers should be water protected so that they don't warp, split or crack in the rain or snow, certain patios should be more protected than others by their cover. In a sunny environment like California, slats across the top of the patio cover are probably sufficient because it rarely rains and the slats will allow a bit of sun through for guests on the patio.
Patio Cover Kits
For do-it-yourselfers, patio cover kits are sold in aluminium, insulated aluminium and steel. Insulated-aluminium covers are the most popular and seem to work the best in extreme heat because there is foam between two layers of aluminium and the metal is less likely to buckle under the summer sun. The foam also allows you to stay cooler underneath the patio cover because the cooler air beneath it isn't allowed to escape as easily, or the heat allowed to sink in. Steel covers are the most durable cover kits, however, because they have the ability to withstand a lot of rain and snow. They are strong enough to all installation of a ceiling fan, which keeps you cool during the summer.