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Choose Your Patio Cover Wisely

06/22/2017
Choose Your Patio Cover Wisely

The summer sun is back! That means one thing, enjoying the long days outside in your happy place – the patio. Something, however, is missing from your home outside your home: a patio cover.

There are a lot of benefits to covering your patio. Protecting your patio from harsh U/V light will increase its longevity in addition to protecting everything on it, from your BBQ to your patio furniture. A cover will give you a shady place to lounge on those hot days and will enhance the look of your patio – and add value to your home. Put simply, a patio cover is always a good idea.

You might be wondering to yourself where you are going to get one but don’t worry, we have all the information you need for patio covers.

The following tips will help you determine the right patio cover materials for the job.

Bug Off

Everyone loves summer – including bugs. When bugs come to the party, they can wreak havoc on your patio cover. That’s why it’s important to choose patio cover materials that are insect and rot-resistant. Popular woods like Redwood and Cedar offer some degree of natural resistance to bugs and rot and will last for many years without breaking down. Doug fir is another great option offering a cheaper, stronger, cover – but lacking some of that natural resistance to bugs and other pests.

Composite and aluminum patio covers are great options too – as they are not part of the insect diet and will not decompose naturally. Protecting your patio cover from insects and the elements is an important consideration when choosing your material – but it’s not the only one.

Stain vs. Paint

If you plan on staining or painting your patio cover, take that into consideration when choosing lumber materials. For staining, Redwood and Cedar are your best bets. They work well with stains and look fantastic, especially as the beauty of the wood can be enhanced with stain, and they both generally age well in sunlight. For paint, Douglas Fir works great. It’s more economical than Cedar and Redwood and a coat of paint will add longevity to the wood.

Solid vs. Open Patio Cover

Installing a solid patio cover that will keep out rain and sunlight can be a little tricky to pull off, so make sure you get materials that are up to the job – like aluminum or tongue and groove wood. Plywood may do the trick too, but it’s not a long-lasting solution. If you’re not concerned with having a fully-sealed cover, creating an open structure provides you more options for design and material.

Choose Your Hardware

When designing a patio cover, our minds usually think about wood and other materials first. Hardware, though, is a very important consideration for patio covers for both logistical and stylistic reasons. For any outdoor structure, you should always use hardware that doesn’t rust – like hot-dipped galvanized steel. Powder-coated hardware is another great option and can add a unique look or style to your structure.

You may also want to consider whether your hardware will be concealed – in which case the style of your hardware doesn’t really matter, allowing you to go with a cheaper, less stylistically pleasing alternative. Making your hardware visible can add a dash of style to your patio cover. There are a wide variety of ornate and decorative hardware pieces that look great and are often more affordable than you first might think.

Where’s the Beef?

How “beefy” do you want your patio cover to look? Do you want your patio cover to be proportional to your home? If you have a smaller house and patio you’ll probably want to use standard 4”x4” posts. If you have a large, landscaped yard, you may want “beefier” looking timbers to match the style. There are large timbers that come in 6”x6” or even 8”x8,” perfect for second story decks or wider spans between posts. These larger materials can give your home a stately look, with the added benefit that they are structurally solid.

Consider Maintenance

Maintenance – if you want a truly low maintenance patio cover, go with aluminum. Wood will require re-staining or re-painting every few years, but aluminum requires only a hose to wash it down. Aluminum is close in price to lumber but much easier to manage. Aluminum is not only simple to install, but once it is in, the maintenance is virtually non-existent.

Get with the Latest Trend

Aluminum patio covers are becoming more and more popular for homeowners, due to their economical price, customizable sizes, and easy maintenance. Aluminum has come a long way too. Today’s aluminum looks far nicer than the old aluminum you might associate with carports from the 1970s. If you live in Southern California, aluminum passes the most important test – it doesn’t rust.

Don’t Guess

If you plan on using wood for your patio cover, talk to your local lumber yard about milling down the wood to a specific size. Too many people guess at what they need, and end up with too much, too little, or the wrong sizes all together. Have a dialogue with your lumber yard about your plans. You may need custom cuts for your patio cover like corbels or thicker lattice. Making the pieces fit should be your number one priority.

Ready to build a patio cover? J&W Lumber can help.

Contact us for a project estimate or stop by one of our lumber yards today to see our showrooms!

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