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What Are The Best Ways to Cover A Patio or Deck?

Are you in need of some weather protection over your patio or deck? Given the variety of prefabricated choices and custom-built ideas that are available, choosing a cover can be tough. At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, we can walk you through the best cover ideas to inspire and inform your patio or deck project.

Covers vs. Enclosures

First, it’s useful to understand the terminology you may encounter when researching patio and deck covers. A cover is a general term used for any overhead structure covering a patio or deck. This can include porch roofs, awnings, pergolas, and a variety of prefabricated roofing options. An enclosure is often the term used to describe any combination of walls, windows, or screens that are added to a cover to surround a deck or patio. An enclosure kit may include a patio or deck cover if one is not already in place.

Shade Sails

Shade sails are permanent structures, typically drilled into a house exterior with two other mounting points on nearby posts or trees. Shade sails provide good UV protection but are less practical for rainy days and may not hold up well in bad storms. In ideal weather conditions, they will likely need to be replaced every five years or so. Homeowners can install shade sails themselves, however, whenever drilling holes into a home’s exterior, it is useful to have professional help.

Retractable Awnings

A retractable awning system is attached to an exterior wall of the home, installed by professionals, and able to be used in a variety of ways. The awning (cover) is rolled up inside the mounted housing unit and can be opened and closed as needed. Many retractable awnings now come with automated controls for ease of use. Heavy-duty awning materials provide excellent protection against harmful UV rays and moderate to light precipitation, but are not recommended for strong rain or wind. The life span of awning fabric is around ten years, but the framing may last up to twenty.

Galvanized Steel Panels

If you are looking for a patio or deck cover that is inexpensive and has rustic charm, galvanized steel panels are a good option. The downside of galvanized steel panels is two-fold. First, you need a foundational framework on which to secure them—this could be posts, a pergola, or another type of structure. Secondly, the aesthetics of galvanized steel is not a common look in the Triangle and may be rejected by a Homeowners Association’s Architectural Review Board.

Pergola deck coverPergolas

Pergolas are a popular and timeless shade solution for decks and patios. Given their slatted design, pergolas only provide partial UV protection unless accessories such as fabric or vines are added. Likewise, pergolas do not provide much rain protection unless a pergola cover is specifically added to the structure. Pergola covers made of corrugated fiberglass or polycarbonate are the best bet for long-term, dependable rain protection. Pergolas can be purchased prefabricated or in kits, or be custom-built. Pergola materials vary, and may include pressure-treated pine, cedar, composite, vinyl, aluminum, or other manufactured materials. Their longevity will depend on the materials they are built with and how securely they are installed.

Aluminum Patio Covers

Some companies specialize in quick-install aluminum patio covers. These patio covers are similar to a porch roof but are less sturdy, not customized, and not as aesthetically pleasing. The benefits of this choice are in the cost-effectiveness and speed of installation. Aluminum patio covers can be DIY or professionally installed. Depending on the manufacturer, they do typically come with limited warranties.

Elevated Deck with Dry Deck Systems

Screened in porch with wooden floors and high ceilingsIf your home features a second-story deck, the flooring of the deck can also be used as cover for the space below. With the addition of a dry deck gutter system, whatever space is under the deck will have protection from sun, rain, and other elements of weather. A dry deck gutter system uses a series of troughs and gutters installed under deck boards and on top of support joists to trap and channel rainwater through a gutter system to a more convenient drainage location. Dry deck systems should be installed by a professional and do require the removal of decking boards to install.

Porch Roof

A porch roof makes a fabulous patio or deck cover in most instances. At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, we offer custom-designed and expertly crafted roofs in a variety of styles. With a custom roof, you can leverage your home and property’s unique features to maximize roof height, admit more natural light, and create a sense of spaciousness under the cover. You can also choose your materials based on personal preference and style for a space that is uniquely yours. Our porch roofs come standard with a 5-year structural warranty as well as material manufacturer warranties and are built by licensed and insured expert carpenters. Read more about customizable porch roof options by Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham.

Are you looking for a cover to increase the functionality of your patio or deck? If so, call the Archadeck team today to request a design consultation: 919-953-1523. We look forward working with you!

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