If you love spending time outdoors in your yard then a wood patio cover may be the answer to extending the usefulness and comfort of your outdoor living space.
While a patio umbrella or other non-permanent patio covering may be adequate for casual outdoor use, if you really want to spend time on your patio and enjoy the outdoors regardless if the sun is beating down or a rain shower passes through, then a permanent wood patio cover offers many advantages.
Whether you want to build your own wood patio cover or are considering having a contractor build one for you, this guide will give you plenty of great ideas about styles, features and options to consider.
Types of Wood Patio Covers
Selecting the patio cover design that best meets your budget and needs is a personal choice. If you have an architect design your patio then having a matching patio cover designed is sensible and will help ensure you get the appropriate quality and custom design you want.
If you are designing your own patio or want to cover an existing patio, then you’ll have plenty of options to consider, including how much area you want to cover and whether you want to provide full protection from the elements with a solid roof and enclosed sides or simply want shade, in which case a more open patio cover will suffice.
Ask yourself a few questions to determine what type of wood patio cover best suits your needs:
- Do you entertain outdoors often and tend to spend a lot of time on your patio?
- Do you use your patio for meals, recreation and other outdoor activities?
- Do you store items such as a barbeque grill, outdoor furniture and other times on your patio?
- Do you have pets that need a well-covered outdoor area?
- Does the area in which you live have special weather-related conditions including biting insects, humidity, heat or predominant wind direction that need to be considered?
- Does your patio have special views of water, mountains, a cityscape below or some other natural setting you want to be sure is maintained?
Once you have answered these questions you should be ready to zero in on the design, location, shape and general size of wood patio structure that best suits your outdoor living needs.
Wood Patio Cover Designs
The first decision in deciding what type of wood patio cover to buy or build is whether or not you want it to be partially or completely enclosed. The overall style and budget of your patio cover will be largely determined by this basic choice.
Many people want a versatile patio cover and will thus choose to at least partially enclose their structure. A roof with tile, wood shingles or composite roof shingles requires special consideration with regard to the construction and materials to be used.
If you intend to build a wood patio cover with a solid roof, then you can either build one that extends out from the rafters of your home with a pitch that enables rain to drain adequately or you might prefer one that is gabled, with the peak extending out from your home and pitched to either side.
The architecture of your home should also be considered in making this decision; you wouldn’t want to cover your patio structure for instance with a wood shingle roof if your home has a tile roof.
If you do not spend time outdoors unless the weather is nice and the sun is shining, then a simple flat-topped patio cover more like an arbor, with wood slats or beams may be adequate.
Plant flowering vines or other trees and shrubberies that will grow and cover the arbor can also help increase the amount of shade your patio cover will provide.
As another alternative, you could build a wood patio cover that is flat with a slight pitch and cover it with acrylic panels to add shade and protection from moisture.
Wood Patio Cover Materials
One consideration with any type of wood patio cover is maintenance. While your wood patio cover should be designed to fit in naturally with the landscaping and architecture of your home, it should also be easy to maintain.
Depending on your budget, you can use pine to build your wood patio cover, or you might opt for something more expensive but durable such as oak or redwood.
Posts and any part of the structure that touches earth or will be exposed to the elements should be made of pressure treated lumber to withstand moisture and termites. You can either use a natural stain in order to give your patio the natural look of wood or paint it to match your home’s exterior.
Avoid leaving any exposed parts of your wood patio cover unfinished or it will quickly deteriorate as with any wood structure subject to the weather! Left unfinished, wood will crack, warp and splinter over time, so plan to repaint or refinish your wood patio cover at least every other season in order to make it last for many years.
Synthetic Wood Patio Cover Alternative
If you like the look of a wood patio cover but don’t want the associated maintenance concerns, an alternative could be synthetic wood materials made with acrylic that simulates the look of real wood.
Many of these synthetic wood materials have become available in recent years and while you will most likely need to use real wood for structural elements like posts and beams, the synthetic materials are suitable for use in construction of a patio cover without the obtrusive look of aluminum or other structural materials commonly used in building patio covers.