- Home Furnishings
Build Patio Covers
Patio Covers Design, Ideas And Plans
If you are even considering building your own patio cover, then there are several options or things to consider before you even take one step into your local home improvement warehouse. The first thing to consider or get a decision about is what type of cover you will be building. If you have an existing patio area that you simply want covered, you have different options than if you have a blank space and a completely open palette to work with. Similarly, if you own a ranch style home with an extended roof line that covers a poured slab, you have even more limitations – or options, depending upon how you look at it. The most common types of patio covers are the wooden pergolas or freestanding covers with wood or tile roofs. As more people are building outdoor patio kitchens and entertaining spaces, the types of covering options continues to evolve. At one point, there were only a few – do you want wood or wood. Then, tile, cultured stone, and even metal entered the picture and the designs and plans have changed.
Wood is still the most common type of material to work with because of its availability, ease of construction and flexibility with regard to design options. If you build a patio cover using cement blocks, cultured stone and tile, you have more rigid materials with which to work. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some amazing patio structures built with stone and tile work. In fact, if done well, these can be some of the most amazing and elegant looks.
Building Wood Patio Covers
Wood has been the material of choice for thousands of years and remains one of the most popular today. The range of options available, when working with wood is really almost limitless. I’ve seen pergolas and even larger, extended patio covers made of wood that were truly works of art. You can have tiers, built in benches, swings, etc. As far as your imagination can go, you can likely have it built with wood. You can even have electrical and sound capabilities built into the wood patio cover structural elements so that they remain hidden when complete. This is one concern when building a covered patio, you don’t want to see all the exposed wires or even lighting sometimes. With wood, you can cut out spaces for lighting in wider beams or even hide it between beams or enclose it in part of the structure. It is a much more custom look that you will pay for, but it will be well worth the investment in the end in terms of aesthetic appeal.
Since pergolas are the most popular type of wood patio cover, let’s discuss them for a moment. If you aren’t familiar, a pergola is sometimes confused with the term gazebo or arbor. Let’s clear this up. An arbor is similar to a pergola in that it has some posts and usually a beam or two that supports some type of roof structure. Usually, an arbor is quite small and supports a growing vine or an entrance to a garden. It is uncommon for an arbor to be more than a few feet in span. It may be tall, 8-10 feet, but it will not be large enough to sit beneath typically. This is simply not its function. A gazebo, on the other hand, usually has more than four sides and has a more fully covered roof structure to it. While it may not be completely waterproof, it will provide more solid shade than the other two. Many times, a gazebo has either built-in benches or seating and has some low wall structures. These walls may be like a railing, but usually only one side of a gazebo is the entrance point.
A pergola is either a free standing or can be attached to the home’s exterior wall. They are similar in construction, so I’ll discuss the free standing pergola only. This one has four posts (more if it is a particularly larger patio) and beams that support the lattice roof structure that they have. This roof allows for dappled light to pass or not depending upon how it is used. Often times, owners of a pergola will have plants or other vines growing up each post that then grow over the top to provide for that ‘living’ patio cover that can provide not only shade but flowering greenery as wall. You will find that this added ambiance is what makes pergolas so attractive.
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Using Patio Cover Kits
There is another way to get the patio cover of your dreams built and that is to use a kit. These kits come with all (or most) of the material and instructions for you to be able to assemble your patio cover in no time. You will still have to either pour the footings or mount the posts on some type of stable surface, but you would have to do this anyway. Where patio cover kits save you time is in the assembly and construction time. You will not need to cut any pieces, maybe a little trimming here or there at your discretion, but it is already done for the most part. You simply need to get all your parts ready, get the necessary hardware, such as tools, screws, brackets, etc. and get to work. Grab a few friends, neighbors or family members and you can be sitting under your new covered patio probably in one weekend. Then, you can sit back and relax on your covered patio furniture listening to all your neighbors ask “can you tell me how to build a patio cover like that?” You’ll just grin and know that it was all in a weekend’s work.