Patio Covers vs Pergolas: What Are the Main Pros and Cons of Each?

In the warm months everyone enjoys outdoor living. But, the sun or rain can cut short outdoor enjoyment if there is no protection. Adding a patio cover or a pergola to the home can give protected outdoor enjoyment to the family and provide safe entertainment options. This home addition should be well-designed to add to the home’s appeal and provide the maximum outdoor enjoyment and entertaining value. There is a choice of adding a separate pergola structure in the yard or garden or adding an attached patio cover for closer outdoor enjoyment.

Adding Covered Outdoor Space

Homes that are built without any patio or covered patio space can benefit from the addition of either a pergola separate from the house or a covered patio attached to the house. There is a cost involved in adding outdoor living space. The homeowner should check out Texas Home Improvement as a reliable outdoor living space contractor. When a homeowner contemplates adding a patio to the house or a pergola near the house, they should consult with several outdoor living space building contractors to get estimates on the cost of different outdoor projects.

There are several considerations when planning outdoor living space. These include:

1. Is there space to add an outdoor structure large enough to meet family needs?

2. What is the budget for this project and what will it cover?

3. Will the space be open or covered?

4. What are the best patio or pergola designs for Texas living?

5. How many people will be using the space and what activities will take place there?

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners can make is having the wrong sized patio cover or pergola built. If the patio or pergola is too small for the family to use, it is a waste of money and effort. If the outdoor living space is too large for the size of the house, it will look out of proportion. A reliable outdoor space builder and designer can advise the homeowner on patio or pergola plans that will be in the correct proportion to the house, fit the family’s budget, and have enough space for the family member’s enjoyment.

What is a Patio?

What is a patio? Patio comes from the Spanish word for courtyard or an outdoor space used for recreation and dining. In Australia the term has been expanded to mean a covered or roofed structure like verandas to provide protection for users from the sun or rain. In America, a patio can be open or covered. Patios are adjoining a house and have a floor made of concrete, stone tiles, paving tiles, gravel, or materials such as wood planks, alumawood, acrylic, or other outdoor flooring materials. Another definition of a patio is a paved outdoor area connected to a house.

A patio cover can be described as a structure that is attached to a house like an additional roof. Patio covers can be left open on three sides with the house forming the forth side. Patio covers can also have one or more additional walls enclosed.

Is Adding a Patio a Good Investment?

Patios extend a home’s living space and are a benefit when it is time to sell a house. But, the return on investment for patio additions can be tricky. Overspending on a patio will adversely affect the return on investment. Those concerned with recovering their building costs should go for a simple 18 x 16 foot backyard paver patio.

Getting the best value and enjoyment from a new patio takes good design and construction. This is not a project for homeowners to tackle themselves in most cases. The job will get done faster and better by pros with the right equipment, materials, and experience. The patio and patio cover need to look professional when completed. The earth under the patio must be properly prepared and the patio floor must be installed to be strong, level and flat. Tables and chairs must be able to sit securely without wobbles. People using the patio must not trip on uneven stones.

The most successful patios are in the correct proportion to the house and lot. They look like an original part of the house with matching or coordinating materials. Materials should be selected with cost, durability, style, and ease of installation in mind. Another consideration is the required upkeep of different materials. In Texas, covered patios are popular because of the hot sun and periods of rain.

A covered patio connected to the house is convenient for entertaining and relaxing. The family and guests can enjoy outdoor breezes and fresh air while feeling protected from the elements. The patio should be located conveniently close to the kitchen for food and drink serving. Comfortable patio furniture for dining and relaxing is essential. Don’t forget good patio lighting so the family can also enjoy the exterior living space at night.

Families with limited budgets may consider adding an open patio now with the addition of a patio cover as a future project. That way they can enjoy the patio sooner. Some families never add a roof to their patio because they enjoy the open feel. Others prefer the security of a covered patio.

What is a Pergola?

A pergola is an exterior structure that consists of upright columns and a roofing grid with beams and rafters. This roofing grid can be left open or it can be covered with roofing material to create a building protected from the sun and rain. Pergolas go back in history to the Italian Renaissance when they were made of masonry. Now, pergolas can be wooden structures that can be free standing or attached to houses. The pergola then extends the living space of the house. Pergolas can be freestanding buildings or they can be installed over existing patios or even a pool deck.

Pergolas can have wood, fabric, fiberglass, or retractable shade roofs for protection from the elements. Pergolas can also have vines growing to form a canopy over them, providing shade in the warm months. Pergolas are often built over a patio to provide shade. The open wood grid does not protect from rain or give complete protection from the sun. But, a pergola can be a nice compromise between an open patio and a patio with a solid roof.

Pergolas can be purchased as kits to build or they can be built from purchased or free plans. Pergolas can also be custom built by outdoor building contractors. This is a DIY project for the most experienced homeowners, not amateurs. Because of the difficulty level in building pergolas it is best to hire a professional to build this structure.

Another advantage of choosing to build pergolas for outdoor enjoyment is that they do not have to be attached to the house. Pergolas come in many designs and sizes and can be built as a separate structure in a corner of the yard or the middle of a garden area. They can be round, octagonal, square, or rectangular and their roofs can be flat or pitched.

The Foundation is Important for Both Patios and Pergolas

The foundation under each structure is very important. A solid concrete base with vertical supports set in concrete will ensure the stability of the structure sitting on it. Without a solid concrete base, the patio or pergola supports and roof can sag and the whole structure becomes off level. Once a good concrete base has been installed, it can be covered with tiles or the concrete can be dyed or textured in attractive ways.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Patio cover

A patio cover gives the homeowner total control over sun, rain, cold, and other weather elements with a solid roof. Because of the roof, fans and lighting can be added to the patio. Patio covers can allow the outdoor space to be enclosed with walls to allow heating and cooling. A patio cover makes it possible to have additional features like TVs or outdoor surround sound.

The disadvantages of patio covers include the difficulty of moving them or adding to the size. Once the patio is built and the patio cover is attached, it is there to stay. Using grills, fire pits or other heating devices requires caution so the roof does not get too hot and there is adequate ventilation for safety.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Pergolas

Pergolas form their own detached structure so they are easier to move or add on to. Pergolas with open wood grids can have retractable canopies to provide shade and rain protection. Vines can grow up the pergola to form a natural canopy for the structure. Pergolas can have draperies to provide protection from the elements and they are easier to use with fire pits, grills, or outdoor heaters.

The disadvantages of pergolas are that they are more open structures and therefore harder to heat or cool. Those vines or other plants need to be pruned and controlled and might make it harder to paint or seal wooden pergola elements. Another problem is that electronic equipment will be more exposed to the elements and damage.

Texas homeowners must choose between a patio cover and a pergola based on their individual situations and preferences. The choice will be influenced by budget, how much protection from the elements is wanted, and how open the homeowner wants their outdoor entertainment space. How the family plans to use the patio or pergola will also play a part in the decision.