One of the more difficult aspects to make a decision about when it comes to your designing your new patio or even remodeling an old one is in regards to the roof. If your patio is simply an extension of an existing roofline or deck, then the choice is easier. In this case, you’d have to match the type of roof shingle or surface that is on the rest of the home. However, when it comes to free-standing patio covers or other patio structures that are not attached to your home, you have many more options. We’ll take some time to go into some of these outdoor patio roof choices and also some of the various materials with which you can cover your patio.
What many people are interested in is the shade that a roof or other shade, can provide. If you have a more casual and smaller patio space, you may be able to get by with a simple patio umbrella. While not as permanent as a fully covered structure, it can still give you what you are after. Besides, you can also move it around and take it down in heavy winds or other inclimate weather. These are options that don’t exist with other patio roof options. Photo credit
There are some very popular patio structures that we really embrace on our site. They are all similar, but have some unique differences as well. In terms of creating a nice outdoor room or larger patio area, a pergola is a very hard structure to beat. It has many features that make it suitable for the discussion here. Similar to the pergola are the gazebo and smaller structures; the trellis and arbor. These latter terms are sometimes used interchangeably with the term pergola, but not around here. What we refer to is a typical 10’ x 10’ or larger structure. This is not a magic number, it is just a standard size for garden canopies and other shade structures, so it is more for reference than anything else. Let’s talk about some of these roof styles and materials.
Patio Roofs Designs and Styles
You can imagine the design for the roof of your patio like any other roof, with some unique differences. We’ll use the pergola as our example, but the materials could fit others as well. The main thing about a roof on a free-standing patio structure is that it doesn’t necessarily have to provide all of the same features that your home’s roof does. In other words, it doesn’t need to be completely waterproof unless that is the type of roof you are looking for.
Many people prefer more of a lattice-style roof that allows more light to penetrate, but also gives shade as well. There are automatic louver style roofs now as well. These are really pretty nifty. You see, what would be ideal is for the beams or stringers on your pergola to match the angle of the sun’s rays. This would allow you to get the best type of shade possible. Part of this depends on how you situate your pergola – or other patio area – on your property. The sun sits in the sky differently at different times of the year. You can see how this particular style of patio roof accomplishes this – very ingenious design!
Now, there are other times when you can actually harness the placement and position of your patio structure for good use. What we mean is that you can use the roof of your patio to capture energy from the sun. A typical solar patio cover can give you enough energy to at least power the lighting and some other minor energy uses on your patio. Unless you have a large patio, don’t expect it to power your home or provide enough energy for your outdoor kitchen appliances or audio-visual equipment.
If you’re just looking for a simple roof for your patio, there are always wood, tile and metal choices. Wood, like the lattice roof or using a cross-beam style is a handsome look. It provides support for climbing vines and such as well. You can stain it and seal it to give you a longer finish. However, it will need to be maintained much more often.
With a cement or ceramic tile roof, you can get a more rustic or Mediterranean look and feel to your patio. It may even take on a cabana appeal. Typically, you’ll need to have a masonry built pillar or post structure to support such a heavy roof. These also require much more technical skill to install, so the DIYer may be stretching him or herself with this one.
A similar situation arises with a metal patio roof. You can use metal, like zinc, copper or steel to create a really elegant looking roof. Since it is a smaller space, the additional high cost of such a roof may not be as hard on the budget. These roofs have been demonstrated to last decades – even decades longer than a traditional roof. So, if you are interested in a patio cover that is truly unique and has some character and charm, consider hiring a professional to install a metal roof for you.