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Creative Outdoor Patio Enclosures

Patio covers have become quite popular in recent years for homeowners looking to improve their outdoor space. Covers provide sun and rain protection that will allow you to spend more comfortable time outside. They also will keep your furniture dry, allowing it to last for several extra years. A cover can also reduce your energy bills and make your yard look even prettier. Insulated patio covers offer even more benefits to homeowners.

Aluminum carports and patio covers have become a popular and attractive home improvement. The product itself has been in use for years. As a light weight and durable material, aluminum can be a great alternative to stick built or steel structures. Features, colors, and styles have evolved over the years to give homeowners many choices. Today we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these popular aluminum structures.

Advantages:

1) Durability - My parents have been living in the same house for over 30 years. Their patio cover was installed in the late 1960s, and is still standing and functional. This product will stand the test of time with little more than a cleaning once a year. Most companies engineer their units to withstand wind and snow loads. As a result, baring natural weather disasters, your patio cover or carport should give you years of use.

2) Attractive - As stated above with a little maintenance your carport or patio cover will stay looking good for years. The aluminum pans will never rust. There are a variety of colors to choose from and several styles of framework that should satisfy any homeowner.

3) Structural simplicity - Because of the light weight nature of aluminum, a patio cover can be attached directly to your patio slab, and carports can be attached directly to your driveway. Also attachment to the house requires minimal anchoring. Note: some areas may require posts to be set in concrete, check with the codes department in your area. One of the best advantages of Aluminum structures is the minimum fall required for installation. Aluminum carports and patio covers require only ¼" of fall /ft. spanned. A shingled roof requires a minimum of 4" of fall /ft spanned, which often creates problems with head room on the outside.

4) Functionality - Very few home improvement projects can provide the quality usefulness that an aluminum patio cover or carport can. Patio covers over decks and patios offer escape from direct sun and weather, and can make them much more useful and enjoyable. Aluminum carports (free standing or attached) can provide great shelter for your vehicles when a garage is not available .

Disadvantages

1) Bird Nests - The W-pan aluminum is notorious for attracting birds. There are several plugs that manufacturers offer and it is highly recommended you insist on these at the time of installation. They do add cost but will save you from the endless hassle of cleaning out the pans.

2) Trees - All Aluminum carports and patio covers come with built in gutters and downspouts, in the fall if you live in a wooded area leaves are a constant problem. Since aluminum structures do not require as much slope on the roof, leaves and debris is much more likely to accumulate. The most common problem I see is where this accumulation of leaves is left unattended, stopping up gutters, backing up water and ultimately causing the panels to bow and leak.

3) Rust on framework - Most aluminum patio covers and carports are installed with steel bar joists, and posts, and while painted before installation, the natural exposure to the elements will eventually cause the parts to show rust (especially at ground contact)

4) Hail - The single most, problem with aluminum carports and patio covers is hail. We replace several of these each year. Because of the light weight nature of aluminum a hail storm can leave small unattractive dings in the panels. Most homeowners insurance cover this and in most cases if hail is hard enough you will have other damage to your home

As a contractor for many years, I have learned to appreciate the functional beauty of aluminum carports and patio covers. The advantages of these products far out weigh the disadvantages. Almost all the disadvantages can be prevented with simple maintenance.

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Insulated patio covers have a piece of insulation in the middle of two pieces of patio cover material. One popular choice of material is aluminum. Aluminum is lightweight, non-toxic, and will last for many years because it is quite durable. Aluminum is much less expensive than a wood or metal cover, and is available in many different colors, designs, and finishes. They can withstand extreme rain or sun as well as scratching. They can be cleaned very easily and require very little maintenance otherwise. To clean it, all you need to do is take a broom to it with some cleaning solution.

Insulated patio covers have an advantage over non-insulated counterparts because they can keep your patio even cooler in hot summer months. The insulation is made of foam sheets that are placed in the middle of two aluminum panels. This design enhances the cover’s effectiveness as a weather deterrent, and will also help reduce your energy bills by even more since it keeps the area under your patio cooler than ever before. Insulated covers can also have polystyrene cores and can be equipped with cleat connectors made of vinyl.

Outdoor Living Builders

The covers are normally made with interlock features that make the padding useful since it becomes stuck tightly in between the aluminum pieces. Aluminum can be purchased with laminate finishes that will provide extra resistance during rain and snow periods. These covers will also mute the sound of raindrops, an added bonus. They require special treatments to your roof and can be fitted with plywood if you do not want an aluminum cover.

All in all, you have many options when purchasing a cover – you get to choose the material, whether it is insulated or not, and if you want a finished insulated cover or not. Be sure to do adequate research before buying so you buy what is best for you. I recommend insulated patio covers.