Patio Cover vs. Patio Awning: Which is a Better Investment for Your Home?

Having a patio or deck makes your outdoor space more enjoyable, but being exposed to the sun on hot days can become painful. An easy solution is a patio cover or an awning. It is tough to know whether to purchase an awning or a more permanent patio cover, so here is what you need to know to make an informed decision.

What is a Patio Awning?

Patio awnings are covers that remain connected to your home and protect your patio or deck from the sun. Awnings are not freestanding structures.

Pros of Patio Awnings

  • Options: Awnings give more variety in selection. You can choose either retractable or fixed awnings, though retractable options will be more expensive than their fixed counterparts.
  • Value: Any home renovation adds value to a home. Besides simply adding directly to value, an awning also helps a home sell more quickly.
  • Easy Cleaning: Especially true for retractable awnings, cleaning the fabric of the awning is easy since you have access to the fabric itself.

Cons of Patio Awnings

  • Maintenance: Over time, fabric awnings can become stained or moldy. Typically, they need to be replaced every 5 years.
  • Wind: If you opt for a non-retractable awning, strong winds can catch the awning and make it blow away. This can potentially cause damage to the siding of your home as well.
  • Fading: Because the awning is fabric and in direct sunlight, the design will fade over time.

What are Patio Covers?

Permanent patio covers are usually made of vinyl, wood, or even metal. They are connected to the side of your home but are also held up by other supports, usually support beams at each corner.

Pros of Patio Covers

  • Low Maintenance: Maintaining a patio cover will require little to no work or money. The only maintenance you may end up needing is an occasional trip to the top of your cover in order to spray off debris.
  • Little Damage: Patio covers are much sturdier than awnings. If built correctly, a cover can even withstand unexpected heavy snowfall in the winter.
  • All-Weather Protection: Permanent patio covers are there through any weather conditions you may be faced with. Since the ceiling is made of a solid material, you will even be able to enjoy your patio if it is raining.

Cons of Patio Covers

  • Higher Price: Awnings are fairly inexpensive, but patio covers have a much higher cost because they must be professionally installed. If a patio cover is not built properly by a professional then it will lead to more money spent down the line on repairs.
  • Sunlight: Some materials for permanent covers may actually “catch” sunlight. This is especially true with metal covers. When exposed to direct sunlight, the metal will heat up and can become uncomfortable to touch.
  • Permits: Your area may require that a permanent patio cover has a building permit to be put into place. Purchasing such a permit becomes an added expense.