Different Types of Patio Covers Compared

A patio cover is a shelter for your outdoor area, shielding it from weather and providing shade. It comes in various materials, offering different levels of protection while enhancing your outdoor experience.

Choosing a patio cover can be overwhelming because there are so many options available in the Canadian market. ExteriorSystems will help you understand the different types of patio covers and roofing materials. By exploring these choices, you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Let’s get in and find the right patio cover for your home!

4 Different Types of Patio Covers

The Benefits of a Patio Cover

Patio covers offer various benefits and protection from weather elements, making outdoor spaces comfortable. They extend living areas, creating cozy spots for relaxation or entertaining guests. 

Moreover, these covers can also contribute to preserving outdoor furniture and decor by shielding them from weather-related damage, ultimately prolonging their lifespan.

  • Weather Protection: Shielding from rain, sun, and wind
  • Extended Living Space: Creating outdoor areas for relaxation and socializing
  • Preservation: Protects outdoor furniture and decor from weather damage
  • Aesthetic Enhancement: Adds visual appeal to the property
  • Increased Home Value: Enhances the overall value of the home


Awnings have a standout feature – they slope downwards, guiding water and debris away. They can be permanent or retractable, providing solid coverage ideal for windy areas. Versatile and suitable for various attached patio cover ideas.

Diverse Options of Awnings

Free Standing Awnings

These deck and patio covers stand on their own, not attached to a wall. They have their support structures and frameworks, making them great for covering large areas.

Vertical Awnings

Think of these as innovative window blinds. They can be installed between two beams or over windows, providing shade no matter where the sun is.

Portable Awnings

Although less sturdy than other types, these still offer shade and protection. Many households use several portable awnings, and they are common in hotels and restaurants.

Patio Awnings

Fixed on at least one side of a wall, these awnings project outward. They have a solid frame to support their weight and last for years without needing support beams. It’s a straightforward option for a patio cover.


A pergola is a structure in a garden with pillars. The roof can have evenly spaced rafters or be solid. Some people like the rafter grid because it lets in light and allows better heat circulation. Pergolas can stand alone, be attached to a structure, or hang. Freestanding pergolas have support on all four sides with pillars, beams, or columns. The attached designs use a mix of wall mounting and beams. Hanging versions rely only on their wall mount for support.

Types of Pergolas

Pergolas can be made from metal, wood, plastic, stone, or glass. Let’s explore why these structures are popular:

Wooden Pergolas

If you like a natural or rustic look, wood pergolas are a great choice. They’re a classic design, especially if you’re thinking about wood patio cover ideas.

Vinyl Pergolas

Ideal for a minimalist decor, vinyl pergolas are often white and need regular cleaning. They’re also a more budget-friendly option.

Fiberglass Pergolas

Exceptionally strong and low maintenance, fiberglass pergolas can be painted, offering endless color options. Keep in mind that this material is usually pricier.

Metal Pergolas

Typically made of aluminum and/or steel, these designs are less sturdy. If not properly secured to the ground, they might bend or buckle. Opting for powder-coated versions gives you a wider range of colors to choose from.

Solar Screens

Deck covering materials, like solar screens, are fabric panels that limit incoming sunlight. They can hang over an opening like curtains and are retractable. Even though they hang vertically, they’re still considered a type of patio cover because they offer excellent shade.


Solar screens work well for rooms with poor temperature regulation. Installing them may reduce electricity usage as they block the sun and absorb its heat. These screens can also be used with other patio roof options like awnings and pergolas.

Different Designs of Solar Screens


When it comes to solar screens, Sentry offers a neat option with captured-edge technology. This means the vertical edges are securely fixed, preventing the material from flapping and making tears less likely to happen.


For those who love natural light and a breezy atmosphere, Sun-roll is an excellent choice. This design allows light to filter in around the edges, creating a pleasant, well-ventilated space. It’s particularly suited for open and spacious patio layouts, adding a touch of comfort to your outdoor experience.

Shade Sails

A shade sail is basically a piece of material stretched between different anchor points. You can anchor it to the ground, between beams, or on any sturdy surface.

If you are looking for an easy way to cover your patio, these are a simple and affordable option. Many people appreciate shade sails because they resist UV rays, are waterproof, and can cover a large area.

Different Shade Solutions

Fixed Shade Sail

This design uses strong material with multiple panels woven together. The edges are reinforced with steel wire to keep the shape. It’s stretched tightly between three or four points and can be fixed permanently or with D-ring clips.

Retractable Shade Sail

These designs are useful when you want to change the coverage amount. Limiting its exposure to weather helps increase its lifespan.

Attached Shade Sails

In this type, one-half of the sail is connected to a part of the house. It includes a permanent fixture on one side of the sail. These options take more time to install.

6 Different Materials for Patio Covers Design


There are different types of wood you can choose from. Each type of wood has its own color, but it needs to be resealed to prevent damage from water, like rotting or warping. Wood is good for making both patios and covers for patios.


This material is easy to take care of and very strong. It’s not heavy, so it can bend or twist in strong weather. Just keep in mind that it gets hot in the sun because it conducts heat.


Vinyl is great because it lasts a long time and doesn’t need much maintenance. It can look good for a really long time, but it mostly comes in white. You need to wash it with a power washer at least once a year to keep its color.


If you want something that won’t rust, even in tough conditions, fiberglass is a good choice. It can resist moisture and is strong enough for bigger structures.


Wood patio covers have a timeless appearance, but you need to maintain them regularly to prevent damage from bugs and rot.

You can maintain a wood patio cover by regularly applying sealant and stain to preserve its appearance and durability.

Yes, materials like aluminium and vinyl generally have longer lifespans due to their durability and resistance to weather damage, providing you with extended use.


This guide provides a thorough exploration of patio cover options, detailing their benefits, materials, and highlighting trusted brands like Exterior Systems. Whether opting for the timeless charm of wood pergolas or the versatility of retractable awnings, readers are empowered to select a patio cover that smoothly combines functionality and aesthetics for an enhanced outdoor experience. Choose a Patio cover that complements your lifestyle and preferences, transforming your outdoor space into a haven of both style and practicality.