If you love spending time outdoors in the summer but don’t want to spend hours in the sun, investing in a patio cover, such as an awning or a pergola for your home is a smart decision. Both options can enhance your outdoor space and make spending time outdoors more enjoyable during the warmer months. Still, before you make your final decision, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each to decide which option is right for you.
What Is the Difference Between a Pergola and a Patio Cover?
A pergola is a freestanding structure with lattice beams on its roof that block out a portion of the sunlight that hits them rather than blocking out sunlight completely. However, the actual amount of available shade depends heavily on the angle of the sun. A patio cover (or awning) is an extension of your home created with various materials that allow you to spend time outdoors in many types of weather. An awning is one example of a patio cover. The primary difference between pergolas and covered patios in functionality is that the former provides partial protection from the sun, while the latter ensures more complete shade
Pros and Cons of Pergolas
Since pergolas are freestanding structures and don’t need to serve as an extension of your home, you may have more flexibility with the design of this outdoor focal point for your home. These structures are typically made of wood, aluminum, or vinyl and are permanent fixtures that will remain in place season after season. This means they need to be strong and durable enough to withstand all types of weather and will need supportive, concrete footings. Typically, building and maintaining a pergola involves more work than an awning or patio covering; however, pergolas are waterproof, thanks to the materials used in their construction. If you maintain them properly, pergolas can stand the test of time.
Pros and Cons of Retractable and Fixed Awnings
An awning is a customizable feature for your home that uses fabric to provide the shade and comfort of a roof extension with more convenience and fewer costs. Awnings are available in both retractable and fixed options, and they’re made with canvas, allowing them to filter sunlight and protect both you and your patio. While awnings are not fully waterproof, they are water resistant and require much less maintenance than other types of patio covers. Plus, awnings can make your home more energy efficient. You can reduce heat gain inside by as much as 77% and reduce sunlight and glare through your window by as much as 94% with the help of an awning.
Retractable awnings come in various materials, colors, and patterns, and the options for customization are endless. They are available in both standard and custom sizes, and most brands provide motorized and manual awnings. While motorized retractable awnings represent a bit more of an investment than their manual counterparts, their sensors and remote controls offer additional convenience and ease of use.
Fixed awnings are installed onto the side of your house. Unlike solar retractable awnings, they are not engineered to fold inward or move in any way. This type of awning often must be custom-made to fit the window or area where it will be installed, which could increase costs significantly. However, since their engineering is simpler than retractable awnings, they’re generally more economical than their movable counterparts. Unfortunately, this type of awning can become a liability in a storm because it can’t be folded up, leaving it exposed to high winds that can break it during major storms. Still, fixed awnings are reliably durable and require little to no maintenance charges.
How Much Does an Awning or Pergola Cost?
Pergolas cost more than an awning or patio cover, with pricing starting at $25,000 to $30,000. This is because pergolas are permanent, freestanding structures that are much more labor-intensive to install and maintain. Additionally, you may need to check with your local municipality to see if permits are required to build a pergola, which may incur additional costs.
By contrast, awnings start as low as $5,000 to $7,000 and require much less installation labor. Every company and awning model differs in price, and your house’s unique features can also affect the overall cost of a new awning.
Patio Cover Options From Window Trends
We are proud to provide our customers with a wide range of fixed and retractable awnings options from top brands, including Sunair® and Perfecta®. You can learn more about specific retractable awning solutions here, where we’ve outlined our favorite options for retractable awnings, including the best overall, most budget-friendly, and most durable. All our top picks come in multiple covers and have the option to be manual or motorized.
Ready to Learn More?
Ready to find out which type of patio cover is the best option for your home? Our team can help! We aim for you to love your home’s new feature, and we’ll provide the knowledge necessary to match you with the solution that best serves your home, budget, and style. In addition, our experts provide full-service awning installation, including mounting, motor hook-up, switch setup, and the addition of ancillary products. Schedule your free in-home consultation today by filling out our contact form, or visit one of our two showroom locations—either Chatham, NJ or Morris Plains, NJ—for help reimagining your outdoor space.