That gorgeous patio might have been a huge selling point for you when you bought your home, but if the area is hot and bright during the summer, you might not be able to use the space as often as you would like. However, you can add a dose of shade and shelter to your outdoor space by installing a patio cover. Here are two things to think about before choosing a cover, so that you don't run into problems later.
1: Maintenance Requirements
You already have to keep that grass cut and those flowerbeds weeded, so why would you want to add another chore to your list? Some patio covers are easier to care for than others, so it is important to find a material that works for your lifestyle. Here are three types of patio covers and the level of care they might need over the years:
- Wood: If you are looking for a permanent patio cover, you might love the idea of a wood pergola. Wood looks nice and lasts for several years, but it will need to be repainted or resealed occasionally to protect it from moisture damage. If you let that protective covering flake off, water can rot out the beams and affect the structural integrity of the entire structure.
- Vinyl: However, vinyl patio covers offer the permanence of wood pergolas, without any of the upkeep. In addition to being water resistant, vinyl won't crack, chip, or scratch easily. Plus, since there are many colors of vinyl patio covers available, you can match your patio cover to your fence to create a streamlined look.
- Fabric: Many people prefer fabric awnings because they are easy to take down or switch around. Unfortunately, fabric can bleach in the sun or be torn by the wind, which might mean that you have to change that stretched fabric more often than you might like. Fabric patio covers are great for people who crave versatility, and don't mind a little extra maintenance.
Before you select a patio cover, think carefully about the amount of time that you have to dedicate to its upkeep. While a well-kept patio cover will contribute to the appeal of your yard, a dilapidated awning might make your space look terrible.
2: Local Rules and Regulations
Once you have decided on a patio cover, you might be tempted to run to the hardware store or call your favorite contractor. Unfortunately, acting before you check with a few people might cause trouble down the road. Some city municipalities and homeowner's associations have rules regarding awnings, and failure to get permission might land you in hot water.
Because homeowner's associations are developed to maintain community aesthetics, they might require you to have design plans approved before you start construction. If you fail to comply with these requirements, you might be looking at a fine. Although HOA violations typically cost between $25 and $100, your infraction could be much more, depending on where you live.
Some cities even require citizens to get a building permit before installing a patio cover. For example, in Portland, Oregon, you have to get an awning permit before installing a new patio cover or altering an existing one. Although it might seem silly, these regulations are designed to keep homeowners from installing a structure that could impede pedestrian clearance standards.
Before you choose a patio cover, research the rules in your area. If you belong to a local homeowner's association, check your HOA paperwork for awning guidelines. Call your city center to ask about patio cover regulations, so that you aren't asked to take it down later.
By installing the right patio cover, you might be able to make your space more comfortable, without stirring up trouble.