Is there a “Best Material” for Patio Covers or Pergolas in Reno?


Patio covers or pergolas serve a dual purpose of protecting your patio and creating a beautiful and welcoming gathering space. But with choices like traditional wood or more modern aluminum, is there a “best material” for patio covers or pergolas in Reno? Here’s what to keep in mind.

Traditional Wood Patio Covers

golden-eagle-builders-reno-pergola-patio-coverThe wooden patio cover is a classic option with classic good looks. But it will likely never look as good as it does at the time of installation. Here in northern Nevada, exterior wood needs annual maintenance, and it’s non-negotiable.  Freeze-thaw cycles, dry climate, and relentless sunshine mean you’ll need to seal your patio cover ever year (or pay someone else to do it). If that’s not of interest, you may want to consider another material for your patio cover.

Price is another consideration. Lumber remains at a premium, so costs are roughly comparable to materials like aluminum. However, you’ll also need to factor for long-term maintenance costs.

Another drawback to wooden patio covers is their susceptibility to environmental damage, such as insects, high winds, and UV rays. But there are benefits to well-constructed wood patio covers beyond aesthetics. They’re very compatible with hanging accessories, like flowers pots, bird feeders, and even hammocks.

Wooden patio covers can be truly beautiful. They’re best suited to people who understand their drawbacks and aren’t concerned about putting in the time or money for regular maintenance.

Aluminum Patio Covers

golden-eagle-builders-pergola-patio-cover-renoAt one time, aluminum patio covers had a flimsy, low-end look. But they’ve come a long way, and the aesthetics have more than caught up with the durability and performance of their wooden counterparts. They’re available in a range of stylish colors and brilliant design options that have a modern effect.

Issues that plague wooden patio covers just aren’t an issue with today’s aluminum patio covers. High winds, insects, UV rays and other natural elements don’t have an effect on airplane-grade aluminum. Plus, maintenance for your aluminum patio cover will likely only involve a good wash early in the season to clean it off the marks left over from winter.

Of course, there are drawbacks to aluminum patio covers. They can take more expertise to install, so you might expect a slightly higher price point upfront. However, you won’t be paying long-term maintenance costs, so they will cost less over their lifetimes. They aren’t as compatible with hanging flower pots, bird feeders, or that hammock, however, so you’ll have to consider the wisdom of drilling into the metal.

The Bottom Line

There are pros and cons to both materials, and it can be helpful to talk through the options and considerations with an experienced contractor. In Reno, Golden Eagle Builders has experienced carpenters with the expertise and experience for the job  regardless of material choice. Contact us today for a free estimate.