Patios are a wonderful addition to any home and yard space. They provide a sturdy foundation for all kinds of outdoor activity, from grilling to casual conversation.

Most homeowners start with a patio foundation but inevitably realize they need a cover for it to fend off harsh sun rays and other elements. With so many coverage options available, deciding what to choose can get complicated.

Two covering options consistently fall into the top three most popular year after year, and for good reason. Wood and aluminum patio covers have a lot going for them. As with most things, though, what works in one situation may not be best for another. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each material below to help you make the best decision for your home.

Wood vs. Aluminum Patio Covers: Which Is Best?

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Aluminum: The Good

Tough and Durable

Aluminum covers have some distinct advantages. For starters, they are durable, making them an excellent bang for your buck. Because of their durability, homeowners can expect theirs to last 20 years or more with very little upkeep. In fact, this material typically has the longest lifespan of any of the covering options.

What’s more, patio covers made from aluminum don’t succumb to the elements easily. For example, aluminum covers are unaffected by rot, mold, rust, and bugs that bore into and eat wood.

Lightweight and Easy Installation

Because they aren’t overly heavy, many homeowners can install an aluminum patio cover themselves, saving them the expense of hiring a professional. Homeowners can even buy all-inclusive kits to build their own.

Low Maintenance

With an aluminum patio cover, a good washing every few years, or when mildew is present, is about the only maintenance you’ll need. A sponge and bucket of soap and water, or a gentle power washing using the jet stream on your garden hose, will easily have it looking like new.

Affordability

The cost of most building materials continues to rise across the board, but aluminum patio covers tend to remain a cheaper option than wood.

Variety

Coverings made from aluminum are coming a long way in aesthetics. Homeowners can choose various colors and styles to suit their tastes and motifs. Black aluminum coverings are especially compatible with all kinds of housing styles and materials, bestowing a sleek and modern look.

Eco-friendly

Aluminum patio covers can be recycled, reused, and repurposed when homeowners are done with theirs after several decades of use. What’s better is that new ones containing recycled materials are readily available.

Aluminum: The Not-So-Good

Aesthetics

Despite the variety of styles and colors to choose from these days, aluminum still tends to be the least attractive option for coverings. However, well-kept and well-placed decor and furnishings can significantly improve the look. Check out our blog about sprucing up your porch for more information.

Durable but Dentable

Though aluminum is a very sturdy and long-lasting material, it isn’t solid. Heavy hanging plants, fans, light fixtures, wayward baseballs and footballs, or a hail storm could quickly leave unsightly dents.

Hot

Aluminum is a metal, and metals are great conductors of heat–good news if you’re using it for cooking, bad news if you’re attempting to evade the hot sun. A metal covering cannot provide the same escape from the heat that a wood covering can.

Wood: The Good

Strength

Wood material is more substantial than aluminum. Homeowners can decorate with heavy-hanging items like plants, light fixtures, and ceiling fans without worrying about their structure denting or buckling.

Aesthetics

There’s just no beating wood’s natural, rustic beauty! Its charming and stately characteristics are a great addition to any home. A wood covering that matches the house’s facade creates a cohesive, tidy feel.

Variety

Exotic woods, composite woods, and wood stains make this material an excellent choice for homeowners looking for diverse options. The plethora of different colors and wood grains make for unique and stunning concepts.

Wood: The Not-So-Good

Costly

Wood is the most expensive patio cover material to buy, install, and maintain. The wood has one price tag, but its weight is so hefty that a homeowner will pay again to have it installed and may pay to have it maintained every couple of years.

High Maintenance

Unlike metal, wood is susceptible to cracking, fading, molding, rotting, and wood-loving creatures. To withstand elements and critters, these structures typically require regular maintenance and pest control.

At the very least, they need cleaning, restaining, and resealing every few years. That kind of upkeep can be difficult on the simplest of deck layouts, so you can imagine how troublesome it might be to reach spots at angles above your head. These steps are time-consuming, and you may find that it is best to hire a professional.

Flammable

It bears mentioning in our area that fire and wood go together like peanut butter and jelly. Of course, most houses and decks are also made of wood because the alternatives tend to conduct heat more than wood does.

The Best Option Is…

All materials have positive and negative characteristics. The best choice for you will be the ideal mixture of what you can afford to spend and what you can’t afford to do without.

At SRI Decks, we are Colorado’s residential patio cover installers with years of experience in carpentry. We love the natural beauty of wood but know that it’s ultimately up to the homeowner to determine what’s best for them. Our wish is to equip owners with all the facts to make the best decisions. Visit our website to learn more about what our Colorado outdoor carpentry experts can do for your home.