Does the blazing sun keep you from enjoying your patio? If so, a quality shade covering will turn your outdoor living space into an all-weather destination. For homeowners contemplating such a project, two popular options are a patio awning or a pergola. Each brings a unique style to a patio, but there are distinct advantages to choosing for a pergola.
With support columns firmly anchored to buried footings, pergolas are permanent structures engineered to withstand a lifetime of use. While there is a myriad of style options for pergolas, they fall into two main categories. A pergola attached to the house will see one side of the pergola roof mounted to the home’s exterior wall with the opposite corners supported by columns. This pergola style helps create a seamless indoor/outdoor space abutting the home. Freestanding pergolas are detached from the home and supported by at least four columns. Freestanding pergolas are a perfect addition to a patio or pool deck when looking to delineate a relaxing space away from the main residence.
Awnings Create Shade
Patio awnings are made from heavy-duty fabric, usually treated with a coating to keep rain from soaking through. The fabric is stretched over a tube frame, which can be customized to the footprint of the shaded area, or can be designed as a retractable shade that cranks open and closed. While a static patio awning may be erected as a standalone structure, a retractable patio awning needs to be attached to the home. Patio awnings can be relatively affordable, and fairly easy to install, but they are prone to wind damage. Therefore, it is recommended that a patio awning be taken down when storms are in the forecast.
Why Choose a Pergola?
There are several unique advantages to choosing a pergola rather than a patio awning:
Sun/Shade Balance – Unlike a patio awning which is either fully open or fully closed, pergolas offer fine control over sun shade balance. If you want full-time shade on the patio, you can opt for a solid roof design. However, modern pergolas with adjustable louvered roofs provide the utmost control over airflow and shade. The louvers open for full-sun exposure, close partially to create shade, and close completely for full shade.
Rain-Tight Protection – The adjustable louvered roof pergolas we design alongside our manufacturing partner, Azenco, are custom built and entirely unique to the market. They leverage a dual-walled gapless louver design that closes tightly to seal out rain. This allows you to enjoy your patio even during rain showers. Our pergolas also incorporate an automated rain sensor, which monitors for showers and autonomously closes at the first sign of rain.
Storm Resistance – Whereas an approaching storm will send you running to roll up the patio awning, pergolas are designed to stand against the weather. All of our pergolas are engineered to stand up to routine heavy storms in South Florida, and are even certified by Miami-Dade County to meet its exacting wind resistance standards, some of the strictest in the nation. Similar to a rain sensor, our pergolas can also feature an embedded wind sensor to monitor storm gusts and automatically open to guard against wind damage.
Design Aesthetics – Where the patio awning was a very popular design option in the past, it fails to deliver the modern look today’s home owners seek. In fact, many of our country club clients throughout South Florida have been replacing aging awnings with modern pergolas for years. When we design a pergola with a client, we help them navigate the array of aesthetic options available. We customize the roof style (fixed or adjustable louvers), pergola height, overall footprint, etc. to fit each client’s home or commercial property. We can even custom color match the exterior powder coating to match your home, or add a flare of wood grain.
Embedded Features – Beyond the embedded smart sensors, modern pergolas can also incorporate an array of amenities that will put your outdoor living space on par with a luxury resort. Motorized retractable privacy screens allow you to control the sightlines into your patio. Embedded insect screens keep pesky mosquitoes away in the evenings. Integrated patio fans help keep humid air flowing on the hottest days. For evening entertainment, embedded LED lights and infrared heaters ensure your family and guests are comfortable.
Should You Choose a Patio Awning or a Pergola?
A patio awning can be a relatively affordable initial investment, but the limitations on its use, the inconvenience of retracting it in a storm, and its throw-back look limits its appeal. For homeowners and commercial operations looking to build a patio shade that delivers modern style, modern functionality and a lifetime of use, a modern aluminum pergola is the ideal solution.
If you would like to explore a pergola project for your home, restaurant, or club, please contact us today and we will have our design team work with you to craft something truly unique.
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