Aluminum or vinyl patio??

leenamarkDecember 24, 2012

I am planning to install patio covers for my dream home, either aluminum or vinyl patio cover. But which one should I select as both of them are structurally sound and maintenance free but what about the other aspects, I don't have much of an idea about it. What have you guys used or suggest me to use? Thanks for any suggestions.

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Leenamark, how big is your patio? Do you have frequent violent weather, like hail or high winds? Heavy snow?

I've never had a covered patio, but I've seen many covers for cars built of both these materials. Seems if you have severe weather that both kinds would have the same lifespan.

It was suggested to me that we might cover our deck, which is about 24 inches off the ground. I've been thinking of adding the 4x4 posts as needed for the vertical supports, and then a framework to support strips of canvas or Shadecloth or the great Sunbrella fabric. I could pull them across for coverage when needed, and push them out of the way when I wanted sunlight. I'd like to also use side curtains on one side for privacy from that neighbor who is a shade too nosy. I found a couple of nice Sunbrella panels (at Tuesday Morning) with huge grommets that would slide on 1.5" wooden dowels or pvc pipe between the 4x4 supports.

We enjoy the light, and the view of the sky, because that house wall adjacent to the deck is going to be mostly windows/glass.

Hope my reply does not bump your post down any, glad to have you show up on Christmas Eve with plans for a new home project. Making outdoor spaces more usable is the right way to go.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 12:42PM
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Hi Leenamark,
I wish I could give you advice on the aluminum vs vinyl issue, but I cannot. All I know is that the corrugated green plastic patio covers that they used to use look pretty yucky pretty quick.

I have been daydreaming about using my patio more. Mine faces west, so does need some shade. Along with shade, breezes are also necessary for keeping the sitting areas comfortable. That leads me to ask you about using a solid top, like aluminum or vinyl. Is your purpose to get shade and be comfortable, or to get an area that is not going to get rained upon? If you need it to be a dry area, then a solid top makes sense to me. If you want shade, then think about using something like what MoccasinLanding was talking about.

We took a vacation to a nice summer home that had an open pergola on a patio with trumpet vines (and attendant hummingbirds) and shade cloth that you could pull in place if you liked. What I liked about the pergola was that on a cool day, we could choose to have the sun on us, or we could retreat to the shaded part if the sum was hot. The breezes blew through, since there was no solid obstruction, so on hot days, we had the advantage of moving air.

Just thought I would give you my perspective, I wish I had more experience with your REAL question, but I don't.

Merry Christmas!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 11:49PM
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I have a 3 season sunporch and the outside has vinyl siding. All do is wash off in spring but other than that it is no problem. We have had storms and everything has been okay.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 8:43AM
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I don't know the answer to your question but my sis had a cover installed and has a terrible bird problem. They nest in it and the patio is always nasty from bird droppings. You can not sit out there unless it is hosed down and even then some of has to be scrubbed. I would ask questions of the sales people about it.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 10:58PM
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Thank you all for your responses. My garden is not very big, its quite small in size and yes, we do have high winds and hail. I think I should go for vinyl as someone suggested me because color is sprayed on the aluminum ones and also flake and chip making the patio prone to rust.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 12:30PM
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Okay, but aluminum does not rust, really. It just kind of gets white. From Wiki: "Aluminum oxidizes ("rusts") extremely fast on all surfaces exposed to air, and that oxidation is almost the same color of the aluminum, but just a hair on the pink side for a week or so. Aluminum's hard oxidation actually protects the aluminum. In fact, if you scratched a spot in the protective oxidation, the scratch would re-oxidize in a matter of seconds."

It seems that this makes aluminum a good choice, unless you don't want the kind of whitish color it will get if the paint chips off. The article I got this from made it sound like the problem is likely that the primer did not bond well on the surface of the metal, if there is chipping paint. "To paint aluminum, you must use a primer that cuts chemically through the oxidation, or it will not stick."

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 4:53PM
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Thank you so much for the suggestion nancy_in_mich. It was quite a useful piece of information.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 9:04AM
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