Good patio enclosures can add a brand new sunroom to your home, a great addition that you can get a lot of use from. But how do you enclose your patio?

There are a lot of factors to consider and a lot of choices out there. You’ll need to think about the size of the patio room, the type of patio room you want, insulation, patio windows, and flooring.

All of this will have to fit into your budget, plus labor on top of that. Here are some patio covering ideas and porch ideas to help you create a great patio room.

What is a Patio Cover?

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A patio cover can be a lot of things. Typically, a patio cover is a simple awning attached to your home that provides shade for your home.

At its simplest, it’s a surface supported on one side of the patio by its attachment toy our house and is supported on the other side of the patio two posts or columns. Patio rooms or sunrooms are created by a patio cover that encircles the entire patio.

Where to Place a Patio Cover

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Whether you are looking to create a patio cover or just provide some protection from the sun, you should place it so that it serves as extension of your living space. Normally this is a location directly outside your back door, allowing for easy access.

If you have a large sliding back door, you can even open it up to increase the size of your attached room when you need to. You should speak with a landscaping professional to get the most out of your patio ideas.

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Sometimes, people build patio covers or partial patio enclosures over their outdoor fireplace or built-in grill as well as over the patio.

How Big Should You Make the Patio Cover?

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The size of the patio cover will depend on the area you want it to cover. If you want to build a dining area or a sitting room, you should make sure it’s fairly large and that there is room for people to walk around furniture.

As for the height of your patio cover, the normal height is from 8 to 12 feet tall. Taller covers provide less protection if they are not patio enclosures. A tall roof to your patio enclosure, however, means that you now have an additional room with a high ceiling.

Image source: Affordable Shade Patio Covers

You should check with a landscape architect to patio cover installer to decide on a height that works well with the length, width, your home’s design, and your budget. Depending on your home and the kind of patio cover you want, you may need to get a custom patio cover.

Open Patio Covers vs. Solid Patio Covers

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Open patio covers have a latticework roof, allowing light to filter through, resulting in an area that is partially shaded. Solid roofed patio covers offers complete protection from sun, rain, and snow. Often they are made of aluminum, but it’s also common to find them roofed to match your home.

Enclosed Patio Design

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Patio enclosures have a lot of different design ideas. They can be complete, essentially giving you an additional indoor room, or partial, allowing for you to enjoy the outdoors while still having a large measure of protection from the elements.


Image source: Penelope Daborn Ltd.

A sunroom, also called a four season room, is an extension of your home. Building a sunroom is essentially building an extension to your house. Sunrooms are fully insulated. Many have dual pane windows as well as heat and electricity. Their roof and foundation are solid.

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Glass patio enclosures are very common for sunrooms. There are a lot of patio windows in a sunroom, creating the feel of sitting outside while still being comfortable. Try to get energy efficient windows, since this will make maintaining a constant temperature in the sunroom much easier.


Image source: Kiyohara Moffitt

Shade structures like pergolas are ideal for creating a patio enclosure in an environment with very pleasant weather conditions.

Rather than a full patio enclosure, a pergola is a simple shade structure comping a latticework. In most places they are made of wood, but you can also find them made of metal or some combination of the two.

Shade Sail

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For an even more simple and minimalistic cover, get a shade sail. These simple patio covers consist of a piece of durable fabric stretched between three or more poles. These are good patio covers for climates with fairly tame weather.

They will not hold up well in more extreme snow or wind conditions. There are very simple, cheaper versions, but nicer shade sail will cost as much, if not more, than a pergola.

Patio Enclosure Materials

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Patio enclosures are often made out of aluminum and/or vinyl. Aluminum is also the more cost effective materials for your patio enclosure. It is very strong and can be installed with either single pane windows or double pane windows.

Image source: Patio Enclosures

Vinyl costs a bit more, but it needs less maintenance and is also very thermally efficient. It’s the best choice if you’re planning on heating and cooling the patio enclosure to a constant temperature. Use it in combination with energy efficient windows for the best result.

More Patio Enclosure Ideas and Tips

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  • Keep the air moving. Sunrooms and patio enclosure with a lot of windows can get very hot because of all the sunlight that streams in. Add a ceiling fan to make sure the air keeps moving and patio enclosure doesn’t turn into an oven.
  • Include lighting. While you might not need any artificial light in the patio enclosure during the day, at night it will get dark. Floor lamps and table lamps are a good addition that don’t require much extra work.
  • Include curtains or other window coverings. Allow the patio enclosure’s occupants to moderate how much outside light comes into the room so that it’s more comfortable. It also opens up a new avenue of decoration.

Image source: Phantom Screens

Ending thoughts on patio enclosures

A patio enclosure will add a bit more personality to your home, as well as create a new gathering space you can use at any time of year. Take a look at the options discussed above and see what works for you.

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