In our first posts of 2016, we wrote about outdoor living trends, in general, and about the specific significance of deck design details.

Both articles address the importance of increasing the comfort and usage of an outdoor space.  Often that begins with some sort of cover… shade from the sun or protection from the rain… or maybe both!

Covered Decks by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Covered Decks by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Whether you’d like to add an outdoor umbrella or completely enclose your space, or something in-between, there’s no shortage of options from retailers and contractors alike.

Covered Patio by Archadeck -- Pergola and Roof Structure

Covered Patio by Archadeck — Pergola and Roof Structure

So, today, lets talk about ways to cover your deck, patio or porch.

You might ask… does a cover cost a lot money?  Not necessarily.  Or perhaps.  It just depends.  Keep reading to learn about your options.

What is the most economical way to cover your deck?

Well, the least expensive way to shade your deck is with your home, the deck itself and with mother-nature.

The exterior walls of your house will shade your deck at certain times of the day; upper decks will shade lower decks too.

Lower Deck Shaded by Upper Deck and Trees, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

Lower Deck Shaded by Upper Deck and Trees, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

And if your outdoor space can be constructed in-or-around the existing trees, well, you’ve got an automatic bonus cover.

Deck and Patio Shaded with Landscaping, by Archadeck

Deck and Patio Shaded with Landscaping, by Archadeck

Add a table with a parasol and you’re protected from the sun.  But rain?… well, not so much; yet, there are remedies for rain too.

Custom Decks by Archadeck

Custom Decks by Archadeck

What about fabric deck covers?

Fabric canopies effectively shade small, compact outdoor spaces.  Or they can be used as a partial covering for a larger deck or patio.  The higher the quality of the product, the more likely it’s designed to be a ‘fabric-roof’ and able to withstand rain.

Deck with Retractable Awning by Archadeck

Deck with Retractable Awning by Archadeck

Add mosquito curtains around the structure and abracadabra, you’ve got yourself major protection and extra shade too!

Deck Pergola Designed with Mosquito Curtains by Archadeck

Deck Pergola Designed with Mosquito Curtains by Archadeck

What about pergolas as a deck cover?

When it comes to covering a deck, pergolas are the favorite structure, hands-down.  Much larger than an arbor with numerous cross rafters, pergolas create an airy and inviting ‘wall-less’ outdoor room.

Want just a little shade?  Build your pergola with fewer slats.  Want a whole heap of shade?  Build it with more slats positioned close together.

Want a detached pergola?  No problem.  Want it attached to your home.  Usually no problem either.  It just depends on the overall design and style of your outdoor space.

Detached Deck with Pergola by Archadeck

Detached Deck with Pergola by Archadeck

And did you know that beyond a pergola canopy,  you can boost pergola shade with creeping vines or hanging flowers and plants; metal, lattice or solar panels right-on-top too?  Yep you can!

Pergola with Solar Panel, St. Charles Mo, by Archadeck in St. Louis Mo

Pergola with Solar Panel, St. Charles Mo, by Archadeck in St. Louis Mo

What about covering a deck with a gazebo?

Like a pergola, a gazebo can be built as a private hideaway — away from your house — or in a spot with easy home access.  A gazebo might be ‘walled-in’ or ‘wall-less’, open or screened, with or without rails… unless, of course, your gazebo sits at the edge of an elevated deck.  Then, you’ll need rails.

Elevated Screened in Gazebo with Safety Rails, St. Louis Mo by Archadeck

Elevated Screened in Gazebo with Safety Rails, St. Louis Mo by Archadeck

And shape wise, a gazebo can be designed with six or eight-sides, as a square or rectangle and maybe even oval.  Typical uses include a cover for outdoor dining or as a hot tub enclosure.

Open Square Gazebo on a Deck by Archadeck

Open Square Gazebo on a Deck by Archadeck

Gazebos are a great way to cover any deck.  Traditional.  Classic.  Always-in-style.

What about a roof over a deck?

Beyond a gazebo, what other ‘roof’ styles could be used to cover a deck?  There are three typical designs — shed, gable and hip roofs; however, an underdeck ceiling puts a roof over the space below a raised deck.  We’ll come back to underdecking.

Shed roofs have a single surface and slope (pitch) away from the house. Construction-wise, they’re tied-in with your house via a wall or your larger roof.

Deck with Shed Roof and Wall Tie-in, Renderings by Archadeck

Deck with Shed Roof and Wall Tie-in, Renderings by Archadeck

A gable roof is triangular and slopes on two sides from a center peak.  Gable roofs are forever-popular.

Deck with Gable Roof, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

Deck with Gable Roof, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

And how about a hip roof?  It’s defined as a roof with several roof surfaces joined together at a peak. Structurally, a hip roof is the most complex to build and price-wise they’re the most expensive too.  A hip roof, however, can certainly add an element of flair to your deck, porch or patio.

Deck Cover with Hip Roof by Archadeck

Deck Cover with Hip Roof by Archadeck

Beyond the style of a roof, the biggest consideration is its weight.  Roofs are heavy structures and the deck must be designed and built to support it.  Period.  If you’re thinking about a roof over your deck, consult a pro.

But what about underdecking?  If you have a two story deck, an under deck ceiling is the least expensive way to put a roof over the lower level.  And it looks fabulous too!

Elevated Deck with Under Deck Ceiling, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

Elevated Deck with Under Deck Ceiling, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

Key takeaways

  • Covering your deck, porch or patio doesn’t need to be expensive.  The surrounding trees and buildings provide automatic shade.  Inexpensive alternatives include an umbrella or fabric canopy.
  • People love pergolas —  prefabricated or customized or a possible DIY project for the family handyman.  A pergola will maximize your deck or patio, providing a significant level of outdoor protection especially if supplemented by top panels or plants.
  • For an age-old and classic structure, consider a gazebo to complement your deck, patio or garden.
  • To expand protection from the ‘rain or shine’, choose a solid roof.  Construction considerations include the type of roof — shed, hip or gable; wall tie-in or roof tie-in; its structural weight; the affect on your pocketbook.
  • Check with a professional contractor about underdecking as a cost-effective alternative to a traditional roof.

Next steps

If you’re interested in talking to a pro and live in the St. Louis, Missouri area, please consider Archadeck.  We’re located in West County and serve metropolitan St. Louis including St. Charles, St. Charles County and parts of Illinois too.

Give us a call at 636.227.0800 or visit our website, west-county.archadeck.com to send an email or submit an online inquiry form.  (Outside of St. Louis call 888-687-3325 or visit archadeck.com)

Want to explore a bit more before talking to a contractor?  We have some terrific resources.

Visit our Pinterest Google+ or Houzz pages where you’ll find quality resources from Archadeck and other sources all around the web.  These platforms are a hub of industry info for research, inspiration and discovery.

Or download Archadeck’s Design Guide.  Just enter your email address to receive it in your inbox.  No strings attached.  It’s yours for free.

Thanks so much for considering Archadeck.

Covered Decks by Archadeck of West County in St. Louis Mo

Covered Decks by Archadeck of West County in St. Louis Mo

Sources

Home Guides SF Gate, The Family Handyman, Black Pine Spas, Homefield, Decks.com, Professional Deck Builder. Quaker State Construction, Archadeck Outdoor Living, Archadecks in Nova Scotia, West Central OH, Chicago IL, Columbus OH, Chester County PA, Northern VA

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