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Pergola vs Patio Cover: Which is Better?

by | Apr 19, 2021 | Outdoor Living | 0 comments

A pergola vs patio cover is a conflict you may have when determining what is best for your outdoor living space. Both offer a great way to enhance your outdoor living space, but they have different qualities to offer. Yes, they both serve a similar purpose, but their style may help you decide which you’d prefer.

To answer which is better, a pergola or patio cover, it is really up to who is answering the question. Like a lot of design and style choices, it comes down to personal preferences. It also comes down to what exactly you want for your outdoor living space. Do you want to enjoy natural light, or do you want an entirely shaded patio? These are questions you must ask yourself when choosing between the two.

Pergola vs Patio: What is a Pergola?

A pergola is a free-standing or attached outdoor structure with columns supporting a set of rafters. Pergolas may be covered or uncovered. However, the most common form of a pergola is open rafters. The structure of a pergola is often limited and has an “unfinished” style.

The purpose of a pergola is to enhance any outdoor living space. Building them over a patio or deck will help provide shade. Unfortunately, pergolas are unable to provide protection against the elements due to their open rafters. Rain, sunlight, and wind will easily make their way through the rafters, so have that in mind.

Pergola vs patio cover: pergola with canopy

Pergola vs Patio: What is a Patio Cover?

A patio cover is also a free-standing or attached outdoor structure with columns that support a continuation of a roof or has the necessary framing to protect against the elements. Unlike pergolas, patio covers are entirely covered. They will protect you against the rain, sunlight, and wind.

When attached to a house, the patio cover will use the same type of roofing as the rest of the roof. It may have an elevation change or may just look like it was always a part of the building. Patio covers serve the same purpose as pergolas in that they help enhance the enjoyment of outdoor living space. The only advantage they have is offering protection against the elements.

pergola vs patio cover: patio cover with fireplace

Pergola vs Patio Cover: Which Do You Choose?

Now that you know the difference between a pergola and patio cover, you can start to make a decision on which is better suited for you. Before you can make a true decision, it is important to know what you want and then look at what these two structures can provide. There are some differences in what they have to offer.

Below, you will find a list of benefits and drawbacks pergolas have to offer.

Benefits of Pergolas:

  • Maintains the connection to the outdoors with open rafters
  • Capable of including a retractable canopy to protect against the elements
  • Offers unique customization options like curtains and lights
  • Perfect for vine plants to create a natural roof in the open rafters
  • More affordable than a patio cover

Drawbacks of Pergolas:

  • Unable to protect against the elements on their own
  • Fewer options when it comes to lighting, ceiling fans, etc.
  • Growing plants must be maintained for quality and comfort
  • Plants can make painting and sealing surfaces difficult

pergola vs patio cover: metal pergola

Find out what patio covers have to offer below.

Benefits of Patio Covers:

  • Protection against the elements without any extra costs or features
  • Easier maintenance than a pergola
  • Capable of being heated and cooled
  • Entertainment options such as TVs and audio systems

Drawbacks of Patio Covers:

  • Higher cost than a pergola
  • Longer building process because of more materials needed
  • More difficult to move if you ever wanted
  • No option of choosing an open or closed roof

pergola vs patio cover: patio cover with fountain

Pergola vs Patio Cover: Make Your Decision

Once you know what you want for your outdoor living space, you choose between the pergola and patio cover. Our team would be happy to help you build your structure once you are comfortable with which you’d like. Give our team a call today at (213) 254-8848. You should also visit our decks and patios and hardscape page. There, you can learn more about what we can do for your outdoor living space. The pergola vs patio cover fight is one we don’t take sides on because we love both!