Backyard Patio with a Patio Cover on a Sunny Day

The Different Types of Patio Covers and How to Choose the Right One

When you wake up to beautiful blue skies and warm temperatures, your first thought is to head to your patio for rest. But, if you do so without a backyard patio cover to protect you, soon you’ll find yourself overwhelmed by the heat, insects, and prying neighbors. Suddenly, you’re wondering if you should go back inside.  

With so many types of patio covers available, it’s a shame to let your outdoor space go unused on beautiful days. If you're unsure about which patio covering is most suitable for your space, that’s where our team at Rollac can help.

For over 40 years, we’ve led our customers through the selection process. There is no question or dilemma regarding outdoor patio coverings that we can’t answer or solve. 

If you’re interested in purchasing one but are overwhelmed by the choices of patio cover styles, let Rollac help you reclaim your outdoor space! 

Why Cover Your Patio?

The most frequent answer to this question is protecting yourself from the sun’s intense heat and harmful UV rays, which can cause skin cancer. However, there are plenty of other reasons.

Remember that adding any type of patio cover means you can be outside when it rains in the spring, as the leaves fall in the autumn or even snows in the winter. This versatility can offer a variety of possibilities in terms of entertaining and what you can have on your patio, such as furniture or other accessories. 

Regardless of which type of patio roof you choose, a covering will help extend the life of your space. Over time, the sun's rays, rain, snow, hail, and wind can take their toll on your backyard patio cover and anything else left outside. Whether it's concrete that shows signs of water damage or your retractable awning fabric that begins to tear small holes, our Rollac patio cover styles will keep your outdoor space in great shape for many years.

What are the Different Patio Covers?

If you're trying to decide which patio cover system is most suitable for your outdoor space or are unsure of the difference between a canopy, pergola, or awning, the following information should help.


Whether self-standing or attached to your home, today's modern pergolas are popular thanks partly to their beautiful and striking architectural styling. This type of patio cover can be constructed from many materials and has louvered roofs that let you control how much sunlight enters your patio. Though pergolas require regular maintenance and care, they are one of the sturdiest types of patio covers.  

The only drawback of a pergola is its cost, especially if you have a limited budget. Customized pergolas can be expensive.


Many types of patio covers, from cabanas and walkways to fabric or metal, can be considered canopies. Compared to the cost of a retractable awning, their affordability and versatility are the two most attractive features for customers. Whether you install one over your swimming pool or use it as a protective walkway into your small business, the options are endless.

Vinyl Patio Covers 

Made of PVC plastic, vinyl patio covers are highly durable, rust-resistant, and waterproof. Among the types of patio covers currently available on the market, this is the only one that is route-and-lock constructed, meaning there are no screws or brackets for rust to corrode. 


Often used in public parks as an ornamental structure to host live outdoor music, gazebos are as useful as they are pretty to look at. These free-standing patio covers offer shelter from the rain, shade from the sun, or a place to rest while enjoying the outdoors. 

Covered Porch

A covered porch is a broadly used term for a veranda, lanai, or deck built into the side of a home. Typically, porches are attached to the front of the house, are covered by a permanent roof, and are open on the sides facing outward.


Whether you’re looking for a drop arm or retractable awning, these are some of the most popular types of patio covers. You can choose from fabric, vinyl, or aluminum awnings, which require little maintenance and care. They come in many sizes, styles (e.g., half-cassette or non-cassette), and colors. Retractable awnings available through Rollac can be positioned manually or using a motor and they can easily fit into budgets, big or small.  

Retractable awnings for patios are affordable, incredibly fashionable, and have a variety of applications.  

Solid Patio Covers

A solid patio cover is precisely what you’d expect. It’s made of aluminum, wood, or foam core building panels. It’s designed to provide complete shade and protection from the elements. Depending on the material you select, the homeowner can install this type of patio roof. This patio cover type is considered one of the most basic forms of outdoor shade. 

Lattice Patio Cover

A lattice patio cover is an umbrella term for pergolas, open roofs, horizontal slatted roofs, horizontal slatted pergolas, and Laguna patio covers. Regardless of what you call them, they provide partial shade from the elements and the sun. They are made with uniform wood or plastic; they allow light to filter through evenly spaced beams or slats, which, depending on your preference, can be tightly or widely spaced. 

Outdoor Shades

At Rollac, we have an array of outdoor patio shades, including our ZipShades. These trendy shades are motorized and move up and down on a track. They can cool a patio area by as much as 20 degrees within minutes of being lowered. This type of patio cover can also keep insects at bay and give you extra privacy, making them well worth a second look.

Outdoor Structures

A backyard Camargue is worth considering if you’re in the market for an outdoor covered patio structure but don’t want to go with a stylish and sophisticated pergola. Transforming your patio into an extension of your home's living area, a Camargue has a motorized paneled roof and various siding options, including shutters or solid glass. Unlike a pergola, a Camargue can be used year-round if you select a fully enclosed version. 

How to Choose a Suitable Patio Cover

You may have your heart set on a specific type of patio cover, but if you’ve not yet considered the following elements, you may not be selecting the one that’s right for you.  


Do you want wood, plastic, or metal? Metal may outlast and show less wear and tear than wood when maintaining your pergola or other outdoor structures. However, wood is an excellent choice if you want a rustic look that blends in better with your home's exterior. Whereas metal is certainly sturdy if you are in a hurricane-prone area, it may make your patio warmer by absorbing the heat. 


The old expression, “You get what you pay for,” applies to most patio covering options. Remember that if you choose the cheapest type of patio cover, you may save money initially but spend more later on repairs and replacements.


If you live in an area frequented by heavy tropical storms, consider purchasing something designed for that environment, such as a hurricane-proof pergola made of waterproof materials. These types of patio covers are designed to withstand high winds.  


Even with a tight budget, different types of patio covers look great, stylish, and durable for every price range. For example, you can get a manual retractable awning instead of a motorized awning for your patio. Since the only difference between these is essentially the motor itself, you can still have style, elegance, and convenience at an affordable price.


Take some time to consider the style or design of your patio cover system. Do you want it to stand out from the rest of your home with bright colors? Or are you looking for a patio roof that easily blends into the outside of your home? From valance selection to the size of your awning, so many elements dictate the style of your awning.

We've Got the Answers

Identifying the type of patio cover you want is as important as the company from which you purchase it. In today’s market, so many companies have a bold online presence, but when you need the help of customer service, they’re nowhere to be found. 

Rollac is a reputable patio covering company that can provide a quality product and has a history of excellent customer service.

So, before the sun shines and the temperatures warm, consider investing in a patio cover to enjoy your outdoor space. We’re here to help at Rollac.