Arbors and Pergolas

Pergola vs. Patio Cover

By Colby Coward / September 1, 2020

When it comes to enhancing outdoor living spaces, many homeowners find themselves considering the two popular options: patio cover vs pergola. Both options offer protection from the elements and create an inviting space to relax and entertain. But what exactly are patio covers and pergolas, and what are their pros and cons? Moreover, do these features add value to a home? In this article, we will explore these questions about patio covers vs pergolas in detail and help you decide which option is best for your outdoor living space.

Pergolas vs Patio Cover: Definitions

patio cover vs pergola

First, let’s define what a patio cover and a pergola are. A patio cover is a structure that is attached to the house and typically has a solid roof. Various materials such as wood, aluminum, or vinyl can make a patio cover. A patio cover can have a flat or sloped roof and it can be insulated or non-insulated. Matching home’s exterior style and color, patio covers offer protection from rain, snow, and harmful UV rays.

On the other hand, a pergola is a freestanding or attached outdoor structure that has an open roof made of slats or beams. The roof of a pergola is not solid, which means it does not provide complete shade or protection from rain. Pergolas can be made of various materials, such as wood, vinyl, or metal. They can be designed to complement the home’s architecture and landscape. Pergolas are typically used as a decorative feature that provides partial shade and a visually appealing structure for climbing plants.

Pros and Cons of Patio Covers

Let’s start with the pros of a patio cover. The most significant advantage of a patio cover is its ability to provide complete protection from the elements. With a solid roof, you can enjoy your outdoor space in rain or shine, and even in extreme temperatures. Moreover, a patio cover can help keep the interior of your home cooler by blocking out the sun’s heat. This can result in lower energy bills and a more comfortable living environment.


Another advantage of a patio cover is that it can add value to your home. With proper installation and design, patio covers can enhance curb appeal, making homes more attractive to potential buyers. A patio cover can also increase the square footage of your home’s usable space, which can be appealing to buyers.

However, there are also some cons to consider when it comes to patio covers. The most significant disadvantage is the cost. Patio covers can be expensive to install, particularly if you opt for high-end materials and designs. Additionally, improperly designed and installed patio covers can lead to structural damage and leaks, causing potential problems.

Another disadvantage of a patio cover is that it can make your outdoor space feel enclosed and less open. This can be particularly true if you opt for a solid roof that blocks out all natural light. A patio cover can limit your ability to grow plants or install hanging features, such as outdoor lights or fans.

Pros and Cons of Pergolas

patio cover vs pergola

Now let’s look at the pros and cons of a pergola. One of the significant advantages of a pergola is its aesthetic appeal. Pergolas with climbing plants like vines or flowers can add a unique design element to your outdoor living space. Additionally, because pergolas have an open roof, they allow natural light to filter through, creating a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere.

Another advantage of a pergola is its versatility. Pergolas can be designed to fit a wide range of outdoor living spaces and can be made of various materials, such as wood or vinyl. They can also be freestanding or attached to the home, making them a flexible option for homeowners.

However, there are also some cons to consider when it comes to pergolas. The most significant disadvantage is their limited protection from the elements. Because pergolas have an open roof, they do not offer complete protection from the sun, rain, or snow. This can limit the use of the outdoor space during inclement weather or in extreme temperatures.

Another disadvantage of a pergola is the maintenance required. Pergolas made of wood require regular maintenance, such as sealing or staining, to prevent weather damage or insect infestations. This can be time-consuming and costly over time. Pergolas made of vinyl or metal require less maintenance but may not have the same aesthetic appeal as a natural wood structure.

Home Value

After exploring pros and cons of patio covers and pergolas, let’s discuss whether they add home value. In general, both patio covers and pergolas can increase the value of a home, but the extent of the increase will depend on various factors, such as the quality of the installation, the materials used, and the overall design.

patio vs pergola

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, outdoor living spaces are among the top home features that buyers are willing to pay a premium for. The study found that homeowners can expect to recoup between 50% to 80% of their investment in outdoor living features, such as patio covers or pergolas, when they sell their home.

Note that the rise in home value depends on quality installation and design of patio covers and pergolas. A poorly designed and installed patio cover or pergola may actually decrease the value of a home, as it can look cheap or detract from the home’s overall aesthetic appeal. Therefore, it’s crucial to hire a reputable contractor who has experience in designing and installing outdoor living features.


When it comes to choosing between a patio cover and a pergola, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of your outdoor living space. Patio covers offer complete protection from the elements and can increase the square footage of usable space in your home. However, they can be expensive and may make the outdoor space feel more enclosed.

Pergolas offer a unique design element and can create a visually appealing outdoor space, particularly when adorned with climbing plants. However, they offer limited protection from the elements and require regular maintenance.

Quality installation and design of patio covers and pergolas can determine the value increase they bring to homes. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your options and hire a reputable contractor who can create a design that meets your needs and enhances the overall value of your home. Unsure of which to pick in the pergola vs patio cover battle and which feature would benefit you the most? Our experienced team of professional contractors can help point you in the right direction and walk you through the design process. Whether you choose a patio cover or a pergola, the benefits are undeniable. Let us help you transform your backyard space into the relaxing oasis you and your family deserve.

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Now that you’re thinking of the main types of outdoor structures
and their uses, you can create a concept that works for your
family. Keep in mind the purpose of the structure, whether natural
light in your home is a factor, and where you want the focal point
of your backyard to be. Once your gears get turning, reach out to
request an estimate on your concept.
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