The True Cost of Patio Covers

Patio covers are a beautiful and practical way to add form and function to your outdoor space. Pergolas, lean-to designs and solid roof designs are the most popular styles available, but they each have different costs and practical benefits for homeowners to consider.


Pergolas, sometimes known as arbors, are some of the most popular types of patio covers. They even are being used to create outdoor rooms. A pergola is meant for use in a garden, or to cover your patio or deck and it forms a shaded area for seating, housing shade dwelling plants or adding structure to an outdoor space.

Most pergolas feature vertical posts and pillars with sturdy cross-beams and an open lattice for support. Vines such as ivy can be trained to grow on the lattice, creating a beautiful addition to any home.

With such an elegant and functional design, it is easy to see why so many homeowners invest in pergolas. A standard pergola measures 10 by 10 feet and utilizes standard cedar wood, which generally comes to $3,000 for materials. Labor can cost as much as $500, but fortunately pergolas are relatively simple to build on your own.

A higher-end pergola can cost up to $8,000 for materials such as Teak wood, and labor may range up to $1,000 due to the more complex design schemes. In general, wooden pergolas range from $45 to $68 per square foot. Fiberglass and vinyl last longer and require less maintenance but are generally cheaper. A wide variety of pergolas are available for purchase in a ready-to-assemble kit.

Lean-To Patio Covers

The lean-to style is as simple as it sounds, yet it has remarkable versatility. Lean-to designs can be used as car ports, storage or patio covers. A basic lean-to design measures anywhere from 280 to 300 feet and costs roughly $5 per square feet to install. With labor and materials, a lean-to can cost an average of $1,400. With a concrete slab installed for stability and longevity, you can expect to add another $525 to your total costs.

Aluminum lean-to patio covers, available at Lowe's, may cost more but they also provide greater protection against the elements than wood and thus require less maintenance. Fortunately, lean-to designs are available in ready-to-assemble kits in a range of styles and are some of the easiest patio covers to install on your own.

Solid Roof Pavilions

Solid roof pavilions are a remarkable solution to any patio in need of cohesion and shelter. With a number of lattice and roof styles to choose from, it is easy to find a solid roof pavilion in a ready-to-assemble kit that meets your specific aesthetic and functional requirements. The louvered style roof is one of the most versatile. A standard solid roof pavilion is 10 by 10 feet, but some measure as much as 20 by 40 feet. The base cost for a solid wood pavilion measuring 10 by 10 feet is approximately $3,000, but the price increases according to the shape of the roof as well as the materials used.

Octagonal roofs are generally less expensive than square roofs. Like lean-to and pergola designs, vinyl and fiberglass cost more upfront but lead to lower maintenance costs in the long run. Wooden solid roof pavilions look beautiful, but they are often subject to damage from the elements over time, increasing your long-term costs.

There are plenty of ready-to-assemble kits to choose from that allow you to cut costs on labor and purchase the materials you prefer. Solid roof pavilions made from high-quality wood can easily cost $300 per square foot since the solid design requires a much larger supply of materials than open roof designs.

When choosing between a pergola, a lean-to cover or a solid roof pavilion, cost is important but should not be the deciding factor. Consult a buying guide for patio covers. Also consider your patio cover an investment in your home that pays dividends in the long run. Investing in a high-quality patio cover today could save plenty of time and money over the years.

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