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A shade structure will give you instant shade and architectural interest but there are several elements that must be considered before installing your shade structure. How much maintenance do you want to do? What style will best suit your house and lifestyle? How much shade is needed? Do you want to attach the structure to the house or have it freestanding? Do you want solid or lattice type structure?
When maintenance is the main key in regards to a shade structure there are two main material choices – real wood or Alumawood (or other maintenance ‘free’ materials). Real wood will give you the most natural looking structure but will require the most maintenance to keep it looking new. You will need to stain/seal it every year to every couple of years (depends upon type of wood, sealer/stain used and the exposure to the elements) unless you like the grey, weathered look. Alumawood is a maintenance ‘free’ shade structure material that comes in 6 colors and has a wood grain look.
When it comes to style, post size and treatment will have the biggest impact. 8” rough cut timber posts will give you a more naturalist and substantial look over a more formal looking 6” stucco column. Stone bases can be added to the bottom of the post to tie materials together and to give the post a more solid look. End cap details (such as beveled, mitered, corbel or scallop ends) can add an extra dimension to the shade structure.
The amount of shade that a lattice type shade structure produces depends upon its location, orientation and spacing of the overhead members. Solid roof structures can be designed to keep the patio area dry during poor weather, but the solid structure will not allow in filtered light like the lattice type. New Louvered remote control roof systems can have the best of both worlds with a touch of a button. It can be open to allow in filtered sun or be closed for a full shade and dry environment.
If you need a shade structure and are overwhelmed by all the options, contact us to discuss the possibilities.