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Are Aluminum Patio Covers Hotter Than Wood or Vinyl?

Patios are the best hangout spots. Whether it’s the peak of summer or smack dab in the middle of winter, patios can be great for a family to get together. With patios being outdoors, they get very hot or cold during extreme climate conditions.

Don’t we all hate feeling uncomfortable in extreme weather?

Patios are supposed to be all seasonal, right? Yes, they can be.

It all depends on where you reside and choosing the right material and/or insulation (if required) to prevent this from happening. If you’re planning to build an aluminum patio cover in your backyard yet are concerned that it’ll get scorching during peak summer and super-cold during peak winter, let us give you some guidance.

We’re focusing on these major aspects in this post:

  1. Comparing the Temperature Regulations of Wood, Vinyl & Aluminum Patio Covers
  2. Should I Insulate My Patio Cover?

Without further ado, let’s dive straight into it.

Comparing the Temperature Regulations of Wood, Vinyl & Aluminum Patio Covers

Are aluminum covers hotter or colder than wood? 

First, let’s compare aluminum with wood. 

Compared to wooden patio covers, aluminum patio covers are much cooler during peak summer. That’s because aluminum is a highly conductive material. It’s a better conductor than wood. This means it’ll transfer heat more efficiently than a wooden patio cover. When a wood patio cover absorbs heat, it’ll retain it for a longer. On the other hand, that’s not the case with aluminum patio covers. The heat absorbed by aluminum patio covers is conducted away quickly. 

However, during peak winters, aluminum patio covers are colder when compared to wooden patio covers. You can use a fire pit, blankets, heating lamps, and a heater to warm up your space or consider insulating your aluminum patio cover. Insulation will ensure that it retains heat (insulating can help reduce heat loss during the winter months), which can help you keep your place cozy. Also, if you see any cracks or gaps, seal them up to further reduce heat loss. 

What about vinyl versus aluminum? 

Compared with vinyl, aluminum patio covers are slightly cooler during summer. That’s because aluminum is a slightly better heat conductor than vinyl. However, the difference isn’t that big. But still, to reduce the heating effect further, you can go ahead and insulate your patio cover (insulating your patio cover can reduce heat gain during the summer months). The heating effect is effectively reduced by more than 15 degrees during summer by insulating aluminum patio covers. You can also consider installing ceiling fans to deal with the summer heat waves during hot months. This will help improve air circulation, countering the ‘stack effect’ during the summer heat waves. 

Most patio covers aren’t necessarily coated with insulation material. For instance, ShadeWorks patio covers don’t come insulated but keep the patio space as cool and warm as most insulated ones. Our priority is to keep you comfortable!

We’ll walk you through considerations on insulating your patio cover.

Answering the Most Frequently Asked Question: Should I Insulate My Patio Cover? 

Insulating your patio cover is not entirely necessary, but it can provide additional protection from heat and cold all year round. A layer of insulation will also protect the material underneath and keep the space heated or cooled, depending on the season.

Since a patio is an extension of your household, it’s important to keep it comfortable and inviting all year round, regardless of the season. Most families spend most of their outdoor time dwelling on the patio. Patios often play an important role in the family dynamic. 

Although not entirely necessary (since most patio covers are made of materials that insulate by nature), additional insulation will help you use the patio space for longer periods during extreme weather conditions. 

It’s also important to note that your patio cover may not need insulation based on your geographic location. Say for instance that you live in an extremely windy area; the breeze and air circulation will keep the patio space cool! Similarly, if your house is oriented towards the north, chances are there will be more wind circulation. Or say you live in a moderate subtropical to tropical region; your patio should do well all year round in keeping the temperature just right. 

If trees or mountains shade your patio cover, it will not heat as much without the sun directly shining on it. In that case, adding extra insulation could be beneficial for you. Insulation is ideal for extreme weather conditions where it gets unbearably too hot or too cold. Bear this in mind. 

See our guide on how to insulate your patio cover here

Energy efficiency is another point to consider when considering insulating your patio cover. Since there is minimal heat loss during winters and longer cooling during summers, you can save up on heating and cooling costs with a well-insulated patio cover. The only downside of additionally insulating your patio cover is the cost. Insulation can be quite heavy on the pockets and should be an informed decision rather than a hasty one!

Since patio covers are made with materials that already provide some degree of insulation, there is generally no need for additional insulation in most cases. However, in extreme weather conditions, it might be a good idea to invest in an efficient suiting material to keep your patio usable all year round. 

Keeping these pointers in mind, we hope we were able to offer some insight into aluminum patio covers and insulation.

Check out ShadeWorks and the many aluminum patio covers we have to offer.

We serve across various locations in Treasure Valley and Eastern Idaho. To know more visit our contact us page. Or you can just give us a call. 

Keep visiting for more informational content on patio covers and pergolas!

Other interesting posts from our blog:

  1. Do I Need a Permit to Build a Patio Cover in the US?
  2. How Much Do Patio Covers Cost?
  3. How to Hang String Lights on a Covered Patio Without Nails
  4. Enclose Your Patio for the Winter Season with These 4 Methods
  5. How to Hang Curtains on Patio Covers or Pergolas 
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