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How Much Snow & Wind Load Can Aluminum Patio Covers Handle?

Winter is here!

And so is the endless bombarding of snow in your backyard and patio.

It is time to take your snow shovels out and get to work. But wait, can your patio cover bear too much snow? How about wind?

Will it crack apart?

Well, in this article, we are covering this exact topic – how much snow and wind load your patio can bear and how best to ensure your patio cover stays intact during these times.

So, let’s get right into it.

How Much Snow Load Can a Patio Cover Endure?

Before investing in a patio cover, ensuring that it’s structurally sound is crucial, especially if you live in a region that receives heavy snowfall/rainfall and gets very windy. 

A patio cover is a good investment and can take up a considerable amount of your budget when built. Patio covers must be specifically engineered to bear the load and withstand all climatic conditions.

One important specification is the snow load.

Snow load essentially means how much snow a patio cover can hold and its upper limit. In layman’s terms, snow load is the snow amount in pounds per square foot of area and can vary depending on your geographic location.

The range of snow load varies from general fall to heavy or high mountain snowfall. 

To give you an idea of snowfall metrics, here is a general outline of snow load ratings that can vary depending on location. PSF stands for pounds per square foot:

  • 10-20 PSF- Generic snowfall
  • 20-30 PSF- Light to moderate snowfall
  • 30-40 PSF- Moderate to heavy snowfall
  • 40-50 PSF- Heavy snowfall
  • 50-70 PSF- Very high mountain snowfall

While these are very generic snow load ratings, it would be advisable to contact your local city department to get the correct snow load rating for your particular region.

With the help of the snow load rating, you will be able to structurally gauge the ideal type of material to use for your patio cover and how best to build it to prevent sagging due to snow load. 

For structural and engineering purposes, it would be ideal to get an expert on board to help you decide the technicalities associated with building your patio and choosing the right patio cover along with the right supports. 

trees covered in snow amidst mountains

How Much Wind Load Can a Patio Cover Endure?

Like snow load, wind load also plays a significant role in making your patio structurally sound. 

Windy weather conditions are most common in tropical regions, especially during monsoons. In extreme weather conditions prone to heavy winds, it’s important to ensure your patio can withstand the heavy winds and rains accompanying the climate.

One way to measure wind is by calculating wind rating based on miles per hour. 

On a large scale, the average wind rating for the entirety of the United States is 90 MPH.

This indicates that you need to build patio covers that withstand a minimum of winds blowing at 90 MPH. 

As a general rule of thumb, wind speeds exceeding 110 MPH are considered high wind areas. 

These areas are primarily coastal regions prone to tsunamis or harsh coastal winds. In such areas, patio covers must be engineered to withstand up to 120 MPH winds. 

If you wish to know your wind rating, contact your local civic body (or you can reach out to us). This information is important in choosing the ideal patio cover material and structure.

It also provides enough information for the engineer to understand if your patio would require additional support systems to withstand high-wind situations.

Now that you know the snow load and wind rating, the next step would be to start building your sturdy patio cover!

To give you an insight on how to choose the right patio cover, here is an example of the snow load and wind rating here at ShadeWorks:

Our patio covers come with a snow load of 25 PSF, which falls under the light to moderate snowfall category. Similarly, our patio covers have a wind rating of 120 MPH, which can withstand very high winds. 

If you live in extreme weather conditions, have an engineer on board to help you choose the right patio cover and do the calculations.

An expert will also help ensure the patio structure is sound all year round and does not break apart at the first sign of heavy winds or snow.

Check out ShadeWorks and the wide range of structurally sturdy patio covers to help you build your dream patio.

Keep checking back for more insightful posts! 

Other informative reads:

  1. Enclose Your Patio for the Winter Season with These 4 Methods
  2. How to Hang String Lights on a Covered Patio Without Nails
  3. Do I Need a Permit to Build a Patio Cover in the US?
  4. Your Go-To Stellar Pergola Outdoor Kitchen Guide
  5. What is the Best Material to Use for Patio Furniture?

 

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