Sunlight can make an outdoor deck space uncomfortable and unpleasant to be in. Nobody likes to be hot and sticky when they have invested time and money into making their outdoor space an enjoyable place to be. Fortunately, shading options for decks are available, the most effective being a deck canopy. Deck canopies are designed to provide protective shading to a deck underneath. Usually mounted above a patio door, these patio shades come in many sizes even for the largest of decks. Most models can retract and expand as necessary, opening when needed. Some models are equipped with electric motors that expand the canopy with the touch of a button. Deck canopies are quite effective at shielding users from sunlight and light rain. Prominent manufacturers include King Canopy, SunSetter and more.
A deck canopy is the obvious choice for individuals who need adequate protection on their deck. Eating outdoors, barbecuing, conversing and just enjoying nature become more enjoyable with this simple deck augmentation. Underneath the protective shade, temperatures can drop up to 20 degrees. The canopy is made of fabric, usually polyester. Some of the higher end models have layered fabric and/or are coated with Teflon to allow rainwater to glance off harmlessly and to make cleaning easier. The fabric blocks harmful UV rays which can cause sunburn.
Canopies for decks can also improve the energy efficiency of your indoor home, too. Patio doors let in quite a bit of heat, especially in the summer months. The expansive glass panels on patio doors can let in excessive amounts of heat into the room beyond, running up air conditioning costs. A deck canopy placed over the patio door serves the dual purpose of cooling your home and providing shade outdoors. The canopy can be rolled up in the winter months to allow sunlight to naturally heat the inside of your house.
Choosing A Size
Deck canopies are dimensioned in length and width. For example, a canopy of 10ft x 12 feet is 12 feet wide and comes out from the wall 10 feet. The canopy should be a couple feet longer in all directions than the area you intend to cover underneath. This is because the sun changes angles during the day and will angle in to your deck space to some degree. This effect will be amplified if the length of your deck is parallel to the North/South directions. In this case, you should get a canopy with a longer depth.
Manual vs. Automatic
The "big question" for many is whether or not to get a deck canopy with an electric motor. Electric motors allow the canopy to roll up without any human power. They are controlled by either a button or wireless remote. Automatic deck canopies are noticeably more expensive, but can be a lot more convenient. Manual models require the user to spin a handle to open and collapse the frame. This process usually takes less than a minute. If you want to completely eliminate any work associated with your canopy, a motorized model may be for you. For the sleekest look, electric wiring is run through the walls to power the motor.
Mounting a deck canopy is best reserved for the professionals if you don't have any prior experience. Wooden studs must be located within the exterior wall to provide a solid mounting surface. Heavy duty anodized screws are used to secure the canopy to the wall, forming a semi-permanent bond. Moving the canopy afterward can be quite a hassle, so make sure you choose the right location the first time. Several people can be used to hold up the un-mounted canopy above the deck to gauge the best location.
Deck canopies are long-term solutions to controlling the weather on your deck. With heavy-duty aluminum or steel coated frames, these systems are an investment that can last a lifetime when cared for.
If you can't afford the cost of a canopy, but want to enjoy the benefits of a shaded patio, consider using a pop up gazebo. These gazebos are easy to set up and can become a permanent fixture in your outdoor home. I personally recommend a 10 x 10 gazebo size to start off with.
Besides keeping yourself cool, shades can help your outdoor furniture to stay in good shape. For maximum protection, try using patio chair covers.