Choosing a patio roof depends not just on your own personal sense of style, but also on the style of your home. You don’t want a patio roof that looks as if it was just stuck on your home. You want it to blend in while it performs all the tasks you want of a patio roof: keep you shaded, cool and dry.

Generally speaking, cleaner lines and classic design elements will blend in best.

Budget will play a big role—some materials and levels of quality are cheaper or more expensive than others. Determine how much money you can spend, whether it’s cash from savings or money you will borrow. And as you plan, remember that you don’t have to do everything at once.

Before you look for patio roofs you like, get an idea of the size you’ll need. (Read our blog on Patio Planning to understand how much space you’ll need, or if you already have a concrete pad, how to best use that space.)

Where To Look

Go online to find photos of styles that please you.

Do some of your scouting on general interest sites, such as Google, Wikimedia Commons and Pinterest.com. Do a Google search such as patio cover images. Also search on Pinterest for patio covers, patios, patio roofs or pergolas.

Next, spend some time on specialty sites, such as sites by the magazines Better Homes & Gardens and House Beautiful. Sites run by glossy magazines tend to feature higher-end projects, but don’t get discouraged that you could never afford such a patio. You’re looking to take away ideas—how he roof is placed, how brick is used, how privacy is accomplished, how columns and supportive beams are styled, how to fit the furniture you need in a limited space.

Some sites are more believable and more informative than others. A good way to tell a quality site is that it is written well. Simply put, it will have full sentences that are easily understood and impart real information, not gross generalities. If the words are just a jumbled mess—sites like this are out here—look elsewhere.

Pitched Roof

Especially if you have a two-story house, a sloped roof may have some visual appeal.

Not all aluminum patio roof manufacturers make a pitched roof. Wooden patio roofs are more commonly pitched, but even many of them are flat. A pitched roof may call for a custom project, which will cost considerably more—maybe double what a standard roofing system would cost.

If your home has a hip roof, you can get a hip-roofed patio cover, but again, be prepared to pay a premium.

Factory Finish

You want a patio cover that looks good, and the finish has a lot to do with appearance—now and a few years down the road. Some cheap patio covers—the kind more likely used for carport covers in low-cost mobile home parks—actually have bare aluminum frames. Beware: If you plan to buy an unfinished aluminum cover and paint it, doing so requires a special primer to make the topcoat adhere.

Most aluminum patio covers have factory paint jobs of varying quality, just as aluminum siding does. Factory-applied paint will last a long time, but it may gradually degrade and take on a dull appearance. It may even degrade to the point where the surface is so weathered it will rub off or even partially wash off in rain—a process called chalking.

Your best bet is to find aluminum that is powder coated. Powder coats are heat cured and thicker, so they hold up better in harsh weather. At Renaissance Patio Products, for example, all aluminum framing members on patio roofs and pergolas are finished in a 3-mil powder coat. The finish resists cracking, fading, chalking and blistering.