Many homeowners want two things for their patio that would seem to be impossible with the same patio roof: a bright patio, even if the sun is hiding behind the clouds, and a dry patio, no matter how hard it rains.
Most solid patio roofs, whether pan roofs or insulated aluminum roofs are opaque: They don’t allow rain to get through to the patio, and they block sunlight by shading completely. On the opposite end, a shade trellis allows ample light onto the patio surface, but it also lets the rain through because it has an overhead open-air shade canopy rather than a solid roof.
The alternative is a patio cover with solid but translucent roof panels. Elegantly styled and cleverly engineered, a translucent patio roof allows ample light to reach the patio surface but sheds rain thoroughly.
Leak-Preventing Translucent Polycarbonate Panels
Translucent roof panels usually—but not always—are made from polycarbonate. This strong plastic resists shattering and discoloration from the sun.
A polycarbonate patio roof uses one of several connection methods at the surface to make multiple panels perform as a solid, leak-preventing surface. The superior connection is the standing seam. A good example of standing seems polycarbonate roofing is the Renaissance Patio Products Fresco translucent patio roof. One edge has a male extension that is perpendicular to the roof surface; the other edge is a perpendicular female connection that faces downward and slips over the solid single edge. The results: rigidity and no leaks.
The Look of a Trellis
Polycarbonate roof panels are attached firmly to a wood or aluminum patio cover frame. From below, while you’re relaxing or entertaining on your patio, the overhead appearance is that of a shade trellis. The framing members are spaced to allow plenty of light to come through. The difference between a translucent roof and a trellis is that both admit ample light, but the translucent polycarbonate panels bridge the gaps between the rafter to shield the patio from rain should the weather turn unpleasant.
Lots of Light, Not UV Rays
Translucent roof panels keep the patio bright, even in cloudy weather. Because the patio is bright, so is the interior of your home adjacent to the patio, whether it’s a kitchen, dining, or family room.
A treatment applied in manufacturing enables polycarbonate roof panels to filter out some sunlight. The Fresco filters out 40 percent. Translucent panels don’t shade per se, but they do take the edge off heat from the sun, leaving your patio surface cooler.
Translucent panels also filter out the sun’s ultraviolet rays—the rays that cause sunburn. This is especially beneficial to people who may experience sunburn in prolonged exposure, such as the fair-skinned, the elderly, or children using the patio as a play space. The Fresco blocks 99 percent of most UV rays, markedly increasing comfort levels.
Polycarbonate roof panels, as on the Fresco, often have two-layer construction—top and bottom panels, with an air pocket between them. Although not as effective as foam insulation, that empty space does reduce the amount of heat that radiates through the roof to occupants below.
For more information on translucent patio roofs and other types of aluminum patio covers, check out our products.