Pergola vs. Patio Cover: How to Choose

Pergola (built and installed by Pavertime) accentuates a Houston backyard’s seating area.

If you’re looking to add some shade and protection from the elements to your outdoor space, you may be wondering whether a pergola or a patio cover is the right choice for you. Both pergolas and patio covers can provide shade and weather protection, but there are some key differences between the two that you should take into account before making a decision. 

In this article, we’ll break down the key differences between pergolas and patio covers so you can decide which is right for you.

Pergola vs. Patio Cover: The Differences

Whether you are trying to choose between a patio cover or pergola, there are many factors to consider. For example, how large is your outdoor space? What are your HOA requirements? How sturdy do you want the structure to be?

The primary difference between a pergola and a patio cover is that a pergola is a freestanding structure, whereas a patio cover is attached to your house. Also, pergolas tend to have latticed roofs while patio covers tend to have roofs that are solid.


If you have a lot of room to spare, a pergola may be the best choice. A pergola can add style and value to your home, while also providing protection from the elements. There are many ways to build a pergola, so you can choose a style that will complement your home and landscape. 

Pergolas are freestanding structures that are usually open on all sides. They have vertical posts supporting cross beams that form an overhead structure. Their roofs are usually made of slats. 

The Pavertime team can help you make the best choice for your project.Some of the materials we use for pergolas in the Houston area are:

  • Western Red Cedar lumber, which is naturally water and bug-resistant
  • Posts trimmed with travertine or stone finishes to add elegance to the pergola
  • Polycarbonate roofing is new technology used to add dryness and reduce the heat in the pergola (so much so that there is a 15-degree difference guarantee by the manufacturer)
  • Wood cross pieces, or asphalt shingles

The roofs are made using 2×6 or 2×8 framing material depending on the size of the project. The material that you choose to build your pergola will affect the cost.

A pergola is usually built with four columns. These columns are usually solid wood, and you can stain or paint the wood to match your home’s exterior—and any finish can be put on them! 

Patio Cover

Adding a patio cover can be a great way to add value to your home and protect your outdoor living space. These covers are designed to reduce heat gain and provide shade during hot Summer days. They also act as a secondary shield against ultraviolet rays that can damage your belongings.

Patio covers also provide protection against rainy days, and shade your outdoor space during sunny days, making your patio available for use in all kinds of weather. In addition, they also protect your light fixtures, electrical wiring, and paver projects from damage.

These covers are also a great way to improve your home’s facade. They can be designed in luxurious materials and make your patio look more elegant. The best patio covers also provide protection against UV rays, which can damage your belongings over time.

The best patio covers are designed to provide full shade, which is particularly important during summer. They can also be insulated to keep your patio cool, which saves you money on energy bills.

Another advantage of a patio cover is that it will help you enjoy the sun’s beauty all year long. You can entertain friends and family with the lights of the moon on your patio.

They can also increase your home’s stability and the safety of your outdoor space, which is especially important if you have kids. They are also a great way to make your patio look better, which can add curb appeal.

The best patio cover is the one that is able to stand up to the elements and protect your home while giving you the ability to fully enjoy your backyard space.

Pergola vs. Patio Cover: How to Choose

Both pergolas and patio covers offer shade and protection from the elements. When choosing between the two, consider your needs and preferences for functionality, maintenance, and aesthetics.


Patio covers are an easy way to provide shade for your outdoor living space. They can be attached to your home or freestanding. They provide shelter from the sun, rain and other weather elements. A patio cover can add value to your home and provide a wonderful outdoor living space for your family.

A pergola is a similar type of outdoor structure. The main difference between the two is that the patio cover is attached to your home.

Patio covers are usually flat or sloped. They provide shade during the day, or shelter from rain or snow (on those rare occasions), and they are durable and can stand up to harsh weather conditions.

Pergolas are also great for entertaining. They provide a place to hang outdoor lighting, a grill, and other outdoor accessories to really make your outdoor space impressive. They can also be used as a place to plant climbing vines that are good for the Houston climate, such as Black-eyed susan vines or passionflower vines.


Whether you have a pergola or a patio cover, you need to know how to maintain your outdoor space to keep it looking its best. Good maintenance will not only keep the structure looking new, it will also preserve the paint and colors and keep it safe for year-round use.

When you choose a pergola or patio cover, you need to consider the materials used. The materials have differences in their maintenance requirements. A sealed pergola will stay looking natural for years to come, and stained or painted will give years of maintenance-free use! If you want your Cedar to remain looking red, we recommend a clear sealer applied every 4 years. Overall, cedar and treated lumbar are our top choices for the Houston climate. 


Whether you’re looking to spruce up your backyard, create a new outdoor living space, or add value to your home, pergolas, and patio covers have many practical and aesthetic benefits. And they can be installed in virtually any space.

As we mentioned before, patio covers are typically attached to your home, while pergolas can be freestanding. They offer a variety of benefits, including a durable, solid covering and a covered porch. They also offer more design flexibility than other outdoor shade solutions. You can decorate a pergola with plants, drapes, and even elaborate lighting for added ambiance.


After reading this article, we hope you feel better informed about the differences between pergolas and patio covers. Both are great choices for creating an outdoor living space. If you’re looking for something more open and airy, a pergola is a great option. If you’re looking for more protection from the sun and weather, a patio cover is the way to go.

Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you need help deciding, give Pavertime a call! We can go over what options would suit your house best, and install a pergola or patio cover that you can use for years on end. 

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