Custom work. Not a phrase tossed about in the patio industry with any regularity. A goodly portion of the products look pretty much the same, other than some color variations from one line of offerings to another. Solid (flat pan,) open lattice and insulated roof panels are the norm for patio covers. New products like the Equinox Louvered cover have been a breath of fresh air, but their form also follows function… It is a patio cover, after all.
The same holds true on the patio enclosure / sunroom side of the house… It’s a room in your house, right? Two or three walls and a roof. What can you do except paint it?
This is where the company with whom you choose to work can make all the difference. We get lots of customers who come in and want… “Something different ” or “Not just a square” and “Maybe just a little nicer look.” We can do that.
Combining patio cover types can improve both the look and usefulness of your project. Half solid and half lattice can give protection from the elements and cooling shade while still allowing extra light where you want it, as well as eliminating the “cookie- cutter” look of all one type. Raising or lowering one, or several, sections can dramatically change the appearance without changing the intended function at all. One of our most popular combinations is a center section of Equinox combined with flat pan sections at each end. Full coverage, open and close versatility where you need it… and a much lower cost than a full Equinox cover.
We have really enjoyed applying our design skills to our sunroom products, as well. Interesting layouts, angled walls, multiple entrances and even a central open atrium space. Engineering and imagination, combined with years of experience, allow us to take the homeowner’s ideas and turn them into reality at significant savings over a room addition.
Custom work. You won’t hear it much in the industry, but you will hear it here at Rooms N’ Covers. Give us a call and tell us what you have in mind…
Customization of your patio cover has come a long way in the last year or so. Just a quick mention here of choices you have when you’ve decided to install an open lattice style of patio cover.
50-50 coverage used to be the mantra… Half shade and half sun. The square tubes that ran the width of your patio cover were one-and-a-half inches square, and we’re placed one-and-a-half inches apart. A nice look, to be sure, but after quite a few years perhaps a little dated. Not long ago, the manufactures listened to customers’ requests for a slightly beefier look and began offering a two-inch square tube. Equal spacing was still the norm, so these tubes are places two inches apart as well. Please note that all the base structure of posts, rafters, headers, etc. remain the same… Just the top portion is getting tweaked here.
People like choices, of course, and the new look was successful. The next logistical step would be to offer three inch square tubes… bigger is better, right? Not so much. Three inches tall just looked too blocky, and three inches between the tubes let in too much sun. From below, however, the bigger perspective looked nice, especially when paired with a double header / double rafter design. Putting all that information together led to the third and final (thus far) option… the three-inch wide by two-inch tall lattice tubes spaced two inches apart. This has become very popular. Still regular, but with a little bit of flair and a tad more coverage.
The basic trend seems to be small cover / small tubes and follow the logical progression up to the largest options. But it’s your house, your yard and your project…
You make the choices and we’ll build it just the way you want it!
An update from our friends at TheLightStrip, LLC….not just recessed lighting now for your patio covers and sunrooms, but they have reengineered the units to include fans! One fan, any style, up to 30 pounds, can be used. We have our customers purchase the fan and have it at their house in the box and our licensed electricians mount it in the fan box that comes in the new TheLightStrip unit. Here is the fan spacing chart that shows their standard light spacing, alongside that used for if you choose the fan option when you purchase TheLightStrip with your patio cover or enclosure…just click on the link. TheLightStrip-standard-spacing Many dealers offer custom spacing on their sales of TheLightStrip. We do here, of course, at Rooms N’ Covers. If you were going to have a fan mounted to the cover (or ceiling of your sunroom/patio enclosure) it is now easier than ever…just have it incorporated into your lighting solution! The patented TheLightStrip units will fit into any size insulated or non-insulated patio cover/sunroom. Their engineers worked with the manufactures of the roof products to ensure that if you could build the structure, you could put a version of TheLightStrip in it! Take a look at some of the units installed…very clean and elegant. .
TheLightStrip with Fan option
We anticipate installing quite a few of these this summer! Check them out at http://www.thelightstrip.com
, and you can see more photos in our galleries here at http://www.roomsncovers.com
Screen Room Enclosure
Screenrooms and screened-in porches abound in the South and on the East Coast. They are a natural addition due to the high levels of humidity and small flying insects that proliferate there. How else was one supposed to enjoy the benefits of their outdoor space without getting eaten alive? If you fully glassed in the area you saved the view and kept the bugs out, but the heat levels could rise dramatically. The simple screen solution was inexpensive, functional, and if done well, attractive. One could enjoy their view and breezes bug free.
Well, great ideas have a way of moving around. We are seeing a very large uptick in the number of screenrooms we are constructing for our customers here in California. Some areas are getting more crowded, raising the humidity and bringing in those unwelcome flying pests, and the screenroom structure is really catching on as an affordable solution.
Screenroom construction is a great deal more flexible than glass sunrooms, if you’ll pardon the obvious pun. Screen panel sizes are readily customizable compared to stock window sizes; each job is essentially custom work without the cost. So, if you have a somewhat oddly-shaped patio area, a screenroom could be a much better fit. There are a myriad of different types of screen available… heavy duty pet screen and dark solar screen are two of the most popular choices. The manufactures that we work with will even allow us to deliver a particular type of screen and build it into the project.
Cost of home improvement is always an issue, of course. The choice of a screen room shines here as well. A significant portion of the cost of a sunroom is in the glass, a cost obviously replaced here with screen. You can either build a much larger structure for the same price, or save quite a bit of money on your planned size.
Let’s review… One, enjoy the view and the breeze. Two, have available a more unconstrained design and building process. Three, save a few bucks. Sounds like a great plan. Let’s do it!
Often on a bid to build a patio enclosure, we are told “We don’t want all that glass,” or to “Just put in one or two windows to make it look more like the house.” Oh, if only that we could. I think a little bit of background is in order…
Patio enclosures and sunrooms are defined as non-livable space by most building code departments. This means that they are not considered as part of your home’s livable square footage. The benefit to this is that they do not add their square footage to your tax bill, other than as a home improvement. The down side is that they are required to be built to certain guidelines to support the non-livable definition. Not being heated or cooled from the home is one of these guidelines, and a certain amount of glass as part of the installation is another.
Most patio enclosures have three walls attached to the main house, unless the house structure is an L-shape, which would offer the option of a two wall enclosure system. Most municipalities understand the need for a certain amount of privacy, and allow one of the short / side walls of your enclosure to be solid, that is, no windows. The other two walls are required to be 65% glass below a height of 6’8″. A full run of windows meets this requirement when paired with a standard knee wall, or kickplate, of solid wall material.
There are no restrictions on how much glass you can have, however, other than small areas of solid required in the corners for structural strength. If you prefer the look of top to bottom glass, you can have it, as long as your concrete and house walls are level and plumb.
Here’s the bottom line… all of the reasons to purchase a patio enclosure are definitely valid. Attractive and functional four-season square footage added to your home for about half the cost of stick construction in a significantly shorter period of time. And it retains its value for as long as you own it. And, hey, while you’re sitting there enjoying your space you can enjoy the view through those beautiful windows!
You want a patio cover. Actually, you need a patio cover. Not a wooden patio cover, of course…why deal with the fading, peeling, cracking paint, sagging support beams, termites and inevitable rot issues? Metal it is. A guaranteed paint job and low maintenance are the cornerstone of your backyard decoration planning. Smart.
Now the tough choice…what kind? How hard can it be, right? Solid or open lattice, take it or leave it. Maybe half and half…I like it, maybe. Which half goes where? Which half of the barbecue gets rained on next Saturday? Who out of the group gets shade and who gets sun in their eyes? Hmmm…If only there was a patio cover that could give me shade when I wanted it and sun when I wanted it…is that too much to ask? Nope.
Enter the Equinox from Amerimax Building Products. They like to say it’s the best of both worlds, and it is hard to disagree with that statement. The Equinox is a motorized, remote-controlled patio cover that opens and closes. Voila! With its extremely durable, heavy-duty steel and aluminum construction, this patio cover is designed for a lifetime of use. It installs in about the same amount of time as a traditional solid or lattice, and performs the duties of each. Grab the remote and open the overhead louvered slats, or blades, and give your outdoor space full sun for that early morning breakfast and newspaper. Close the blades as the sun rises towards noon and enjoy full shade during the heat of the day. And its not an open or closed proposition, either. Perhaps the nicest option is to angle the blades as needed as the sun angle changes.
The electrical motor used to rotate the blades can be hard-wired into your home system, or a solar power option is available. One enterprising customer wired his sprinkler system rain sensor into his Equinox so it would automatically close the blades when it starts to rain. That’s not a factory option, but I admire his ingenuity!
This patio cover option is a bit pricier than a standard solid or lattice patio cover, but the value of having both of your options included tends to outweigh the added cost. A way to keep that cost down? Combine a section of Equinox with one or more sections of the less expensive traditional design for a whole new look! This has proven to be a huge seller in Southern California. Pick the area you would like to have open and close, then finish out your patio with the rest!
It is very nice to have another option when deciding on your outdoor entertaining shade requirements. Check out the Equinox at http://www.roomsncovers.com or http://www.amerimaxbp.com. You may agree that, as far as patio covers go, it is “the best of both worlds.”
Most of the time the patio covers that we install for homeowners are attached to either an existing concrete slab or we arrange for a new slab to be poured. This provides for attachment for the posts, and the top is connected to the house and a header beam, which ties into those posts. But every now and then there is no slab, and for one reason or another the customer either cannot install one or doesn’t want to install one. Now we need an alternative attachment method. The most commonly used method is to place concrete footings under each post location and attach the posts to those. This method is supported by the manufacturer’s engineering print, and that is what determines the size that each footing needs to be. To put it bluntly, they are huge, and their size is almost always commented on. Why would you need three to four 32″ – 36″ cubed footings to hold up a light-weight aluminum patio cover? On the face of it, it seems like tremendous overkill.
Well, here it is. We’re not holding up the patio cover…we’re holding it down! The average size aluminum patio cover sale for our company is ten feet by 14 feet (10 x 14). This is a lot of surface area without a lot of weight. It is virtually an airplane wing that wants to fly away in the wind. The weight of the house holds down the rear of the cover, by it being bolted into the studs every 16″. But the front needs something to hold it down. A concrete pad equivalent to the size of the patio cover, attached with the correct, per engineering, number of posts provides enough hold-down force to keep the patio cover from heading off to Oz when the winds get really moving. There are lots of other technical details, of course, like correct type of attachment bolts, number of screws, thickness of aluminum, etc. but that is covered by the engineering, and isn’t really the main point here. We need enough weight at the attachment points (under the posts) to hold the patio cover down. When there is no slab, this is where the footings come in. Pull out the right page on the engineering, enter the table for your size patio cover and wind speed zone, and you will get the size and number of footings required by the manufacturer to ensure that your new patio cover stays put.
So, we need those big, big footings to hold your shiny, new patio cover in place. Don’t want that three foot square of concrete showing around each post? Ask that it be poured a few inches deeper so you can put decorative rock, brick or flag stones there for decoration…or put dirt back in on top of the concrete and put some flowers in. I don’t recommend letting the grass grow back in, because weed trimmers can do some serious damage to the finish on your posts. And none of those lifetime warranties cover weed trimmers…