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A porch canopy can be made from a variety of materials and custom built to suit any shape or size of porch. Choosing the best porch canopy for your home does not have to be a complicated affair, as it comes down to a few key issues: cost, looks, functionality, and durability. Choosing the best porch canopy starts with determining your budget and ends with installing a porch canopy that looks great on your porch. Start by researching the pros and cons of the different canopy materials, decide which one suits your home best, and then determine whether it is within your price range. If it is not, look into your second choice.
A wood porch canopy is perhaps the most expensive but also the best looking. If price is not a concern, a wooden canopy will provide shade from the sun and support against snow in the winter. Wood is easily manipulated into different shapes and sizes, and the porch can be made into either an enclosed or open air porch using wood. A wood porch canopy can be stained to match the porch decking, and it can be cut decoratively for an extra aesthetic touch. Wood does need maintenance, however, as it can warp in extremely moist conditions, it can grow mold, and it can fade in direct sunlight. Consider how much upkeep you are prepared to do before choosing your materials.
Consider how much shade you will need as well, and for how many months out of the year. Some temporary porch canopies, made from canvas or vinyl, can be taken down in the winter, moved easily when the sun shifts position, and stored when not in use. They are temporary structures and do not often go with the aesthetic of the house, but they can be attractive structures that serve the purposes of blocking the sun and providing shade. They are most often not load bearing, so if you think your canopy might bear the weight of snow or other burdens, choose something stronger.
If cost is no concern, a retractable porch canopy may be your best option. These can be expensive to install, but they are convenient and generally durable. A small motor or non-motorized hand crank moves aluminum rods outward from the house, where the framing is mounted. The rods are connected to a large canvas sheet that extends over the porch, providing shade. This is a good option for porches that only need shade at certain times of day, or for people who want a more permanent solution without building a permanent structure.
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