Canopies, retractable awnings and pergolas are all good covers for a porch. Buyers can choose between these options by examining the cost, ease of installation and use, and amount of shade desired from the structure.
Canopies attach to the structure of the porch and provide year-round shade. The awnings consist of a durable fabric attached to a rigid frame. Canopies are typically permanent porch covers, though less expensive portable canopies are available.
Retractable awnings are canopied fabric structures that can be opened or closed either mechanically or manually. These awnings give the homeowner a choice of sun or shade over the porch. Larger retractable awnings require diagonal support arms, though some have lateral supports incorporated into the fabric framework. Retractable awnings are limited in size and may not be large enough to cover the entire porch area. They are also subject to damage by high winds and should be closed when not in use.
Pergolas are a permanent porch coverings consisting of vertical columns connected by horizontal beams. Adding fabric or climbing vines varies the amount of shade offered by a pergola, giving the homeowner a flexible porch covering option. Pergolas are available in inexpensive treated lumber and can be stained or painted to offer a more finished look.