What is the Best Patio Roof Material?

From steel, aluminium, wood, fabric, and even glass – you may be surprised by the wide array of choices when it comes to patio roof materials available in Perth and surrounding suburbs.

Although most patios are rear-facing, you’ll still want to choose a material and design that suits your house’s architecture and overall style so that you can get maximum enjoyment and convenience out of your outdoor living space.

Before we go into the various patio roof materials in more detail, let’s briefly cover some of the most popular materials.

Wood, aluminium and steel are commonly chosen for patio roofs thanks to their durability and insulating properties. Other materials such as polycarbonate, vinyl and canvas are favoured in different circumstances for their ease and speed of assembly as well as affordability.

Here’s a quick round-up of the materials available and their features.

  • Wood – aesthetically pleasing, easily available, but more costly and needs future maintenance.
  • Aluminium – Lightweight and sturdy, retains heat in the sun, but expensive.
  • Steel – Robust, long-lasting, well-priced and has a modern clean look and feel.
  • Vinyl – Offers a natural look and feel, is relatively inexpensive, low maintenance and weather resistant.
  • Fabric – Inexpensive, easy to install, but prone to damage and weather, ideal as a temporary solution.
  • Polycarbonate – Durable, lightweight, inexpensive, easy to install, ideal as an addition to other materials.
  • Woven Bamboo – Relatively inexpensive, beautiful designs, easy to install, may require additional weatherproofing.
  • Glass – Perfect where light is needed, requires more cleaning, minimal UV and heat blocking.

Let’s get into the details…

1. Wood

Many wooden patio roofs feature slatted wood designs that are visually impressive but at the same time homely and warm.

Wood is used in some of the more luxurious patio designs and can cost quite a bit more than the other options listed here.

It’s important to choose the right kind of timber for your patio roof as their appearances and durabilities do vary. For example, hardwoods such as oak are incredibly strong and durable.

You can also get woven bamboo roofing which we’ll look at in more detail later.

Note that, unlike other materials in this list, wood is vulnerable to rotting, cracking and warping if not properly taken care of. It may require more maintenance than other materials, and it may be necessary to paint or sand it occasionally to keep it looking fresh.

Wooden materials can also attract more bugs to your patio!

2. Aluminium

A lightweight and sturdy option, aluminium is popular for its reliability and low maintenance. While often more affordable than wood, aluminium frameworks can be somewhat expensive compared to some of the other materials we’ll be discussing.

Another factor to take into account is heat retention. Aluminium roofs tend to retain heat really well, which means they’ll make for a slightly less comfortable shade on those baking hot summer days in Perth.

3. Steel

Steel is a robust and stable choice of material for patio roofing. Mackson is a steel supplier and fabricator so we recommend steel as the number one choice as it is the strongest, most long-lasting and more aesthetically pleasing style for patios.

As well as being super reliable, steel is an affordable option and can give your outdoor living space a modern, clean look and feel.

4. Vinyl

Although aluminium and steel are popular choices for extremely low maintenance patio roofs that will stand the test of time, you might want to consider vinyl as well.

They can be the less expensive option while still retaining that modern, clean look and feel.

A vinyl patio roof will keep your outdoor living area shaded from harmful UV rays as well as rainfall.

You should be aware, however, that the range of colours and designs is somewhat limited compared to other materials. Some have even reported colour fading on older materials and tearing after a few windy days.

5. Fabric

Now for something a bit different! A fabric or canvas cover is actually really effective at blocking UV radiation from the sun. In Perth these are often referred to as shade sails.

If you’re looking for a short-term solution that’s quick to install and very inexpensive, then a fabric patio cover is a creative method to add a bit of colour and texture.

There are lots of high-quality fabrics available in a great diversity of colours and designs – more so than any other roof material.

It can be erected between your house roof and a few poles set in the ground or hung across a simple wooden frame.

The major drawback is that these methods are great for temporary purposes but rarely offer a long-term solution.

They tend to be prone to weather damage, and while they offer protection, they will likely require repair and replacement in-between seasons.

And while they look good, they will rarely provide the wow factor that a fully-fitted patio roof can offer.

6. Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is a practical and durable patio roof material that can withstand extreme temperatures and stress while also being lightweight.

Compared to wood and aluminium, polycarbonate roofing is quite a bit quicker and easier to assemble.

Available as translucent panels, polycarbonate is another material aside from fabric that will allow some sunlight through and creates that cosy ambient lighting effect that makes your patio space feel bright and inviting.

Here at Mackson, our steel flat roof patio packages come with the option to add polycarbonate skylight sheets in between the steel roof sheets to achieve the same effect.

7. Woven bamboo

Nothing says tropical like a bamboo roof! These types of roofs can be built into a wide variety of beautiful designs and are one of the more affordable options as far as wooden roofing goes.

Woven bamboo will primarily provide protection from the sun’s heat radiation and from harmful UV rays, but they can also be upgraded with a waterproof canopy or awning layer to keep rainwater away.

Another plus to woven bamboo roofing is that it’s super quick to assemble and disassemble compared to other materials, so you can have your patio roof up in no time and enjoy the hot Perth weather from the comfort of your shaded outdoor living area.

8. Glass

Finally, we have glass, which is certainly a rare choice but perhaps worth considering.

Glass patio roofs will protect your patio space from all elements except sunlight. So, while it will keep the rain away, it will do very little to block UV radiation from the sun nor will it block actual sunlight of course.

As a result, a glass patio roof, even with tinting, is less likely to keep temperatures down in hot weather compared to other materials.

So why would anyone choose glass for their patio roof? Well, being fully transparent, glass maximises the amount of sunlight that is allowed through and therefore creates a brighter atmosphere for the patio living space.

A properly installed glass patio roof is also very strong, durable and will never suffer from problems such as rotting or colour fading.

So if blocking glare and UV are not on your list of criteria for a patio roof then glass might just be the right choice of material to keep your outdoor living area dry.

One major drawback of glass is that it is rather heavy and will therefore incur significant building costs, labour and time to put together.

Which patio roof material is best?

Unfortunately, there is no one roofing material that is ideal in all locations.

Environment and climate play a big role in determining the right material for your region, so much so that some materials are simply not viable in certain parts of the world.

As we are based in Perth, we understand the climate better than most. So come and talk to us about which options will suit your property best.

The other main deciding factor is a visual one. It’s important that your patio cover visually complements your house, its colours and its architectural design.

Where to go from here

As well as material choice, there are a few other factors to take into account when building a patio on your property.

So now that you have some knowledge of the various roofing materials available, the next stage is to talk to a professional about creating a patio space at your home or business.

Based in Perth, Western Australia, Mackson is a specialist in fencing, gates, automatic motors, patios, carports and security doors. We aim for high standards, friendly service and quality products.

With a Mackson custom-built patio, you can make the most of your outdoor entertaining area. We create a seamless transition from the inside to the outside, with a functional space that adds value to your home and provides all year-round protection from the elements.

Take a look at our patios gallery featuring some of the recent patio projects we’ve completed around Perth and surrounding suburbs to get ideas for your patio or carport design.

Almost all patio constructions in Western Australia require council approval and we are happy to provide this service along with our patio packages.

Council can be a trial to deal with, so we take the hassle away by handling all the paperwork, patio design drafts, engineering certs and building permits.

Occasionally a patio proposal will require development/planning approval from the council, which can be a lot of work for property owners to handle by themselves. Mackson will also help to guide you through these types of applications.

Start your journey to a great patio build today by contacting us for a quote.