Insulated Vs. Non-Insulated Patio Covers: Which One Is Better?

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf

Your patio can be a great place to hang out with friends and family. It can also make for a great hangout spot, especially during the warmer months of the summer. But you can make the space even better by adding a covering.

The question becomes whether you go with an insulated patio cover or one that does not have insulation. The main difference is in temperature. Insulated patio covers are better at retaining the temperature of the patio. That makes it ideal for staying cool during hotter months. Non-insulated patio covers come in a wider array of styles and designs, however, though it is not as good at keeping the space cooler.

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Why Go with a Patio Cover?

You don’t necessarily have to go with a patio cover. There are plenty of instances out there with patio spaces that are uncovered. But there are definitely benefits to having a patio cover on your outdoor space.

The biggest reason is obvious: shelter. Not only will a patio cover keep you protected in the event of rain but you will also have a nice, shaded are to sit in as well. When the temperatures soar in the summer, shade can be highly beneficial to have a shaded area.

What are the Main Differences Between Insulated and Non-Insulated Patio Covers?

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is in temperature, though that can also depend on location. Having an insulated covering can keep heat from getting through, keeping your patio space cooler when temperatures are at their highest.

There are some patio covers that only have a top. That can also dictate temperature on the patio, so keep that in mind. Insulated covers generally have more than a top, which helps to aid in temperature control as well.

The surface on which the cover has to be placed differs as well. Insulated patio covers require a solid surface. While most non-insulated patio covers need the same, they at least have a greater versatility. You can even find lattice options for non-insulated covers, which allows for an easier time matching designs and aesthetics.

What are the Pros and Cons of Insulated Patio Covers?

There are quite a few pros to be had by going with an insulated patio cover. Chief among them are that insulated patio covers tend to look better and offer better temperature control than their counterparts. Here are some of the pros of insulated patio covers.

Pro: Look Better

Insulate patio covers tend to look a lot better than non-insulated patio covers. With the right style, you can complement the rest of the yard and even the home. All of this can add value not only to the outside space but the home itself.

If you are looking for a more attractive patio cover, insulated tends to be nicer. It has multiple sides to it compared to non-insulated, which also aids in temperature control. Speaking of which…

Pro: Better Temperature Control

When you go with insulated versus non-insulated, you are able to create a much cooler space overall. Insulated patio covers do well at preventing the penetration of heat, which can keep your space both cooler and protected.

Patio furniture in particular can wear down with constant exposure to the sun’s rays. Protecting it with a patio cover is a great way to extend the life of your furniture and anything else that you keep out on the patio.

Pro: Hide Cabling

You can enhance your patio space by running electrical outlets into the space. Having electrical outlets in our patio means hooking up speakers, a television, or anything else that you can imagine. All of which can come together to create the ultimate hangout space.

When you run wiring to the patio, it can be left exposed which is not good for more than a few reasons. With an insulated patio, you can hide that cabling. Not only is that more aesthetically pleasing but it keeps the cables shielded from the elements.

Pro: Add Resale Value to Your Home

Not all of us are thinking about selling our homes. But it is a reassurance to know that you can sell your home at a desirable value when the time comes. The good news is that insulated patio covers can add value to your home.

Having an insulated patio cover not only adds to the outdoor aesthetic but creates another space where family can gather. That can be particularly valuable, especially do the right buyer.

Con: Expensive

The simple fact of the matter is that insulated covers are a lot more expensive than a non-insulated cover. While there is improved functionality and a greater level of comfort to be had, it can be difficult to justify the costs.

The primary reason anyone goes with non-insulated is because of the price. If you can justify the costs, insulated is better, but those costs can be substantial.

What are the Pros and Cons of Non-Insulated Patio Covers?

While it might feel obvious to go with an insulated patio cover, there are perks to going the non-insulated route as well. Let’s take a look at the benefits of going with a non-insulated patio cover instead.

Pro: Shade

Getting a patio cover in general means that you are getting shade. Despite the fact that it is not insulated, your patio cover can still help you stay cooler by providing shade. Even if it is just by a few degrees, staying a little cooler under your patio cover can make a difference.

Pro: Versatility

While insulated patio covers tend to be a bit more stylish because they cover multiple sides, they are limited in terms of style options. If you want to get creative with your outdoor space, a non-insulated patio cover is the best bet.

There are simply far more design options available for non-insulated patio covers. If aesthetics matters a lot to you, going non-insulated may be the right move.

Pro: Cost-Effective

The most obvious benefit of a non-insulated patio cover is that it is much more cost-effective than going insulated. While the benefits may be more plentiful with the insulated option, not everyone has the budget to afford one.

If you want to add a patio cover but don’t want to break the bank doing so, you can’t go wrong with a non-insulated patio cover. It still provides shade, you can find it in a whole lot of different designs, and you won’t have to spend nearly as much.

Con: Longevity

We already know about the difference in temperature control, but what about in longevity? You are more likely to get lesser quality building materials out of a non-insulated patio cover than you do with an insulated one. That is partially what helps to keep the cost down.

Vinyl tends to last longer than wood, but you would be hard-pressed to find a non-insulated patio cover that is better quality than one that is insulated.

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What’s the Verdict?

Choosing the patio cover for you will no doubt come down to costs. Everyone has a budget and staying within that budget can trump any features. Find out how to attach a ledger board for a patio cover.

That said, if you have the money to spare, the clear choice is to go with an insulated patio cover. They help keep the sun from penetrating, keeping the space much cooler. Not only that, but it makes for great protection for patio furniture and you can even run wiring into the patio without it being obvious.

But if you are on a budget, the non-insulated option is hard to argue with. It delivers shade and protection even if the temperature control is not quite the same. Not only that, but non-insulated patio covers tend to come in more design options, allowing for a greater versatility. Not to mention the fact that they are substantially cheaper than their insulated counterparts.

You would do fine with either, however. A patio cover can accentuate your current patio space and provide a plethora of benefits regardless of whether it is insulated or not.

Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

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