Pergola Canopies: Topside vs. Underside Shade Covers

Pergolas do a lot of things. They look good. They define a space, and often times they support items that make outdoor living more comfortable. Depending on how ‘loaded’ your pergola is will help you determine if you need a topside mounted canopy system or not.

For example, in the south, fans are a popular item to add to a pergola. In the north, radiant heaters are a favorite. No matter where they are located, speakers, light fixtures, bug zappers, flat screen TV’s have all made a place for themselves under the rafters of a pergola.

Underside Pergola Canopy

If your pergola is clear of these accoutrements and you have no need for their utility, then an underside canopy system is the obvious choice. They install with a more integrated look and add the fabric atmosphere to the outdoor living space when extended.

Topside Pergola Canopy

If your pergola has practical duties to perform such as supporting fans, heaters and other accessories, a topside installation is fundamental. There is a premium to pay of about 30% for the mechanism brackets required to support the canopy folds, and the installation is more complicated. However, the result is a perfect marriage of pergola, accessories and retractable canopy for the ultimate outdoor living or dining experience.

Another benefit of topside pergola canopies is the size of coverage. When mounted underneath, the canopy width is limited to the space between the beams of the pergola. When mounted above, those beams are not in the way and the canopy can extend right out to the edges of the pergola rafters which can be well beyond the beams. This is a very practical benefit if you want the drip line (where rain runs off the canopy) beyond a railing, privacy panel, or curtains.

You have a choice when it comes to your outdoor living lifestyle. Make sure it includes comfort and style with a retractable canopy system.


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