5 Top Picks: Best Wood For Patio Cover (How They’re Different & Why It Matters)

Are you going to build a patio cover for your home?

Do you want to find the right type of lumber to use for a project like this?

Are you having trouble narrowing down your options?

Below, we have listed five types of lumber that will offer you some great results when you use them for patio covers. You may want to take a look at these options to help you decide which one is best for your needs.

What can go wrong if you don’t choose the best wood for patio cover use? In short, you may end up with wood that will rot or decay quickly with exposure to the elements, or you might pick a type of lumber that will become damaged by insects in no time. You might even end up working with one you’re allergic to!

Read through the information listed below to give you a head start toward choosing the right lumber for your project.

1. Redwood

The tree: These are massive trees that are known for growing huge, especially in California. This tree is classified as vulnerable and should only be purchased from sustainable lumber sources.

Use as a patio cover: It is most commonly used for musical instruments and exteriors, but it can be used as a patio cover.

Pros​​​​​

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    This is a very durable type of lumber that doesn’t rot or decay very easily.
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    IT’s easy to work with this lumber using hand tools as well as machines.

Cons

  • This is a very expensive type of lumber that can be too pricey for some projects.
  • It can be challenging to find a good source for this lumber that is eco-minded.

2. Cedar

The tree: There are actually many types of cedar trees and they all offer their own strengths and weaknesses. Red cedar is one of the most common cedar lumber options for outdoor use.

Use as a patio cover: This type of wood is better suited to fence posts as well as outdoor furniture, but it can be used for a patio cover.

Pros​​​​​

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    This is not a protected type of tree, so it’s much easier to come by than some of the other options on this list.
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    This type of lumber has a distinct aroma that many people find very pleasant, so it is often used for closets and chests.

Cons

  • This lumber can dull machinery in some instances because of the high silica content in the wood.
  • When finished, the pleasant smell of this wood is no longer noticeable, so it may not be ideal for use in a patio cover (which would require finishing).

3. Pine

The tree: Like cedar, there are several pine variations out there. The Ponderosa pine is one of the most common lumber trees in North America.

Use as a patio cover: This is a common option for patio covers and pergolas as well as tons of other outdoor applications, too.

Pros​​​​​

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    This is not a protected type of lumber and is, in fact, one of the most widely-available in the United States.
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    This product can be used for just about anything indoors or outside.

Cons

  • The smell of pine can cause asthma attacks as well as allergies in some people.
  • This type of wood actually rots and decays more quickly than other lumber options out there.

4. Douglas Fir

The tree: You may recognize this type of tree as one of the most popular live Christmas tree options.

Use as a patio cover: This is actually a great option for most types of construction, including patio covers.

Pros​​​​​

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    This is a very widely available type of wood that isn’t protected and is even available as reclaimed lumber (for a higher price).
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    This type of lumber can be worked well with a machine and looks great when stained and finished.

Cons

  • This is a type of lumber that can cause splintering more often than some of the others listed here.
  • Douglas fir may be more likely to be invaded by bugs than some other lumbers on our list.

Oak

The tree: There are several types of oak lumber out there. The less expensive option is red oak, but the better option for construction projects is white oak, which will be discussing here.

Use as a patio cover: This is a great heavy option for durable patio covers, but it will require more upkeep and maintenance than other lumbers.

Pros​​​​​

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    White oak doesn’t rot or decay very easily, even when exposed to water.
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    White oak looks great with finishes and stains (while red oak, on the other hand, doesn’t take stain or finish very well and may become warped in appearance if exposed to water).

Cons

  • Some people have allergic reactions to the wood from oak trees of any variety.
  • White oak is more expensive than red oak, but it will be required if you choose to go with oak for your patio cover.

Conclusion

There are a lot of high-quality wood options out there for you to choose from, and there are many ways you can narrow down your selection and pick the one that’s right for your patio cover. Remember that, no matter what type of wood you choose to use, you should always go with one that’s going to be resistant to water and as resistant to insect invasion as possible. You should also pick one that will hold up well to staining or finishing, since you will need to finish the lumber for your patio cover to prevent it from being damaged by weather.

It’s also important to choose a harder wood whenever possible, so it won’t splinter or fracture when you work with it. It may take some time to pick the right lumber for your needs, but here are a few more factors to keep in mind:

best wood for outdoor patio
  • Choose wood that is in the color you’re looking for. You can always paint or finish the wood in a different color, of course, but if you’re going for a more natural or rustic appearance, you’ll want something you can stain or finish and allow the original color of the wood to show through.
  • Pick wood that will give you the most for your money. While the cheapest wood out there may seem tempting, it is more likely to become damaged sooner rather than later.
  • Choose a type of wood that won’t damage the kind of tools you’re going to be working with. Some will dull machine blades very quickly, while others won’t.

In the end, the choice is entirely up to you. Take your time and consider your options before picking the right lumber for your patio cover.

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