fourIf you’re reading this post, you probably already know that outdoor kitchens are among the hottest new trends in entertaining. There’s even a good chance that you’re thinking of building one – or, if you’re one of the really lucky ones, you’re already enjoying the many benefits of this enhancement of the indoor/outdoor lifestyle.

Whichever category you fall in, you might be thinking that it would be a good idea to install some sort of covering to protect both you and your investment – unless you enjoy preparing a meal while standing in the pouring rain or the blistering sun (hey, everyone has their quirks!). As a result, building a patio roof is a wise and worthwhile investment.

There are a number of porch roofing options available to choose from. Outdoor patio roof designs range from open pergolas to setups with a full roof and ceiling, and the one that’s best for you very much depends on your individual circumstances – where you live, how much you want to spend, the particulars of your property, and your aesthetic preferences. To help you with your planning, John Anderson, of Severe Weather Roofing in Denver, provides four basic things you need to consider in order to make an informed decision.

Climate
Obviously, the weather conditions in your region are going to play a key role in determining what kind of structure you need. In Southern California and Arizona, for example, the most important issue is the sun, while for the rest of the country, rain is generally a more significant concern. Thus a lighter structure designed primarily to provide shade would be more appropriate for the former, while a more solid – and specifically waterproof – roof is the right choice for areas with frequent seasonal rains.

In addition, you might want to consider installing heaters and/or fans as an integral part of the roof design, especially if you want to use your outdoor kitchen year-round. In all cases, of course, it’s extremely important to ensure that there’s adequate ventilation, allowing grill smoke to escape and avoid overheating.

Aesthetics
There are as many designs for outdoor kitchen roofs as there are designers, and apart from budgetary considerations, much depends on your personal taste. One common principle, though, is that the outdoor kitchen should feel like an extension of the house, an effect that can be achieved by matching salient architectural details and materials (e.g., in-roof tiles, support columns and veneers).

However, if your taste runs more to contrasts, you may opt to use different materials and choose a style that stands out from your main residence. The key, of course, is to find what works for you and to collaborate with your contractor to achieve the ideal blend of form and function.

Logistics
Especially if you’re contemplating erecting a full roof made from solid materials, the size and topography of your property will be a significant factor. Depending on whether your outdoor kitchen is freestanding or attached to your house, the roof will require two or more columns to provide adequate support. You will also need to install footings wherever the support columns are going to be placed.

And, since the roof will be serving as a barrier between you and the rain (remember the rain?), you will need to have a drainage system to direct the water away from you house and your outdoor kitchen. Finally, most properties have setbacks that determine exactly where you are allowed to build, and it’s extremely important to be aware of these limitations before beginning to work on building a patio roof.

Budget
As with many things in life, what you’re willing or able to spend will be another significant factor in your decision-making process. Whether you choose a shed-style or gable roof; install a ceiling or not and, if so, what kind of material you use; opt for simple wooden support columns or fancier masonry and stone pillars; or include such extras as lighting, ceiling fans, built-in heaters, or wiring for a sound system or TV are all choices that will affect the cost of your structure. However, regardless of the decisions you ultimately make, you’ll find that putting a roof over your outdoor kitchen will make it feel more like a room and allow you to more easily bring indoor comfort outdoors.