July 25, 2020 - 8:05 am
The desert sun would scorch the patio of the Dellingers’ Las Vegas household, unwelcome and intrusive, like that blaring and opinionated uncle at the family holiday dinner.
“We couldn’t go outside in our backyard until the sun went down,” says Kyle Dellinger, 43, a Las Vegas native.
For years the Dellingers — Kyle, wife Mande and their three children — coped with a baked, southerly exposed backyard and sizzling sunbeams beating on two sliding doors, one that led from their kitchen-dining area and another from the living room.
The Dellingers found a solution in patio covers, two that were part of a nearly $80,000 yard renovation that included a swimming pool and bar.
“Just a dramatic change when we put up the patio covers,” Dellinger says. “For me, I was just missing a place with shade where I could cool off and enjoy a little family time outside.”
Lee Packer hears that word — shade — most often when customers seek out his input on covering a patio. His Las Vegas company, Bella Patio, built the Dellingers’ patio covers and bar, completing the job in November 2018.
“People living out here just want some shade, a way to escape the sun,” says Packer, whose company last year installed about 250 residential patio covers.
With its mild winter and pleasant spring, Southern Nevada is perfect for entertaining outdoors almost year-round. When is it not patio season?
“Now we’re entertaining outside every weekend,” Dellinger says, giving quite a bit of credit to the patio covers — one 10 feet by 25 feet and the other 10 feet by 12 feet, each attached to his home for about $13,000, bar included.
In addition to seeking shade, entertaining and expanding indoor living space are among the other reasons homeowners desire cover for their backyards.
“It’s like you have another room for the house,” says Tom Casey, vice president of sales for Pennsylvania-based Anthony &Sylvan Pools, which has been building swimming pools nationwide since 1946 and has a Las Vegas office. “A covered patio becomes a retreat from the worries of the workweek. A homeowner now has a place outdoors that can have multiple uses.”
Casey has been in the pool-building industry for 34 years. Early in his career, features like patio covers would be an afterthought, something a homeowner might want several years after a pool was built.
Today, such features, including bars, built-in grills or mini-kitchens, audio-video packages, lighting, fans and misters, often are part of a homeowners’ initial plan. Now, all are offered by Anthony &Sylvan Pools, he says.
“It’s not just pool construction anymore,” Casey says. “It’s about bringing all the indoor living comforts outside. These accessories and upgrades have become part of the 21st century.”
Packer’s Bella Patio also offers built-in grills. While his company doesn’t do electrical work, it does offer support materials so many upgrades can be more easily made after the patios are built.
For Bella Patio, about 90 percent of the installations are attached to the home, Packer says.
“Our average patio runs about $5,000 to $8,000,” Packer says. “We’ve done smaller covers, too, and one commercial build that included food courts ran about $85,000.”
A patio cover with fancy upgrades — bars and grills — and more stylish columns will increase the price, of course.
For the Dellingers, the investment in their patio covers also brought an energy advantage.
During the long summer months, the Dellingers had to crank up the air conditioning to keep their kitchen area and living room adequately cooled.
Without the shade from the patio covers, those sunbeams heated up their indoor areas.
“I usually set the thermostat at about 80, but I found myself always turning it down to 75 or so to compensate,” Dellinger says. “Those two areas would just heat up all the time, and we’d have to avoid being in those rooms.”
The shade from the patio covers means he no longer has to toy with his thermostat. Set it, forget it.
“We’ve probably cut our summer utility bill by $30 or $40 a month,” Dellinger says.
Before you invest
Lee Packer, owner of Bella Patio, offers these tips for homeowners:
■ Do your research. Many patio covers require a building permit and approval from a homeowners association. Las Vegas residents can find building codes for patio covers online at files.lasvegasnevada.gov/building-safety/When-Do-I-Need-a-Permit.pdf.
Residents in a neighborhood governed by an HOA should get its guidelines for patio covers before meeting with an installer or builder.
“If any company or builder says you don’t need a permit, by checking ahead of time you can be sure,” says Packer, whose company submits all paperwork to municipalities for building permits.
■ Expect delays. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench into the procedure of many construction companies, Bella Patio included. Companies that supply equipment and materials were shut down by the pandemic, so Packer says he has to wait longer than before. And his office staff is working from home, which can complicate communication.
Normally, the process for permits, HOA approval and getting materials would take four to six weeks, Packer says. “Now, because of the pandemic, it’s like eight to 10.”
■ Visit a showroom. Even during the pandemic, some companies are making appointments with customers. “It’s always better to see the materials in person,” Packer says.
■ Shade or style. “Where do you want to put your money?” Packer says. “You can build larger and have more shade coverage by using standard materials. More upgrades and more stylish materials increase cost.”
— Gary Dymski