Your patio is an extension of your home: where you can eat, relax, drink, read, and entertain. Except, of course, when the bugs roam, or it’s raining, or it’s too sunny, or the wind is like a hurricane. It’s frustrating – one of your home’s best spaces is off-limits for much of the year. With a patio enclosure, however, you can guarantee a safe and usable outside space all year round.
No matter whether you’re constructing a pool or a patio enclosure – it’s essential to do your research. Any home investment has the potential to boost your property’s value, but it can also go wrong. To turn your patio into a safe, bug-free outdoor area – maximising your home’s living space – you need to ask yourself a few key questions.
From contractors to the enclosure’s lifespan, these simple questions will help you create the most aesthetic, functional, and versatile patio or alfresco enclosure. It means you can make an informed decision.
Questions to Ask When Buying a Patio Enclosure
1. What is the purpose of your patio enclosure?
It sounds obvious, right? To enclose the patio! However, whether you’re a home or business, whether you entertain guests or just want to keep out the midges, the underlying purpose of your patio enclosure will change.
While all patio enclosures – like weather screens and PVC outdoor blinds – apply the same principle, how they achieve their goals can differ. Some include mesh inserts to prevent bugs; others are tinted to improve privacy and provide sun protection.
Asking what you want to gain from your finished patio or alfresco enclosure is essential to ensure you’re happy with the finished result.
2. What’s the benefit of a patio enclosure?
In short – how does the patio enclosure you want benefit your home or business? This is a question you’ll want to keep asking throughout the process. But you’ll also want to weigh up the pros and cons.
For example: if your patio view is simply breathtaking, increasing your privacy may limit your view. It’s a trade-off. Speak to the professional about working around such trade-offs. There may be a product that’s ideal for your situation.
Overall, patio enclosures protect against wind, rain, cold, and even bugs (using mesh inserts). Some will also increase your privacy and reduce sun exposure – essential for a restaurant that receives the full glare of the afternoon sun.
3. Do you want a weather screen or PVC café blind?
Here at Accolade, we’re experts in the two types of patio or alfresco enclosures:
- PVC outdoor blinds (café blinds)
- PVC outdoor weather screens
While both serve a similar purpose, they differ significantly in the end result? Nor do you need to choose between them – our Accolade blinds and screens are designed to work together.
Outdoor café blinds primarily work best to manage heat, light, and rain. They’re also the best option for improving your privacy; and they come in a variety of styles, from translucent to a full sunblock. However, they can rattle when windy.
Outdoor weather screens, on the other hand, involve a PVC screen enclosed in an aluminium frame. You’ll typically see either fixed or fitted screens in a sliding or folding mechanism. So, you can open up the space or close it down – depending on the weather and circumstances. The downside is they are slightly more expensive upfront.
4. How long does the consultation take?
You’ll want to ask about the quote: Is it free? What does the company need to know? Will they visit your home or property?
Because almost all homes are 100% unique – with different layouts and goals – our outdoor screens and PVC blinds are custom made. We take account of doors, fixed panels, and even pet exits. We, therefore, need around 60 to 90 minutes to discuss and measure up your property (although it can be longer if your patio enclosure is more complex).
We want to make sure we get it right. So, you can enjoy your outdoor spaces to their full potential.
5. What’s your home aesthetic?
Patio enclosures are a highly visible change to your home. They alter the whole feel of a space – that’s the idea! It’s therefore critical to ensure it fits with your home and garden aesthetic. After all, it’s supposed to be a blend of the two spaces – an in-between zone to entertain, relax, and enjoy.
Think about colours, tints, mesh panels, and more. You want an aluminium frame or PVC blinds that suit your home’s existing aesthetic, blending seamlessly into the walls and garden beyond.
6. What styles does the alfresco enclosure come in?
First, all patio enclosures should come in a range of styles. That could mean colours, tints, sunblock, patterns, and frame types. You need to know that your finished enclosure will be a space where you want to spend time, where you can invite guests and feel proud of your home.
That could mean a sleek black frame and tinted windows or a crisp white tinted blind.
But it also refers to the different fitting options for patio enclosures. Outdoor weather screens, for example, can be fixed in place. But, here at Accolade, we also offer bi-folding, stacker sliding, and awning configurations. We know your space will have unique demands, and we’ve designed and invented systems to best accommodate the screen in your home.
7. How much will it cost to install?
We all wish that price was no object – but it is. Within the initial quote, you’ll want to know the costs of the various options, what you’re spending your money on, and how you’ll pay the company.
No one wants to come to pay their bill only to find extra costs unaccounted for. Ensure your initial estimate is similar to your finished price. That means double-checking there are no hidden costs.
You might also want to ask how the payment is structured. Some companies require an initial deposit; others will be paid in full at the end. You should generally avoid companies asking you to pay in full before the project begins.
8. What is the timeline of this project?
We know you’re eager to put your patio enclosure to good use. You’re already dreaming of the lazy days reading or inviting all your friends and family around for a meal.
But how long will you have to wait?
Most patio enclosures can be fitted in a few days – depending on the scale and complexity of the job. Additions, like gable infills, will naturally add time to the project. Still, it’s sensible to get an estimate, so you can see if everything is going to plan.
9. What’s your daily work schedule?
While fitters should always try to cause the minimum disruption possible, noise is inevitable. With more of us working from home, fitting your home/work life around the installation means planning ahead. You’ll want to know the specific hours and days they’ll be working.
You need organisation – even while the project is going ahead. So don’t be afraid to ask. A professional will always adhere to the schedule throughout the job.
10. What prior experience do you have?
Experience is critical for trust. We buy when we trust someone to complete a job successfully. For patio enclosures, seeing is believing. You’ll want to read customer testimonials, ask for prior references, or see pictures of previous projects. All of these are acceptable.
You shouldn’t trust anyone without such credentials. Without references or clear examples, it means a company has either never completed a job before or did so badly and doesn’t want to talk about it.
That’s a recipe for disaster, either way. Save yourself the headache and double-check.
11. Have you completed a similar patio enclosure before?
Patio enclosures come in all shapes and sizes – we know we’ve fitted over 15,000. While no two jobs are the same, the experience of past projects does inform how you approach future work.
Completing a similar patio enclosure before isn’t essential. Still, it is a good indicator that the company knows what they’re doing. It means your expectations are more likely to align with the finished results.
It’s also helpful when you want to see how your patio enclosure will look: there’s no substitute for a good picture!
12. How long will the enclosure last?
Patio enclosures are a sizeable investment in your home: you want them to last. Ask what the average lifespan of a patio enclosure is and what you need to do to keep it in optimum condition. Most problems are due to poor maintenance. But with a small amount of care, you can enjoy your patio enclosure for many years to come.
Contact us today to organise your FREE measure and quote.