Arbors and Patio Covers - What's the Difference?

Arbors and patio covers make great additions to backyards— adding dimension, character, depth, beauty and perhaps most pronounced, shade. In the heat of Texas, we know how valuable shade can be. Although the structures share similar characteristics, there are a few key differences. The purpose of this post is to explain BMR Pool and Patio’s personal definitions and implications of each.


An arbor is a backyard shade shelter with aesthetic appeal. The biggest difference between arbors and patio covers is that arbors are not waterproof. Their lattice roof allows water to make its way through. Arbors are either freestanding or attached to a separate structure, but designed to provide shade over a walkway, patio, seating area, pool, bench, etc. At BMR, we build arbors using Western Red Cedar. The standard price includes staining of the cedar to ensure its protection from Mother Nature. Our team at BMR Pool and Patio can design and build any size, style or shape to fit your wants and needs.

BMR pool and patio covered arbor.jpg

Patio Cover

Unlike arbors, you can stand beneath a patio cover and not get wet. In other words, patio covers are waterproof. They also provide shade. A standard BMR patio cover is built from Standard Yellow Pine framing material, 30-year composition fire retardant shingles that matches the residence existing roof, finished with cedar textured sofit or painted to match the residence. We offer an upgraded finish to Western Red Cedar stained to your preference in color. Almost any size, style or shape can be designed to fit your needs.

Modified Roof Patio Cover

You might not hear the term Modified Roof Patio Cover too often, partially because the term was coined about 15 years ago when owners Rick and Mason had the idea of creating a waterproof arbor. So, you might be wondering, how do we create a waterproof arbor? First, our team builds a typical arbor with Western Red Cedar, but we do not install the shade slats on top that we would with a typical arbor. Instead, we create a Western Red Cedar ceiling, apply a 4x8 OSB roof decking, follow it with 30 lbs of felt paper and a bitumen asphalt roof. Each of these steps ensure a waterproof ceiling. In the old days, we called these structures modified roof arbors, but since the codes have changed and water shed through, we gave them a totally new redesign and name.

BMR pool and patio mod roof arbor.jpg

Now, You can Discover the BMR Difference

BMR takes pride in ensuring our customers are fully satisfied. For 20 years, we have been building arbors, pergolas and patio covers all around the metroplex. We love that we get to work with homeowners and establish a clear vision and picture of their backyard dream. Although we are the ones building it, YOU help control the look, feel and additional features. Want lighting or a bar? We can do it! What about a fireplace, refrigerator, stone columns or seat wall? No problem, we got you covered! Our goal is to create the backyard oasis that you and your friends and family can create lifelong, lasting memories in. 

Now which outdoor living structure grabs your attention the most? Call us today for a free estimate!