Introduction to Pergola Materials
The basic materials for pergolas are Wood, metal (Aluminum, steel and wrought iron) vinyl and fiberglass. Pergolas are a (4) post structure (sometimes more) that are constructed in a homeowner's outdoor living space.
They are constructed with 4 or more vertical posts with a some type of a roof system, generally speaking. A louvered pergola is potentially an option, as well.
Below, I will get into much more detail on the these materials and will try to shed some light on what is the best option.
It is important to choose the correct type of material for your outdoor living project when comparing pergola materials.
Some key factors to think about when picking a material would be: Selecting a rot resistant, durable material is most important when making this decision.
Minimal maintenance is also something to take into consideration when deciding which material is best for your outdoor structure.
Cedar offers a natural resistance to insects, rot and decay. It is not immune to these things, but it does offer more defense against then other types of wood.
Cedar has a beautiful aesthetic and can offer a variety of rich color palette.If comparing cedar to other wood pergolas, Cedar has a clear advantage when durability is a factor.
Redwood is quite durable and resistant to decay.
Redwood is also weather resistant and can reduce some of the annual maintenance requirements that most types of wood require. However, longtime maintenance requirements are still applicable and will need to be addressed.
Pressure treated wood
Pressure treated wood is a more cost effective material with added resistance to decay and insect infestation than natural wood.
One drawback of pressure treated wood is that it has several chemicals added to it to make it decay and insect resistant, thus adding environmental concerns. It is designed to prevent rot but has its problems.
Aluminum pergolas are lighter in weight, rot and decay resistant as well as averse to insect infestation.
Aluminum is also among the most low maintenance materials for pergola. With minimal maintenance requirements, aluminum will maintain the perfect outdoor space during even the most extreme temperatures. The above mentioned give aluminum many distinct advantages over competing materials.
With a powder coated finish, aluminum is often rust resistant and the best material for durability and heavy snowfall.
Steel is incredibly strong and can be an asset while supporting structures.
Steel can rust easily and have plenty of upkeep involved to keep clean. When choosing pergola material, it is important to keep these items in mind.
Wrought Iron has a classic design with an ornamental aesthetic. Very decorative by nature and many homeowners appreciate this style.
Wrought iron can be on the expensive side and needs constant maintenance to inhibit rust.
Wrought iron can have higher installation costs compared to other pergola materials. It is important to choose the right material when building your pergola.
Vinyl is a versatile material that requires little maintenance. It does, however, contract and expand in extreme warm and cold temperatures. Vinyl is also susceptible to fading and warping under strong uv rays.
Vinyl is resistant to rot and decay as well as insects but has limited color options when comparing other materials. Paint does not adhere well to vinyl and can very easily peel or flake. Many big box stores carry a vinyl pergola.
Fiberglass is a lightweight, strong material that is resistant to rot, decay and insect infestation.
Fiberglass is limited in the amount of options and colors that can be had. Fiberglass pergola kits are not nearly as popular as other styles.
What is the Best Pergola Material?
Aluminum is the best pergola material for your outdoor structures. Aluminum is a light weight material and is simple to assemble on site for your pergola project. When comparing wood pergola to vinyl pergolas to aluminum pergolas, there a few things to consider.
Is the material maintenance free? Will the material rot, decay or be infested with insects? We know from earlier that wooden pergola can rot, decay and be overtaken by insects, excluding a few exceptions such as cedar, redwood and pressure treated wood. Wood also needs to be stained, painted or sealed on an annual or biannual schedule. These annual maintenance activities can add a considerable long term and short term cost to your project.
As we discussed earlier, vinyl can expand and contract in extreme cold and hot temperatures. Aluminum will not do this, it will keep its shape and strength, thus making it the best pergola material. Many homeowners prefer a stronger material when deciding on what to use for their outdoor living area, or pergola.
Aluminum is virtually a maintenance free pergola material, with very minimal upkeep needed. There is no need to paint, sand or seal aluminum on a yearly basis, thus saving money, year over year. Aluminum offers a modern and sleek look, and is used in many contemporary designs.
Aluminum can also withstand a wide variety of weather conditions. Anything from UV rays, to heavy rains and snow, aluminum pergola can withstand virtually all harsh elements. Aluminum pergolas are the best, low maintenance choice for your backyard space.
Will the Luxury Pergola blow away like my patio umbrella or light weight pergola?
No. The Luxury Pergola is designed to last a lifetime, not be replaced each year. Our engineering allows for the winds of 130mph and some sizes can handle even greater winds. This far exceed any of the other online pergola kit wind ratings.
Is the Luxury Pergola water tight?
Yes, it's water tight in a light to heavy rain. The Luxury Pergola's sealing louver system keeps you dry while all the water will rush into the gutters and drain then out of the system. Water Tight does not mean totally waterproof. Because it can open and close, the Luxury Pergola will not keep out the water as well as a traditional roof. Also, the sides of the unit are open, allowing for rain to enter.
What maintenance does the Luxury Pergola need?
Designed to be as maintenance free as possible the Luxury Pergola requires only a hose or leaf blower to clean off the leaves and dirt that will accumulate. Keep the gutters clean of debris to allow for rain to flow away quickly!
Will the Luxury Pergola be able to handle my snow load?
Yes, while other pergolas will only handle snow up to 8.2 lbs. per square foot (quite weak), the Luxury Pergola is engineered to hold up to 60 lbs per square foot of snowload when closed.