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Can You Put a Roof on a Pergola? (Types of Roofs to Consider)

Can You Put a Roof on a Pergola? (Types of Roofs to Consider)

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Having a pergola in your garden or backyard sounds like a lot of fun and relaxation. It also adds a certain amount of warmth and style to any outdoor space.

However, on sunny—and rainy—days, you might make use of some overhead protection. So, you’re probably wondering, ‘Can you put a roof on a pergola?’ The answer is yes, you can!

Luckily, there are many types of roofs you can add to your pergola to match every taste and personal preference. Each has its own style and provides something different to your pergola.

So, are you interested in finding out more? In today’s article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about putting a roof on a pergola.

Let’s dive in!

Can You Put a Roof on a Pergola?

You can definitely add a roof to your pergola. Not only will it provide shade and cozier seating, but it’ll also protect your pergola from rain, wind, and snow.

In addition, installing a roof to your pergola isn’t just a matter of functionality; it can completely transform your pergola’s look. So, if you want a way to elevate your pergola without replacing it, simply put a roof on it!

Still, you should consider how much extra weight your pergola can handle. Then, you can decide if you can put a roof on your pergola and pick the same material and size of the roof.

Do All Pergolas Have Roofs?

Pergolas don’t usually have roofs. Instead, most feature an open-roof design, which consists of pillars that support an open-slatted roof. This way, you can have a partially-shaded seating space or plant lovely vines that act as a makeshift roof.

Still, roofed pergolas are extremely popular. You can either buy a roofed pergola or customize your pergola to have a solid roof.

It’s worth mentioning that many people refer to a pergola with a roof as a ‘pavilion.’ Although, there are many differences between pergolas and pavilions, such as size and purpose.

Can a Pergola Have a Flat Roof?

Your pergola can certainly have a flat roof. In fact, flat roofs are actually easier to install than sloped or domed roofs.

That said, however, designers believe that roofs should have a slight slope to them. This helps prevent water, dust, and debris from accumulating on top of the roof that could damage its structural integrity.

Moreover, you can’t have a fire pit in your pergola if you have a flat roof. The flat roof will be too close to the fire, which is a major safety hazard.

Can a Pergola Have a Solid Roof?

Traditional pergolas have slatted roofs. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a pergola with a solid roof.

As a matter of fact, one of the more popular roof styles is the louvered design. This style allows you to enjoy both a solid roof when you need shelter. Then, easily open it up to bring in light and fresh air when you no longer need a solid roof.

What Type of Roof Can You Put on a Pergola?

There are many types of roofs to choose from for your pergola. It can be daunting to pick just one. That’s why you should select the style that suits your needs and fits with the look you have in mind.


Fabric roofs are one of the most popular options for pergolas. The reason is that they’re lightweight. So, you’ll get a nice breeze while still being shaded.

A fabric roof is a way to go if you live in an area that rarely gets rain or snow because fabrics aren’t as durable as other options. Plus, they tend to absorb water and require frequent cleaning.

The good news is that there are many versatile fabrics to pick from. Yet, the most popular by far is the highly durable canvas resistant to water and ultraviolet rays.


Putting a metal roof on your pergola is a great option if you want extra durability, especially if you opt for an aluminum roof. It’s durable, versatile, and easily customizable.

Plus, it’s resistant to rust and corrosion, making it a perfect option for handling extreme weather, and it’s resistant to rust and corrosion.

It’s also super light. So, there’s no extra load on the pillars.

Climbing Plants

Pergolas and greenery are a match made in heaven. That’s because pergolas have all the means to help you grow beautiful green canopies or even a full roof of vines!

Even though you’ll get natural, beautiful greenery, there are some minor drawbacks to having plants as a roof.

First, they require plenty of upkeep, especially since they’ll constantly be in direct contact with the elements. Moreover, they tend to attract a lot of insects and birds. So, if you’re planning to have a lot of picnics in your pergola, a vine roof might not be the best option.

Additionally, if you’re planning to install a fire pit under your pergola, you might reconsider having a plant roof. The heat and fumes from the fire can be deadly to the plants.


A louvered roof is the most versatile roof choice out there. This mechanical roof can be retracted with a simple touch of a button. Also, it’s waterproof and rust-resistance.

If you can’t decide whether to put a roof on your pergola or leave it breezy, a louvered roof is excellent since you truly get the best of both worlds. It’s also easy to clean; simply adjust the slants, then wipe up the dust and debris.

Fixed Panels

If you’re set on putting a roof on your pergola, then fixed panels are your best friend. Unlike louvered roofs, these panels are permanently attached to your pergola.

This can be a great advantage because you won’t have to worry about any mechanical issues with the panels. To add, they can be extremely sturdy, making them a good option for harsher climates.

How Much Does It Cost to Put a Roof on a Pergola?

The cost of adding a roof to your pergola can vary according to many aspects. For starters, you should consider the size of your pergola. Naturally, a larger roof will cost more.

Moreover, the material of the roof can significantly impact its price. Typically, you’re looking to spend about $10 to $50 per square foot.

Still, you can greatly cut down on costs if you install the roof yourself. So, if you’re confident in your roofing skills, it’s a fairly straightforward process that doesn’t require much DIY experience.

Benefits of Putting a Roof on Your Pergola

Putting a roof on your pergola does much more than just elevating the look of your outdoor space. These nifty additions come with a handful of benefits and advantages besides making your backyard a fun place to hang out.

Take a look.


The first and most apparent asset a roof will bring you is shade. Not only will this roof allow you to use the pergola more often, but it’ll allow you to transform your pergola into a greenhouse.

A roofed pergola gives you the freedom to be both indoors and outdoors at the same time. This means you can hold picnics, get-togethers, and parties even if it’s pouring.

The alternative is also true. If you’re hosting a party in the summertime, what better place to lounge around for hours without getting sunburned than in a roofed pergola?


Being outdoors usually means limited privacy. Thankfully, another benefit of installing a roof on your pergola is that it gives you added privacy even when you’re outside.


Though you might think putting a roof on your pergola is pricey, it can save you a lot of money in the long run. Adding a roof to your pergola will protect it from various weather conditions.

Furthermore, you won’t need to clean your pergola as frequently. The roof will keep your pergola cleaner for longer periods. So, your pergola will require less frequent cleaning.

What’s more, you can install a waterproof roof for your pergola for added protection. Since pergola roofs are usually slated, the roof will basically clean itself of the rainwater. This will especially come in handy if you live in a rainy area.

Final Thoughts

So, can you put a roof on a pergola? The answer is simply yes!

In fact, you can choose from many roofing materials for your pergola, depending on your personal preference.

Having a roof on your pergola will provide you with shade and some privacy. Additionally, it’ll protect the pergola from bad weather.

However, there are some things you should consider when picking the type of roof for your pergola. First, fabric roofs aren’t the best option for rainy areas. Second, aluminum roofs are a little more expensive but are the most durable option.

Moreover, climbing plants is aesthetically pleasing but will attract insects. On the other hand, louvered roofs are the safest and most versatile option, and the fixed panels are perfect for harsh climates.


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