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Pergola Hunting? Compare the Pros and Cons of Common Types

Pergola Hunting? Compare the Pros and Cons of Common Types

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After deciding on installing a pergola, you may now be browsing through different types of pergolas in the market.

Luckily, you can find several options to choose from whether it’s metal, steel, wood, or vinyl. Aside from that, your search for the perfect pergola could rest on your budget and needs.

We made it easier for you to navigate through the different types of pergolas below so you can make the best choice. Read on to get a comprehensive guide to each pergola type.

Are Vinyl Pergolas Good?

Vinyl pergolas are relatively sturdy compared to wood pergolas. Plus, this type of pergola is ideal if you have a busy lifestyle since it’s low-maintenance.

This means you don’t need to repaint or restrain the structure. The only maintenance requirement could be a yearly power wash so the color doesn’t fade. Another benefit of vinyl pergolas is their versatility.

You can find several custom hand-made vinyl pergola choices in the market. Apart from that, they’re also more affordable than wood or fiberglass options.

How Long Do Vinyl Pergolas Last?

Vinyl pergolas can last anywhere between 15 to 20 years. The material isn’t as durable as other options.

It can be vulnerable to extreme weather such as snow. In turn, environmental changes can cause the pergola to sag or become brittle over time.

Are Aluminum Pergolas Good?

If you’re searching for a more contemporary-styled pergola, then an aluminum option may be your best bet. The pergola material is strong and can withstand the rainiest and warmest of weather.

The best part about aluminum pergolas is that they require little to no maintenance. Plus, you can custom color this pergola using powder coating which lasts around 20 years.

In addition to this, aluminum is considerably lightweight, which makes this pergola an ideal placement on your deck area.

Now, when purchasing an aluminum pergola, you may need to find the extruded aluminum type. Other metallic options may look similar, but they’re made of cheap metals that’ll last much shorter.

How Long Do Aluminum Pergolas Last?

Similar to vinyl pergolas, the aluminum structure will last around 15 to 20 years. You won’t have to worry about the material deteriorating or maintenance as well.

Are Cedar Pergolas Good?

Cedar is a wood type used in making pergolas. Red cedar is often the best option used since it’s built to withstand the disadvantages associated with wood pergolas.

For instance, it’s a good choice to avoid termites and rotting. The best part is the smell the wood texture offers.

To maintain a cedar pergola, you can stain it with a reddish-hued layer. While it’s generally pricier than other wood-type pergolas, the extra cost makes up for its exceptional features such as smell and bug resistance.

How Long Do Cedar Pergolas Last?

As a wood pergola, cedar types can last around five years without proper staining. Contrastingly, it can last double those years when it’s well taken care of.

Are Metal Pergolas Good?

Metal pergolas are one of the most budget-friendly options mentioned. They’re, more often than not, offered at reasonable prices in hardware stores.

Nevertheless, they’re not cost-effective or sturdy as aluminum or steel pergolas. Plus, they can easily corrode and won’t respond well to weather extremities.

How Long Do Metal Pergolas Last?

Due to the highly reactive nature of metal, a metal-made pergola won’t likely last long compared to other types like vinyl. At most, you may get five years out of it, but afterward, it’s rust city.

Are Steel Pergolas Good?

Steel pergolas, like vinyl choices, are customizable. In turn, you can paint or powder-coat the pergola with a complimenting color for your home.

These pergolas are highly sturdy, even more so than aluminum or timber pergolas. They carry more muscle making them suitable for freestanding construction placements.

The good news is that steel pergolas are cheaper than aluminum choices. Nevertheless, this type of pergola may need a bit more work on your end.

For instance, you may only need to run over it with a piece of cloth regularly to get rid of any dust residue.

Aside from that, steel pergolas are easier to install than other types such as wood. The downside is that the pergola may look too industrial and more suited to building structures rather than a suburban neighborhood.

How Long Do Steel Pergolas Last?

Steel pergolas are impressively long-lasting on the condition that they are covered with zinc-coating or galvanized steel.

You can expect the coated pergola to last around 35 to 70 years.

Are Wood Pergolas Good?

Wood pergolas offer a timeless appeal to your backyard. They hold a certain charm, unlike the other cold metal choices.

They’re ideal in suburban neighborhoods and can work with several home architecture styles.

How Long Do Wood Pergolas Last?

Wood pergolas often have a bad rep in terms of longevity. Since they’re prone to weather exposure side effects, they tend to last around 5 years.

The wooden structure can be vulnerable to rotting, mold, termites, and heat damage. That being said, if the pergola is treated to a stain, then it could up its lifespan to between 10 to 12 years.

Are Concrete Pergolas Good?

Concrete pergolas are one of the most flexible options. For one, you can design it however you wish.

You can make it into an Ancient Greek-style pergola with thick intricately designed pillars. Alternatively, you can make your design more minimalist and modern.

Plus, you can choose from a myriad of color options. Apart from that, the downside of this pergola is that you’re essentially building an extended structure from your home so it’ll be difficult to reverse.

How Long do Concrete Pergolas Last?

Concrete pergolas can last virtually forever. You’ll only need to maintain them through regular washes with your garden hose.

Are Fiberglass Pergolas Good?

Fiberglass pergolas are often compared with vinyl choices since they offer similar characteristics. Some of these include low maintenance, weather resistance, and overall longevity.

On top of that, fiberglass pergolas are easy to construct since they’re lightweight and only require screw attaching. The main downside to fiberglass pergolas is that they may be comparatively costly.

How Long do Fiberglass Pergolas Last?

Like vinyl pergolas, fiberglass structures can last around 15 to 20 years after adequate upkeep. That usually involves repainting the pergola.

Are Timber Pergolas Good?

Another type of wood pergolas is the timber one. Timber pergolas are cheaper compared to red cedar pergolas.

Nevertheless, they’re more likely to rot and attract termites. To combat these issues, you can use a pest-resistant spray and regularly stain the pergola.

Besides that, timber pergolas will give a classical aesthetic to your garden, where you’ll feel like sipping tea and eating crumpets under the shade.

Another plus is that these wooden pergolas can be flexibly designed to any style. You can get a beachy look by adding some palm fronds to the top of the pergola.

Alternatively, you can get a traditional cross-over roof style. Now, timber pergolas may be one of the pretty options, but it’s not one of the sturdy ones like steel or aluminum.

How Long do Timber Pergolas Last?

Timber pergolas last about five years with little staining maintenance. You can extend their lifespan to 10 to 12 years provided you stain the pergola periodically.

Are CNC Cut Pergolas Good?

CNC-cut pergolas provide you with a customizable laser-cut pattern. These could amp up your backyard area and make for some interesting shadows during sunup.

The laser precise cuts can give your pergola a fresh and welcoming design. That being so, the material of CNC Cut pergolas are aluminum, wood, or steel panels.

How Long do CNC Cut Pergolas Last?

CNC-cut pergolas’ lifespan depends on their material. If it’s made of wood, with proper restrain touch-ups, it’ll last 10 to 12 years.

If it’s aluminum, it can live for around 15 to 20 years. Steel, on the other hand, will last the longest reaching approximately, 35 to 70 years.

Cost Comparison

After understanding the pros, cons, and lifespan of each pergola type based on material, let’s take a look at their average prices below.

Wood Pergolas

The standard wood pergola is usually composed of softwood materials such as red cedar, redwood, or timber.

Cedar pergolas range in price points between $2,600 to $6,300. In some cases, it can cost as low as $1,300, but only when built manually.

Meanwhile, timber pergolas generally range between $2,200 to $5,900. That being said, these structures can reach higher prices, depending on wood quality.

For instance, a tigerwood pergola can cost about $10,000.

Steel Pergolas

Steel pergolas come in reasonable prices ranging between $500 to $2,800. Prices vary depending on additional features and size differences.

Fiberglass Pergolas

Fiberglass pergolas are among the priciest structures on the list. Each square foot can cost approximately $60.

In turn, a standard 144 square feet option can reach $8,640. Besides that, the average fiberglass pergola price can range between $1,500 to $10,000.

Metal Pergolas

Metal pergolas can go around $500 to $3,000. The range mainly depends on the size of the pergola.

For instance, a 192 square feet pergola can cost about $2,800. Meanwhile, a small 84 square feet metal pergola can go for $700.

Aluminum Pergolas

Aluminum pergolas generally cost around $1,000 to $3,000. Subsequently, they fall into the same price ranges as other metal options such as steel pergolas.

Additionally, they tend to cost around $20 per square foot. Having said that, a regular 144 square feet aluminum pergola can go for about $2,880.

Vinyl Pergolas

Vinyl pergolas are usually on the more pricy side going between $1,500 to $7,000. Its high price point could be worth it since you’re also getting a longer lifespan.

Final Thoughts

After reviewing the different types of pergolas and their price points, we hope this article has given you the guidance you need.

Broadly speaking, pergolas upscale your home and bring more value. From barbecues to a morning coffee outdoor ritual, these structures have various uses.

Whether you want a timeless wood, modern aluminum, or robust steel pergola, it’ll make for an exceptional addition to your outdoor space.


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