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What Wood to Use for a Pergola (Options to Consider)

What Wood to Use for a Pergola (Options to Consider)

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Building your own pergola is something that takes a bit of planning. It’s usually not something that you’ll want to do unless you’re confident in your carpentry skills.

If you’re ready to move forward, it’s good to take the time to consider your options. Pergolas can be made out of many types of materials, but many people like the look of wooden pergolas the best.

Even if you’ve narrowed things down and decided to go with a wooden pergola, there are still choices to be made. You need to decide what type of wood to use for the project.

What type of wood is the best for pergolas? Are there certain types that you should stay away from?

Continue reading to learn about the best building materials to use for pergolas. This should make it easier to figure out what to do so you can have a fantastic experience with your new pergola.

Can You Build a Pergola With Untreated Wood?

It’s not that uncommon to see people build pergolas with untreated wood. Many say that using untreated wood is a very good option for these structures.

However, it should be noted that there are some downsides. Treated wood is able to survive better outside.

Treated wood can stand up to the elements while untreated wood will be susceptible to rot and getting damaged by the weather. So if you choose to use untreated wood to build the pergola, you’re likely going to treat it yourself, simply to make it last.

So this might mean that using untreated wood won’t be as practical as you’d hope. Regardless, many people go with untreated wood because it has a rustic charm that’s hard to deny.

Will Pressure Treated Wood Work?

Yes, pressure treated wood can be used to build a pergola. Many people go with pressure treated wood because it’s inexpensive.

If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on materials, pressure treated wood will be appealing. You can get as much as you need without breaking the bank.

There are some positives to using this type of wood outside of affordability. This wood type is resistant to rot and it’s not going to have problems with insects either.

The only downside is that some people say that pressure treated wood doesn’t look as nice. Even so, it’s an option that you’ll likely want to consider given all of the positives.

What About Douglas Fir?

Douglas fir is a stellar wood choice for pergolas. Experts often say that this is among the best types of wood to choose.

There are many reasons why this is the preferred type of wood for pergolas for many professionals. It’s a very strong wood that can deal with a lot of weight.

You’ll love the color of this wood. It’s truly a beautiful option that will make your pergola look stupendous.

The practicality of using this wood is there as well. It grips nails easily and you’ll have an easy time building the pergola with it.

Also, it’s able to withstand harsh conditions easily. So it’s perfect for outdoor use.

It’s great to know that this wood type is easy to find as well. It’s less expensive than some other popular options and it can easily be purchased at local stores.

Can I Use Cedar?

Yes, cedar is another common and popular type of wood that people use for pergolas. Some say it’s perfect simply because it looks gorgeous.

There are many cedar colors that you can choose from. It’s an aesthetically pleasing type of wood that should help to make your pergola look special.

It’s also a good wood type to use in damp environments. It’s resistant to the elements and it doesn’t deal with swelling or shrinking issues.

You’ll love that cedar smells nice as well. The natural oils in the cedar will keep your pergola smelling pleasant for years to come.

Bugs won’t eat the wood and it’ll be protected from rot. On the downside, cedar is expensive and you’ll need to pay a pretty penny to get what you need.

Also, the color is going to fade over the years. So long as you’re fine with these issues, cedar will be a good wood choice for a pergola.

Can Fence Posts Be Used for a Pergola?

People have successfully used fence posts for pergolas. So you can use fence posts if you’d like to.

Just make sure that you design the pergola properly so that it’ll be strong enough to support the weight of the structure. There’s no reason why fence posts can’t work for making a pergola so long as you plan things out properly.

This doesn’t mean that fence posts are the ideal building material, though. Many people would say that using some of the types of wood mentioned above will be a better idea.

If you have extra fence posts that you need to use, it makes sense to use them for a pergola. You can make a satisfying and attractive pergola using fence posts if you so desire.

Can You Use Pine?

Pine is another strong material that many people use to build pergolas. It’s not quite as durable as cedar, but it’s still a good choice that many people will be happy with.

One excellent thing about using pine is that it’s more affordable. This won’t cost you as much money as buying cedar.

To have the best experience, it’s recommended to use pressure treated pine. This type of pine will be resistant to both rot and insect issues.

So pine pergolas can last for quite some time when you build the pergola well. This could be an attractive type of wood to use for your pergola, but some say that it’s inferior to cedar or Douglas fir.

How Long Do Wooden Pergolas Last?

Now you’re likely wondering how long wooden pergolas last. Will these pergolas stand the test of time for many years?

They can last for a good amount of time even if you don’t do a lot of maintenance. Without much maintenance, a wooden pergola can be expected to last between five and seven years.

If you perform maintenance, treat the wood, and look out for the pergola it’ll last much longer than that. It’s common for pergolas to last for ten years or longer with little maintenance so long as they’re made out of treated wood.

So choosing treated wood really is better than going with untreated wood when it comes to longevity. You should be able to enjoy your pergola for a long time if you make good choices.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pergola?

It’s not going to be easy to build a pergola if you don’t have enough money to invest. Generally, it’ll cost at least $4,000 to build a pergola.

The least expensive materials will still cost quite a bit. If you want to use more expensive types of wood, you can spend between $8,000 and $10,000 on this project.

It just depends on the size of the pergola and the materials that you choose. So be prepared to spend some money when building a pergola.

If you need to keep things more affordable, you might wish to purchase a pergola kit instead. You can buy pergola kits at home improvement stores and then follow the included instructions to install them on your property.

Final Thoughts

You should have a much better idea of which types of wood you can use for pergolas now. There are many choices that you can make, but some are going to be better than others.

Most experts say that using either cedar or Douglas fir will be the best choice when building a pergola. Using pressure treated pine can also be a good choice even if it isn’t quite as durable as cedar.

You can use untreated wood to build a pergola, but it won’t last as long. Most people choose to treat the wood so that it can stand up to the elements.

Do your best to use the information above to make your decision about which wood type to use. Your preference might come down to which type of wood you think looks the best.

Or maybe you just want to use the most durable wood that will stand the test of time. Either way, you have the information that you need to make the right decision now.


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