Last Updated on April 17, 2017
Outdoor pergolas, no matter what their construction, are very beautiful structures, but like all things come with a penalty notice.
Many people say they want a structure that they don’t need to really care for, and many interior designers hear the words “I want zero maintenance.” They want something that will withstand the tests of time itself and come out looking like it had the day it was installed.
It can’t be done. But it is possible to reduce the maintenance problems by selecting a pergola that is made from the right materials. Many of these materials – light and strong are already used.
Wood is a very resilient substance, and is regularly used for building garden furniture.
- Cost effective – pressure treated wood is the least expensive wood on the market. There’s a price bump that is quite decent for cedar.
- It’s readily available which is great for anyone, and is for sale locally, no matter where you live.
- Wood is easy to use, and if you are a carpenter or know a good carpenter then you will know wood is very easy to use.
- There is a lot of information available about the types of wood there are out there, and what you can use it for. This knowledge will be important when you decide to build an outdoor pergola made from it.
- Weight is an issue. Cedar, for instance, is very light, but its pressure treated variety is heavy. You will need to consider this when constructing footers or a deck attachment.
- Span distance is another con – depending on the sizes of the boards you want to use for your project, your span distance can be an issue.
- Pressure treated wood left to the elements will always warp, crack, or move in a direction you don’t want. Cedar is a most desirable wood, but overhangs or unsupported runs, you’ll need to keep watch and be aware of how it behaves.
- To keep the wood always looking its best, it will be important for you to maintain it by painting or staining it. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as lifetime treatment, so you will need to regularly paint or stain the wood structure.
- Weight is an important factor, fiberglass is very light. It can easily be installed on a deck attached to a plate that then attached to the joists.
- Fiberglass can be painted in any color, and whilst it may chip during transit to your property, there will always be more paint to touch up any damage done. Also fiberglass doesn’t move like wood does. But beyond that and a bit of basic cleaning the fiberglass will look like new. Always.
- Fiberglass pergolas can span up to 20 feet with no posts, and still remain stable.
- These pergolas are shipped like kits made by model makers, making installation simple and easy. Everything is cut to length according to your specifications.
- Availability is a problem since there are few manufacturers who actually make fiberglass pergolas.
- People buying fiberglass have to pay 2-3x the amount that they would if they’d stuck to wooden pergolas.
- The waiting. You are told it will be there 3-4 weeks, it might end up 10-12 weeks before you have the pergola.
There are other advantages to having a pergola. It can maximize the outdoor space, adding a focal point in your garden, so if you have parties or barbecues it will serve as the perfect entertainment center. People who wish to spend much of their time living in their garden and making the best of it, a pergola is their best choice, and they also provide much needed shade, and add to vines in the garden.
The main drawbacks to owning one is the cost, the materials they are made from, and the need to keep it clean and looking as attractive as the day it was first bought. It can create additional work for the owners who will need to clean it, and finally they are too large and require a garden of sizable space, so they are not for everyone to own.