Looking to enhance your backyard space? Outdoor pergolas are a great way to define your outdoor area and add a decorative touch to your landscape while creating shade and protection from outdoor elements. Whether directly mounted on your exterior walls or as a separate freestanding structure in your backyard, pergolas will transform your patio into a beautifully shaded dining area or lounging retreat to host your family and loved ones.
Among homeowners, the two most popular pergola materials are wood and aluminum, each having distinct advantages and drawbacks to take into consideration when choosing the best pergola for your outdoor space. Read on to find out which of these two pergola framing options is better suited for your needs and personal taste.
1- Wood pergola: advantages and drawbacks
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Natural look and added customization
Thanks to their natural look and finish, wood pergolas can blend seamlessly with your garden backdrop, rustic landscape design and surrounding greenery. They are known for their versatility: you can choose different types of wood, hues and finishes like cedar, mahogany, and maple, as well as change the color scheme by repainting. In addition, they are easier to shape than metal or other materials (you can purchase and cut the lumber to any size or design specifications), making them a good option for homeowners looking to adjust or customize the shape, size and look of their pergola.
Sturdy mount and structure
Perfect for any rural setting, wood provides a sturdy mount and framework to withstand strong winds and other weather inclements, especially if you live in an area with rough weather conditions (such as Canada!). However, wood pergolas can become a little more challenging and time-consuming to assemble, and in most cases will require the help of a professional to ensure proper installation.
Wood naturally weathers with age by warping or cracking and will require sanding, staining, sealing and other types of treatments every few years to keep it in good condition. While cedar and other naturally rot-resistant woods are less prone to warping or cracking, they may eventually become weathered or develop cracks that will require eventual replacement.
In addition, some types of wood are most susceptible to termites and other wood-eating insects; in order to keep them at bay, your wood pergola may require the use of several chemical treatments that could be harmful for you and your family.
2- Aluminum pergola: benefits and limitations
Sleek look and versatile design
Although the color scheme of an aluminum pergola is more limited than its wood counterpart, aluminum options provide different finishes and metallic shades, giving your property a more modern, sleek and polished finish that will mesh well with the urban design of your home.
In addition to the structure, your pergola can also be adorned with a wide range of canvas fabrics, textures and colors for added personalization.
Practical, durable and lightweight
Retractable aluminum pergolas, pergolinas or wall pergolas can fit anywhere on your property, making them an ideal choice for smaller homes and backyards with limited spacing. They will provide the added shade you desire without impeding or clustering your outdoor living area.
Another added benefit of aluminum structures is that they are lightweight and resilient - making them better suited for installation on smaller decks, exterior walls, ceilings or other areas where weight must be kept to a minimum. Durable and weather resistant, they can remain in place year-long by simply rolling back the roof with the manual or motorized crank.
Little to no maintenance
The smooth, non porous surface of aluminum or vinyl pergolas can withstand weather inclements, making them a great option for homeowners who don’t want the hassle of regular upkeep. Unlike wood pergolas, aluminum pergolas don’t require annual staining or seasonal maintenance. They include a waterproof and weather-resistant paint finish and come equipped with a 10-year warranty to fully protect against rot and rust. Consequently, they do not need to be re-painted, stained or sanded unless some outside damage occurs. Vinyl or aluminum materials will need only periodic washing to keep it from looking worn out.
Unlike wood, aluminum pergolas are also easier and faster to install and assemble, which is even more of a good thing if you have taken on the project of installing them yourself!
Retractable roofing option
An added benefit of aluminum pergolas is that they possess adjustable and retractable roofing options. Unlike static wood structures, the aluminum structures have retractable canvases that allow sunlight to penetrate without the roof beams obstructing the skylight view. Whether you need a total shade, partial share, or a complete sunbathe, everything is possible with an aluminum pergola. You can adjust the amount of shade and protection you need, and retract the roof whenever you want to enjoy a little sunshine.
So what’s the best pergola material to use for your home? Before purchasing your outdoor pergola, consider the aforementioned points to ensure you get the one that is best suited for your needs.
Both options have advantages and limitations: while aluminum pergolas are clean and modern, they require limited maintenance and generally cost less, they are also less customizable. Wood pergolas can be more costly, are more difficult to install and require some maintenance; however they are sturdy, natural options that can withstand the test of time and blend beautifully with your landscape.
No matter which option you opt for, you can rest assured they are a great long-term investment for your home. Not only will they extend the lifespan of your outdoor living space, they will also protect you from unfavorable weather conditions and enhance the overall look of your patio.