Complete Pergola Buying Guide

If you’re unsure as to what a pergola actually is, you are not alone. In fact, most people assume a pergola and a gazebo or trellis are the same structure, when actually they are very different. Pergolas come in different shapes and sizes and they can be a great addition to your home and its landscaping. But as it is with any purchase for your home, you need to know all the facts before making your decision. 

Our Rollac team knows you need plenty of information about pergolas, here is our pergola buying guide that has everything you need to know.

Pergola in a backyard on a sunny day

What is a Pergola?

Now that you know a pergola is not classified as a canopy, a gazebo, an arbor, trellis, or pavilion, you’re wondering what exactly is a pergola? Basically, a pergola is any type of outdoor structure where columns or posts are used to act as support for an open roof made up of rafters and beams.

Pergolas come in numerous styles and can be made of various materials. However, all pergolas do have beams, rafters, and columns. Options that can be added include purlins or stringers that can often be placed above the rafters for additional shade.  

Ledger boards are also part of attached pergolas, and are used instead of a beam to keep the pergola attached to your home.

Advantages of Pergolas in Outdoor Spaces

Should you purchase a pergola, you’ll reap many advantages from having it in your outdoor space, such as:

  • Cooler temperatures on hot days
  • Neutralizing harmful UV rays
  • Much more privacy
  • Innovative use of your outdoor living areas
  • Easily installed almost anywhere
  • Greater style and elegance for your home

If you have been comparing pergola vs roof in terms of benefits, you now realize a pergola can win out every time.

Types and Styles of Pergolas

Our team at Rollac knows your home is unique. This will work to your advantage when selecting a pergola for your home, since they come in many shapes and styles, such as:

1. Freestanding Pergolas

These stand separate from your home, usually near your pool or a garden. A freestanding pergola can also be used to create many types of unique living spaces within a yard.

2. Attached

This pergola will attach directly to your wall, and is often used to cover decks or patios. Attached pergolas are popular with homeowners who want their outdoor living areas to simply be an extension of a home’s interior.

3. Arched

This pergola will give your home a very elegant appearance. Unlike some pergolas that are made with flat roofs, an arched pergola brings elegance and charm to its setting.

4. Louvered Pergolas

A pergola that can be opened and closed for more or less sunlight, louvered pergolas can be manual or automatic. Instead of using traditional slats, louvers take the place of rafters.

5. Awning

This pergola will be attached to a wall, will not use support posts or columns, and can be installed over windows or doors for a pleasant look and more shade. Like many people, you may add vines that climb up your pergola for more shade and a unique look.

Does Building a Pergola Require a Permit?

To install a pergola, a permit may or may not be needed, depending on where you live. Always check local regulations in your city and county, and also check with your HOA (Homeowner’s Association) for any additional guidelines about installing outdoor structures if applicable.

Where Can Pergolas be Installed?

Modern pergolas can be installed almost anywhere of your choosing. Many people love having a structure such as this over a deck or patio, since this can turn the outdoor area into an extension of the home’s interior. Chairs, tables, a grill, and other items can be added to create a true living area.

Pergolas are also great to provide shadow to a pool,  jacuzzi or spa. To get more privacy, you can also include privacy screens and patio covers, making this a low-maintenance option that creates even more beauty.

Finally, pergolas are always popular in gardens or walkways that deserve more emphasis. Possessing wonderful architectural elements, climbing vines or colorful plants can be added for extra emphasis.

How to Choose The Right Pergola for Your Outdoor Space

When buying a pergola, take the following things into consideration.

Choose your material

Wood is the most common material used to build pergolas. Factor in your area’s climate, insects that may pose a problem, how much maintenance and care you can give to your pergola, your project’s budget, and the overall cost of building a pergola when selecting materials.

Know Your Frost Level

Know your area’s frost depth, which is the level at which the ground freezes. This is crucial, since support beams need to be installed below this level. If they are not, they will crack and be displaced from their holes, ruining your pergola.

Style and Shape

Square and rectangular pergolas are the most versatile. However, you can also choose from pergola shapes such as hexagonal or circular, depending on your needs and preference.

Coverage and Shade

Consider how much coverage and shade you want from your pergola. Panels provide coverage you can easily control, while a thatched or aluminum roof will do if you know you always want complete coverage.

Are Hurricanes a Factor?

Always decide if you will need a hurricane proof pergola for your home. If so, a metal pergola may be best for your home. Able to withstand harsh weather conditions, they can also be easily dismantled prior to a storm if necessary.

Can Pergola Installation be a DIY Project?

Yes. You can build your pergola from the ground up, or instead make it easier by relying on a prefabricated pergola kit. If you’re not comfortable doing this as a DIY project, hire a professional builder to bring your pergola to life.

A Wonderful Addition

Whether you want a new way to protect outdoor furniture on your patio, give yourself more privacy when swimming, or create an exquisite outdoor space to entertain guests, a Rollac pergola can make the visions in your imagination become reality. To learn more about the many benefits our pergolas offer, contact us today here at Rollac.