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Pergola materials

Wednesday 28 December 2011,

What are the different materials for your pergola structure? their benefits and their respective disadvantages? How to choose the right material? Depending on your budget and the style of your House


Wood is the traditional material of the pergola. Aboriginal, but more than ever contemporary, wood has many advantages:

  • It is a material suited to all styles, from rustic to contemporary.
  • sustainable, if the choice of gasoline is a good idea.
  • without maintenance. Contrary to received and bandied around, wood requires no maintenance of protection. Choose only a suitable wood species. This is especially true with class treats trade 4 models. Woodstains, oils and varnishes have no other functions to limit the grisaillement of wood.
  • economic. All materials presented in this paper, wood is by far the most economical.
  • It is a material that will provide a warm and casual.
  • Friendly work.

But we know him a few disadvantages:

  • He became grey with time. Unless there is a product a saturator, a glazing paint or varnish.
  • The structure is a little more showy than with other materials.

There are pergola Glulam manufacturers. Glulam offers additional features from natural solid wood:

  • It is much more stable. He worked shortly, does not split.
  • Can be glued very long pieces.
  • Can be parts of all forms, rounds, etc. Glulam is obviously much more expensive than the m3.
    He is well suited for contemporary pergolas. For models classic or rustic, solid wood is preferred.

For more information, choose the essence, etc.: Wooden pergola

Pergola treated softwood class 4
Pergola treated softwood class 4
Pergola in glued laminated timber
Arbor wood cube
Arbor wood cube

Wrought iron

A craftsman-metalsmith and its forge

It is after the wood, another traditionally used material. It uses the wrought iron for pergolas of classical or neo-romantiques styles. But you sometimes see very successful contemporary models.

The wrought iron style is characterized by rounded shapes, scroll work, etc. For the contemporary style, forms are simpler, without chichis.

Wrought iron was worked at the forge, the stamp or hammer, by an ironworker. The technique asks a real know-how and specific, heavy and expensive equipment. The true technique of wrought iron is therefore not in the scope of a handyman who will return to the steel (see below).

Found in the trade of pergolas wrought iron kit, produced in industrial way. But these models will never reach the quality and the charm of a model built on measure by a craftsman. Furthermore, the industrial models are more often steel models painted in how "wrought iron" (see below). With wrought iron elements are full most often while they are hollow with profiles of the industrial models.

Note that the Morocco is a major producer of artisanal products in wrought iron, including beautiful pergolas. Some importers have specialized in this offer. You can even ask the tailor-made. However, even if they have a lot of charm, these models do not reach the level of a pergola by a European craftsman. This is not the same price either.

Maintenance if the iron is naked :

  • It cleans the iron forged with cream scrub (CIF). If the pergola is very dirty, with water of ammonia (a tablespoon / litre).
  • If the pergola is rusty, the Emery cloth or a brush mounted on a drill rod.
  • You can Polish with polishing disk and a disk polishing felt or cotton. But for a pergola, it can become a sacred work.
  • It is possible to grease the wrought iron to limit the appearance of rust. This treatment is very economic and easy to apply. He restore the gloss to the pergola. But any contact will be dirty and need to renew the application very regularly. Finally, if you decide to finally pass a paint stroke, must be well degrease before.

Many owners leave their pergola rust. The color rust is finally very aesthetic. Advantage: more no maintenance. Disadvantages: rust is messy at the touch, the lifetime of the pergola is shorter. Nevertheless, the elements in wrought iron being full, need really much time before that rust starts the solidity of the pergola. But welds are sensitive and may break in the term.

Maintenance if the iron is painted :

  • Cleaning water and cream scrub.
  • Scratch/sanding the rust points.
  • Ironing regularly a new coat of paint rust, if possible before that rust points appear.
Pergola in contemporary style wrought iron
A more conventional model
Wrought iron scroll work details
Wrought iron scroll work details


Steel pergolas are made from industrial standard, often rolled profiles: tube, square, round, AAA, angle t, etc. Steel does not have the charm of wrought iron, but it should be fine for a pergola of contemporary style with simple shapes.

The technique is quite accessible for a very good handyman who control the welding arc. But it will be limited to forms simple and straight, the profiles in steel is difficult to pliable without important equipment.

The lifetime of a pergola steel is generally less important than wrought iron. Most commonly used fine and hollow profiles and rust infiltrates more easily and do little damage in depth. A pergola in steel is treated more often: Electrochemical treatment plant and/or painting rust proofing.

The steel is cheaper than aluminum and wrought iron but there is much more expensive than wood.

Contemporary steel Bower
Arbour-like steel to wood
Pergola year steel painted


The aluminum material is used on very contemporary pergolas, simple and clean design. They are made from shapes and industrial elements. Most often, what kit, adapted and assembled by a craftsman or a specialized business systems.

Aluminum does not rust like iron. But it can present a surface oxidation that prevents the progression. For this reason, the aluminium profiles are painted with thermo-laquees lacquerware. These lacquers, even if they are very resistant theory are not sustainable indefinitely, and it unless as the color is dark. Dark colors to clarify gradually. When need to renovate the painting, therefore will completely disassemble the pergola and entrust the work to a specialised company. Therefore, say, as do some manufacturers, that a pergola aluminum is sustainable at infinity and not application no maintenance, is characterized abuse. Certainly a pergola alu can last very long but not all life.

Aluminum pergolas are often associated with highly sophisticated systems like lamellae adjustable blinds. Some manufacturers benefit for abuse of terms to the mode as "bioclimatic pergola". They are very expensive systems. They are practical and efficient to produce a variable shade, but don’t expect miracles, they not rafraichiront not the ambient air.

Aluminum work requires highly technical equipment and access profiles and accessories supply reserved for professionals. The construction of a pergola aluminum is not feasible for a builder that are level.

Among all usable materials to build a pergola, aluminum is by far the most expensive.

Pergola in white lacquered aluminium
Arbor aluminum
A pergola say "bioclimatic"


Pergola white PVC
Pergola white PVC

Polyvinyl chloride of vinyl is a petrochemical from synthetic material. It is a common in the building including carpentry and in outdoor furniture. The term "resin synthesis" is sometimes used to give a somewhat more noble aura, but it is plastic in question.

PVC does not fear the humidity unlike other materials. Some manufacturers benefit to suggest that PVC pergolas are durable and maintenance-free. It is false. PVC is an organic material and therefore very sensitive to UV, even if he has been treated in this way. And in practice, a pergola in PVC in lasts no more than 5 to 10 years.

Pergolas in plastic are therefore low-cost without any luxury products that will quickly feed reception, as did outside of the years 80/90 PVC furniture. In the end, it is a product that is expensive if it brings back to life.

PVC is often not the unique material of these "not expensive" pergolas. There are also steel, sometimes aluminum.

The colours are the traditional colours of PVC: white or green bottle.

Of course, PVC is not a material for handyman. And there is also no interest.

Pergolas PVC seduce so those who have limited financial means or who are left to seduce by the speech "lasting and maintenance free".


Below, a comparative table for you help make your choice:

|-|Timber|Aluminum|PVC|Wrought iron|Steel|
|For a tinkerer|Yes|enies|enies|enies|Yes|
|Benefits|Low-cost input range, aesthetic, ageless|Light luminous|pas dear|Great durability, prevent|Solid|
|Disadvantages|Grey with time became|Cost significant|Will be damaged quickly|Cost significant|Maintenance|
|Style|All: of the rustic to contemporary|Contemporary|low cost|Classic, sometimes contemporary|Contemporary|
|Average price of a pergola custom made by a craftsman (6x3m)|3 €000|5 to 10 €000|2 €000|5 to 10 €000| 4 to €7,000|
|Average price of a pergola made by a handyman (6x3m)|500 €|-|-|-|800 to €1,000|

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4 Forum posts
  • non-membre

    Pergola in sleep

    12 June 2012 20:30, by BRAKUS (1 Réponse)
    Hello, I am tembe by hasartd on this site following a search of aluminium structure. that is my question I want to get me even a pergola with a rigid roof (in polycarbonate or other) Is your site can help me was this pergola? Thank you in advance

    Reply to this message

    • 13 June 2012 10:35 , by bruno 

      Hello Brakus

      Yes I can help you achieve your project plans.

      However, I expect in return that you provide me all photos of the construction: before, during, after to be able to do a photo essay.

      Tell me if you are interested?

      In what region are you? Distance, I can also help you on-site.

      Reply to this message

  • non-membre

    the pergola aluminum price, please

    4 April 2012 17:44, by alain (1 Réponse)
    how much for this great pergalo aluminium very design, please? what maximum scope for a pergola wooden planks and beams?

    Reply to this message

    • 4 April 2012 18:22 , by bruno 
      Hello Alain I need the price, sorry. But it’s certainly expensive, very expensive! Litters of beams, this depends on several parameters. But to give an order of idea, for a pergola, you can reach ranges of 4 m with natural wood. Can be even larger litters with glued wood.

      Reply to this message

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