Pergolas provide a focal point in your backyard that instantly defines your outdoor space while also providing shade and protection from the elements. Aluminum and wood are two materials used to make pergolas. Their appearance, installation, cost and required maintenance differ, but either option will add an instant upgrade to your backyard.
Pergolas are outside structures that provide some shade but generally have a portion of the roofing left open. They help to define an outdoor space for seating or entertaining purposes. Aluminum pergolas and wooden pergolas both offer their own advantages and disadvantages.
Wooden pergolas have a natural look that blends in with your outdoor area and garden. Because they are wood products, you can choose the type of wood that has the color and richness you prefer, such as cedar, maple, mahogany or pine. You can also stain it to the color of your preference. Aluminum pergolas can remain in their metallic finish, or manufacturers can treat the aluminum to give it a faux wood look.
Wood pergolas require more maintenance than aluminum models. Wood that is exposed to the elements can rot with time. Use pretreated wood to stave off this problem. The paint can also chip, requiring you to repaint the pergola occasionally. Aluminum pergolas are built to include a weather-resistant paint finish. Some aluminum pergolas come with a lifetime warranty, guaranteeing against rot and rust.
Aluminum pergolas generally are easier to assemble because they often come in DIY kits. Tongue and groove stakes, preassembled parts and enclosed diagrams make installation quicker and easier than assembling a wooden pergola. Professionals can custom-make your wooden pergola and install it, but this comes at a premium.
A wide price variance exists between aluminum and wooden pergola. An aluminum pergola can run from $800 to $2,000 at the time of publication. Expect your wooden pergola to cost $2,500 to $4,000, with custom pergolas even more than that.
Aluminum pergolas can become hot when left in direct sunlight, while wooden pergolas tend to stay cooler in warm weather. Some aluminum pergolas come heat-treated to alleviate this problem. Aluminum pergolas tend to be less sturdy than wooden pergolas.