Aluminium Pergola vs. Wood Pergola: Which Is Right for Your Garden?
26 June 2023
Integrating a pergola into your outdoor space is a choice that holds long-lasting significance. To ensure you make the right decision, it’s essential to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of wood, vinyl, and aluminium pergolas before reaching a final decision.
When evaluating different pergola materials, it is crucial to assess several key factors. These include the level of maintenance and upkeep required, the durability over time in relation to the initial investment, and, naturally, the overall style, advantages, and aesthetic appeal of the product.
What are wood pergolas?
When considering a wooden pergola, which is sometimes mistaken for a gazebo, you will typically have the choice between cedar or other options. While pressure treatment helps softer woods resist rot, mould, and pests, they remain more vulnerable to these issues compared to synthetic materials. With consistent maintenance, wood pergolas can endure as long as vinyl or aluminium, but there is a higher risk of premature damage. As a result, pressure-treated wood ranks lower in terms of longevity. However, it often boasts a more budget-friendly price tag, making the upfront cost significantly lower.
Cedar possesses a unique allure as a material for outdoor living spaces, not only due to its distinctive reddish hue but also because of its natural wood aroma. Opting for a cedar pergola not only grants a visually captivating aesthetic but also offers an enchanting scent that enhances the enjoyment of your outdoor area, allowing you to breathe in the fresh air.
Pressure-treated wood provides greater versatility over cedar, as it can be painted or stained in various colours. When comparing cedar and pressure-treated pergolas, cedar is generally the more popular choice unless specific colour preferences or a lower price point are key considerations.
In terms of affordability, wood pergola kits often rank among the most cost-effective options available. If you have any questions surrounding wood pergolas, contact us today.
What are vinyl pergolas?
When comparing vinyl pergolas to wood, vinyl offers exceptional durability, often lasting a lifetime with minimal maintenance. Typically, a yearly power wash is more than sufficient to preserve their colour and appearance. However, in areas with heavy snowfall, vinyl pergolas may be less sturdy when weighed down by snow compared to wood or aluminium options. Additionally, some may find that vinyl pergolas have a less premium appearance than aluminium.
Vinyl pergolas commonly come in bright white or beige colours, offering a more formal and elegant aesthetic in contrast to the natural or painted look of wood. If you have a strong preference for a vinyl pergola but desire a more unique colour, it is possible to paint the vinyl with acrylic paint of your choice. However, it is important to note that this may increase maintenance requirements for cleaning and touch-ups over time.
Both wooden and vinyl pergolas typically feature a fixed roof, either partially open or completely closed. As a result, the amount of sunlight cannot be controlled, and protection from rain and humidity may not be guaranteed at all times. In contrast, some advanced aluminium pergolas feature louvred roofs with adjustable blades that rotate, allowing for precise control over daylight exposure. If you are seeking a pergola that can be enjoyed throughout the year, aluminium pergolas are often the best choice.
What are aluminium pergolas?
With its robust metal frame, an aluminium pergola combines the stability of a wooden structure with a sleek and elegant design, allowing for complete customisation with various accessories. Not only is it long-lasting, but an aluminium pergola also requires minimal maintenance, ensuring its durability against the test of time, regardless of rain or shine. If you prioritise quality, an aluminium pergola is an ideal choice.
Unlike vinyl pergolas, which are predominantly available in white, aluminium offers a broader colour palette. Textured coating options further enhance the customisation, allowing your aluminium pergola to perfectly match your home or existing outdoor structures. Thanks to its powder coating, the paint on an aluminium pergola is designed to withstand the elements indefinitely. Overall, the appearance of an aluminium pergola exudes a modern appeal, adding a touch of contemporary elegance to your outdoor space.
Advantages of Aluminum Pergolas
- Wood alternatives may have lower material costs compared to aluminium pergolas, but the installation costs are still minimal, especially when using a prefabricated aluminium pergola kit.
- Unlike wood, aluminium materials are smooth and non-porous, ensuring that they remain unaffected by water infiltration and damage.
- The smooth surface of aluminium makes it effortless to clean and maintain throughout the year. Simply use soap and water to wash away dirt and algae stains, or employ a low-velocity power washer for more stubborn debris.
- Aluminium is resistant to pest damage, including issues such as termite and wood fly infestations.
- Aluminium has a high resistance to weathering and water damage.
- Due to their lightweight nature, aluminium pergolas are ideal for installation on decks and patios without concerns about warping or damaging the underlying structure.
- Many homeowners choose affordable and easy-to-install prefabricated pergola kits made of aluminium, and then customise them with additional accessories post-installation.
- Aluminium will never bend, warp, or sag, making it an excellent choice for cold and wet climates.
- Aluminium pergolas provide the same amount of shade as pergolas made from other materials.
- The aluminium materials used for pergolas will never rust, making them virtually maintenance-free.
Disadvantages of Aluminum Pergola
Naturally, similar to any other material, aluminium does have its drawbacks. If you’re contemplating the installation of an aluminium pergola, it’s important to take note of these few minor considerations:
- Due to its lightweight nature, aluminium is vulnerable to wind damage if not adequately anchored. It’s advisable to avoid aluminium pergolas in higher elevations or regions prone to gusty wind conditions.
- Compared to wood and PVC alternatives, aluminium carries slightly higher material costs.
- During the summer months, aluminium can become hot, particularly after prolonged exposure to sunlight. It is essential for both adults and children to exercise caution when touching the surface of the pergola.
Advantages of a Wood Pergola
Wood is a popular alternative material for pergolas. While not as durable as aluminium pergolas, there are several advantages to choosing wood for your pergola installation:
- Wood allows for extensive customisation as timber can be precisely cut to meet your specifications.
- Various types of wood, such as cedar, redwood, tropical hardwoods, and pressure-treated timber, can be used to construct a pergola.
- Adding extra pergola accessories is a simple process with wood materials.
- Wood pergolas are robust and can withstand strong wind gusts with ease.
Disadvantages of Wood Pergolas
Wooden pergolas come with a greater number of drawbacks compared to aluminium. Here are some considerations to keep in mind before installing a wood pergola:
- Wood is prone to warping and weathering when exposed to heavy rain, ice, and snow, necessitating frequent maintenance and repairs.
- Wooden pergolas can attract troublesome pests like termites and wood flies, leading to significant and often irreversible damage.
- The ongoing maintenance and repair requirements of wood pergolas result in higher long-term costs compared to aluminium.
- Cleaning dirt and debris from wood surfaces is more challenging and typically requires specialised tools like pressure washers.
- Wood materials are susceptible to water damage, becoming waterlogged and warping or failing, thereby compromising the stability of the pergola structure.
- To maintain the original vibrancy of a wood pergola, repainting, staining, and sealing are necessary every few years due to sun exposure.
- Due to its heavier weight compared to aluminium, wood is not suitable for use in pool decks or raised patios, as it can negatively impact the overall structural integrity of these areas.
Aluminium, Vinyl, or Wood: Finding the Perfect Fit for Your Needs
When deciding on the material for your pergola, it’s best to step outside and think through your options.
Stand in your current outdoor space and envision how the aesthetics can be improved. Do you have a specific colour in mind or a desire for a modern or rustic vibe? Can you almost smell the inviting scent of cedar wafting towards you?
Ultimately, whichever pergola you select is likely to become a permanent addition to your home. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that you are completely satisfied with your decision before proceeding with the project.
Discover the perfect pergola for your outdoor space at Olympian Garden Buildings. With a wide selection of aluminium, vinyl, and wood options, we offer exquisite craftsmanship and tailored designs. Elevate your outdoor living experience with a visit to Olympian Garden Buildings today.
The quality of the whole building is amazing and very cost effective too. Its worth every penny for what it gives us. It was so easy to erect as it came in kit form and didn't need a builder to put it up.
We would certainly recommend Olympian from our experience with them."
The weather was awful, but the installers worked tirelessly to complete it to an excellent standard. From both Sales to after service the experience has been excellent. Would highly recommend.
After visiting their site and talking to Nick, we decided to go with Olympian and can honestly say that the whole experience has been pretty near perfect.
On-site during the build, the team were punctual and hard-working, Ian and his team were a pleasure to have here.
I can wholeheartedly recommend Olympian to anyone considering a similar project."