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Pergola Price Guide

Pergolas are a beautiful addition to any outdoor space. With cross rafters but not walls, pergolas are a spacious, airy way to spend more time in nature. While users will get some protection from the sun and the elements, a lattice-work or cross-post roof means that the area will still received rain, wind and sun as it occurs. Homeowners interested in adding a pergola on their property are often primarily concerned with cost, but there are dozens of factors that can influence the price of the project. Find out what the pros and cons of pergolas are, what the best materials might be and how to keep costs at a reasonable amount depending on individual needs.

The Costs

  • Average Minimum Cost of Pergolas: $2,000

  • Average Maximum Cost of Pergolas: $15,000

Advantages of Installing a Pergola

The major advantages of installing a pergola are to create additional outdoor living space, add a focal point to the backyard or garden, create some shade and serve as the perfect entertaining area. Pergolas are often the first choice among homeowners who want to spend more time outdoors but don't enjoy direct sunlight. Pergolas provide some shade on their own just by the nature of their design, but adding in vines or flowers to the top and sides of the pergola can create even more protection from the sun. Whether the pergola is free-standing or attached to one side of the house, it will be a beautiful focal point on the property that adds value and aesthetic appeal. For parties, barbecues or family gatherings, pergolas are a fantastic entertaining space that will impress nearly everyone.

Disadvantages of Installing a Pergola

While pergolas certainly have their pros, it is important to fully understand the drawbacks as well. Primarily, this includes the cost of the structure, which tends to be much higher than a more simple arbor design. In addition, pergolas create additional work for owners as they will need to be cleaned and maintained over time in order to protect the materials and remain in good condition. Finally, pergolas tend to be large, and not all gardens of backyards will have the space necessary to construct this kind of item.

Variety of Materials For Pergola Construction

Pergolas can be made from any number of materials, but the most common include wood, fiberglass, aluminum and vinyl. Wood is by far the most popular material for pergolas. It creates a natural look that is versatile enough to fit in with any design ideas or plan for the space. Since wood can come in so many varieties, it is up to each homeowner to pick the material that best fits their design ideals and budget. Redwood and cedar are both durable options that can withstand harsh weather conditions, but they tend to be the most expensive. A budget wood option could be pressure-treated posts simply wrapped in a thin layer of hardwood to get the aesthetic effect at half the price. Highlights and drawbacks of the other popular pergola materials are listed below:

  • Fiberglass: Lightweight, minimal upkeep, most expensive

  • Vinyl: Easy to clean, often used in pergola kits, durable

  • Aluminum: Common in hot climates, affordable, less aesthetically pleasing

Ready-Made vs. Customized Pergolas

One of the big decisions that homeowners will need to make when selecting a pergola for their property is whether to invest in a customized pergola constructed on site or a ready-made pergola that simply needs to be installed. When budget is a concern, a ready-made pergola will typically be the cheapest option. Ready-made pergolas come in a variety of sizes, styles, materials and colors, but they won't give homeowners the unique look that fits in perfectly with their backyard space. Customized pergolas will also take much longer to construct and install, and the labor involved drives up the price substantially. A typical pergola covering just 100 square feet tends to take upwards of 35 man hours, which can be a considerable expense for anyone on a limited budget.

Factors That Can Increase or Decrease Total Cost of the Project

No two pergolas cost the same amount, and there are a number of factors that can influence the total expense of the project. Perhaps the biggest determining factor is whether homeowners will buy a pergola ready-made and install it themselves or whether they will design a customized design that needs to be constructed with the help of professional labor. The cost of materials is also a factor, and geographic location can play a role in how much wood, vinyl, fiberglass or aluminum costs. Pergolas designed to create more shade will tend to have a greater number of rafters, and this will also increase the total cost of the project. Additional things to consider that will affect price include the following:

  • Size of the pergola

  • Whether a patio is installed underneath the pergola

  • Whether the pergola is attached to the home or free-standing

  • Stains, seals or paints required on the wood

  • Professional designers used to create pergola plans

Alternatives to Consider For an Outdoor Space

Pergolas are certainly a wonderful option for any outdoor space, but homeowners should be aware of the alternatives and similar options that could be a better fit depending on space, preference and budget. To create a simple focal point when overhead cover is less of a concern, a smaller arbor might be a better fit and a much cheaper project. Alternatively, a sunshade or retractable awning could provide complete overhead cover and protection from the elements if that is a priority for the homeowner.

Last updated on Apr 1, 2015

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