What is the Best Material for Building a Pergola? (Answered)

Photo of author


A pergola is a beautiful addition to any backyard. It provides shade and adds a lot of character to your outdoor space. A wide variety of materials can be used to build a pergola, but some are better suited than others. 

The best material for building a pergola depends on your needs and budget. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. However, wood and metal, as a combination, are the materials I recommend for building a pergola. 

In this article, I cover a brief overview of the pros and cons of each material: metal, aluminum, PVC, brick & stone, and wood.

Is Metal the Best Material for Pergolas?

This is one of the most popular building materials for pergolas. It is easy to work with and relatively inexpensive. It can be heavy and difficult to work with – the parts must be molded for the task. The most significant downside to metal is that it will rust if not correctly maintained. This might not be the best option for you if you live in an area that gets rain often or is very humid.

Is Aluminum the Best Material for Pergolas?

Aluminum has many advantages over metal but is more expensive than most other materials. Aluminum does not rust like steel, so this may be an ideal choice for people who live in areas with frequent humidity, rain, or snowfall. Aluminum can also be painted or stained in any color you like, making it easier to personalize your pergola design!

Is Vinyl or PVC the Best Material for Pergolas?

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) has become very popular among homeowners because it is lightweight and easy to work with. PVC comes in many colors and finishes, making it an ideal material for building a pergola. 

If you choose PVC pipe – it is lightweight, easy to work with, and relatively inexpensive — especially compared with wood or brick structures. It also resists damage from insects and extreme weather conditions. However, PVC is not as durable to force damage or wind. So this would not be recommended as a permanent structure in areas with regular high winds. Many garden centers sell prefabricated pergolas made from these materials that are very easy to assemble. 

Is Brick & Stone the Best Material for Pergolas?

Brick pergolas are an excellent choice for homeowners who want to add a pop of color to their landscape. The bricks come in many colors, so you can choose one that matches your home’s exterior or your favorite color. They’re also available in several different textures, so you can pick one that will complement your existing landscaping. Brick is also very durable, so you can enjoy your pergola for many years without worrying about it falling apart or needing to be repaired.

The main disadvantage of using brick is that it needs to be sealed periodically to protect it from water damage. This may require hiring a professional to do the job, which can be costly if you don’t know where to start looking for help. Brick and stone pergolas usually have a wood component (the roof slats) that must be treated differently than the rest and is less durable. Also, making a pergola from stone or brick can be very expensive. 

Is Wood the Best Material for Pergolas?

Wood is a beautiful material and can be stained or painted any color you want. It also provides excellent insulation, which can help keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter. Wood must be treated before it’s used outdoors, adding another step to your project’s timeline. You’ll also need to seal it every few years to keep it water-resistant and prevent rot from developing. It’s also recommended to keep your wood painted and treated so that insects (especially termites and carpenter bees) do not cause damage to it. 

What Is the Best Wood to Use for Your Pergola?

Douglas Fir is universally recognized by architects, engineers, and timber framers as the preferred choice for use in structural timber applications such as pergolas or pavilions. The benefits of Douglas Fir include a higher density than most other wood, which provides more strength. It is one of North America’s most abundant species of tree and is a sustainable resource. Not to mention, its grain looks beautiful when stained. 

In Conclusion

Pergolas are beautiful additions to your home. They add shade and privacy and can be decorated to make a gorgeous outdoor room. I love our pergolas, made from heavy 6×6 pressure-treated wood connected by metal brackets and footers attached to a concrete pad.

We’ve stained the wood and painted the metal to be sure to extend the life of both materials. 

Since we live in an area of potential high wind, we made sure that the structures could hold up to 150 mph gusts. I just feel like wood and metal combinations look nice and are practical. 

Because it is a significant expense and can add value to your home, the materials you choose for your pergola should be well thought out. I hope this article helped you with beginning your research. 

Photo of author


"Growing up a country-girl means you enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, and no matter where you go in life, the outdoors is always part of you. I began doing research on things I wanted to do to make my outdoor space my own, no matter where we moved. And that research led me to write this blog to share with you!"