How to Choose the Best Pergola Material

People have been using garden pergolas to seek refuge from the sun for thousands of years. In fact, the earliest known pergola dates back to 1400 BC in ancient Egypt.

Since that time, pergolas have risen and fallen in popularity. Some homeowners use them as a way to add panache to their outdoor entertainment areas, while others use them to grow grapes for winemaking or as a way to showcase stunning wisteria vines.

The first pergolas were constructed out of smooth stone and brick. While stone and brick aren’t as widely used to build modern pergolas, there are a variety of durable material options available.

Selecting which material is best for your pergola is fundamental to the longevity of your outdoor space. When comparing material options, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each and consider your expectations for this outdoor space. Before we go over pergola material options, let’s look at a few factors that should influence your decision.

Factors to Consider for Your Pergola

There are a number of advantages to adding a pergola to your outdoor space. They add to the character and charm of your home. They also create depth, add privacy, and provide protection from the elements.

Consider these important factors when determining which material is best for you pergola:

  • Purpose
  • Style of your home
  • Size
  • Outdoor elements
  • Maintenance and upkeep goals
  • Budget

Hardscape additions such as pergolas are a great way to add value to your home. While ROIs vary from region to region, homeowners report between 50% and 80% returns on their investments.

What Materials Are Pergolas Made Of?

Now that you’ve defined your budget and maintenance goals, it’s time to decide which material is best for you pergola. While wood is the most common material used, there are several durable materials on the market today.


Wood is the most popular material for constructing hardscape spaces. It’s easy to work with, affordable, durable, and easy to find. While any wood will suffice, there are four primary types used in professional installations.

  1. Pressure-treated Wood - PT wood is the most common choice because of its durability and affordability. You can stain or seal the wood to give it a unique look. This is the best option for smaller budgets.
  2. Cedar and Redwood - These woods are popular because of their rich red colors and natural scent. They are resistant to rotting and hold up well in the outdoor elements. This alternative is a bit pricier than PT wood.
  3. Tropical Wood - Tropical wood’s durability against weather conditions makes it the wood of choice for homeowners living near the coast. Because tropical wood is harder to locate, it can cost 2-3 times more than other woods.
  4. Modified Wood - This wood is very durable, water-resistant, and does not require any treatment. Longevity, look, and price makes this the best choice for many homeowners.


Vinyl pergolas last a long time and require little maintenance. An annual power wash will keep your pergola looking great. Vinyl is not recommended in areas with heavy snowfall because the weight of the snow can compromise the structure.


Steel pergolas are easy to install and require less support. The steel used in pergolas is chemically treated to prevent rusting and decay.


This sturdy material offers the stability found in wood structures, without all the fuss. It is lightweight and low-maintenance. Whether you live by the ocean or in freezing temperatures, aluminum can withstand the elements. It’s also customizable, meaning you can add accessories, choose your color, and match the textured coating with your house.

Where to Buy Pergola Materials

If you decide to take this on as a DIY project, you’ll have two options. You can purchase all the materials from the hardware store and build it from scratch. Or, you can buy a pergola kit, which includes everything you need to build your hardscape. There are a variety of sizes and styles available online and at your local hardware store.

Not ready to take on this DIY project? If you live in the Melbourne area, our carpentry experts are here to help. From design to installation and maintenance, the SD Built team will deliver a quality product for you to enjoy for years to come.

Other blog posts

Looking for a quote? Send us a message

Curabitur molestie leo in sagittis tempus. Curabitur facilisis blandit sem.
Thomas Berger
Prestige Stone CEO
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong.