Pergola, Wood vs Aluminium – which is right for you?
Wood pergola vs metal pergola... the choice is yours, and here is everything you need to know.
If you’re considering transforming the way you live outdoors by introducing a pergola, then you’re probably wondering… should I opt for a wooden pergola or an aluminium pergola?
The good news is, when it comes to aluminium vs wood pergolas, we’ve got everything you need to know right here in this article.
Don’t worry, we won’t throw shade (knee slap) on either model – we’ll just give you the facts!
Aluminium Pergolas - Why you might prefer them to wood
By far the most significant benefit of an aluminium pergola, is they are a one-way ticket to ultimate indoor-outdoor living. Unlike with wood, when you opt for an aluminium pergola, you are no longer buying merely a shading solution, you’re buying a bioclimatic outdoor room.
What on earth does bioclimatic mean? I hear you ask. It essentially means that within the confines of your aluminium pergola, you control the weather!
You control the weather
All the best aluminium pergolas on the market, come fitted with a louvered roof system. This is an engineered adjustable roof system, unlike the static roofs found on wooden pergolas. This means that you have the ability to customise the roof setting of your pergola, to suit the weather.
When the heavens have opened and your magnificent BBQ feast is being ruined in front of your eyes… you adjust the roof to closed. Your pergola is now completely waterproof, and your guests are happily tucking into your delicious BBQ feast.
But as we know, the British weather is unpredictable and once the rain shower has passed and the sun is back, your guests are ready to bask in the rays. Another quick adjustment to your aluminium pergola roof and those louvres are in the upright position, allowing the sun's rays to flood in, now time to pour a glass of wine.
Inside your pergola, you really do control the weather. From a fully waterproof haven, to a sun trap and everything in between – it's all at your fingertips.
Mounted to the back of your home
Because an aluminium pergola brings with it the epitome of indoor-outdoor living, people most frequently mount them to the back of their homes. Aluminium is perfect for wall mounting and a metal pergola design is perfectly suited for easy fixing to the back of your house, so that you step out of your garden doors, right into your pergola.
This differs from a wooden pergola which are more commonly freestanding, with strong wooden legs needed to support the weight of the structure.
Long-lasting and incredibly durable
When people mount an aluminium pergola to the back of their home, or indeed install one freestanding, they are adding up to 500 square feet to their living space. That’s an investment in the way you live into the next decade, not just for a few summers, and aluminium is the perfect material for that.
Unlike wood which is quite a high-maintenance material, requiring regular treatment and is susceptible to damage by things like pests and dry rot. Aluminium is borderline maintenance free, with no risk of rust – and all of our aluminium pergolas come with a powdered coating which is UV resistant, making sure that stunning aluminium colour doesn’t fade in the sun.
-Wooden Pergolas – when they are a better option
Wood is where the pergola began, centuries ago when the purpose of a pergola was to train vines over paths and walkways. That is the first use case where a wooden pergola is still certainly the best solution, as a gardening canvas to grow and guide all manner of beautiful vines up its side and over its roof.
Perfect for personalisation
Lumber can be cut and moulded to fit your exact specifications and so if you’re looking for a very unique piece with lots of character, a customised wooden pergola is the way to go. Wooden pergolas and gazebos come in all shapes and sizes, with all sorts of quirks and detailing built in, great for adding charm in a unique way to your garden.
Plenty of materials to choose from
Unlike metal pergolas, where aluminium is the clear choice. Wooden pergolas allow you to choose from a variety of different materials. cedar, oak, redwood and pressure-treated lumber are all great for creating a pergola.
This array of choices allows you flexibility in both the style and cost of your pergola.
A classic, traditional look
There is no doubt the aluminium pergolas look fantastic in the vast majority of spaces, but certain settings you can’t beat tradition. As we mentioned, the wooden pergola is where it all began, and there is a certain traditional rustic charm that the wooden pergola will always carry.
What are the downsides of aluminium pergolas?
They need to be properly secured
Aluminium pergolas can be installed on almost all surfaces, but to perform their best they need to be secured down. Porcelain tiles, patio, grass, decking, block paving - all of these surfaces can support an aluminium pergola, but each leg will need to be secured into something solid with at least one fixing.
This is to ensure that the aluminium pergolas are completely wind resistant and stable, once secured, most high-quality models can withstand winds of over 100kmph.
If you'd like to enquire about aluminium pergola fixing details - give us a call today, we'd be happy to walk you through how installation would work!
They can get quite hot
We’ve all been there, the sun has been beating down all day and the patio is so hot you struggle to stand on it. On these days you won’t want to lean up against your aluminium pergola for too long!
Be wary of electric roofs
The louvered roof is the “piste de resistance” of the aluminium pergola and what is more luxurious than adjusting your louvered roof with the touch of a remote control? Great in principle, however, electric louvered roofs tend to have a far higher fault rate than their manual counterparts.
Our advice would be to stick with the manual crank, you can still adjust your roof easily in seconds, it will mean hopping up out of that comfy seat, but you can take your drink with you and your pergola is likely to never have an issue!
What are the downsides of wooden pergolas?
A far less multipurpose space
The primary drawback of a wooden pergola is its inflexibility as a space. With wood you need to sign up to one roof type.
You can either opt for a hard top, waterproof roof, great for enjoying your garden in the poor weather, but comes without the freedom to allow in the sun when the weather is gorgeous.
Or you can choose a traditional slatted roof, which will offer some shade but will be influenced by the position of the sun, removing your control.
This is where metal pergolas with louvered roofs far exceed their wooden counterparts, ensuring the user always has complete control and that the conditions inside their pergola are great, whatever the weather.
Regular maintenance and repairs
Wood requires far more maintenance than aluminium. Over time, sun and moisture will both take their toll on a wooden pergola, requiring plenty of repairs and treatments over time. Wooden structures are also more difficult to clean, generally requiring specialist high-pressure equipment.
It’s heavy, not suitable for some spaces
A wooden pergola structure is heavy and therefore is often unsuitable for spaces like risen patios, decking and any other area where the weight of the structure might impact the structural integrity.
What sizes are available? – Wood vs metal pergola sizes
In terms of the sizes available, there’s very little difference between aluminium and wooden pergolas.
The most popular sizes are as follows, and these are well represented across wooden and aluminium pergola models.
3m x 3m, 3m x 4m, 5m x 3m, 6m x 3m, 7m x 4m
If you’re looking for a large pergola (7m+) you’ll generally find aluminium pergolas will have the greatest options when it comes to covering a space of that size.
Aluminium Pergola Cost vs Wooden Pergola – What’s it going to cost me?
This is always an important one, you must be wondering how much are aluminium pergolas vs wood?
The honest answer is it does depend on the style of wood you choose. There are definitely more ways to cost save with a wooden pergola, with the option to opt for a cheaper material and a thinner less robust structure to bring costs down.
If we compare apples with apples though, an aluminium pergola vs a cedar gazebo – this is what the cost equation looks like.
Pergola, wood vs aluminium comparison tableLooking for a quick comparison between wooden and aluminium pergolas, to help you decide which is best suited to you? Check out our comparison table below!
Aluminium Pergolas - click here to browse our exceptional collection of aluminium pergolas uk.
So, what's the verdict when it comes to pergolas, wood vs aluminium - what's the right choice?
Put simply, in 90% of cases, an aluminium pergola is the way to go. Most people considering a pergola are looking to transform the way they live outdoors, and create a wonderful space for entertaining.
The all-weather versatility of aluminium pergolas, allow them to create exceptional outdoor living spaces, making a metal pergola with a louvered roof the clear choice.
That said, there are certain settings where you can't beat tradition, and in those cases it might be worth forgoing the functionality of an aluminium pergola, and opting for the rustic charm of wood.
Aluminium Pergolas - click here to browse our exceptional collection of aluminium pergolas
Randy Faith, CP, Hudson Hintze