Pergola with motorised louvre roof.

Choosing the Right Materials for Pergolas and Outdoor Roofs

In Roofs and shelter by

Steel, aluminium, and wood are popular building materials for pergolas. Each have pros and cons. You can even mix and match these materials to achieve different looks and meet your budget. Ultimately, the cost, aesthetics, and how much time you are willing to put into ongoing care and maintenance will help you to decide which materials are right for your pergola.

Building a wooden pergola

Wood has traditionally been the go-to material for pergolas and archways. It’s cheap, strong, and versatile. Wood offers a rustic, classic look, blending effortlessly into outdoor surroundings. If you have a timber home, attaching a wooden pergola will keep in favour of your home’s façade. But, you can also change wood’s appearance by painting or staining it.

Timber is ideal for open-air pergolas and gazebos. Without walls or a roof, your pergola won’t constrain your outdoor space or cut it in half, but instead create a focal point for your backyard. Climbing or trailing plants can provide some weather protection, but if you need full shelter, a popular choice is plastic pergola roofing.

While timber is not as strong as steel or aluminium building materials, it does hold up well on exposed coastal sections where to sea salt and sand can batter structures. However, wood is known to rot, so you will have to carry out annual maintenance and regular cleaning to keep your pergola in good condition. But, it is easy to repair and replace rotting beams should they decay.

Steel pergolas

Another popular option for pergolas is steel. It’s a strong material (beating timber in terms of strength and durability). And, unlike wood, steel posts won’t weaken over time. That’s why you often see carports, verandas, and sunroofs constructed out of steel.

Steel is more expensive than most woods, but it requires less maintenance in the long run. However, steel is known to rust, so we powder coat it to protect it from weathering. The powder coat is a high gloss paint, which gives steel pergolas a sleek, modern look. It also reflects harsh sunlight, creating a comfortable temperature for outdoor rooms.

Because steel pergolas come pre-engineered, we can install them quickly and easily.

Aluminium pergolas

When compared with timber and steel, aluminium is the most corrosion resistant. It’s powder-coated, so it’s unaffected by water and won’t rust. Even though aluminium is a light weight material, it’s still strong so many people use it as a substitute to timber.

One of the best benefits of building a pergola out of aluminium is that its low-maintenance. You only need to wipe it down occasionally to keep it looking new. Aluminium has a clean and sophisticated appearance – great for blending in with modern architecture and designs.

Clear roofing

There are two options for clear roofing, plexiglas® and polycarbonate. Plexiglas® is a glass lookalike and is one of the highest-quality plastics. It’s used all over the world, from aeroplane windows to aquariums. Plexiglas® is tough material (eleven times as impact-resistant as glass). The sheets won’t break under extreme force or lose their transparency in the sun.

The second option, polycarbonate roofing, is the cheaper alternative. It’s popular in New Zealand, people use it as shelter for patios, carports, and conservatories. We can quickly install a polycarbonate roof. You can choose either curvy or corrugated sheets. The shape of these sheets act as drainage, so water runoff stays clear of your home’s foundation.

Standard polycarbonate keeps out most of the UV rays, but we have the latest roofing panels so you can get complete coverage. If you do get direct sunlight at your place, you should know that polycarbonate can overheat outdoor living areas in the summer months.

Steel roofs

Roof options for steel include flat or gable (triangle) roof, or a combination of the two. Flat roofing creates a continuous roof line when attached to homes, while gable-roofed pergolas have sloping panels that create an arched roof.

Steel roofing is made from high-tensile steel, so it can handle a great amount of stress. While roof fixings and brackets are galvanised steel for a long, useable life.

Motorised louvre roofing

Louvres offer complete convenience in terms of shelter – letting you control the temperature of your outdoor living space. You can open and close the slats via remote control, adjusting the angle of the blades to control light, noise, and temperature. They also come with a sensor that detects rain, automatically interlocking the slats to form a watertight seal.

Not only functional, the blades are strong and resist weather damage, thanks to their aluminium powder-coated finish. While fixings and brackets are galvanised for a long-lasting life. The electronic blades are powered by a mighty 24 volt motor, but you won’t hear a thing when opening and closing the slats thanks to specially designed bushes. Motorised louvres are a more expensive option.