What you should know about pergolas?


Winter garden

Do you have a large garden or sunny terrace where you want to create a sheltered space to enjoy at any time of the year? An umbrella will be your best ally. But how do you choose a bioclimatic pergola? GM PLAST lists the criteria to consider before buying a pergola with adjustable slats.

The pergola has seen a big surge in popularity over the past few years, as outdoor living continues to be a huge trend in home improvement. Of course, the pergola has been around for a long time (the origin probably dates back to ancient Egypt!), but it is also most often confused with other similar structures. People often confuse pergolas with gazebos, trellises and pavilions and are not always sure what a pergola is for or what it looks like. Well, firstly, a pergola is a very popular outdoor structure that can be the perfect finishing touch to your outdoor space. It creates a focal point for your backyard and becomes the hub around which you focus your outdoor entertaining. It can also act as a transitional space, adding shade and privacy while maintaining a sense of openness and a view of the sky. So what does a pergola look like?

How to distinguish pergolas

How does a pergola differ from a pavilion, trellis or gazebo? In many ways, pergolas are similar to pavilions, but without the solid roof. Having an open or lattice roof, a pergola still provides some shade on sunny days, but allows you to enjoy the openness of outdoor living. In addition, a trellis-like roof is ideal for hanging plants or vines to give your space an even more natural look. Some people may refer to a pergola as a gazebo or sometimes even a trellis, but although these structures are similar in nature, they serve different functions. A gazebo is usually slightly smaller and shaped like a tunnel of vines. "The 'walls' of the tunnel are usually trellises. Gazebos are often used as entrances to gardens and courtyards. A trellis is a structure used to guide and support climbing plants and the material (usually wood or vinyl) is crossed in a trellis. This is why gazebos often incorporate trellises. Pergolas can combine one or both, but are also their own unique outdoor structures. 

Types pergolas

Most of the pergolas you see are made of wood or vinyl. However, there are also metal and fibreglass pergolas. Deciding which you prefer really depends on which look you like best, how much you want to spend and whether you want to carry out basic maintenance to help the pergola last a lifetime.

Let's first look at the most popular types of pergola - wooden and vinyl.

Wooden pergolas
Wooden pergolas definitely add a more rustic, natural style and character to your outdoor space. Pressure-treated wood that is stained or painted is usually one of the less expensive types of custom pergolas you can buy. When you start looking at cedar or sequoia for a pergola, the price can increase significantly.

Of course, the natural beauty and durability of this hardwood make it worth the price. You see, while pressure-treated pine and other typical woods are resistant to rot and insects through chemical treatment, cedar provides natural resistance, is chemical-free, has a beautiful natural colour (although it can be painted and stained) and has a very attractive smell. However, it seems to fare better in dry climates and will eventually dry to a greyish colour. If you want to keep its natural colour, it is best to add a sealer to it.

Pressure-treated timber pergolas are good for wetter climates. They usually have a slightly green appearance but will dry to a golden brown colour. If they are not sealed or stained with water, they will eventually dry to a greyish colour. However, wait at least 90 days for the wood to dry completely before applying stain or waterproofing.

When it comes to most wooden pergolas, you will need to carry out maintenance to get the longest life out of your pergola. This usually means repainting, staining or protecting every 2-4 years and it's always best to give them a good cleaning before doing so.


Pergolas made of PVC

PVC pergolas provide a classic, elegant and clean look to your pergola. Also, as most people know, vinyl is virtually maintenance free. With vinyl, you'll want to carry out periodic rinsing (every 1-3 years) to remove dirt, mould, grass, etc. that can build up, especially in more humid climates. Other than that, vinyl can easily last a lifetime as long as the company you buy from uses HIGH QUALITY PVC.

Over the years, vinyl can become more brittle and easier to crack or gouge. It's worth spending a little more to ensure your pergola is made from only the highest quality materials. Perhaps one of the disadvantages of vinyl is that it comes mainly in white or variations of white. There are not many colours to choose from. However, vinyl can be a very affordable option for your pergola, even if it is slightly more expensive than pressure-treated wood.

Pergolas fibreglass and metal pergolas

Fibreglass pergolas have an exceptionally long lifespan, low maintenance requirements and the fibreglass composite will not rust, corrode or pitting, no matter what environment it is in. They also hold paint exceptionally well and do not absorb moisture (the main cause of paint cracking and peeling).

Fibreglass beams can also stretch longer distances than wood or vinyl; their strength-to-weight ratio prevents them from bending under their own weight. Plus, they look a lot like vinyl pergolas!

All things considered, fibreglass pergolas are one of the most expensive types of pergola. While it is a durable and versatile material, this is also reflected in its cost - the cost of a fibreglass pergola is significantly higher than vinyl and wood. In addition, there are only a few manufacturers that produce fibreglass, so you can expect longer lead times.

A variety of metals can also be used to build pergolas, including aluminium and steel. Aluminium pergolas are lightweight and never rust, making them ideal for those who live near the ocean. However, due to their lightness, they must be carefully and properly anchored, otherwise strong winds can twist or damage them. By opting for powder-coated aluminium, you gain more colour options and better protection.

Aluminium pergolas They give an elegant, finished look and also add weight to make the pergola a little more settled in bad weather.

A steel pergola will of course be quite heavy, but strong and weatherproof. It can also cover a wide area with a smaller support structure.

What to know when choosing pergolas?

A real refuge for your garden, the pergola with adjustable slats will come in handy in many situations.

will allow you, among other things:

create a shaded area next to the pool;
protect your garden furniture from the vagaries of the climate;
have an outdoor relaxation area (for example, for meditation, reading or doing yoga);
Cover your terrace and thus increase your living space, taking advantage of the preserved corner adjacent to your house while in the garden.

There are two ways of mounting

Pergola self-supporting
It is an autonomous sun visor in the sense that its structure, mounted on 4 posts, can be

Pergola based on the façade
When a pergola is leaning against the façade of your house, it creates a terrace area. You benefit from a shaded area in an extension of your home. By adding sliding glass doors, you get a veranda, an additional living space.


Also think carefully before buying an aluminium pergola. If it occupies between 5 and 20 m² on the ground, it requires a notification of the works to be carried out at the Town Hall of your place of residence. If the pergola is more impressive and larger than 20 m², it will require planning permission.

Finally, any pergola of less than 5 m² does not require a special permit.

In any case, remember to consult the planning regulations in force in your municipality. Since a pergola with adjustable slats modifies the appearance of the exterior of the building, it is better to know what is allowed: for example, the colour of the shading may be imposed and some colours may be prohibited.

Roof strip orientation
Adjustable laths are a key element of the pergola and explain why it appeals to so many people. Indeed, they allow you to enjoy the sun in the most appropriate way. Their more or less significant slope adapts to the level of sunshine, thus offering a temperature that is always comfortable under the pergola structure.

Opening the roof can also cause a draught. On the contrary, when it rains, the closed laths guarantee a watertight seal. In addition, you can use this top-of-the-range gardening equipment in any weather.

Buying pergola , remember to take the sun into account. The correct positioning of the adjustable louvre roof is important to take full advantage of the benefits of the aluminium sunshade.

What are the options when choosing pergolas ?

For even greater comfort, it is important to remember that there are equipment that complements sunscreen.


Sliding glass windows

They come to close the structure pergolas. By adding them, you get a completely enclosed veranda space.


Blinds or screens

They create a screen against glare. They also help to protect your privacy.


Adjustable blade drive

In general, it includes motorisation of the blades (radio motorisation). However, there may be a connected drive alternative (with a box) to control both the pergola roof and other motorised devices (such as a gate, garage door, etc.).


Ramp with LEDs

Practical, LEDs provide illumination in the evening. In this way, you can use the bioclimatic pergola until late at night, which is a very nice advantage on hot summer days.

Are you interested in this topic or want to order a pergola for yourself? Read more here KLIK