Pergolas have been redefined for the modern era. With so many options available, you can buy a pergola that will add value, beauty, and enjoyment to open spaces of all sizes and shapes. For example, the open air feeling of an arched pergola can transform a nice deck into your favorite hangout spot. Pergola choices are almost endless and buyers often tend to make some common mistakes that may be stressful in future. Having a checklist to shop for a pergola helps buyers avoid typical costly mistakes. Here are some tips that a pergola shopping checklist should include.
i) Choose the right material
ii) Go for thicker structures
iii) Notching and Hardware
iv) Do not ignore your local weather
v) Get details of manufacturer’s warranty
vi) Reduce sizing errors to zero
vii) Amount of Assembly Required
Right Material: Ensure that you have chosen a pergola that will continue to look beautiful for ten years or more. The right choice of material is a key point. Most arched pergolas are built from Wood, Steel/Aluminum, Concrete, or PVC/Vinyl. Among them, wood is the most reliable and popular material. However, given a vast array of wood types which include California Redwood, Teak, Cedar, and Imported Hardwoods among others, buyers easily can get confused as to which of them would be best for their situation. Your wood choice is one of the primary factors in determining the longevity of your pergola.
Thicker Structures: Thicker wood pergola structures tend to last longer. Make sure you have compared wood thickness and the quality before buying. Check the amount and quality of fasteners your set includes. An easy way to compare 2 similarly sized Pergolas is to compare shipping weight. Shipping weight is an authentic indicator of the heft of competing products.
Notching: Another important point to consider is notching. Notched pergolas last for longer times and have greater wind resistance capacity. So, while buying wooden pergolas, ask their manufacturers if they are partially notched or fully notched. Buyers should be aware that notching creates interlocking joints and this fortifies the structure. Also notching insures that all your timbers stay straight and true over the decades because they cannot move. Most manufacturers skimp on notching partially or completely to reduce their construction costs and will tell you that hardware will take care of the issue. It does not. If just one of your Pergola’s timbers has hidden stresses in it (quite common), as it weathers over the years, it will turn, twist or sag. This will cause your beautiful Pergola’s lines to be ruined.
Moisture Issue: Less expensive materials often last longer in dry climates, while they may weaken gradually in the moist and harsh climates. Consider the amount of moisture in your local weather and long-term decay issue. Drier gentle climate areas are easy on pergolas, but the quality of wood becomes an issue whenever there is significant moisture or weather extremes.
Manufacturer’s Warranty: Before buying an arched pergola, make sure that you can get replacement parts in future years even though your pergola is custom-designed. Look for pergola manufacturers that have been in the business for at least five years. The advantage of choosing such a manufacturer is that they can be more reliable in terms of fulfilling their product warranty or helping you with replacement parts at any time.
Avoid Sizing Errors: Since most Pergola buyers are one time buyers, many sizing errors are common. For example, a common mistake is to assume the positioning of the 4 corner posts is the size of the pergola being offered. For instance, if the four corner posts of a pergola are expected to sit on the corner of your brand new concrete pad that is 10′ x 12′, and purchase a 10′ x 12′ pergola, you will discover on receiving your pergola kit that the posts are set at 8′ x 10′ to the outside corners. The reason is pergolas are always sized based on their roof size. And, in most cases, pergolas are recessed back from the roof edge anywhere from 8 inches to a couple of feet depending on the design (commonly 12″). Custom design or sizing can be a good idea to get a suitable pergola for your place. Look for manufacturers that insist on shop drawings prior to building and take the time to check everything repeatedly and make sure that all measurement and details are agreed to in writing ahead of delivery time.
Assembly required/Assembly Instructions: Make sure you have collected assembly instructions from the manufacturers. Usually you can ask for and receive them via email prior to purchasing to see how much work you are in for. Most pergola kits are single day installs. If they are fully erected in the shop prior to shipping out, you should be confident to install them properly. Insist on assembly instructions prior to buying and ask if there is any carpentry work you must do on your end or not. The best kits are just like giant Lego sets that you just have to re-erect: no sanding, sealing, cutting, or drilling needed.
Pergolas made of quality timber tend to be a bit costlier than those made from less decay resistant woods. Your first real decision is how long you’d like the structure to last. Once you determine this, see if the manufacturer has warranties that match your requirements. If so, then you can move on to thinking about size and design and the orientation of your pergola. Most reputable pergola manufacturers will allow you to send in pictures of your backyard. They will also allow you to ask any questions regarding the product and its installation procedures. A good percentage of pergola installation requires some customization. Take the time to make your investment in an arched pergola fruitful by taking a few minutes to make sure the dimensions and the positioning is thought out.