A pergola is a structure outside that consists of columns supporting a roofing grid of rafters and beams. Pergolas are a beautiful addition to any home, perfectly unique and tailored to the property. At Bronco Fence, we get a lot of questions about pergolas, and here we address the most common.
Frequently-Asked Questions About Pergolas
1 – Will Installing a Pergola Limit the Light in My Home?
The shade a pergola provides creates a cool space where you can enjoy the summer weather in peace. However, many people wonder if a pergola will limit the amount of light the rest of the house receives. The answer to this pergola question is dependent on several factors.
The first is clearly whether or not the pergola is attached to the house. The attached pergolas do present the potential to make the room dark. Just how much light is blocked is directly related to the structure of the pergola’s roof. Beams and rafters can be built tightly together or spaced apart, and the amount of space between each corresponds directly to the amount of light that filters through.
Many homeowners choose to add additions that factor into how much light comes through the roof. Because the roof works naturally as a trellis, plants are a common addition to pergola roofs. These hungry neighbors will take all the light they can get. Motorized roofs that can raise or lower screens are another addition that gives homeowners a lot of control over just how much shade their pergolas cause.
You can see why the answer to this most common of our questions about pergolas is not so straightforward because the location of the structure also matters. Adding a pergola to a cramped space will make the area feel darker and even more cramped. The climate in which a pergola is built is also key. A pergola over a window will make homes built in overcast climates feel even darker while making the light streaming in manageable for buildings in sunnier climates.
The color and material of the pergola will also alter how much light enters your home. A white pergola, especially if it is made of vinyl, will reflect more light than a structure that is made of dark wood.
2 – Can a Pergola Be Freestanding?
We have clarified that pergolas do not have to be built over a window or door if people are concerned about limiting their natural light. This has led to more questions about pergolas being freestanding. The truth is that you can place your pergola wherever you like. You can make it flush with the rest of your home or a proud stand-alone feature. The decision is based on preference and structural logistics.
Attaching a patio cover to a house makes some support beams redundant, so doing so can save a homeowner money on materials and installation. The other side of the coin can be minimizing the effectiveness of a home’s insulation if it is compromised during pergola installation.
Know your climate. It’s amazing how many answers to questions about pergolas boil down to climate. If you live in a place like Kaysville, UT that gets lots of snowfall, you’ll need to consider if snow buildup or shifting soil will damage your home with a pergola attached.
Sometimes the structure of a property (things like window placement, low roofline, or limited space) doesn’t allow for a pergola to abut the home directly. In such cases, you’ll have better success if you incorporate your pergola into your landscaping. Whether attached or freestanding, consider placing your pergola where the views are best, the wind is fair, and the sun won’t be in your eyes during your favorite times of the day.
3 – Are Pergola Canopies Wind- and Waterproof?
Though they may not seem very sturdy, the proper precautions can help a pergola withstand the elements admirably. Have climate-specific weather precautions in mind as you build your pergola. Elements like strong cement foundations, cross beams, support joists, and metal bolts, can make a pergola sturdy and wind-resistant. Their slatted design lets wind pass through without compromising the structure’s integrity.
Do your research when choosing a shade canopy for your pergola. This will help you find the right one for your wind and wet weather conditions. For best results, remove the canopy from your pergola when the winds blow fiercely or when the snow begins to fall.
4 – How Much Do Pergolas Cost?
The cost of any pergola depends on the size of the structure and the materials used. Woods run at moderate rates that vary by type, while other materials like fiberglass or aluminum are generally less expensive. When choosing your material, know your budget and what the structure needs to withstand. Cheaper materials can seriously reduce structural integrity, so come to a good balance, not an inhibitive compromise.
5 – Is Installing a Pergola an Investment?
The last of our questions about pergolas is the deciding factor for many homeowners, and the answer is a resounding yes. Well-constructed pergolas increase the value of a property, adding a sense of elegance and luxury with hints of the landed gentry. When attractive and durable materials are used in construction, the return on investment can range from 50% to 80%. Even before it is time to sell a home, a pergola extends the living space of a property, creating a perfect backyard getaway.