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Vinyl vs. Wood Pergola Prices?

by Curt

Question: I’m trying to decide between a wood pergola kit or vinyl pergola kit, but which one is cheaper?

Answer: The answer is that it depends on several things.  The first being what kind of wood pergola are you interested in?  If you’re deciding between a teak pergola or vinyl, then vinyl will be far less expensive.  There are lower end woods that are a lot cheaper than vinyl, too.  Vinyl pergola kits have many advantages that can’t be had with wood, like being mostly maintenance free.  The main thing that most people are looking for when they want wood pergola kits is the look and feel.  Wood gives a landscape a certain feel that can’t be had with another material.


Should I Use Polyurethane on My Pergola or Arbor?

by Curt

Question: I just bought a brand new pergola kit from, and now I’m looking to add a finish to the wood.  I’m used to working with indoor furniture and woodworking and use polyurethane on most every project that I work on.  I’m wondering if polyurethan works for an outdoor project as well?

Answer: That depends.  First and foremost, there are two different types of polyurethane, one made for indoor materials and another that is specifically formulated for an outdoor application.  The outdoor version has special additives that make it suitable for withstanding the rigors of outdoor life, especially UV rays.  The second aspect of this decision is regarding the wood.  If your pergola or arbor is made from an oily wood like Shorea or Teak, then polyurethane won’t work.  A poly finish on one of these woods will act like a sealant on the wood, and then the oils will need to come to the surface at which point the poly cover will bubble and peal.  It will then be very difficult to remove.  So, if you bought a pergola kit made from Cedar or Redwood, you’ll be OK.

Which wood should I use for my pergola or arbor?

by Curt

There are not too many domestic woods that are suitable for an outdoor project like this.  Here’s a list of domestic woods that you’ll be able to find for your pergola or arbor.

  • Southern Yellow Pine - It’s cheap and readily available, but you’ll have to treat it for it to last more than a couple of seasons.  It also is bug food and has sap when not treated.  $3 per linear foot.
  • Douglas Fir - This strong, northwestern softwood is stable and sap-free in clear, vertical-grain cuts. Less rot resistant than red cedar and redwood.  $29 per linear foot.
  • Redwood - Premium western softwood that’s stable and sap-free. Clear grades like this are costly.  About $37.50 per linear foot
  • Eastern White Cedar - It grows on the eastern half of the US.  It’s a stable and sap-free with small, tight knots. $27.50 per linear foot.
  • Cypress - This is a tropical wood that grows in the US, and there aren’t many, it has a tan color and is related to redwood.  It is stable and sap-free. Can have small, tight knots.  $17.50 per linear foot.  This is a great wood, that has a middle range price.
  • Western Red Cedar - A Pacific Northwest wood with superior rot and insect resistance. Stable and sap-free. $6.50 per linear foot.  This is a favorite of ours because of it’s value.  Dollar for dollar, you won’t find a better wood for performance and looks.

Gazebo/Shade Structure Kit?

by Curt

Question: Gazebo/Shade Structure Kit?
Does anyone know where I can get a fairly easy kit for making a Gazebo or Pergola/Shade Structure to cover my Bar in my back yard. Bought one from Wal-Mart and in 1 year the wind destroyed the material on top and the wooden frame. Now I’d like to put one in the ground that does not have any material to rip!


We have a large selection of pergola kits available, where all of the material is already arranged, cut and shaped to specification, with hardware and instructions. And, if you have trouble getting it together, we’re here to answer any questions that you might have or to recommend someone in your area that might be able to help.

Is a vinyl Pergola better than wood?

by Curt

Question : Is a vinyl Pergola better than wood?
I want to build a Pergola over my patio. the pad is 25′x12′. I would like it to be attached to my house face and then supported by 2 or 3 columns. Are the vinyl kits as good as wood?


They both have positive and negative attributes.  The main reason many people buy wood, is because they like the natural look and feel of wood.  The main reason that people buy vinyl is because it is maintenance free and easy to assemble.  So, you have to account for personal preference in the decision.  See our earlier article: Why choose vinyl?

Does anyone sell pergola kits that you can assemble yourself?

by Curt

Does anyone sell pergola kits that you can assemble yourself?

Not everyone has the skills or time to tackle a project like this from scratch. And most people will try Home Depot, Lowe’s, & garden centers first. The ones you find on-line are usually a better assortment but involve shipping and time in transit. Also, Sam’s Club & Costco will carry a kit sometimes. At Simply Pergolas, that’s pretty much all we do. So, if you can wait a few days for it to ship, rather than buying the one kit that the local hardware store carries, then you won’t have to worry about hauling it home. Depending on the kit that you choose, and the material that you choose, the kit could weigh anywhere between 100 lbs and 900 lbs, so obviously you wouldn’t want to put a 900 lb pergola kit into your car.

Cedar vs. Treated Lumber

by Curt

Picking the right wood for your garden structure will determine many things about it. The wood choice will determine its overall look, color, longevity, and in many ways its design. Cedar and pressure treated pine are by far, the most commonly used woods for outdoor projects like a pergola, arbor or trellis. So, this article will outline a few point that are involved in that decision to help you end up with the wood that fits your backyard or garden.

The vast majority of pressure treated wood at your local hardware store will be yellow pine.  It is typically a yellowish color, that can look a little green when treated.  The main benefit of using pressure treated yellow pine is its cost. This route will give you the cheapest pergola possible without stealing it. So, if the price is your main concern, then the decision has already been made and you will have a pine arbor. There are some other factors involved in the choice for most people, though. One being environmental, because most treated wood is treated with a three chemicals known as CCA, chrome, copper and arsenic, with arsenic being very dangerous to your health. If you are a do it yourself kind of person, then you will end up with this stuff in your lungs after the project, and if your kids will be playing on it then they will have it on them too. And, don’t even think about growing grapes on your arbor that’s has been treated with CCA. In the treating process, these chemicals are added to the wood, often, when it still has a very high moisture content. This plays a part in the cheaper price, because you don’t have to dry it, but it also might lead to some downfalls in your garden structure. Wet wood will change in shape considerably as it dries, which can lead to bowing, warping and cracking in your pergola or arbor. Overall, treated yellow pine is satisfying many people out there that have built their decks and hardscape using this choice.

In the US, cedar is a very popular choice of wood for outdoor projects.  There are many benefits to using cedar, and a few drawbacks.  The main drawback being that it is a softwood, like pine, which alone might not be considered a drawback.  But, if your pergola design needs a wood that is very hard and dense, for example if there were any moving parts that might wear or it would be subject to scratching from a nearby or attached object, then being a softwood might pose a problem.  If you need a wood that is very heavy, then Cedar isn’t the right choice.  The benefits are many, starting with its resistance to the effects of weathering.  Cedar has a natural chemical compound in it that makes it resist weather effects, moisture, mold and insects.  It also has a pleasing odor.  Cedar has a reddish brown color, and is generally easy to sand, cut and finish.  Though, it isn’t as readily available as treated pine, you will find it in almost any lumber yard or DIY store.

Overall, cedar, in particular western red cedar, is the best choice for a backyard structure, due to it’s natural weather and insect resistance, and being readily available when compared to pressure treated wood.

Why Choose Vinyl for Your Pergola Kit

by Curt


post detail

Unlike wood, all vinyl pergola or arbor posts and pieces are perfect. This perfection makes them easier to install. The unique “UltraFit” bracket coupler system ensures superior side panel and rail strength. Pre-routered holes provide a clean fit and finish, and since they are manufactured to perfection your pergola kit or arbor can be assembled with ease. UltraFit bracket coupler and vertical lattice channel come pre-installed on the Nantucket and Fairfield Arbor kits.

Weather Proof

More homeowners are discovering that vinyl can be a smart alternative to wood. Our vinyl pergola kits and arbors

vinyl pergola post vs wooden post

are manufactured by molding premium, hi-grade polymers around traditional structural elements to create the classic look of wood without the traditional maintenance. In other words, you get the classic look of wood without the headaches. Just the occasional rinse with a garden hose is all you need to do to keep your arbor looking great, and their backed up with a 20 year warranty. So, if you’re looking for a hardscape for your garden or patio that can stand the test of time and be a source of depth and beauty to your landscape design, then vinyl is the only choice for you. Imagine the freedom of almost maintenance-free arbor or pergola. No painting, no treating, no sealing… just enjoying, enjoying, enjoying. Unlike wood, vinyl pergola kits keep their good looks year after year with just an occasional rinse with a garden hose.

New Vinyl Pergola Section

by Curt

Bellagio PergolaWe’ve added a great new line of vinyl pergolas from Eden Arbors.  As we’ve said in previous posts, vinyl makes a perfect choice for an arbor or pergola for many reasons, including it being virtually maintenance free and will retain it’s beautiful color for many many years.  As a matter of fact, our new line of vinyl pergolas carry a 20 year warranty.  Can you believe that?  All Eden Arbors are made from high grade resins around traditional structural elements, which gives it a traditional wooden pergola look, without all of the maintenance.  A simple rinse with the water hose will bring an aging pergola back to it’s original luster.

Simply Pergolas Adds New Vinyl Arbor Section

by Curt

Simply Pergolas is proud to announce that it has added an entire section to our store, Vinyl Arbors from New England Arbors.  Vinyl has so many benefits that it can’t be don’t in an introduction like this, and beyond the material this new line of arbors, trellises and pergolas are professional grade garden structures that can be put up by a do-it-yourself homeowner.  They are very simple to assemble and have all of the landscape architectural features that you want.  There are even additional trim, gate and fencing options if you are a professional fencer or just want your backyard or garden to look like a pro designed it.

Fairfield Vinyl Pergola ArborNew England Arbors have recycled PVC incorporated into the construction where possible while maintaining the lifetime durability.  Unlike other materials that will have to be replaced from rot or insect infestation, these vinyl arbors will never be susceptible to that.  The company is moving into the new economy by becoming more “green” every year, and according to the company, “We conserve natural resources by using energy and water wisely and seek further opportunities to improve the resource efficiency of our manufacturing plant.”

The Fairfield Deluxe Vinyl Pergola Arbor, is one of the line’s most popular items and has recently been redesigned with the most modern manufacturing techniques available.  It’s designed to fit into the ambience of any yard, garden or pathway. The side panels are made from pure PVC extrusions and not traditional lattice thus rendering a cleaner look. It has the look of classic wood and is virtually maintenance free. It is covered against yellowing, warping, cracking, and rotting with a warranty of 20 years. Plants can be grown on your arbor without any risks of damage.