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Archive for the ‘FAQ’ Category

Vinyl vs. Wood Pergola Prices?

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

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?

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

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?

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

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?

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

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?

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

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?

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

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.