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Build a Pergola Cost Guide
Updated: August 18, 2022
If you want to add definition, structure, or shade to a deck, patio, or yard, a pergola is a great way to do so. Pergolas have become increasingly popular over the last several years. New designs and materials make them more affordable and adaptable to a greater range of homes and architectural styles.
Pergolas can be built from several materials, ranging from wood and fiberglass to vinyl with an aluminum core. They vary in size, design, and placement, impacting the project cost. The average cost for building a pergola in the U.S. is $1,900 to $6,500, with most homeowners spending around $4,500 for a 10’x12’ cedar pergola with a traditional design. This project’s low cost is $1,000 for a professionally assembled 10’x10’ aluminum pergola kit. The high cost is $15,000 for a custom teak pergola with additional roof material for shade, professionally installed.
Pergola Installation Costs
|Cost to Build a Pergola|
|National average cost||$4,500|
Pergola Cost by Construction Method
Pergolas can be designed and built in two methods. You can have a prefab pergola, which is a pergola ready to assemble on-site, or you can have one custom-made. There are many makers of prefab pergolas. You can purchase them from many areas, and some are customizable if you work directly with the company to swap details on a basic design.
Custom is completely designed and built for you, usually by a carpenter. This can be more costly but does not have to be, depending on the materials, size, and design. Below are the average costs to build a 10’x12’ pergola using both methods. Costs include materials and installation.
|Construction Method||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Prefab||$1,100 - $8,000|
|Custom||$1,700 - $15,000|
The cost of a prefab pergola is $1,100 to $8,000, including professional installation. Prefab pergolas come in many materials. You can find prefab pergolas in more materials than you can have them custom made in. This includes vinyl, vinyl-wrapped aluminum, fiberglass, and wrought iron. Getting a pergola in any of these materials means getting one that is prefabricated and then having it assembled in your yard. There are also wood prefab pergolas of many styles. Prefab pergolas are usually easy to access and fast to assemble, making them a good choice for many homes.
The cost of a custom pergola averages $1,700 to $15,000. Custom pergolas mean someone cuts, shapes, and assembles the raw materials to order at your home. While prefab means the materials are already cut, drilled, and ready to put together, custom involves more work for the installer. This does not always mean it costs more. A vinyl prefab pergola can cost more than a pressure-treated lumber custom pergola. Custom pergolas are a good choice if you want an odd shape, size, or specific wood species or design.
Pergola Installation Cost by Size
Your pergola’s size impacts your total cost. This is true of prefab and custom installations. Larger pergolas require more material and labor to construct. For this reason, each size increase results in a higher cost for the pergola.
Most pergolas start at around 10’x10’ in size, with 10’x12’ being one of the most common sizes. However, you can have much larger or smaller pergolas. The costs below are the averages for prefab and custom pergolas of varying sizes. These costs are for true pergolas without a solid roof. Adding a roof significantly increases the costs.
|Size||Average Installation Costs (Prefab)||Average Installation Costs (Custom)|
|10’ x 10’||$1,100 - $3,000||$1,700 - $4,500|
|10’ x 12’||$1,300 - $4,200||$1,900 - $6,500|
|12’ x 12’||$1,700 - $5,000||$2,000 - $7,000|
|12’ x 14’||$2,200 - $6,000||$2,500 - $7,500|
|14’ x 18’||$3,500 - $7,000||$3,000 - $8,000|
|16’ x 16’||$4,500 - $8,000||$4,000 - $10,000|
|20’ x 20’||$6,000 - $10,000||$5,000 - $15,000|
Pergola Cost per Square Foot
The cost of the pergola may have a loose per square foot cost of $10 to $40 installed. This is a big range, but pergolas can be built from many materials. Each material has costs and ease or difficulty in working with it. You can find low-cost pressure-treated wood or alumawood pergolas for $10 to $11 a square foot. You can also find wrought iron and solid teak pergolas at $35 to $40 a square foot. Costs increase if you add a roof, sailcloth, or custom details.
Pergola Price by Material
Pergolas can be built from many materials. This is true of kits and custom builds. Material plays a major role in your project’s total cost. Some materials cost more than others, while some materials can be difficult to work with, raising labor costs.
In the case of a prefab pergola, you purchase the unassembled pergola, ready to be put together. So, the cost of the material is the cost of the unassembled pergola. If you put it together yourself, this is the total cost.
For custom pergolas, you have material and labor costs for cutting, shaping, and forming the material and the final assembly. So, your material cost is going to be much lower because more work must be done. Your labor costs are higher unless you have the skills to build the pergola yourself.
The costs below are for 10’x12’ free-standing pergolas made of different materials. Costs do not include assembly or labor but only the unassembled pergola.
Not all materials are available in prefab and custom. Prefab pergolas are available in many more materials than custom pergolas, with custom also being able to use materials like brick, which are unavailable as prefab designs.
|Material||Average Costs for a Prefab Pergola (Material Only)||Average Costs for a Custom-Built Pergola (Material Only)|
|Metal||$500 - $3,000||N/A|
|Wood||$500 - $10,000||$500 - $9,000|
|Alumawood||$1,500 - $3,000||N/A|
|Composite||$1,500 - $3,000||N/A|
|Vinyl||$1,500 - $7,000||N/A|
|Fiberglass||$1,500 - $10,000||N/A|
|Brick||N/A||$2,000 - $4,000|
The cost of a metal pergola ranges from $500 to $3,000. Metal pergolas are only available in kits. They can be found in several metal materials, including aluminum, steel, and wrought iron, with aluminum being the most common. Some aluminum pergolas may have a vinyl or fiberglass wrapping for a better appearance with the strength and durability of the aluminum. Each material can give your pergola a different look and a varying cost range.
|Material||Average Costs for a Prefab Pergola (Material Only)|
|Aluminum||$500 - $1,500|
|Steel||$500 - $1,500|
|Wrought Iron||$1,000 - $3,000|
Cost of an Aluminum Pergola
Aluminum pergolas cost from $500 to $1,500 for prefab kits. Aluminum is a popular choice for pergola material. It can be powder coated in a range of bright colors. It can also be wrapped in vinyl or fiberglass for a wood texture with the durability of metal. Aluminum is lightweight and fairly easy to work with. Aluminum structures typically have a contemporary or modern design.
Steel Pergola Price
The cost of a steel pergola is $500 to $1,500 for prefab kits. Steel is a very uncommon material for pergolas. You can find them, but your choices are more limited with steel than other materials. Steel is heavier than aluminum and more prone to rust and other issues. Steel pergolas are usually painted or powder coated in a dark color, but some brighter and lighter finishes are available. Like aluminum, steel pergolas are usually contemporary.
Wrought Iron Pergola Price
The cost of a wrought iron pergola averages $1,000 to $3,000. They are fairly uncommon but can make beautiful statements in a yard. These pergolas are more likely to be more decorative. They generally use sailcloth in the design to create a canopy. These pergolas do not create shade on their own without sailcloth or other material because they are so thin. This is a popular style of pergola for training vines over.
Wood is one of the most commonly used materials for pergolas. Most custom pergolas are built from wood. Western red cedar (WRC) and redwood are very common materials and make up most of the pergolas built today. However, you can have a pergola built from many other materials. Exotic woods are available as custom builds because WRC, redwood, and pine are available in prefab kits.
|Material||Average Costs for a Prefab Pergola (Material Only)||Average Costs for a Custom-Built Pergola (Material Only)|
|Bamboo||$500 - $3,000||N/A|
|Pine||$1,000 - $3,000||$500 - $2,500|
|Oak||N/A||$2,000 - $3,000|
|Red Cedar||$1,200 - $5,000||$2,300 - $3,000|
|Timber||N/A||$2,300 - $3,000|
|Redwood||$3,000 - $10,000||$3,500 - $4,000|
|Mahogany||N/A||$4,500 - $9,000|
|Teak||N/A||$4,500 - $9,000|
|Ipe||N/A||$4,500 - $9,000|
Bamboo Pergola Price
The cost of a bamboo pergola is $500 to $3,000. They are available as kits and are not typically custom-made. The pergola is made out of large stalks of bamboo, fitted with rope, nails, or a combination. These are lightweight structures. They cannot support a roof, but they can use sailcloth for shade. Some may be used to support vines as a shade option. They do not last as long as many materials and may not be considered permanent structures.
Pine Pergola Price
The cost of a pine pergola kit averages $1,000 to $3,000. The cost of a custom pine pergola without labor ranges from $500 to $2,500. Pine is a softwood that is very easy to work with. It is inexpensive and comes in a few colors or types of pine. Yellow pine is very common, particularly for kits. You could have more choices for custom pine pergolas, depending on the material availability in your area. Pine pergolas are not as long-lasting as other materials but are usually less expensive and easier to build.
Oak Pergola Price
The cost of an oak pergola is $2,000 to $3,000 for custom structures without labor. Oak is not a common material for pergolas and is not generally available as a kit. Oak is a hardwood that can be found in two varieties - white and red. Both perform equally well for this purpose, but they have different colors and grain types. Oak has more of a prominent grain than other common woods for pergolas. It requires a stain and more maintenance than cedar or redwood because it is not naturally insect or water-resistant.
Cedar Pergola Cost
The cost of a prefab red cedar pergola ranges from $1,200 to $5,000. A custom red cedar pergola averages $2,300 to $3,000. Red cedar is the most common material for this structure. It is naturally moisture and insect-resistant, so it does not require as much maintenance. It can crack, detracting from the material’s appearance. If you paint it, you must use a primer first to prevent cedar bleed, where the grain of the material shows through the paint as the oil seeps through.
Timber Pergola Price
The cost of a timber pergola averages $2,300 to $3,000 for materials in a custom design. Timber pergolas are not typically available in kits. Timber pergolas are built with peeled logs rather than dimensional lumber. This gives them a more rustic appearance. Because of the material, it must be drilled and cut precisely on-site. Depending on the wood type, it may be left unstained or painted, or you may need to stain or paint it to protect it from the elements.
Redwood Pergola Cost
The cost of a redwood pergola kit is $3,000 to $10,000. The cost of the material for a custom redwood pergola averages $3,500 to $4,000. Redwood is similar to cedar in many ways. It does not require as much care as other woods and resists insect activity and rot. However, it can also crack like cedar, and it must be primed to prevent bleed-through if it is painted. Redwood is harder and more durable than cedar, so it lasts longer.
Mahogany Pergola Price
The cost of the materials for a custom mahogany pergola averages $4,500 to $9,000. Mahogany is not generally available as a prefab kit. Mahogany is a beautiful and highly durable exotic hardwood. It is not commonly used for pergolas because it is difficult to work with and requires a lot of maintenance when used in this way. Mahogany is not naturally moisture or insect-resistant. Therefore, you need to ensure it is stained and well-maintained to prevent rot.
Teak Pergola Price
The cost of the materials for a custom teak pergola averages $4,500 to $9,000. Teak is not generally available as a prefab kit. Teak is a beautiful, exotic hardwood that is extremely hard and durable. Teak is naturally moisture and rot-resistant, so it gets more use for this purpose. However, teak is very difficult to work with. For this reason, it may cost more in labor than other materials. Teak can also be difficult to source at times, increasing costs.
Ipe Pergola Price
The cost of the material for a custom Ipe pergola is $4,500 to $9,000. Ipe is not available as a prefab kit. Ipe is another very hard exotic wood. It is tough and durable and can be used for pergolas with good results. However, it is very hard to work with, and some professionals choose not to work with it or charge much higher costs. Like teak, it can sometimes be hard to source, increasing costs.
The cost of an alumawood pergola prefab kit averages $1,500 to $3,000. Alumawood is not available for use as a custom material. Alumawood is aluminum that has been processed, painted, and embossed to look like wood. It is more resistant to the elements than wood and is generally inexpensive. However, it is fairly thin and easily dented. The color of alumawood may also fade and become chalky, so it requires periodic repainting.
The cost of composite pergolas is $1,500 to $3,000 for a prefab kit. This material is not available for use as a custom build. One major decking company, Trex, makes a pergola kit using its composite material. This has the same benefits as composite decking. The material does not need to be painted or stained and is naturally insect and moisture-resistant. This can make for a lower-maintenance pergola. Composite pergolas tend to look very similar to wood but with lower maintenance, which is the appeal.
The cost of a vinyl pergola for a prefab kit ranges from $1,500 to $7,000. Vinyl is not available as a custom material. Vinyl pergolas are popular in many areas for their low maintenance. Vinyl pergolas are very lightweight and can be found in modern and traditional designs. They can be made of hollow vinyl, or the vinyl may be wrapped around aluminum for strength. Vinyl is not very durable long-term. It can crack in extreme cold and may soften and warp in heat. For this reason, it works best in moderate climates only.
The cost of a fiberglass pergola kit averages $1,500 to $10,000. Fiberglass is not available as a custom-built pergola. Fiberglass is fairly popular for contemporary pergolas, especially for homeowners who want a low-maintenance, long-lasting material. Colors are limited, but fiberglass pergolas last for years. The material is not impacted by extreme heat or cold like vinyl. This makes it one of the lowest maintenance and most durable materials available. Some fiberglass can be made to have the texture and appearance of wood.
The cost of the materials for a custom brick pergola is $2,000 to $4,000. This is the cost for the brick and mortar only. Because of how pergolas are built, you cannot use brick on the top, and another material must be used here. You can purchase a prefab top to be used with the brick or have a custom top made of wood. Therefore, brick pergolas use brick only on the columns. This can create several unique looks for the area and works well on a brick patio.
Pergola Price by Type
Pergolas are available in many styles and types. The classic pergola style has a top made of slats. When these slats extend past the front of the pergola, the style is considered traditional. Pergolas with slats the same width as the top rails have a more modern look.
Beyond this, you can have pergolas made in different styles and designs. This includes those with a full roof, making them closer to pavilions than pergolas. The more you add to the pergola, the higher your total costs. Adding a roof dramatically increases the costs for your pergola.
Not all pergolas are available in custom and prefab designs. The more material involved, the more likely the design is to be custom. However, many prefab styles are available, which can enhance several areas of the property.
Below are the average costs of many types and styles of pergola. These include prefab and custom where available. Costs are for the pergola fully installed.
|Type||Average Costs for a Prefab Pergola (Installed)||Average Costs for a Custom-Built Pergola (Installed)|
|Open Top||$1,100 - $8,000||$1,700 - $15,000|
|Curved||$1,100 - $8,000||$1,700 - $15,000|
|Eyebrow||$1,500 - $3,500||$2,000 - $5,000|
|Louvered||$2,000 - $10,000||$2,000 - $8,000|
|Carport||$2,000 - $10,000||$2,000 - $20,000|
|Sail||$3,000 - $14,000||$3,700 - $18,000|
|Gable||N/A||$5,700 - $20,000|
|Hip Roof||N/A||$8,000 - $30,000|
The cost of an open-top pergola is $1,100 to $8,000 for most prefab designs. Custom builds average $1,700 to $15,000, depending on the style, material, and size. An open-top pergola is a traditional style for this structure. Instead of a roof, the top is made of slats with space between them. The size and placement of the slats offer partial shade, between 75% and 90%, depending on the size and placement. You can increase the shade by adding cloth or growing vines over the top.
The cost of a curved pergola ranges from $1,100 to $8,000 for most prefab designs. Custom builds average $1,700 to $15,000, depending on the style, material, and size. Curved pergolas are a variation of the traditional open-topped design. Instead of being straight on the top, the planks form an arch. This arch may be subtle or dramatic, depending on the design and material. Metal arches can be very high, while wooden arches tend to be lower.
The cost of an eyebrow pergola is $1,500 to $3,500 for prefab designs. The cost of custom eyebrow pergolas ranges from $2,000 to $5,000. Eyebrow pergolas are small and attached to a building, usually above doors, garages, or windows. They extend only 1’ to 2’ out and typically add detail rather than shade. They often cost more than traditional pergolas because they do not have columns as support and usually extend the building’s length. They can be made of many materials but most commonly wood, vinyl, or fiberglass.
The cost of a prefab louvered pergola averages $2,000 to $10,000. The cost of a custom louvered pergola is $2,000 to $8,000. Louvered pergolas have a traditional open and slatted top. These slats are designed to move, which can increase or decrease the amount of shade. Most louvered pergolas are prefab and made of fiberglass or vinyl. However, you can find them in wood or have one custom made. Custom designs require the builder to understand the mechanism that opens and closes the slats to ensure they operate properly.
The cost of a prefab pergola carport ranges from $2,000 to $10,000. The cost of a custom pergola carport averages $2,000 to $20,000. Pergolas are not frequently used as carports because true pergolas do not have roofs. Therefore, they allow water and moisture to enter the carport rather than keeping your car dry. You can add a roof structure to a pergola or pergola carport. This means it is no longer a true pergola but now a pavilion or an open-sided roofed structure. Adding a roof dramatically increases the cost of any structure.
The cost of a sail pergola is $3,000 to $14,000 for a prefab kit. The cost of a custom sail pergola averages $3,700 to $18,000. A sail pergola is a traditional open-topped pergola. It uses special lengths of sailcloth threaded through the slats to give shade beneath the structure. Most companies that make pergolas supply sail cloths of the proper length and width. These cloths alone are $2,000 to $5,000, and many people may choose to make their own to keep costs down.
Gable Roof Pergola
The cost of a custom gable-roof pergola ranges from $5,700 to $20,000. This is sometimes known as a sloping pergola, slanted pergola, or pitched roof pergola. All these are not technically pergolas because true pergolas do not have roofs. Adding gables or a gabled roof to an open-sided pergola creates a pergola/gazebo hybrid. This is a custom design and not available as a prefab. Adding a roof to a pergola dramatically increases costs.
The cost of a hip-roof pergola is $8,000 to $30,000 for a custom design. These structures are not typically available as a prefab. A hip-roof pergola is not a true pergola, which does not have a roof. Instead, this is more of a pavilion or a pergola/gazebo hybrid. Hip roofs extend down on all four sides from a peak. It is a more elaborate design than a gable roof and requires more material.
Most Common Shapes for Pergolas
Pergolas come in many shapes, sizes, and designs. Shape does not impact your pergola’s cost like size, material, and style. Therefore, you can have a round pergola, an L-shaped pergola, or something hexagonal. Each one can enhance different surroundings, making one a better fit for your home.
Round pergolas make good additions to the side of a deck or round patio. Most pergolas are not perfectly round because of how they are made. It is more common for them to be hexagonal or octagonal. When installing a round pergola on a deck, consider using the deck rail as the starting point for the pergola. Every time you have a post on the deck, extend that for the post of the pergola so that it follows the natural shape.
Oval pergolas are less common but can make a beautiful statement in a larger area, such as a pool deck. Oval pergolas generally have four posts, like a traditional square or rectangular pergola. The difference is the pergola’s top is shaped to be an elongated oval. This gives the pergola a subtle appearance. Oval pergolas do not provide as much shade as square ones because the corners are rounded inward rather than extending farther out.
Rectangular pergolas are the most common design. This is the easiest and simplest to build, so you see it the most often. Rectangular pergolas come in many styles, including traditional designs and minimalist modern looks. Nearly all prefab companies make rectangular pergolas of many materials and sizes. This style is particularly versatile because you can install it free-standing or attach it to the side of a home.
If you are looking for a unique appearance, consider a triangle. A single pole is positioned at the back of the structure in a triangle setup, and the front is open between the other two poles. The slats at the top extend from front to back. Depending on the size, you can position two couches or loveseats along the two long sides and create a shaded conversation area. Or, you can fit this design into the corner of a deck or patio to follow the natural lines of the space.
Another unique look is the dome pergola. Dome pergolas use 5 to 8 sides to create a round shape. The same open latticework is used on the top of the pergola, but rather than running straight across or in an arch, it runs in concentric circles up to a dome. This gives the pergola an appearance reminiscent of a gazebo. The top and sides of the pergola are still open, so it has the same airy appearance as true pergolas.
L-shaped pergolas can be a great idea for lining the edges of a pool deck, patio, or deck. They are built essentially like two rectangular pergolas placed together at a 90º angle. The two sides can be the same length, or one may be longer than the other. L-shaped pergolas are rare in prefab form because you need to have them built for you in most cases. However, they can be a great choice if the sun changes position over the day so that you need to rearrange your position in the shade or you want to delineate a certain area.
If you want a round pergola, you will likely get a hexagonal pergola. The poles supporting the top are rarely arranged in a perfect circle. Instead, they create different sides, with hexagons being common. With 6 sides, it produces a balanced appearance to the structure. The top can be hexagonal or more rounded. Hexagonal pergolas are available in prefab and custom designs. They can also be found in many materials.
Octagonal pergolas can give you an even more rounded appearance than hexagonal pergolas. In this case, even more posts are added to create the 8 sides. With this many posts, the pergola ideally needs to be much larger. This is to keep the open feeling of the space. So many posts in a small area can begin to make the pergola feel closed in. Larger, more spacious pergolas can accommodate the extra posts without as much of an issue.
Cost to Build a Pergola
The installation process for a pergola varies considerably, depending on the materials, design, and if it is a custom model or kit. Both install in roughly the same way. The biggest difference between these two is the material. In a kit, all the pieces are pre-cut and often pre-drilled. This makes the assembly and installation faster and easier than a custom build. For custom designs, the pieces must be cut to fit on-site, making it more time-consuming. The average labor cost to assemble a pergola ranges from $100 for a simple metal structure to $1,000 for a large structure with a roof and requires two or more people for installation.
The average labor cost to build a custom pergola is around $500 to $1,000. Pine, cedar, and redwood are easier to work with than exotic hardwoods like Ipe or teak. For this reason, they are at the lower end for labor, while exotic hardwoods are at the higher end. More complex designs also cost more to build, while simple designs are closer to the low end of costs. So, the average cedar pergola costs $1,900 to $6,500 for the entire project, with $1,400 to $5,500 for the materials.
Pergola Installation Cost by Location
Pergolas can be installed in one of two ways. They can be free-standing structures, meaning you can install them anywhere, such as on a deck, patio, poolside, or in the center of your yard.
The other less expensive method of building a pergola is to build it onto the side of your home. In this method, you only have two posts instead of four, so your costs are lower. Keep in mind the rafters must be supported by your home, which means some modifications to your home’s exterior to support it. Attached structures are more likely to be installed on a deck or patio because they must be attached to your home. Free-standing can be installed anywhere. Below are the average costs for each pergola type.
|Location||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Attached||$1,700 - $5,000|
|Over a Patio||$1,900 - $6,500|
|Over a Deck||$1,900 - $6,500|
|Freestanding||$2,500 - $6,500|
A Pergola Attached to a House
The cost of building a pergola attached to a house is $1,700 to $5,000. When building an attached pergola, the front posts are installed in the same method as a free-standing pergola. Rather than having back posts, a beam is attached to the house at the height of the back frame. The top beams can be stretched from here to the front of the pergola. This requires less material and digging because there are no back posts to sink. This installation is most common for outdoor kitchens and small patios and decks. The pergola usually attaches right above the doors that enter the home, creating a small area of shade as you come outside.
Build a Pergola Over a Patio
The cost to build a pergola over a patio is $1,900 to $6,500 for the average cedar pergola. Your costs can be lower if you install it attached to your home. Depending on the materials the patio is made from, you may want to dig and create concrete footers for the pergola, or it could be installed directly on the patio material. In some instances, a wooden pergola can be directly attached to a wooden patio deck. In others, it may be anchored to a stone or concrete patio without footers. The total project cost depends on the patio and pergola size and the materials.
Build a Pergola Over a Deck
The cost to build a pergola over a deck averages $1,900 to $6,500. Building a pergola over a deck has the same basic concerns as building one on a lawn or patio. You do not need footers installed in the deck because the pergola can be fastened directly to the deck in most cases. You may use a free-standing pergola or an attached pergola on the deck. Some pergolas may extend their posts from the deck railing to make it appear like part of the deck. This is not necessary, depending on the pergola placement. For large decks, the pergola may be installed on one side for shade, but it could cover the entire structure for smaller decks.
The cost of building a free-standing pergola ranges from $2,500 to $6,500. This pergola can be installed anywhere. It can be located in the same areas as a free-standing pergola or built anywhere else. If located directly on the ground, it needs four concrete footers dug and poured. This increases the project cost. On decks and some patios, the posts must be fastened to the substrate at 4 points, raising costs, depending on the material.
Cost to Build a Pergola With a Roof
Technically, pergolas do not have roofs. By adding a roof to your structure, you are essentially creating a pavilion rather than a pergola. Pavilions are open-sided structures like pergolas with a full roof rather than open slats. This makes the project much more expensive than leaving the top open.
Pavilions, pergolas with a roof, have starting costs of around $5,700 to $12,000 and may go as high as $20,000, depending on the size, style, and materials. The larger and heavier the roof, the higher the costs. Hipped roofs cost more than gable roofs. Changing the materials on the roof to something like wood shakes or slate shingles also dramatically increases the project cost.
Motorized Pergola Cost
The cost of a motorized pergola averages $8,000 to $14,000. Motorized pergolas generally have a cloth canopy that stretches across the top. They have the same basic shape and layout as standard pergolas. The difference is that a motorized frame allows the canopy to stretch across the top or retract. This allows you to get more or less shade. Because it is motorized, you do not need to worry about pulling on and off sail clothes to get the shade you want, making it easier to use.
Pros and Cons of a Pergola
Pergolas add definition and shade to your landscaping. They are extremely versatile. They come in many shapes, sizes, and configurations and can attach to your building or be stand-alone. They can have built-in or removable shade to get the desired function. They also add definition and boundaries to outdoor areas and are significantly less expensive than gazebos and other structures.
Pergolas are more open than gazebos and other structures, so they generally provide less privacy and shade. At most, a true pergola only gives you roughly 75% of the shade as a gazebo or pavilion. Adding louvres can increase that shade to about 90% to 95%, but it is still not 100% without adding cloth, vines, a motorized top, or other material. Adding shade, electricity, and other amenities dramatically increases costs because they require significantly more materials and labor.
Pergola vs Gazebo
Pergolas and gazebos add definition, shade, and interest to your property. Both can be used in similar ways and installed in similar areas. The biggest difference comes from the exterior. Pergolas are open-sided and have no true roof and no floor. Gazebos have a roof and floor. They are also frequently enclosed or partially enclosed on all sides. This makes gazebos more of a true building, while pergolas are more of an accent structure. Because of their enclosure, gazebos can be used in all weather conditions. Pergolas only provide minimal shade and do not protect against rain, wind, or snow, so they cannot be used as often as gazebos.
Because of the extra material, a gazebo costs considerably more than a pergola of the same size and material. Below are the average costs to build each of the structures using cedar.
|Structure||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Pergola||$1,900 - $6,500|
|Gazebo||$7,500 - $10,000|
Arbor vs Pergola
Both arbors and pergolas can be used as accents in your landscaping. Both can also provide a place for plants and vines to grow and offer some shade. But the two structures are used in different areas. Arbors are vertical structures used to frame walkways or paths. They are narrow, usually just wider than the path. Pergolas are larger and installed on decks, patios, and by pools most commonly. Pergolas may also attach directly to the home or may be free-standing, while arbors are always free-standing structures. Arbors may incorporate a gate or bench and usually have an arch overhead, while pergolas tend to be more open.
In general, pergolas have a wider range of costs, with some that can be much less expensive than arbors. Arbors have a tighter average range that is more expensive at its low end. Below are the average costs for each of the two structures fully installed.
|Structure||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Pergola||$1,900 - $6,500|
|Arbor||$2,500 - $4,500|
Pergola vs Trellis
Pergolas and trellises can support climbing plants. While the pergola has other functions, supporting plant growth is the trellis’ main function. Pergolas are large structures that can be added anywhere to the yard for definition and shade. They are not entirely closed on the top, so many people train vines over them to provide additional shade.
Trellises are smaller structures designed to support growing plants. They come in many shapes and sizes and may even arch overhead. They are not designed to be used for shade or create a defining feature in a yard. Of the two, trellises are considerably less expensive. Below are the average costs of each project.
|Structure||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Trellis||$650 - $950|
|Pergola||$1,900 - $6,500|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
If you use wood susceptible to moisture, you may want to stain it for protection. This costs roughly $5 to $7 a sq.ft. For a typical 10’x12’ pergola, this costs $600 to $840.
Paint a Pergola
You can paint your pergola if you do not stain it or leave it natural. This cost depends largely on the material. For oak, pine, and most other hardwoods, the cost is $5 to $7 a sq.ft. For cedar and redwood, the costs are double because these materials require a primer before painting, for a total cost range of $10 to $14 a sq.ft.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Sealing. If you use a wood that is not cedar or redwood, you need to stain or seal the pergola. While cedar and redwood are resistant to rot and insects, other woods are not and must be protected.
- Structural work. If you install your pergola on an old deck or uneven ground, you have additional labor costs and potentially more structural costs. This is because the pergola must be evenly supported, and the ground or structure below must support its weight.
- Discount. In some areas, you could receive a discount on labor costs by building your pergola off-season. As long as the weather is conducive to the project, some contractors may offer a lower rate when they have fewer clients.
- Foundation. Not all pergolas require footers or a foundation. If you choose to pour a foundation for your pergola, you have much higher costs.
- Design. Ensure your pergola matches your property’s design and style. It is also important to consider the size because some oversized structures may restrict the surrounding area.
- Permits. While many places do not require permits for this project, some do. To find out more, check with your municipality.
- Does a pergola add value to a home?
Pergolas do not add value, but they enhance your landscaping and curb appeal. This can make your home more attractive to potential buyers.
- Do pergolas really block the sun?
A standard pergola does not offer much shade, but some block as much as 90% of the sunlight with closely spaced slats. Others have cloth or vines added for shade.
- Which direction should a pergola face?
There is no set direction for a pergola to face because they are open-sided structures.
- Do pergolas block rain?
No, pergolas do not block rain unless a roof is added.
- What should I hang on my pergola?
Any type of climbing vine native to your area makes a great addition to a pergola. Shade sails are also a good option.
- How much does a pergola cost to build?
The average cost range to build a pergola is $1,900 to $6,500, with most people paying around $4,500 for a cedar pergola.
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.