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How much does it cost to build a pergola 2023?

Itís hard to know where to start when shopping for a high-quality pergola kit or custom pergola design for your outdoor living space. Even from a budget standpoint. There are so many outdoor structures on the market today; different materials, different sizes, different styles, different roof structures, itís easy to get overwhelmed! If your landscaping plans call for building a pergola structure this year, letís look at some general pricing breakdowns to start you on the right track!

Outdoor dining pergola built with vinyl
Vinyl pergola kit installed over top of stone landscape columns.

Materials, size, style, features and quality will all make a big difference in pricing. From the extremely low end big box pergola, you will see prices starting off around $300. The same size pergola built from quality materials, warranty, shade options, automation, etc can run into figures north of $20k!

That doesnít exactly help narrow things down. To simplify things a bit you, as a national average, expect to pay somewhere around $4,500. We will use a 10 x 10 pergola size as our generic model going forward.

Custom Pergola Costs

The average cost range to build a custom pergola is between $2,500 and $8,000, with most homeowners spending around $6,000 on a 10í x 10í traditional pergola made of cedar.

Homeowners can save money when opting to choosea treated pine pergola over Cedar or Redwood. By choosing treated pine materials, along with some free internet building plans, a DIYer could get away spending around $2,000. Opting to build a luxury custom pergola with exotic hardwoods or automated features, your costs could hit well north of that $20k mark!

When it comes to a custom pergola, you have two choices. You can have a company custom build your pergola, ship you the pieces and have it assembled on-site. Or you can buy or find plans, and have the pergola built from scratch right on your property.

When choosing to have a custom pre-fabricated pergola kit, you will have more pergola material options to choose from. Aluminum, vinyl, and wood custom pergola kits can all be ordered, fabricated and sent direct to your home. If you have your pergola custom built on-site by a carpenter or contractor, youíre likely limiting yourself to a wooden pergola.

Pergola Material Costs

Different materials present varying levels of ease in handling and acquisition, affecting the final cost of the project. Each material also possesses its own unique benefits and drawbacks, including durability, appearance, and upkeep requirements.

There are about eight different materials commonly used in building a pergola. Below are the average costs per square foot for each material:

Wood Pergola Costs

Wood is one of the most popular choices for pergola construction. The look of wood provides a rustic and natural look to your space. Wood is also easy to obtain from any local lumberyard.

There is a difference in cost for wood pergolas based on the type of wood you choose. Wood prices fluctuated a lot over the course of the pandemic years but here are some average costs you can expect for building a wood pergola.

Treated Pine Pergola Costs | $25 Ė $50 per square foot

Treated Pine is a cost-effective and accessible material that is resistant to pests and inclement weather. While its rustic appearance is a plus, it is also prone to warping and rotting, requiring regular maintenance such as staining or painting. Care must be taken to ensure the wood is adequately dried out before sealing or staining for the first time, a process that takes three to six months.

Cedar Pergolas | $35 Ė $60 per square foot

Western Red Cedar is often used for pergolas as it is a wood that is naturally resistant to insect infestations and resistant to wet weather conditions. And you can probably think of the lovely smell just from talking about it! Cedar will cost more up front than a treated pine but will also hold up better as long as it's properly cared for. Staining every couple of years will help keep this pergolas beautiful for years.

Redwood Pergolas Costs | $65 Ė $85 per square foot

Redwood ranks right up there with Wester Red Cedar. It's known to be slightly stronger than cedar and has a slightly richer darker red color over cedars more golden tone. Like Cedar, Redwood can be stained immediately upon installation to start protecting your structure. And it also naturally resists bugs and rain as well. Redwood may be harder to find or source for your area, and due to the availability is going to be more expensive as well.

Exotic hardwoods Pergola Costs | $60 per square foot and up

Your exotic hardwoods like IPE or Teak are beautiful, highly durable but very pricey materials for pergolas. These tropical woods are known as being super dense which increases their ability to withstand years of weather and environmental impacts.

They are known for being an ideal material for many outdoor structures. Yet the sustainability of these woods make them difficult to source and definitely drive up your costs. Often resulting in a pergola structure that is 3 or 4 times more expensive than your other wood options.

Non-Wood Pergola Costs

Vinyl Pergola with aluminum insert costs | $30 Ė $60 per square foot

Vinyl pergolas with aluminum inserts are a solid combination of material for a couple of reasons. First, vinyl is very low maintenance. Just a simple spray down of the pergola to remove dirt or dust once a year is all it takes. Vinyl also a lighter material, easy to maneuver and install.

The aluminum framework inside your vinyl exterior, keeps your pergola from sagging or rotting. These vinyl & aluminum pergolas have some of the longest lifespans for a pergola structures, often lasting for many decades while still looking like new.

On average, the cost to build a vinyl pergola ranges from $4,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on the brand and features of the structure.

Vinyl pergolas with wood inserts pergola costs | $40 - $65 per square foot

Again, a Vinyl pergola is easy to care for and clean. The vinyl is durable and long-lasting. While wood inserts will ensure your pergola has better strength than without, wood is still susceptible to the eventually rotting, sagging and weakening of your structure over time.

Vinyl pergolas lack the rustic natural look of wood and may lack other customizations found on high end pergola models. Look to spend somewhere around $4,000 to $7,000 or more on these types of pergolas.

Aluminum Pergola Costs | $40 - $150 per square foot

Aluminum pergolas are a modern and sleek option for those who want a low-maintenance and durable structure. They are available in a variety of colors and finishes to match your style. The cost to build an aluminum pergola can range a lot depending on the brand, size, design, and features of the pergola. On average, the cost to build an aluminum pergola is in the $4,000 to $15,000+ range.

Aluminum pergolas can be more expensive than other pergola materials, specifically if you are choosing high end options like integrated lighting and automated features like retractable roofs.

Fiberglass Pergola Costs | $50 - $100 per square foot

Fiberglass pergolas are lightweight and have a long lifespan. They also hold paint well though you will have to occasionally touch up your color if you choose to paint. The downside to fiberglass is the cost. Fiberglass pergolas cost double to triple the cost of other alternatives. They are also not as readily available with fewer sellers and long wait times to receive your pergola.

Pergola Maintenance

Itís important to keep in mind when choosing your materials, that itís not just the upfront costs you need to consider. Some materials can be difficult to work with, which will increase your labor costs. Others are easy to work with but may be high maintenance in the long-term. Wood requires upkeep every couple of years Ė sanding, staining, painting.

High end pergolas with automated features may require service calls to repair any damaged components or burned-out motors.

Pergola Sizes

Your pergola size will greatly affect your pricing. Of course, the larger the pergola, the more material in general. But another big consideration is the larger the pergola, the more support posts are typically needed.

Different types of pergolas have different weight loads and acceptable span distances between posts. The additional cost for added posts as you size up can really impact the overall pergola cost.

Attached pergolas will have fewer posts needed. With an attached pergola one side of your pergola will be supported by the structure you are attaching your pergola to. If you are looking for a way to save a little money, choosing an attached pergola may help.

Pergola Installation

If you have your pergola built on-site, you will have different labor costs and rates. Youíll most likely be working with a carpenter. The average cost per hour for carpenters will vary around the country. Itís not uncommon for a pergola to cost $800 to $2,000 in labor fees in addition to any material fees.

Pergola Plans

If you work with a pergola company for a custom design, they will likely have some instructions for you to work with. They may also have plans or designs that you can use and tweak to get the right layout, size and features for your home.

If you are having the pergola built on-site, then you will need to have some kinds of plans. Some carpenters that specialize in pergolas may work with you to draw up custom plans. If that is the case, you will probably have additional fees for their time.

Itís also possible to find free plans or to purchase plans online. You and your builder can then make any modifications necessary to adjust and complete the pergola to your specifications.

Pergola Styles

Keep in mind that there are many variations available, everything from modern pergolas to traditional pergolas. The more detail and ornate the design, the more the costs tend to go up as it will use more materials and more labor to put together.

Get the Right Pergola for You

Make sure that you find the pergola that fits your aesthetic, your budget and your long-term maintenance needs. Regardless of how itís designed or built, the most important thing is being able to enjoy your pergola for many years to come!

You can start your pergola shopping by trying out our free custom pergola builder!

Where to next?

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