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What Is the Best Wind Resistant Pergola? - Heartland Pergolas

Pergolas have rapidly become one of the most popular outdoor structures for residential and commercial applications. A pergola can help define a space, offer shade, and is less expensive and elaborate to build than other outdoor structures like pavilions or gazebos.

Many pergolas being built today are bought in kits, which makes for easier installation and provides better control over the project. However, not every pergola kit ó or custom-built pergola ó is going to perform the same way.†

Materials like fiberglass, some softwoods, and un-reinforced vinyl can mean that your pergola is too light or flimsy to withstand high winds. Thatís why itís important to pay attention to both the pergola design AND its material so you can choose a wind-resistant pergola that will last.†

Which Materials Are Best?

Pergolas are stationary structures that can be installed in one of two ways. They can be either freestanding or attached to a building. Theyíre typically constructed of two to four columns, with a roof that can be: open and designed for vines or cloth, tightly layered with maneuverable slats, or left with an open rafter roof.

Pergolas for Windy Areas

Regardless of the style and roofing, though, most pergolas are fairly open structures. Whether theyíre permanently attached to the ground or fastened to a deck, the columns or legs of the design need to be able to support the roof structure, without bowing, twisting, or breaking in the event of high winds from storms or hurricanes. Because pergolas donít have walls to block wind and help share the load, the posts need to do their part to hold things up.†

The type of material you choose to build your pergola is your first consideration in finding the most wind-resistant pergola design. There are several options on the market, with most people gravitating toward one of a few popular choices.

Wood

Wood pergolas are popular for their endless customization. But theyíre not used as often as they once were because wood is so high maintenance. Cedar and pressure-treated columns both have a tendency to crack over time, and every type of wood requires a lot of work in sanding, scraping and painting or sanding to maintain its appearance and prevent problems with rot.

When itís in good condition, wood is very durable and can hold up well in many climates. The problem comes with time and age; when the wood begins to age, it develops more cracks and eventually starts to soften. At this point, it begins to lose its structural integrity, and a high wind could be all thatís needed to finish off the structure for good.†

To prevent this, you would need to stay on top of the maintenance, by painting and repairing as needed. Often checking the wood to look for signs of deterioration and loosening of any screws, bolts or other fasteners.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is a unique material. Itís made from a mixture of silica sand, soda ash, and limestone, among other things. This makes it a fairly tough and low-maintenance material that can be used to create lightweight, hollow pergolas. They are lower in maintenance than wood, not requiring the same level of care since they donít rot and donít require scraping and painting.

However, fiberglass can become brittle in cold temperatures. Itís also very lightweight, and hollow-core pergolas canít withstand the force of high winds. Fiberglass being lightweight can be a benefit in some projects, but in a pergola, it means that it may not hold up long-term in a high wind environment.†

Hollow Core Vinyl

Vinyl is a lightweight material made from polyvinyl chloride. Like fiberglass, its very low maintenance, and therefore, popular as a material for outdoor structures like pergolas. You donít need to paint it, and itís completely impervious to insect activity, moisture, and rot.†

Many manufacturers simply make their vinyl pergola columns hollow, though, which means that the pergola is subject to the same problems as fiberglass. The structure is too light when it isnít reinforced, and itís not going to be able to withstand high winds without taking some damage.

Metal Pergolas

Metal pergolas are a good option for durability and security, and heavy enough not to be an issue in high winds. However, metal pergolas on their own tend to be higher in maintenance.†

Steel can corrode if itís exposed to the elements, and all it takes is a scratch on the paint for it to start to rust. Aluminum doesnít corrode, but it can dent as well as fade, so it needs to have its finish retouched every few years to look its best. Not retouching a fading metal can sometimes mean that the baked-on finish will come off on your hands and clothes not ideal for most applications.

Metal Reinforced Vinyl

One solution that manages all of these issues is a hybrid pergola made up from a vinyl exterior with a metal frame structure. The aluminum frame insert gives the pergola the strength and stability it needs to stand up to high winds, while the vinyl gives you that low-maintenance exterior. This pergola combination proves to be one of the best pergola materials you can buy.†

A hybrid vinyl & metal pergolas gives you the best of both worlds; they donít require paint or long-term care, and theyíre going to hold up to years of use, no matter what climate you install them in.

Pergola Styles for Wind-Resistance

You may experience high winds if you live in any coastal regions, hurricane prone shores, wide open plains or off the mountains weathering the Santa Ana winds. If youíre looking for a wind-resistant pergola, choosing a durable material is a good start ó but it isnít the only thing you can do to provide strength and stability. Pergolas can be either freestanding or attached, and attached pergolas gain the benefit of the strength and wind buffer from the house or structure it is fastened to.†

Attaching a pergola to the home either on the deck or patio can dramatically increase its wind resistance. Paired with the right materials, these pergolas will last for years with fewer issues in strong winds. Even against hurricane force winds like this Florida pergola that survived the notorious Hurricane Ian!

Get the Best Pergola for Windy Areas

 

If youíre looking for a high-quality pergola thatís attractive, low maintenance, and durable enough to withstand high winds, check out the selection at Heartland Pergolas. These custom and prefab vinyl pergola kits can help you achieve your project goals quickly, with the strength and stability youíre looking for.†Heartland Vinyl Pergolas offers designs in Free Standing Pergolas as well as Attached Pergolas

Contact a representative today to add a durable, and beautiful, outdoor pergola to your home.


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