FAQs – Pergolas

  1. Will the pergola need to be stained or water sealed?
    The lumber does not have to be stained or water sealed, but it is strongly recommended.  Pergolas will be exposed to the elements, and should be cleaned, sealed, and stained to withstand the test of time.  Whether PT Pine or Cedar is used, it should be cleaned and properly cared for at least once every two years to keep the desired look.  Combination stain/water sealers are available at most hardware stores.
  2. Can I stain and water seal the lumber before I install the pergola?
    Your Cedar Pergola can be stained prior to installation because the lumber is kiln dried.  A PT Pine Pergola cannot be stained until one to three months after installation to allow enough time for the lumber to dry from the pressure treatment.  PT Pine must be dry enough so it can absorb the stain or sealant.  It is not recommended to leave the pine pergola parts on the ground to allow for drying.  This will cause the parts to twist and bow.
  3. How are the pergolas measured?
    Most pergolas (either custom built or a kit) are measured from the outside tip to outside tip.  The standard overhang is 1’6” past the post on all sides.  Post to post dimensions will be not be measured but should be taken into account for the desired size pergola.
  4. Are custom sizes and styles available?
    Yes, there’s a huge range of pergola styles that can be built or purchased.  ACP will assist in showing you the many different options, from post styles, end cuts, rounded beams, and more.
  5. What is the difference between a pergola built from lumber or a pergola built with an aluminum finish?
    There are pluses and minuses with either option, and it just depends on what best suits your home and taste.  Pergolas built from PT Pine, Cedar, or Cypress have a beautiful, natural wood appearance that will last for many years especially if treated with a stain or sealant.  That being said, there is more maintenance involved with a wood pergola.  The aluminum pergola gives a “wood appearance” but may not provide the natural look you might be seeking.  Aluminum pergolas have a painted wood appearance, which is beautiful as well.  There is less maintenance involved, as you do not have to stain, seal, or paint aluminum.  You will also avoid any potential issues with insects, rotting, and warping with an aluminum pergola.