Pergolas are wonderful. They can be installed onto an existing deck, a patio, out in the middle of the yard, or all three if you’re a real party animal. Building a pergola is a pretty major construction project though, so instead of a comprehensive DIY guide on how to build a pergola on a deck, we thought we’d provide an introduction to how to get started so that you’ll have a better idea about whether you want to hire a contractor or take on the project yourself.
Introduction to How to Build a Pergola on a Deck
Again, it’s major construction. Legally speaking, anyway. So your first step should definitely be contacting your municipality and finding out how to build a pergola on a deck without getting in a big ol’ heap of trouble. Contractors are always talking with permitters and they know what to look out for. It’s always good to have extra sets of eyes when you’re getting permission from governments, so maybe count this as a reason to hire a contractor.
When it’s time to actually start building a pergola on a deck, screwing your pergola’s pillars into the floor of your deck would be like hanging a hammock in drywall. So just like how you have to find the studs and take care to screw into those, you want to make sure that you anchor your pergola into the under-structure of your deck, and possibly its concrete foundation if it has one.
Metal Pergola vs. Wood Pergola
Looks and weather. Those are the two main considerations when you’re choosing between a metal pergola and a wood pergola.
Most metal pergolas are aluminum or steel. Aluminum doesn’t rust but stands some risk of being flattened or whisked away by a storm. Powder-coated aluminum is an upgrade, especially in steadfastness. Steel takes a bit more maintenance, but is much heavier and sturdier.
For a wood pergola, most people go with pressure-treated lumber. It’s the easiest to maintain and not as susceptible to moisture damage, especially with a new coat of sealant every couple of years.
Alternatively, cedar is a great choice for a natural wood, especially in drier climates. Always consider applying water sealant after it’s built. Moisture absorption (and maybe price) is just about the only weakness of cedar.
Pergola with Canopy Options
To pergola with canopy, or to pergola without canopy? That is… well, it’s a question.
There are a few options when it comes to pergola-with-canopy structures. Different canopies actually serve different purposes. Some are waterproof; some only block the sun; some actually let water drip through to avoid pooling.
Recap: How to Build a Pergola on a Deck
There are lots of right answers and infinite wrong answers when it comes to how to build a pergola on a deck. The most important places to start are city permitting and a strong foundation, probably the one your deck already has.
If you’d like to take a step closer to the project, reach out to a reputable and professional renovation company. They can answer all your questions, and even ask you some to get a better idea of what exactly you want.
Have fun, be safe out there, and soon, enjoy your new pergola!