Wood vs. Vinyl vs. Aluminum: Popular Pergola Materials Compared

Once you have made up your mind to enhance your home and add some useful outdoor living space with a pergola, your next important decision is to choose what material finish would work best.

All of the options, namely, wood, vinyl, and aluminum all have positive features to recommend and considerations to think about. If you believe you have found one of the best aluminum pergolas around, for instance, it makes sense to take a moment to think about what wood and vinyl might offer as a viable alternative.

Let’s take a look at each material and what they offer.


Wooden pergolas are regularly mixed up with a gazebo structure. They are not the same, although they do offer similar rustic qualities and share some characteristics

Wooden pergolas can be a cost-effective solution compared to vinyl or aluminum. They are made using pressure-treated wood, or you can get one made using cedar, which can’t be painted and needs fairly frequent staining.

A key consideration with such a natural product as wood is that it will not offer the same longevity as its vinyl or aluminum counterparts. There is also the issue of regular staining and a greater susceptibility to mold and wood rot.


If you choose a vinyl pergola you can expect it to last a very long time with only minimal maintenance required.

Looking after a vinyl pergola involves periodic power washing to preserve its color and appearance.

One important thing you should be mindful of is that vinyl can be less sturdy and more susceptible to storm damage than a wooden or aluminum structure. The weight of heavy snow, for instance, can potentially damage a vinyl pergola.

From an aesthetic perspective, vinyl can offer a more formal and varied look than a wooden structure. This is because you can order a finish in a variety of shades, such as brilliant white, or something more subtle and unique.

Another key point about both wooden and vinyl pergolas is that they have a fixed roof. This limits your protection options, making it harder to keep out sunlight and rain.


Choosing an aluminum finish is widely considered to be the smart choice for a number of reasons. It might cost a bit more than its wooden and vinyl rivals, but the durability and versatility it offers can outweigh this issue.

Aluminum is lightweight but very sturdy. It offers a sleek and modern look that lasts virtually a lifetime, plus it is almost maintenance-free. It stands up well to the elements and another positive feature to note is that you have the option to fit a louvered roof if you choose an aluminum pergola. This gives you much greater control over comfort and protection from the weather.

You can get an aluminum pergola in a color finish that matches your existing decor. It is powder-coated, which means the paint will pretty much last forever.

Think about what you want from your pergola and how you are going to use it. If you want something that is easy to maintain, vinyl or aluminum outshine wood on that score.

Overall, you get more design and comfort options with aluminum, especially when you consider that a louvered roof will enable you to use the space throughout the year.

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