Bluewaters timber pergola

Pros and Cons of a Pergola: Timber Vs Steel




Pergolas are a popular outdoor structure that can enhance the beauty and functionality of any outdoor space. They provide shade, create an inviting ambiance, and serve as a focal point for gardens, patios, and decks. When it comes to choosing the material for your pergola, timber and steel are two common options. Each material has its own set of pros and cons that you should consider before making a decision. Let’s find out which material is more suitable for timber pergola design structures.

What is a Pergola?

Before we delve into the pros and cons of timber and steel pergolas, let’s first understand what a pergola is. A pergola is an outdoor structure consisting of vertical posts and crossbeams that create an open-roofed framework. It typically features a lattice or open-slat design, allowing sunlight to filter through while providing partial shade. Pergolas are often used to define outdoor spaces, create a sense of privacy, and support climbing plants like vines and flowers.

Boho chic timber pergola
Boho chic timber pergola

Timber Pergolas

Timber, or wood, pergolas have a timeless and natural appeal that can effortlessly blend with various architectural styles. Here are some of the advantages of choosing a timber pergola:

Cape Reed commercial project the Boho Club with a semi-shaded timber pergola over the terrace
Semi-shaded timber structure over the terrace

Pros of Timber Pergolas

  • Timber pergolas offer a warm and organic look that adds a touch of natural beauty to any outdoor setting.
  • It can withstand harsh weather conditions without deteriorating 
  • It can hold solar panels
  • It comparatively responds better to sand and salt than steel and aluminum
  • It has the flexibility to bear more designs and patterns
  • The rich textures and earthy tones of wood create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.
  • It can be repainted for a fresh look
  • It is cheaper to build
  • Wood is a relatively lightweight material, making it easier to handle and work with during the construction process.
Cape Reed timber construction rustic pergola with barasti pam fronds
Cape Reed timber construction rustic structure with barasti pam fronds

Cons of Timber Pergolas

  • Requires regular cleaning and maintenance
  • Not as strong as steel structures

Pergolas of Steel Pros 

  • High-grade steel structure is strong, sturdy, and long-lasting
  • It is quick and easy to construct
  • It can be painted with weather-resistant paints to protect from rust 
  • Steel pergolas are safe from molds and insects
Bluewaters timber pergola
Bluewaters steel pergola

Cons of Steel Pergolas

  • Steel pergolas, compared to timber, may lack the natural and warm aesthetics that wood provides.
  • These structures are strong but are highly vulnerable to rust.
  • A rusty steel pergola compromises the aesthetics of the construction.
  • Though weather-resistant paints can serve the purpose, it requires constant maintenance.

To Conclude

A pergola is a beautiful structure that can add so much more to the lifestyle of your house. It depends merely on your choice of material that suits your preference depending on surrounding weather conditions, your ability to look after the structures, and the aesthetically pleasing outlook of your house.


Can I paint or stain a steel pergola to change its color?

Yes, you can paint or stain a steel pergola to alter its color. However, it’s important to use appropriate paints or stains specifically designed for metal surfaces and ensure proper preparation and application for optimal results.

Can I attach hanging plants or vines to a steel pergola?

Yes, you can attach hanging plants or vines to a steel pergola. Steel is strong enough to support the weight of climbing plants, adding a lush and green touch to your outdoor space.

Is it possible to combine timber and steel in the construction of a pergola?

Yes, it is possible to combine timber and steel in a pergola design. This allows you to benefit from the natural beauty of timber while incorporating the durability and strength of steel in certain structural elements.

Can a pergola increase the value of my property?

A well-designed and well-maintained pergola can enhance the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your outdoor space, which can positively impact the value of your property. However, the extent of value increase will depend on various factors, including the local real estate market and the overall condition of your property.