Choosing The Right Pergola Roof

A pergola roof is often flat, but there are other options available if you want something with more shape. The roof you choose can affect how your pergola protects the space under it from the elements, and it also changes the aesthetics of your pergola itself. With that in mind let’s take a look at how to choose the right pergola roof.

Pergola roofing types

Broadly speaking pergola roofing comes in two main types…

Flat roofs and gabled roofs.

Each style has its own benefits and use cases so it’s important to understand which style will suit your pergola best.

Flat roofed pergolas

A flat roof can be customised with different pitch levels available, inbuilt lighting and fans, and other options.

Pergolas with a gabled roof

A gabled roof is higher with open ends, which creates a light and cool space.

The ends can be customised, and the roof can be made to match the architectural style of your home too.

A gabled roof can be left open between the slats or various materials can be used to create different effects, including mimicking a ceiling.

Pergola Roof Shapes and Design

There are several pergola roofing styles that you might want to consider before you choose the right pergola roof for your project.

The traditional option is a roof with timber rafters.

This creates a flat roof with space in between, which can let in light.

Many people also choose to grow vines and climbing plants along the beams, which creates more shade and adds greenery to the pergola.

Patched pergola roof with vines growing

It’s a simple but effective choice.

When trying to choose the right pergola roof, another style option to consider is a flat roof with roofing sheets, instead of open beams or rafters.

This type of pergola is low-cost and offers plenty of shade.

It’s also a good choice if your home has a flat roof because you can blend the two roofs together for consistent style.

You’ll have a functional roof that you can use for a rooftop garden or perhaps even solar panels.

A gabled roof is raised in the middle, sloping on either side, like many roofs you would find on homes and other buildings.

The rafters can be left open, as with a flat roof style, or use various roof cover options.

People often like open rafters when they have to choose the right pergola roof

A gabled roof can look more formal, and can look good if the rest of your home also has gabled roofing.

It can be more weather-resistant compared to a flat roof and creates more of a sense of open space.

A third option to consider is a curved pergola roof.

These might be a compromise for people who think that flat roofs are too plain but gabled roofs are too fancy.

A curved roof might be slightly harder to maintain, but it’s a good choice for dealing with rain, helping it to run off the roof with ease.

Like a gabled roof, it can help to create more space underneath your pergola.

Roof Cover Options

There are also some different options to consider for roof coverings to help you decide whether to leave your roof open or choose other configurations.

You could have static panels or fabrics that cover the rafters.

“The roof you choose can affect how your pergola protects the space under it from the elements, and it also changes the aesthetics of your pergola itself.”

These panels might be made from plexiglass or other clear plastics and can protect the area from rain.

It’s an inexpensive and simple solution.

Fabric stretched across the rafters can protect from both rain and sun, but water collecting on it can stretch the fabric over time.

Louvred roofs are another option, allowing you more control over your pergola roof.

This is a more expensive option, but it means you can open and close the louvres when you want to adjust the light.

Pergola with louvres to control the sunlight

Some systems will even detect rain and automatically close the roof for you.

They can be adjusted in winter and summer to either deflect the sun and provide ventilation or to capture the sunshine when it’s cooler.

It’s also possible to find retractable covers for pergola roofs, or to create a permanent roof and ceiling using robust materials.

Pergola Roof Materials

Choosing the right materials is also essential for durability, style and to match your budget.

Traditional pergolas use timber, but there are plenty of other options, as well as various choices for roofing materials.

Metal offers one option for a pergola roof, and provides a highly durable structure.

A metal roof is likely to last longer than other materials, making it a good investment.

Some metals you could choose from include tin, aluminium, copper and steel.

Fibreglass and plastic are two more possibilities for the roof of your pergola.

Both of these are durable options, and they are also inexpensive when compared to metal, although they might not last as long.

They can allow light in, while protecting from rain and UV rays too which is a bonus.

Fabric covers are another option, and can come in lots of colours, but they can stretch or fade over time.

Consider the wide variety of shapes, colours and materials as well as your budget and the desired use of the pergola before you decide on the roof.

Making the right choice before you build it will mean you’ll get to enjoy it to its fullest potential.


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