Pergola Durability: Can They Withstand Hurricanes and Rain

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High quality pergola located on a patio on the yard grass with amazing blue patio furniture and shrubbery


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Pergolas are a stunning addition to a home . If you live in a state that experiences frequent hurricanes, it is essential to make your house and other structures wind-resistant as a homeowner and preferably hurricane-proof.

Especially when using pergolas for your patio cover, which might not initially seem sturdy enough to hold up in storms, you might wonder: can pergolas withstand hurricanes?

Most pergola styles are resistant to storms and can withstand heavy winds, including those from a powerful category 4 hurricane. Most pergola designs may handle winds of 110 mph easily. However, whether it can endure intense hurricanes largely depends on the quality of the construction and the materials used.

There are several factors to consider when it comes to the wind and rain resistance of pergolas.

Today we will discuss whether this is enough to withstand hurricanes and other extreme weather conditions or not, along with some other information you might find helpful.

High quality pergola located on a patio on the yard grass with amazing blue patio furniture and shrubbery

Are Pergolas Able to Withstand Hurricanes & Rain?

If constructed properly, pergolas can resist severe weather conditions. If the structure is made of hardwood, has support joists and cross beams, and is fastened to strong cement foundations with metal fasteners, it can even endure hurricanes. Due to its slatted design, it is simpler and allows wind to pass through without compromising the structure’s stability.

The open sides and top of the pergola are often beneficial during a hurricane. It is because even strong gusty winds might blow through the structure with little to no harm.

However, one must ensure the pergola is fastened down and constructed of sturdy components to prevent damage.

If your pergola is freestanding, you may be reasonably confident that it will remain unharmed even withstand strong winds of around 50 mph.

Furthermore, a pergola can be a lot of fun in the heat and rain with the correct added feature or roof design. 

The structure will keep up well if you use a standard pergola. However, you may require an additional curtain or more to protect against the rain.

Manufacturers coat the majority of pergolas to be waterproof. So, they will be ideal for the coming summertime storm trying to destroy your day.

Moreover, some pergolas have an integrated gutter system, offering sufficient drainage. As a result, there won’t be a standing pool of water on the level pergola roof.

Nevertheless, the structure of your pergola may not be very efficient at preventing rain. But you can customize your pergola with any required characteristics to offer sufficient rain protection.

Additionally, your pergola’s ability to withstand rain depends on your roof type. The louvered roof is among the most well-liked styles of a pergola.

Slanted rafters of such a design are typically made of aluminum. They are also easily adjustable to take the sun’s angle into account.

The same applies to rain and storms; a pergola with louvers is necessary for proper rain protection.

You might prepare your area if a rainstorm is approaching by sealing up the roof. It will help you ensure that no rain seeps through and damages your enjoyment. 

As mentioned earlier, many of these pergolas with louvered roofs also have drainage systems. So, they prevent rain from building up and falling whenever you open the pergola again.

You can entirely open the louvered pergola’s roof for optimum sunlight. Or, you may fully seal it off to ensure no sunlight enters.

5 Factors Affecting The Wind-resistance Of The Pergola

Pergolas give you enjoyment by providing a covered patio, but if you live in high-winds areas, you also need them to be hurricane resistant.

This will ultimately depend on some factors in the build quality, for example, the material utilized in its construction, wind resistance, and other variables. 

It’s crucial to properly design your pergola construction if you live in a region that frequently experiences extreme storms and heavy winds to be as hurricane proof as possible.

So, let’s go over a few factors to take into account to make your pergola more wind-resistant:

1. Materials

While many pergolas may withstand lousy weather decently, they can endure long sunny days without worrying about materials in the same thought.

The proper material for the outdoor construction of freestanding or attached pergolas depends on how they withstand wind.

There are a variety of pergola materials available. Choosing your pergola material is crucial if storm resistance is among your top priorities.

Plastic Pergolas

Plastic pergolas are less labor-intensive to construct and require less upkeep than wooden ones. However, they are less durable and more susceptible to damage from high winds. 

Well, the advantages of plastic pergolas are numerous. The most affordable choice is a plastic pergola , which is available at most nearby retailers. They are light and portable.

Additionally, maintenance of such pergolas is more straightforward. But these are not the best choices for you if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions.

Wood Pergolas

The most classic and widely used pergola type is a wooden one, preferably a cedar, for enhanced weather durability.

They are also the most durable material to use when building a pergola. It is because they are doubtful to be simply swept away.

Nonetheless, you might live in an area where it frequently rains or is humid. If that’s the case, you must treat the wood carefully to prevent rot and subsequent deterioration.

Steel Pergolas

Pergolas made from steel are the toughest and heaviest. But they also lack the most aesthetic appeal.

Despite being more weatherproof, they are relatively exposed to severe winds since they are more vulnerable to breaking.

Metals, once swept away, might also cause extra harm to your house or neighborhood.

Aluminum Pergolas

Aluminum is much less rugged than steel but can be made into nearly any shape and offer outstanding value for most needing a covered outdoor space.

Depending on the pergola kit, aluminum can break down very quickly in heavy winds.

2. Placement

Due to the reduced direct wind flow, pergolas near or linked to larger structures experience higher stability during extreme storms due to the protection from weather provided by the much sturdier structure.

Pergolas are significantly more vulnerable to destruction in a hurricane if you position them farther away from houses and other buildings.

This is primarily due to the lack of a storm-force wind buffer for outdoor structures.

Additionally, I would advise you to point your pergola at 45 degrees in the wind’s direction in places that may experience strong winds.

This can help to improve the pergola’s aerodynamics, diverting wind around the structure rather than straight against it.

3. Attached Or Freestanding

When you’re planning for hurricane season and want it to stay damage-free, it is best to go with an attached pergola. A standalone pergola won’t perform like the one connected to the house.

Having the pergola fixed on the land and connected to the house is a better option. An unsupported pergola, particularly one constructed of lightweight components, may only be able to endure gusts of 50 mph.

4. Structure

Thickly constructed pergolas typically withstand harsh weather a lot longer. These provide the best of both worlds by being far more durable and can withstand the force that comes with powerful storms. 

It would be best to consult with home design professionals about the structure of your pergola and explore heavier, more substantial building materials.

If you carefully build your pergola with high-quality pegs and extra posts, it will stand tall after every significant storm.

These will help keep the pergola anchored to the land even during category 3 hurricanes.

5. Regular Maintenance

Don’t expect your pergola to be free of effort and maintenance efforts, as many items are needed after installation. Remember, regularly maintaining your pergola can help ensure it remains wind resistant.

Inspect the base to determine whether anything is loose or broken if you have an anchored pergola.

Furthermore, keep any wood and metal treatments up to date to keep hardware resistant to rust from exposure.

This work will help you ensure that the pergola’s construction is not vulnerable to breakage by corrosion or other problems that happen due to being exposed to the elements consistently.

Will a DIY Pergola be as Durable as a Store-Bought One?

While a DIY pergola may seem like a cheaper option for pergola, the durability may not match that of a store-bought one. Store-bought pergolas are often constructed with higher quality materials and may come with longer warranties, making them a more durable choice in the long run.

Final Thoughts on Can Pergolas Withstand Hurricanes

Pergolas and gazebos provide outdoor living comfort, shade, and weather protection in a private setting, but hurricane-force winds can tax even the strongest of buildings.

By now, I hope you have learned everything you need to know: can pergolas withstand hurricanes? So, don’t hesitate to install a pergola or gazebo in your home, even if you are in a hurricane-prone area. 

And remember to take the necessary steps to make the structure weather-resistant. Thanks for reading through.