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How much does it cost to build a pergola?

30th Jan '18 • By Kaylyn Jeffrey

Pergolas are an excellent outdoor element to complement your outdoor living area. We’ve put together a complete guide to help you estimate an approximate cost.

What is a pergola? 


A pergola is a structure in a garden, backyard or park consisting of a (commonly wood) framework, usually with climbing or trailing plants. Pergolas can provide a relaxing, shaded and cozy outdoor area to your home. 


What are the average costs?


The cost of a pergola depends on several factors, most prominently materials and labour. The type of pergola you’re after will contribute to its cost. In addition, if you are wanting a more custom design, the costs will increase. Typically, the cost of a pergola installation will cost anywhere from $500.00 for the most basic materials to $5000.00 for a full custom build with shade screens and the whole works. 

Different designs will run you different costs. Before hiring a carpenter, it is wise to decide on the design and style of pergola you're after. For ideas on pergola designs, click here.


Pergola kits 


Pergola kits provide all of the materials and components needed to build a pergola yourself. If you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of person and have the skills to pull off a project on your own, then these pergola kits are just for you. These are ideal for a simple pergola attached to the house. 

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Material Costs


You can either get all the materials in a kit form, as mentioned above, or you could shop for them separately. Kits are a bit more expensive than sourcing separate materials. Depending on the type of pergola you want built, the basic material costs can vary greatly with options such as wood, fiberglass and aluminum. 

Another point to consider when building a pergola is flooring, which will be another more overlooked material cost. Depending on the type of flooring you’re after for the space, installation costs typically vary from $2.00 to $8.00 cost per square foot.  


Site Preparation


The area where the pergola is built has to be prepared. If it is an attached pergola, the structure of the house needs to be kept in mind and adjustments and changes might be required. For a freestanding pergola, the preparation cost is higher which involves tasks such as digging and leveling. If the area is small, it can be done by hand. However, if the area is larger, machines might have to be used. 

Labour Costs


The right person to hire for this type of job would be a skilled carpenter with rates varying from $50 to $65 per hour on average. The best way to hire the best carpenter for the job is to view their past work on pergolas specifically. If you like their previous work and they have solid reviews of past customers with reasonable rates, you've found your pergola installation expert.

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Finishing Touches


You wouldn’t plan on just leaving your newly built, beautiful pergola without any finishing touches. Paint, lights and some weather resistant coating all add to the cost of building a pergola. 



In many cases, a permit will not be required, but depending on the area and type of pergola, consult with your local council for the required permits for construction. Two main permits; the planning permit and construction permits are required and the council charges a fee for issuing them. 

The prices above are just a guide and subject to the time the article was made, if you want an accurate and up to date price, get up to 3 quotes from local Carpenters today.

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