Can a Pergola Have a Solid Roof? (Roofing Ideas & Options)

Can a Pergola Have a Solid Roof

A pergola is a great way to add some extra shade to your yard or garden, and it can also be a nice place to relax. But if you’re looking for a roof that will provide more shade and privacy, can a pergola have a solid roof? Let’s take a look at some of your options.

A pergola can have a solid roof if the structure follows the building code implemented by your municipality. However, technically a pergola with a solid roof is actually called a pavilion. So, be sure of what you want before you start building. 

There are many additional rich options you can consider for your solid roof. So, in this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about solid roofs on a pergola, what materials you can choose for your pergola, and what things you need to know before building a pergola in your yard.

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

Your pergola can have a solid roof, however, you need the right tools to do it. You can consider getting building kits that are available online. If you still don’t have a pergola, you can consider using building kits available online.

Check out these incredible tools for pergola roofs and building:

1. Steel Pergola Building KitEasy to assemble. If you haven’t installed a pergola in your yard yet, this can be your greatest option. It has an adjustable roof so you can choose the amount of light you want in your outdoor space.

2. Power Drill KitYou need all the support you can get to be able to attach your pergola roof panels. Use this kit to ease the installation process.

3. Nails and Wood Screws KitIncludes recommended nails and screws that can aid you in the pergola roof installation or building.

Solid Roof Options

You can put a solid roof on your pergola, but you need to know what materials suit you best for this installation. Additionally, adding a closed roof on a pergola will change its entire structure. So, let’s talk about it below.

Can You Put a Solid Roof on a Pergola?

You can put a solid roof on a pergola to protect a specific part of your outdoor space, such as your patio, balcony, or terrace, from weather elements. It will allow you to enjoy your pergola all year round without being affected by rain, sun, or snow.

However, this is better for those who want more of a permanent option since solid roofs aren’t adjustable.

Moreover, it will change the complete structure of the pergola and give it a neat, enjoyable look, depending on what material you choose for your solid roof.

What Is a Pergola With a Solid Roof Called?

A pergola with a solid roof is called a pavilion, which is often used for shelter or as a meeting space for special occasions, such as a birthday. Because of their purpose of use, pavilions tend to be larger than the average pergola.

It’s common to see people go to certain pavilions to celebrate their weddings, quinceañeras, or sweet 16 parties. These large spaces are airy, giving a unique vibe that many enjoy, which is why they’re popular. 

Back in the 17th century, pavilions were known for being medium-sized roofed spaces that were mostly built on garden spaces.

This means that they were commonly known for being garden structures, hence the reason for their popularity back then.

Also, it’s common to confuse pavilions with gazebos. The thing that makes them different is the way they’re built.

Pavilions tend to be larger or medium-sized, often built as square or rectangular spaces. Meanwhile, gazebos are mostly circular or hexagonal and smaller. 

Pavilions are often built of concrete or wooden material, which makes them permanent. However, gazebos are not always built this way.

Although it’s possible, gazebos are more likely to be built out of fabric materials or wood. Thus, their differences are easy to identify.

You might also enjoy our post on If Gazebos are Safe in the Wind

What Kind of Roof Should I Use for a Pergola?

The type of roof you should use for a pergola should be waterproof, although it’s mostly dependent on the weather conditions that are common in your area. Further, choosing the correct pergola roof also depends on the use you will give it. 

For example, if you’re looking to cover your pergola and the furniture items you are to place underneath its space, you may want to consider looking for a permanent option.

This means that you are likely to choose a static roof, which is available in metal, plastic, or glass material.

However, if you’re mostly concerned about weather hazards in your city, you may want to check out lowered roofs.

They use a waterproof design to allow water to drain off of the pergola, so you won’t have to worry about annoying puddles or wet outdoor furniture.

Additionally, there are less-permanent options you can choose if you’re interested in guarding the structure of your pergola without compromising its design.

For this, you can choose retractable roofs that can be made from fabric or metal and are adjustable.

If you’re the type to look for a type of roof that only gives a pleasing, decorative look, you may want to consider a “plant roof.”

Climbing plants and vines are commonly used on pergolas because of the beauty it adds to their structure.

The downside of it is that it’s not so waterproof, so you’ll likely continue getting wet if it rains, resulting in you not being able to enjoy your pergola on those cloudy, funny days.

Do You Need Planning Permissions to Put a Solid Roof on a Pergola?

You probably need planning permission to put a solid roof on a pergola, although this may vary depending on your state or city’s requirements. Thus, it’s recommended that you consult with your local building department for more information.

Some states will require you to file for planning permission before adding a roof since this will change the entire structure of the pergola. 

An example of this is the Florida Building Code, which requires its citizens to file for a permit if they plan to alter, install or demolish any type of building structure.

And the person cannot proceed with these changes until after permission is given. 

Likewise, the Denver, Colorado ordinances require all its citizens to file for a permit before altering, adding, or demolishing any structure.

Most often, they will require Denver citizens to include the plans for adding said structure.

Why Does a Pergola Not Have a Roof?

A pergola does not have a roof due to its primary design intent, which is destined for open, airy outdoor spaces that offer protection from natural sunlight. Thus, it is not originally meant to be enclosed.

Rather, it is meant to have all four corners of the pergola opened for more air access. Also, it is mostly adorned with climbing plants and similar decor to give it an aesthetic vibe, especially for neat garden outdoor spaces. 

Once a pergola has a roof, it turns into a small pavilion, hence why adding a roof can be a total game-changer for both the structure and its purpose.

Roof Types

There are many roof types you can choose from; likewise, their benefits vary. You may want to choose metal or polycarbonate roof panels. Let’s talk about these different roof types below! 

How Do You Install a Metal Roof on a Pergola?

To install a metal roof on a pergola, you have to measure the dimensions of your pergola, then install furrings before nailing down the metal panels to the purlins. According to building codes, this should create a slope that allows weather elements to drain.

As a general rule of thumb, you should install the panels in the direction of the wind to prevent damaging them. Moreover, you may need screws, nails, a drill, and measurement tape to complete the installation.

Simply enough, you should just lay the metal panels on the purlins of the pergola and nail them down after placing them in a way that one overlaps the other.

Place the nails or screws on the high seam of the corrugated metal fittings to lessen the chance of water leakage. 

The owner’s manual for your specific metal panels includes their proper installation process. Thus, you must follow those details in the letter when installing the metal pergola roof you chose.

These instructions vary per brand, manufacturer, and material of your pergola.

How Do You Build a Polycarbonate Roof With a Pergola?

You have to measure your pergola before installing a polycarbonate roof, then consult with the manufacturer’s instructions for your polycarbonate panels. Your pergola may need some modifications to create a necessary slope before the panel installation.

After ensuring this information, install the wooden furrings on the purlins of the pergola, and screw them down. You don’t need to place many screws, as the panels will have the support of their own. 

Some panels may include a T-track that often goes in between the seams of the panels. You should fasten those in your pergola at the spot where the manufacturer specified them.

Then, put rubber tape on both sides of the T-track so they can act as cushions for the panels. 

To put up the panels, you have to know which side goes up or outside and which side goes down or inside. You should be able to place them up carefully and correctly, then drill them down.

Remember to keep in mind all the measurements specified by your manufacturer. 

Many polycarbonate panels will include rubber gaskets and screws that need to be assembled before using them on the panels.

You should place them and drill them down to keep the panels firm without overtightening them.

After they are installed properly, you should remove the protective strip they come with. Use moisture tape to cover the edges of the polycarbonate panels, but first, try to clear out the debris from any cells that contain pre-drilled holes. 

Cover the moisture tape with a U-channel, then finish the whole installation by placing the T-track cover. The installation process may vary, so keep in mind that these instructions aren’t all-inclusive.

You should consult with your manufacturer for better information.

Can a Pergola Have a Flat Roof?

Pergolas can have a type of roof denominated as “flat,” but they can’t be completely flat because they should still have a minimum required pitch that will allow the roof to drain out the water and other weather elements. This pitch should be at least 5 degrees.

What characterizes a “flat roof” is that it is seemingly flat, but it isn’t entirely. Even though it’s not visible, it still contains a small slope that follows local building ordinances.

Nevertheless, it has a great building benefit.

Most experts agree that flat-roofed pergolas are easier to build and often good for your pocket since the materials needed for this type of pergola are not expensive.

You might also enjoy our post on If Gazebos are Safe in Lightning

Can a Pergola Have a Sloped Roof?

A pergola can have a sloped roof since it gives you a bigger space sensation, and it’s better for weather resistance. It won’t only work to remain waterproof, but it will also aid in lessening the impact of heat during summer.

Additionally, it is much better for water-draining purposes.

Water is less likely to sweep through the roof due to the shape of the sloped roof, so it is very convenient for people who are concerned about this issue.

Can You Make a Rainproof Pergola Roof?

You can rainproof a pergola roof by covering the opened roof with a water-resistant tarp or cover, but you can also rainproof your pergola by treating the roof with a waterproofing method, such as a spray or sealant. 

Pergola covers are not only perfect for protecting your pergola against the rain, but they can also protect the outdoor furniture you may have under your pergola.

However, if your pergola roof is made out of wood, you can choose to treat it with waterproof sealant. 

Yet, this isn’t necessary if you have a plastic roof panel for your pergola or metal. These already work for waterproofing purposes, so there is no need.

You need to ensure that, when installing either of these panels, there is no room for leakage between their edges or corners.

Roofing Materials and Cost

Planning a roof for your pergola can be fun, especially because of the expectation you may have with its results.

However, you cannot plan without considering your budget and the adequate material for your location. Let’s discuss this below.

What Is the Best Clear Roofing Material?

The best clear roofing material is polycarbonate because it protects from direct sunlight, heat, and water and is also resistant to many weather turbulences. Furthermore, it also provides a beautiful aesthetic to the pergola without compromising its design.

You can get polycarbonate roofing panels online, but make sure to get them according to the size of your pergola.

Each manufacturer contains different instructions for their installation methods, so you might want to check them out.

How Much Does It Cost to Roof a Pergola?

The price of a pergola roof can vary from 180$ to $3,000 in total, depending on the type of roof shape and material you choose for the pergola. The most expensive type of roof is the retractable roof, and the least expensive is the canvas roof.

Here is a table of three common roofs with their average prices plus benefits:

Type of RoofPrice Per Square FootBenefits
Fabric paneled roof$6 – $20Versatile design options
Retractable roof$10 – $30Adjustable
Louvered roof$20 – $50Protects from extreme wind and sunlight
Static paneled roof$35 – $45Plenty of visual appeals
Growing popularity
Smart roof$65 – $80Completely automated 
Easy to use

These prices can change depending on the material of the pergola roof and the manufacturer that offers them. Thus, you should revise these prices carefully.

What Is the Most Durable Material for a Pergola Roof?

The most durable materials for a pergola are aluminum, metal, and steel, the latter being the most expensive of them all. While aluminum and metal are more durable and can resist rusting (for the most part), steel can tolerate heavier weather impacts.

Since steel can tolerate heavier weather impacts, such as heavy winds and other hazardous conditions, it is most likely to last longer than metal and aluminum.

Although metal and aluminum roofs are more affordable.

Building a Pergola

You may be curious about what is the process of building a pergola entirely. It may seem simple, but there are things you should consider before beginning.

So, let’s discuss these issues below so that you can make the best decision.

How Do You Build a Pergola Roof?

To build your pergola roof, you have to mark the top of each side of the post, then add a nail on the place where you marked them to install crossbeams, and later add the remaining slats. This should be done after the posts of the pergola are installed.

Here are more detailed steps on how to build a pergola roof after setting down the posts of the pergola:

  1. Once the posts are set, mark two feet on top of each post. Write an X on each center and mark each side of the post.
  2. Hammer a nail where you’ve made the marks of the post on the outer part of the posts. This is done, so you place the crossbeams to form the foundation of the pergola roof.
  3. After putting those nails, place crossbeams on each post and ensure they are level.
  4. Now, screw the crossbeams into the post using four-inch nails. You can also use a drill to screw them down.
  5. Remove the nails you’ve screwed before. The cross beams should be in place, and they should not be unlevel. And if you find out they are, remove the nails and adjust them again.
  6. After installing the crossbeams on each post, you must lay eight rafters on top of them. They should be the same size, and they must distance themselves one ft from the other.

You might also enjoy our post on If a Gazebo Can be Used as a Carport

How Do You Enclose a Pergola Roof?

You can enclose a pergola roof by using pergola covers or by installing a pergola roof of any material that you choose. These options will help you protect the pergola so that you can use it all year round.

You can choose to install polycarbonate roofs or create a new wooden roof for your pergola, although this will change the structure and its purpose. 

However, you can also use canvas covers for pergolas that you can find online. Just make sure to waterproof them, and you’ll be fine.

How Do You Build a Freestanding Roof With a Pergola?

You build a freestanding roof with a pergola by first setting the posts on the ground, installing the crossbeams of the pergola, and finally placing rafters on top of them. This is, in essence, all you have to do for a successful pergola build.

However, there are details you must pay attention to. For example, before setting the posts of the pergolas, you have to make sure to call 811 before digging the ground.

The posts go below a few feet into the ground, preferably four to six feet. 

Moreover, the posts must be set with concrete. Once the concrete is placed on the holes where the posts are, they should be let dry for a whole full day.

From this, we learn that you should plan to build your pergola, considering all the factors that could affect the process. 

Another thing to think about is the measurements of the pergola. Before setting the posts, you should be able to mark the ground with graffiti paint, lines, or tape, so that you know where to dig to set down the posts. 

Lastly, don’t try to build the pergola on your own. Although it’s possible, it is also probable that you may need help setting the posts of the pergola or setting the roof.

Try to have at least three people with you, so the process is much easier.

What to Know Before Building a Pergola?

Before building a pergola, you should ensure to know the zoning laws for your state or city, the permits you may need to file, the building codes, the materials you need for the pergola, and the weather factors that may affect your pergola in the long run.

Without knowing any of the laws that speak about building codes and permits, you risk violating the law and having to demolish what you built illegally. Thus, you should check your government website for more information.

Additionally, you have to make sure to understand the weather turbulences of your area. This will help you choose a material that will be resistant to any challenges your area may face.

For example, it’s not recommended to put wooden pergolas in highly windy areas. 

Another thing to mention is that you should call the utility companies before beginning to build. If you don’t do this, you risk ruining one of the utility lines that may be underneath your soil.

If they break, many people can be affected by a lack of said utilities, including you.

Moreover, if you plan to install an enclosed roof on a pergola, make sure to understand the building codes surrounding it.

All pergola roofs should have a slope that allows the rain or snow to either sit or drain out of the pergola. If not, your pergola could suffer damage.

Are There Solid Roof Pergola Build Kits?

There are solid roof pergola build kits that you can find, with many options to choose from, including the type of material of the pergola and the design. Moreover, there are also pergola building kits that may interest you.

Indeed, most manufacturers sell the roofing panels for the pergolas with the gasket or rubbers it needs when installing.

All of the pieces you need are usually included, so you don’t have to struggle to try to find everything separately. 

Related Questions

Does a Pergola Add Value to a Home?

A pergola adds at least 80% of home value to your house or property due to the popular demand they’ve had during the recent decades. Recently, outdoor living has increased in popularity, so pergolas, gazebos, and small pavilions became trendy. 

People are now enjoying the delight of outdoor living. It is estimated that the outdoor furniture industry will grow from $46 million to $66 million by the year 2028.

Back in 2020, it used to be $45 million on the global market. 

Pergolas could easily be put in this category because they’re mostly used to protect outdoor furniture.

Moreover, people have become highly interested in enjoying the outdoors from the comfort of their homes, so it’s not surprising that pergolas have become so popular.

Is a Pergola With a Roof a Gazebo?

A pergola that has a roof is classified as a pavilion, which is a garden structure often used for parties or special occasions. For a pergola to turn into a gazebo, it has to fulfill certain standards, which is unlikely on many occasions.

For example, gazebos tend to be either hexagonal or circular in structure. Pergolas, on the other hand, are usually built as rectangular or square spaces.

They’re also usually larger than gazebos, which is why they turn into a pavilion once they get a roof.

Do Gazebos Typically Have Roofs?

Most gazebos typically have roofs, however, the type of roof will vary depending on the material it’s built with. It’s common to see solid roofs on wooden gazebos but simple canopies on portable gazebo frames.

Since they’re built with different materials, the resistance to outside elements is also different. However, they both need to be waterproofed and protected, lest it gets ruined by those same elements. 

Final Thoughts

Pergolas can have a solid roof, but this will turn them into a pavilion. Pavilions have been commonly used in past centuries, and they are beautiful garden structures. 

However, if you prefer a less permanent option for your pergola, you can always get a patio cover online. Available different fabrics are canvas and polyurethane, which are convenient for diverse purposes. 

Moreover, building a pergola is not very easy. You have to consult with your local building department and make sure that you understand the instructions for the letter.

If you feel uncomfortable with DYI, you may need to contact an expert for more information.

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