How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pergola?

Kelly Weimert
Written by Kelly Weimert
Updated January 11, 2022
A patio with dining area under a white pergola
Photo: Javani LLC / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Pergolas typically cost around $10 to $60 per square foot to install.

  • Several factors affect the cost of a pergola, including size, materials, and features.

  • You can build a pergola yourself using a DIY kit.

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Pergolas are great ways to maximize your outdoor space. They offer cool shade on hot sunny days, and they can protect you from the rain while you're outside enjoying your latest read. But how much does it cost to install one? It’ll run you anywhere from $10 to $60 per square foot, depending on some factors. 

You can also customize them with fun features, like smart technology that detects the weather and automatically opens and closes the roof depending on whether it's sunny or raining. Here’s everything you need to know about how much it costs to install a pergola.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pergola by Square Foot?

Whether you have a small yard or a large one, a pergola can add both style and shade. The typical cost to build a pergola is $2,124 to $5,968, and square footage is one of the biggest factors that affects how much you’ll pay.

Typically, it’ll run you anywhere from $10 to $60 per square foot. Essentially, the bigger your pergola, the more you can expect to pay.

Square FootageCost
10-by-4 sq. ft.$1,200 – $2,400
10-by-10 sq. ft.$3,000 – $6,000
11-by-11 sq. ft.$3,600 – $7,300
12-by-12 sq. ft.$4,300 – $8,600
12-by-18 sq. ft.$6,500 – $13,000
10-by-14 sq. ft.$4,200 – $8,400
10-by-20 sq. ft.$6,000 – $12,000

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pergola Yourself?

Buying a DIY pergola kit rather than hiring a pro to install your pergola can definitely save you money since you won't need to pay labor costs. Labor costs for pergolas typically range from $500 to $1,000, but costs can be higher if you're building a large, complex, and/or custom pergola. 

If you don't hire a pro, all you need to pay for is the pergola kit, which includes materials and instructions for building the pergola. These kits generally cost around $1,000 to $5,000, but they can cost several thousand dollars more depending on the pergola's size, type, and materials. 

Most DIY pergola kits come with pre-cut and pre-drilled materials, as well as all required hardware, which makes construction fairly straightforward. 

However, it can be time-consuming and potentially overwhelming for someone with very little construction experience, so you'll want to factor that in when deciding whether to hire a local pro to build a pergola or DIY.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pergola by Type?

Whether you want an aluminum pergola that requires very little maintenance or a wood pergola that you can paint or stain in virtually any hue imaginable, the material you choose for your pergola affects the cost to install it. 

Aluminum Pergola

Aluminum is among the least expensive materials used to build pergolas. Aluminum is also a low-maintenance material that stands up well to inclimate weather, making it both durable and budget-friendly. It usually costs about $10 to $30 per square foot to install an aluminum pergola. 

Vinyl Pergola

Vinyl is another budget-friendly pergola material. Like aluminum, vinyl doesn't chip or fade very easily, so you won't need to stain or repaint it as often as you would with a wood pergola. However, vinyl pergolas don't typically last as long as aluminum pergolas. It generally costs around $10 to $30 per square foot to build a vinyl pergola. 

Cedarwood Pergola

Cedarwood pergolas are slightly more expensive than vinyl and aluminum pergolas, typically costing around $25 to $35 per square foot to build. Cedarwood can endure extreme weather, and it's both insect- and rot-resistant. You can also paint or stain cedarwood in virtually any hue, so it's a highly versatile material. 

Redwood Pergola

Like cedarwood, redwood pergolas are insect- and rot-resistant, and they are very durable in severe weather. However, they're more expensive than many alternatives, ranging from about $40 to $50 per square foot

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pergola by Style?

Some pergolas feature retractable roofs, and there are several types of retractable roofs to choose from. The type you choose can significantly affect the price to build it. 

Manual Retractable Roof Pergola

A basic retractable roof pergola allows you to manually open and close the roof if you want to let in more sun or protect yourself from the rain. It typically costs $10 to $30 per square foot to install a manual retractable roof pergola. 

Automatic Louvered Pergola

Like manual retractable roof pergolas, automatic louvered pergolas also feature a retractable roof, but it's controlled by an automatic system that allows you to retract the roof using a remote. It costs about $20 to $55 per square foot to install an automatic louvered pergola. 

Smart Pergola

Smart pergolas can be programmed to open and close depending on the weather conditions. So if you're sitting outside and it starts to rain, a smart pergola can sense that it's raining and close its own roof automatically. 

You can also control smart pergolas through an app on your phone, making them incredibly convenient. These pergolas cost an average of $60 to $65 per square foot

What Factors Influence the Cost to Build a Pergola?

Close-up of a wooden pergola wrapped in flowers
Photo: Kristina Blokhin / Adobe Stock

From adding convenient automations to your pergola's roof to choosing certain materials, several factors affect the cost to install a pergola.

Pergola Roof Features

If you decide to build a pergola with a retractable roof, the type of roof you choose will affect the overall price to install it. Generally, smart pergolas cost the most, ranging from around $60 to $65 per square foot, while manual retractable roofs usually cost the least at about $10 to $30 per square foot

Pergola Materials

You can choose from several materials to build your pergola. Aluminum and vinyl are the most budget-friendly options, costing around $10 to $30 per square foot. Redwood pergolas typically cost the most at about $40 to $50 per square foot

Pergola Size

Since pergolas are usually priced by square foot, the size you choose affects the overall cost. For example, a pergola spanning 10-by-4 square feet usually costs around $1,200 to $2,400, while a pergola that's around 10-by-20 square feet can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000

DIY vs. Hire a Pro

Hiring a pro to build your pergola will likely cost more than if you were to build the pergola yourself since you'll have to pay labor costs in addition to the price of materials. Labor costs typically run from $500 to $1,000, but they can reach much higher if you build a large, complex, or custom pergola. 

FAQs About Building a Pergola

Where can I build a pergola?

Many homeowners enjoy the simplicity of a pergola smack dab in the middle of their yard, while others opt to put one in more unconventional places. For instance, you can design a pergola attached to a deck, or even build a pergola around a tree.

What is a pergola? 

A pergola is an outdoor structure with a roof supported by four or more pillars. Pergolas are great ways to shield yourself from too much sun or rain while enjoying the outdoors. You can attach a pergola directly to your house or build a freestanding pergola in your yard. You can also add features depending on your needs, such as a retractable roof that you can open and close to suit the weather of the day. 

What material should I choose for my pergola? 

The right pergola material for you depends on several factors, such as your budget. Aluminum and vinyl pergolas typically cost the least, while redwood pergolas cost the most. Aluminum and vinyl are more low-maintenance than wood pergolas because they don't chip or fade very easily. 

However, wood pergolas are highly versatile, allowing you to paint or stain them in just about any color you can imagine. 

Should I hire a professional or install a pergola myself? 

If you opt for a DIY pergola kit instead of hiring a pro to install your pergola, you can save around $500 to $1,000 or more in labor costs. However, even though DIY pergola kits are designed to make the build process as easy as possible, it still requires a fair bit of time and energy, as well as basic construction knowledge. 

You'll also probably need one or two other people to help you. So, it's a good idea to weigh the cost and convenience of hiring a pro against the time, energy, and construction skill required to build a pergola yourself to determine which option is right for you.   

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