Wood Pergola Materials Comparison

Pergola Wood Comparison

Our pergola wood comparison provides descriptions of the top wood choices for pergolas. We’ve been building quality wood pergola kits since 2008, and have created this simple pergola wood comparison to help customers decide which wood to choose. What features are important for your wood pergola kit? Quality? Durability? Price? For our Big Kahuna, Sombrero, Melbourne, Fedora, Brim, and Visor pergola kits we always use either western red rough sawn tight knot cedar or pressure treated #1 southern yellow pine lumber. Either choice ensures you will have a quality wood pergola. For our Peak Timber Frame pergola kits we use Western Red Cedar, Alaskan Yellow Cedar and Southern Yellow Pine (kiln dried after pressure treatment). All of our pergola kits and cedar planter box kits are built using quality, durable wood that is able to withstand severe weather.

In addition to this wood type comparison, other helpful information for your backyard wood pergola include our guide to choosing a wood pergola and a comparison of pergola styles. The wood comparison below describes the two types of wood we offer. Pressure treated pine, the most affordable pergola wood option, is rot and insect resistant. Much like pine pergola kits, western red cedar is also naturally insect and rot resistant, and can withstand severe elements. Start here with determining the best wood type for your backyard space.

Pergola Wood Comparison: What’s the difference between a Pressure Treated Pine and Rough Sawn Cedar Pergola?

Western Red Cedar Pergola Kit

Western red cedar is a beautiful light amber color with a wonderfully appealing fragrance that adds another dimension to its qualities. Two of the top reasons for choosing western red cedar for pergola wood are: 1) that it’s highly resistant to decay, and 2) that it withstands severe elements. These reasons make this wood type ideal for outdoor use, and it is used in situations where exposure to the elements is continually severe. It is lightweight with close, even grain, and is easily worked and can be finished smooth with little effort. This type of cedar takes paints and stains very well. Paint or stain can be applied to western red cedar as soon as you receive the pergola kit. Western red cedar is sustainably harvested in North America.

Pressure Treated Pine Pergola Kit

Pressure treated pine, the most affordable pergola wood option, is also very rot and insect resistant and able to withstand severe elements. Pressure treated pine has chemicals added to give it those properties. This wood type comes with a green appearance. As it dries it will turn to a golden brown, then gray if it is not water sealed or stained. You will need to wait a few months before staining or painting the pine lumber since it will be saturated with the pressure treatment when you get it. Southern Yellow Pine is sustainably harvested in the southeastern United States.

Pergola Wood Comparison - Rough Sawn Western Red Cedar

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  • Rough Sawn
  • Naturally Insect and rot resistant
  • Able to withstand severe elements.
  • Performs best in dry climates
  • Light amber in color, will turn gray over time if not water sealed or stained
  • Takes paints and stains well and can be painted, stained or water sealed immediately
  • Contains no chemicals and is 100% natural; wonderfully appealing fragrance
  • Rustic Look

Pergola Wood Comparison - Pressure Treated Southern Yellow Pine

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  • Smooth Sawn
  • Very Insect and rot resistant
  • Able to withstand severe elements
  • Performs best in humid climates
  • Comes with a green appearance, but dries to a golden brown color, then gray if not water sealed or stained
  • Needs several months drying time before applying stain or water seal depending upon local climate
  • Chemicals added to make it rot and insect resistant
  • Classic Look
  • Most affordable pergola wood option

Pergola Wood Comparison: Description of Wood Types for our Timber Frame Pergolas

For our Peak Timber Frame pergola kits we use Western Red Cedar, Alaskan Yellow Cedar and Southern Yellow Pine (kiln dried after pressure treatment).

Western Red Cedar Timber Frame Pergola Kit

Western Red Cedar (of the Cypress family) has a beautiful light amber color, which will naturally fade to grey if left untreated. Its appealing fragrance adds another attractive feature to its qualities. For our Timber Frame pergolas, we use #1 or better grade, unseasoned Western Red Cedar that is surfaced (cut smooth) on all four sides. The cedar will show the natural wood grain and will have a limited number of knots and other characteristics. Western Red Cedar’s natural resistance to decay and sturdy qualities make it a very popular choice for outdoor use. Western red cedar is beautiful with a simple clear preservative or light stain.

Alaskan Yellow Cedar Timber Frame Pergola Kit

Alaskan Yellow Cedar or Yellow Cedar (like Western Red also of the Cypress family), has many of the same insect, rot, and decay repelling properties as Western Red Cedar, but denser, and with excellent strength and stability. Alaskan Yellow Cedar has a beautiful pale-yellow color (almost white), that left untreated weathers to a light silver grey. For our Timber Frame pergolas, the Alaskan Yellow Cedar will be smooth on all four sides and can be treated with oil or stained. Alaskan Yellow Cedar is a popular choice in many high-quality projects.

Southern Yellow Pine Timber Frame Pergola Kit

For our Timber Frame pergolas, we use #1 or better grade Southern Yellow Pine that is kiln dried after pressure treatment. The lumber is cut smooth and treated to a ground contact level. Since it is kiln dried after treatment, our Southern Yellow Pine is a light brown color and an excellent choice if your plans call for painting. Pressure-treated pine can withstand severe weather and is very rot and insect resistant. Southern Pine is the most economical wood choice option for our Timber Frame pergolas.

Guide to Choosing a Wood Pergola

Read our Guide to Choosing a Wooden Pergola.

Read our Pergola Styles Comparison.

Have questions about pergola wood types? Contact us!

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Email: info@pergoladepot.com

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