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Are Pergolas Waterproof? (Tips to Stay Dry)

Are Pergolas Waterproof? (Tips to Stay Dry)

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Putting up a pergola is worth considering if you have a spacious lawn.

Not only does it add elegance to your yard’s ambiance, but it’s also a suitable place to hang out when staying inside the house becomes monotonous.

Since they’re an outdoor extension of the living space, those who are familiar with pergolas have a couple of questions in mind.

In light of that, this article will respond to one of those questions: Are pergolas waterproof?

Let’s look at the design and purpose of a pergola to answer such a query.

How to Make a Pergola Waterproof

A pergola is an exterior structure designed to cast enough shade and maximize ventilation through an open-roofing layout.

Thus, the top of a pergola commonly consists of interlaced strips of wood, metal, beam lumbers, or a combination of them.

Considering this traditional design, technically, a pergola isn’t waterproof.

You may think it may be disadvantageous, considering the furniture (sofa sets and whatnot) could get wet when it rains.

However, there are ways to accessorize your pergola to protect your furnishings from getting wet.

Adding Accessories to Your Pergola

Adding accessories to your pergola for dispelling water is a great way to make it look more inviting.

Here are a few ways to dissipate rainwater and avoid getting everything under your pergola soaked in the rain.

1 – Sail-Shade

Yes, the idea comes from the ship’s sailcloth. However, instead of propelling purposes, the canvas is intended for covering. It’s aesthetically pleasing and a good option for light rain shelter.

When installing a sail shade, it’s crucial to adjust the angle (of your choosing) where you want to lead the water to fall. A wire rope is also necessary to fairly diffuse the tension and avoid tearing one corner over the other.

A sail shade, however, isn’t like a retractable canvas. Consequently, if you put it up to your pergola, know it’s going to be there for a while.

2 – Single Track Slide Canopy

From the name, this canopy suspends using only a single track in the center. STS doesn’t depend on tension mounting—unlike the sail shade, which relies on wire rope.

STS instead employs stabilizers that create peaks, which accordingly makes it rather effective against rain as the water easily rolls off.

Budget-wise, a single-track slide can be costly compared to other types.

3 – Roll-up Awning

Otherwise known as retractable awning, this type operates horizontally, using cables and runners.

One of the advantages of this setup is that it condenses tightly when retracted, so it doesn’t take up much space.

However, the retractability feature means the use of wires. Hence it’s supported by tension, which could be a disadvantage against strong winds and rain.

One way to deter the rainwater from becoming stationary in the middle and causing a sag is to set up the canopy at an inclined angle.

This accessory is best-suited for places with a subtropical humid climate.

4 – Roof Louvers

An elegant motorized roofing system. Roof Louvers are tilted thin pieces (of plastic or aluminum metal) that overlap to form a covering.

Because it’s automated, you can modify the slats according to your preference. Using a control button, you can adjust the louvers for ventilation purposes or lighting (or both).

In a simple description, louvers are like having mechanized blinds for a roof.

Are Pergola Canopies Waterproof?

Pergola canopies aren’t entirely waterproof. It depends on the material of the canopy. Take, for example, the fabric of shade sail canopies.

It has tiny holes, but it can deter rainwaters enough to keep you dry—as long as the rain isn’t in copious amounts.

What to Put on a Pergola Roof

There are many different available materials that are suitable for roofing pergolas. Aluminum would be a good choice.

It’s rust-proof and lightweight. Fiberglass, plastic, and polycarbonate sheets are also feasible.

These materials are durable enough that they can withstand strong winds or heavy downpours of rainwater.

As for choosing a canopy type, you can select from the following:

  • Retractable awning
  • Sail shade
  • Single-track canopy
  • Roof louvers

Final Thoughts

Are pergolas waterproof? By design, they’re not. However, there are ways you can accessorize your pergola and protect your furnishings from getting wet.

Although deciding on what to put on your pergola’s roof is entirely up to your needs—the effect you desire to achieve, and the budget you’re willing to spend.

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