Traditional vinyl gazebo by a pool.

Choosing the Right Material for Your Backyard Structure

Not all backyard structures are created equal.

Whether you are looking to add a gazebo, pavilion, or pergola to your outdoor living space, you should select one based on the quality of craftsmanship and materials. A structure that uses sub-par materials can lead to increased maintenance, poor durability, and a less dependable structure.

Find out what material choices are available for your pergola, pavilion, or gazebo, and why it is important to select premium-quality materials.

In This Article

Pergola Materials

What are pergolas made of? Most pergolas come in as a DIY kit that can be installed yourself or by a local contractor. Pergolas come in pressure-treated wood, cedar, vinyl, and other materials like metal or fiberglass.

Wood Pergolas

The most common material for building pergolas is wood for its availability, durability, and affordability. The wood is hand-selected for appearance and to reduce knots and checks in the material. This means you can enjoy a stunning wood pergola that looks great in your backyard.

Traditional Wood Pergola
Pressure-Treated Yellow Pine serves as an excellent material for custom pergolas. It can be left natural or stained to get the right style you want.
Pergola Kit
Western Red Cedar Pergolas is a great choice for those wanting to add a rustic, rugged look to the backyard.

Vinyl Pergolas

Vinyl pergolas are built using pressure-treated wood for the support structure and a PVC sleeve along the exterior. The vinyl exterior makes vinyl pergolas extremely durable and easy to maintain. As a kit, vinyl pergolas are easy to set up, as all the wood and vinyl sleeves are cut to length and predrilled.

pvc vinyl pergola

Additional Pergola Materials

Fiberglass Pergolas – There are some manufacturers that build fiberglass pergolas. Similar in appearance and durability as vinyl pergolas, fiberglass ones are durable and easy to maintain. However, fiberglass pergolas are very expensive compared to comparable vinyl or wood structures.
Metal Pergolas – Within some pockets of the United States it is popular to purchase metal pergolas. Usually made with aluminum or another lightweight metal, these pergolas are often used to cover a grill or outdoor living space. They are light, can feature intricate metal detailing, and is easy to carry at a big box store. They are not as customizable as wood or vinyl pergolas, and typically only last a few years.

Pavilion Materials

What are pavilions made of? Pavilions are a covered structure that make an excellent choice for outdoor kitchens, picnic groves, or a place to entertain. A pavilion’s structure can be built using pressure-treated wood, rustic cedar, vinyl, and other materials. For a pavilion’s roof, you can choose from asphalt shingles or metal roofing.

Wood Pavilions

Most traditional pavilions are handcrafted using wood – either pressure-treated pine or western red cedar. Wood pavilion kits are affordable and easy to assemble.

pavilion with mahogany stain
Pressure-Treated Yellow Pine is a popular choice for wood pavilions. It is a durable material that can be left natural or stained in one of several colors.
pavilion built with western red cedar
Western Red Cedar is the choice material for those who want a rugged, natural look for their pavilion. Cedar is naturally durable and ages beautifully.

Vinyl Pavilions

Vinyl pavilions are recommended for homeowners who don’t want to spend time restaining their outdoor structure every few years. Clad in maintenance-free vinyl, these pavilions feature heavy-duty treated pine support structures. These are the perfect poolside structures and outdoor kitchens.

vinyl pavilion next to pool

Other Pavilion Materials

Metal Pavilions – If you go to a big box store or online retailer, you might see metal pavilions. These are often temporary canopies for use in your backyard or over your grill on your deck. Depending on your climate and the build quality, these can rust or not last as long as you’d expected.

Matching Materials – If you are adding a pavilion as an extension of your house or deck, you may want to choose materials that match your house. This can include brick, stone, or PVC that matches your siding. For these results, you will want to talk to a home remodeling contractor or deck builder.

Roof Materials

Since pavilions have a roof, your custom pavilion kit comes with your choice of roofing material. You can choose between asphalt roof shingles and metal roofing for your new pavilion.

vinyl pavilion with asphalt shingles
Asphalt Shingles – The most common choice for homeowners, architectural asphalt shingles are easy to install and last as long as your pavilion. They also come in a variety of colors, so you can get close to matching the color of your home’s roof.
pavilion with metal roof
Metal Roofing – For a long-lasting roof with unique styling, you can choose a metal roof. Available in several colors and in ribbed or standing-seam styles, a metal roof can be the final custom option for your custom-designed pavilion.

Gazebo Materials

What are gazebos made of? Gazebos are great backyard structures that provide ample space to entertain, relax, and dine. Some people even add screens or windows and make them into affordable 3-season rooms. Gazebos can come in wood, vinyl, or aluminum. With custom gazebos, you can also choose from several roofing and flooring options to match your preferred taste.

Wood Gazebos

Wood gazebos are a classic American structure that feature prominently in backyards and parks across the nation. Gazebos are made using pressure-treated yellow pine, which can be painted or stained for the desired look. Wood gazebo kits are easy to assemble and are durably built to last for years to come. Our kits come in several shapes: octagon, oval, rectangle, and large, which is perfect for commercial applications.

wood gazebo
wood gazebo

Vinyl Gazebos

Vinyl gazebos are for homeowners who want the elegance of a gazebo with little maintenance required. Vinyl gazebos are built using pressure-treated pine that’s wrapped by a protective PVC vinyl sleeve that is durable, easy to clean, and adds years to your gazebo’s lifespan. Vinyl gazebos are available as a kit and come in several shapes: octagon, oval, large, and rectangle, which is a great choice for a hot tub gazebo.

Aluminum Gazebos

Aluminum gazebos are often found sold at most big box stores. They can be affordable, easy to ship, and come in a variety of styles. They are also known as BBQ or grill gazebos and are useful to provide rain cover over your deck or patio. Most homeowners find aluminum gazebos to only last a few years and not as permanent a solution as a custom vinyl or wood gazebo.

Roof Materials

Like pavilions, custom-built gazebos allow you to choose the type of roofing materials to add. Our gazebos feature several design options and are available in standard asphalt shingles, cedar shakes, rubber slates, or metal roofing.

asphalt shingles
Asphalt shingles are the standard choice for most gazebos. You can choose shingle colors that match your home’s roof.
rubber slate shingle
Rubber Slate is an affordable way to capture the elegance of slate shingles in an eco-friendly, easy-to-install product.
cedar shake shingles on gazebo
Cedar Shake shingles complete the elegant, timeless look of a gazebo. Over time, these wood shingles will age gracefully into a nice, gray color.
metal roofing on gazebo
Metal Roofing provides a long-lasting roof to your gazebo. You can choose from ribbed or standing seam metal for your gazebo roof.

Floor Materials

You can order your gazebo kit with or without a floor. You may opt out of a floor if you are installing on an existing patio or deck.

If you do choose a floor for your gazebo, you can choose from wood, composite, or PVC decking. Each has style and performance benefits, which means you can get a gazebo that’s right for your use.

Wood floors made with pressure-treated yellow pine are a good choice for wood gazebos. It can be stained to match the rest of your gazebo.

Composite or PVC decking are the same materials that deck builders use, leading to plenty of years of use without wearing down.

gazebo flooring options