Aluminium vs Steel Pergolas: Which Is Best?

Grey Aluminium Pergola
Categories: Garden Pergolas
Tags: Guides

A pergola is a fantastic addition to your garden, blending style with utility to bring you the best of both worlds. It adds a touch of elegance and makes for an eye-catching focal point, while still providing a practical, shaded oasis where you can fully enjoy the beauty of your garden.

Pergolas come in all kinds of materials, but two are most common: steel and aluminium. Although they look similar, there’s actually a big difference in terms of durability, maintenance, and more.

At Broadview, we've been specialising in the design and supply of tailor-made outdoor shading solutions for over half a century. Below, we'll take a closer look at steel and aluminium pergolas and reveal which one we think comes out on top.

1. Maintenance

Pergolas are constantly exposed to the elements, so it’s no surprise that occasional maintenance is required. However, the exact amount of maintenance needed all depends on what material the pergola is made from.

Steel tends to need more TLC than aluminium because it can rust and corrode when exposed to moisture. This means it requires regular painting or coating to keep it looking its best. In contrast, aluminium naturally resists rust and corrosion, making it a much lower maintenance option. Usually, all it takes is an occasional cleaning to keep it in great shape.

2. Ease of installation

The ease of installing a pergola is closely tied to its weight; the heavier the pergola, the more labour-intensive it becomes to transport and assemble.

Steel is noticeably heavier than aluminium, weighing roughly three times as much for the same volume. This means that using steel will require more time and effort during installation, which can raise labour costs. On the other hand, aluminium is easy to work with due to its lightweight properties, making the installation process much more straightforward.

3. Heat reflectivity

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of sitting on a metal bench in the summer, you know just how blistering it can get. Luckily, some metals are much better at avoiding this than others.

Aluminium is an excellent heat reflector, which means it takes longer to heat up and cools down more quickly than steel. If you choose an aluminium pergola, you'll be less likely to roast under the summer sun than you would with a steel pergola, which tends to absorb and hold onto heat for much longer.

4. Customisation

Customisation is another key aspect to consider when choosing a pergola. The more customisation options you have, the easier it becomes to create a pergola that truly suits your garden's style and feel.

Steel pergolas do offer some customisation options, but they can be more challenging to work with due to their weight and stiffness. Intricate designs might require welding and fabrication, leading to higher costs.

On the flip side, aluminium can be shaped and cut with ease, allowing for a wide variety of shapes. Its natural oxide layer can also be dyed or anodised in a spectrum of colours. While you can colour steel as well, the process is more involved, and the results may not be as vibrant or long-lasting as what you can achieve with aluminium.

5. Eco-friendliness

Finally, it's important to think about the environmental impact of the materials you pick. While metal in general has a large carbon footprint, making a choice that's less harmful to the environment is a small but positive step you can take to reduce your impact on the planet.

Steel has a high environmental impact due to its energy-intensive manufacturing processes. It's responsible for about 11% of global CO2 emissions, making it a major contributor to climate change. On the other hand, aluminium is a more environmentally friendly option because it requires less energy to produce and recycle. This lowers its overall carbon footprint, making it a more eco-conscious choice compared to steel.

Are steel or aluminium pergolas better?

Based on the points we've covered so far, we would place aluminium as the clear winner over steel. It's easier to maintain, customise, and install, which saves you both time and money. Plus, it's a more environmentally friendly choice due to its less intensive production process, and it will help keep you and your family comfortable all summer long.

At Broadview, we're passionate about bringing you the very best for your pergola. Our collection of aluminium pergolas effortlessly blend modern style with lasting durability, giving you a feature to enjoy for many years to come. Even better? They're fully customisable and upgradable, offering a variety of colours to suit your taste, along with optional extras like integrated LED lighting, motorised roof control, roller screens, heaters, and even outdoor speakers!

If you're dreaming about adding a beautiful and practical pergola to your garden, look no further than Broadview. Book a consultation online or give us a call on 01202 679012 to kickstart your project today!