Can You Put A Roof On A Pergola? Materials And Alternatives

So you love your pergola, but the sun is too hot. Or it’s raining, and your pergola is getting soaked. You want to protect your pergola, but don’t know whether you can put a roof on a pergola. Don’t worry, I get you… I mean you just spent a bunch of money on this thing so why let it go to waste?!

A lot of homeowners have been asking this question! So can you really put a roof on a pergola?

You can build a roof on a pergola as long as your existing structure can handle the weight. A proper roof will ensure weather protection and add character to an otherwise plain pergola. It looks much more elegant than patio umbrellas, and many styles include eaves that will shed rain away from guests.

Roofing Materials You Can Put On Your Pergola

A lot of homeowners like to stay in their pergola, but when they realize that their pergola can only provide shade and not total protection from outdoor elements, most homeowners decide on adding a little more protection such as a roof.

Roofing materials such as metal, fiberglass, and plastic are quite common and all are excellent solutions. Fortunately, most of these roofing materials are very versatile and can be easily adjusted and cut into different sizes to exactly fit your pergola.

Fiberglas and Plastic Roofing

This is the easiest roofing material to install and the most popular among homeowners. These roofing materials are typically lightweight and are cost-effective; they are also very easy to cut and fit. They allow more light to come in while still protecting you from harmful UV rays.

Fiberglass and Plastic can be put on a pergola in just a few hours by using basic hand tools, a circular saw, and a nail gun.

Fiberglass can be a bit difficult to find than plastic but they are a very eco-friendly option. Most fiberglass is made from recycled materials and helps lessen the waste and pollution on our planet.

Metal Pergola Roofing

Metal is a sturdy and durable material which can withstand high winds and extreme weather. What’s great with metal is that it can be cut down or sized in many different shapes or sizes to fit in your pergola.


There are two common types of tin roofing you can choose from to use as pergola roofing. V-Crimp and R-panel. V-Crimp is an easier material to work with, it is the least complicated material to install compare with V-Crip because you won’t be needing any lap screws. R-panel, on the other hand, has ridges and requires 5/16″ lap screws for installation.


Steel is obviously more expensive but it is the most durable and sturdy among pergola roofing materials. It is great for pergola roofing because it is resistant to rust. The durability of steel makes it a superior choice for pergolas that get a lot of snow and ice accumulation.


The most expensive and desirable metal choice for a pergola roof. Copper is very rust resistant and doesn’t need regular maintenance. This material can be a bit difficult to find because not many companies are able to get this material and install it on their pergola.


This metal is one of the most popular pergola roofing materials because it is easy to install, is lightweight, and helps lessen the pergola’s overall weight. It is also resistant to rust and can withstand high winds. This is a great option for pergola roofs that are not used much and won’t be exposed to snow and ice accumulation.

Choosing Roof Material For Your Pergola

There are a lot of factors to consider before choosing the right pergola roofing material, for instance, if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions such as ice storms and heavy snow, you will need something that is wind and water-resistant.

You also need to consider the style of your pergola and whether you want the roof of your pergola to stand out or camouflage in the overall design of your pergola.

Cheaper Cover Alternatives For Your Pergola

Adding roofing using the materials mentioned above can be quite expensive. But if you are looking for just a simple solution that will add more protection or shade to your pergola and not necessarily covering the entire top, then here are some of the easy and cheaper alternatives.


If you are just after covering the sun and not much else then using a tarp will be the easiest and cheapest option for adding a roof to your pergola.

The great thing about using a tarp as a roof is that you can use and secure it when the sun is out and remove it late in the afternoon when the sun is much weaker.

Just be sure to fasten it securely on the edges of your pergola using some rope and nails because sudden strong winds can blow the tarp away.


Plants will give your pergola that elegant and natural look. Fast-growing plants like trumpet vines can cover the sides and top of your pergola. For a better shade, planting a large tree adjacent to your pergola with providing the most shade and natural protection.


A mesh can be readily available in stores and is quite a very cost-effective solution. It will make your pergola experience more comfortable during hot weather. It is available in a wide variety of colours to match it with your existing designs and natural settings.

Roller Shades

Using a roller shade will allow you to add a simple covering on your pergola. Be sure to use a thick and durable fabric because the thinner ones can break easily during strong winds. Measure your pergola to determine how many roller shades you’ll be needing to purchase.

Drop Cloths

Drop cloths are usually used by painters to cover and protect floors and furniture from paint. However, drop cloths can also be a great option to use as a covering on your pergola. Just use grommets to attach the drop cloths to your pergola and you are good to go.


In conclusion, you can indeed add a roof to your pergola if you want to protect it from the sun, rain or snow. Once you have decided on what kind of roofing material you want to use for your pergola, installation of roofing materials is easy to do as long as you have the right tools and material.

Have fun making your decision and remember, what is most important in any design is that it should be something that will make you happy and enjoy spending time with friends and family.