Pergolas made from robust materials can improve the aesthetics of your property while providing immense utility. The absolute best material to use for the outdoor pergola structure is Redwood harvested using restoration forestry techniques. California Redwood has a gorgeous structure and appearance that withstands weathering and other outdoor hazards for decades without any required maintenance.
By selecting wood harvested with responsible practices, you can ensure your pergola’s construction does not negatively impact the environment in any way. Every time you gaze at the gorgeous pergola and other Redwood furniture in your backyard, you can feel pride for your dedication to improving your home and environment. Read on to learn why Redwood is the absolute best material to use for a wood pergola structure.
Redwood naturally gained its name from the beautifully rich red tones of its wood. There are three main types of Redwood available for pergola construction, common, mature and old-growth. The common Redwood features a mix of light red and deep amber tones with brown grains running through the planks. The mature Redwood consists of an even span of vibrant red tones offset by dark grain lines. The old-growth has the deepest tones of red that almost eliminate the contrast against the grains.
A pergola made from Redwood can utilize any one, or all, of these types to create a beautiful, personalized structure. The natural colors of the wood can also be altered or accentuated with transparent or tinted stain finishes. A cherry stain, for example, deepens the red tones while evening out the colors of the grain pattern.
Redwood either features open or closed grain running through its structure. The open grain has a loose, flowing pattern throughout its surface. Closed grain patterns run closer together to create a near seamless look across the surface of the Redwood.
The cut and finish of the Redwood lumber can further bring out the grain pattern. Smooth cuts seem to bring the grain pattern to the surface to highlight the contrast between the wood colors. A transparent sealant coat increases the depth of the grain pattern and Redwood tones for a truly artistic appearance. Each application of sealant tends to protect the surface from oxidization for several years.
Without sealant, the bare Redwood surface will slowly oxidize and develop a light silver patina. The patina also develops after the transparent sealant wears off unless you refinish the surface right away.
For many people, the oxidization actually improves the appearance of the wood structure. The patina only affects the surface to about 1/64”, so it is easy to remove if you prefer to restore the rich red tones of the Redwood. The oxidization does not adversely affect the wood’s structure and condition, however, if left in place over the years. Therefore, the Redwood pergola gives you immense options when it comes to altering its surface appearance to suit your current outdoor décor style.
Redwood naturally resists weathering and insect damage due to its dense grains and unique oil composition, respectively. The dense wood composition slows decay normally associated with constant exposure to adverse weather conditions and ultraviolet rays. As a result, the Redwood does not even require sealant to remain in great shape for over 40 years, though clear or tinted stain will extend its life even further if applied.
Redwood contains natural oils that repel insects before they start to damage the bark on the trees. The oils remain within the lumber after it is harvested to continually keep insects from gnawing on the planks or posts. The oils remain trapped inside the wood grains to protect the pergola structure from insects well past its expected 40-year lifespan.
Long Term Stability
Unlike other softwood varieties, Redwood does not have the tendency to warp or shrink in response to adverse environmental conditions. The tight grains resist expansion and contraction related to temperature or humidity fluctuations. This important characteristic ensures the hardware used for the pergola structure remains tight and true through the years.
The decorative wood planks across the top and sides of the pergola will remain in their given positions without twisting or pulling away from the structural framework. The Redwood posts will not split or crack either due to the immense long term stability of the natural grains.
Choosing a pergola made from Redwood actually has a positive impact on the environment. Restoration forestry practices focus on removing fallen trees to improve the health of the forest floor. The harvests are carefully limited to avoid disrupting the local ecosystem. By collecting fallen trees and limiting the harvests, it is possible to create Redwood furniture and outdoor structures without contributing to forest degradation.
Trees within the confines of the managed areas tend to thrive as their roots can extend and their saplings can find purchase in the open soil. Furthermore, the funds spent on acquiring the structure go straight back into the efforts to restore Redwood forests and promote the expansion of old-growth habitats. The efforts promote natural self-renewal to ensure the forests continue to develop with minimal interventions.
Obtaining A Wood Pergola Made From Redwood
Upon settling on Redwood materials, it is time to determine the best pergola size, shape and purpose for your backyard. There are many small and large purpose-built pergolas available today. The pergolas can house an outdoor kitchen or support a garden bench swing. Other pergola structures can act as a vine trellis to create a magical entrance into the backyard or garden area.
The pergola may feature an arched or flat top equipped with lattice, louvers or other elements that improve the utility and beauty of the structure. You can add privacy screens, electric elements or climate control devices, such as ceiling fans, to the pergola as well. Upon selecting a small or large Redwood pergola kit, you can add customized elements that completely personalize the structure to your needs and expectations.