When it comes to property renovations, most people look to the inside of the home; adding skylights, renovating the kitchen, refurbishing a rumpus room, and other such additions to the interior.
However, some people tend to neglect one of the most significant opportunities for their home makeovers: the exterior. Beautiful outdoor structures can transform your backyard and increase the value of your property. It’s a win-win!
A pergola is one such structure that can provide added sun protection, privacy, and style. Many homeowners are choosing to add them to their properties. But with so many types of materials and products, how do you make the right design for your home?
Two of the most popular options for Pergola roofing materials are Colorbond steel and polycarbonate. Both have their own unique benefits — the best choice will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
Colorbond vs Polycarbonate Pergolas: What’s the difference?
So what’s the big difference between Colorbond steel and polycarbonate? Here, we’ll compare the two materials and their unique durability, weight, design, and cost.
Colorbond pergola roofs are known for their high durability and low maintenance. It is easy to clean and the metal material is resistant to the elements and lightweight, making it an easy structure to install. When it comes to design, Colorbond pergolas come in a select range of colours to match any home exterior.
Polycarbonate pergola roofs are recommended for their valuable balance of durability and cost-effectiveness. They do require other materials though, and roofs are rarely made of ONLY polycarbonate. We recommend using polycarbonate in conjunction with Colorbond for the best solution. Polycarbonate panels act as lightweight ‘sky lights’ that provide light transmission and are highly customisable, available in a variety of colours and unique designs.
Pros and Cons of Colorbond Pergola Roofs
Colorbond steel roofing offers a range of unique benefits and drawbacks. They provide strength and integrity to the structure for little maintenance, but with a higher initial cost and limited design options compared to a polycarbonate product.
Here are the 3 major pros and cons of using Colorbond steel for your pergola roofing material.
Pros of Colorbond
- DURABILITY: Colorbond steel is known for its durability and resistance to the elements, such as heavy rain and wind, making it a great option for outdoor structures like pergolas.
- LOW MAINTENANCE: Colorbond steel is a convenient option for those who want a simple structure, requiring very little maintenance.
- COLOUR VARIETY: Available in a range of colours and shades, Colorbond steel makes it easy to match your pergola to the existing aesthetic of your home, from old-fashioned designs to modern flat roof arrangements.
- STRENGTH: Made to meet the standards of Australia and our conditions, most Colorbond steel designs are equipped with five layers: top coat, primer, pre-treatment, metallic coating, and steel base.
Cons of Colorbond
- COST: Colorbond steel can be more expensive than other materials, such as polycarbonate or wood.
- WEIGHT: The material is relatively heavy compared to other options. This means it may take more difficulty and time to install, depending on where you want to place the pergola.
- NOISE: Colorbond steel can amplify the sounds of rain and hail on the pergola’s roof, resulting in more noise if the sound is not dulled by trees or other flora in your backyard.
- LIMITED DESIGN OPTIONS: Colorbond steel may not be suitable for Pergolas with complex or unusual designs or shapes, especially when compared to the amorphous properties of polycarbonate.
Pros and Cons of Polycarbonate Pergola Roofs
Polycarbonate materials are thermoplastic polymers that are lightweight and cost-effective, making them a strong potential choice for your pergola roofing. However, there are a few drawbacks, such as lower durability, that should be carefully considered before making your selection.
Here are the 3 major pros and cons of using polycarbonate for your pergola roofing material.
Pros of Polycarbonate
- UV RESISTANCE: Want to sit in the shade and enjoy the sunshine? A polycarbonate panel roof for your pergola provides protection against UV rays without blocking natural light.
- LIGHTWEIGHT: Polycarbonate is relatively lightweight compared to other materials, therefore being much easier to install.
- COST-EFFECTIVE: Polycarbonate tends to be much less expensive than other materials, such as Colorbond steel or glass.
Cons of Polycarbonate
- NOT A STAND-ALONE PRODUCT: Polycarbonate is usually used in conjunction with other roofing materials like Colorbond, meaning it is not a single choice of product.
- SIGNS OF AGEING: While polycarbonate is UV resistant, over time the material can yellow and lose some of its transparency, affecting light transmission and the appearance of the pergola’s ceiling.
- LOWER DURABILITY: Compared to Colorbond steel, polycarbonate is not as durable and tends to be more susceptible to wear and tear over time.
- WEIGHT LIMIT: As polycarbonate is a moderately lightweight material, it tends to have a weight limit for items such as fans or lights. As a result, you may need to reinforce the roof structure to handle any additional objects or fixtures.
- REQUIRES SPECIAL CLEANING: To extend the vibrant colours and looks of your pergola roofing, you will need to invest in a particular cleaning solution for your polycarbonate roofing.
How to choose the right roofing for your pergola
When it comes to choosing the right roofing for your pergola, you should consider a number of factors: your property’s aesthetic, the purpose and position of the pergola, the typical weather conditions and temperature of your location, and your budget.
Is your pergola designed to be a standalone patio in your garden for entertaining guests and enjoying the outdoors? Or is it a structure to house your plants or other hobby materials? Is there a particular area of your property you want to build on? These are all important things to consider, and we encourage you to carefully evaluate your options and compare them to your preferred pergola qualities.
Factors to consider when choosing your pergola roof material
Installation: Depending on the roofing material that you choose, the installation can be relatively easy or difficult and require more experience. Polycarbonate tends to be easier to install, whereas Colorbond steel necessitates more time and expertise.
Maintenance: How much time and money are you willing to spend on your pergola’s maintenance? Colorbond steel is highly durable compared to polycarbonate, although the unique properties of the latter material may be worth the upkeep. We recommend assessing the warranty of your chosen material to ensure you get the most value out of your structure.
Budget: Your budget is another important factor to consider. Polycarbonate is often a more cost-effective option, but much like the point above about maintenance, you may find the properties of Colorbond steel to be worth the upfront cost, especially if you are using it in other areas of the roof anyway. Carefully consider the amount of money you’re willing to spend on this new structure.
Long-term value: Considering the aforementioned maintenance and budget requirements for polycarbonate and Colorbond steel, which option holds the most long-term value for you and your property? Keep in mind, Colorbond steel offers more durability for a higher cost, with polycarbonate roofing costing less with a typically shorter lifespan.
Final thoughts on Colorbond vs polycarbonate pergola roofing
Colorbond steel and polycarbonate are both popular options for pergola roofing, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
Colorbond steel is known for its durability but can be expensive with limited options for unique designs. Polycarbonate is cost-effective but offers less durability over time, and is rarely used on its own. Polycarbonate is often only used in panels to let in light.
Ultimately, it is up to you and your personal needs and preferences to determine which material is best for your pergola.
No matter which option is right for you, Correct Constructions is here to pave the way for your property’s next project. We offer no-obligation free quotes and measurements, assistance with gaining council approval, and a complete supply of materials.
Correct Constructions provides Sydney homeowners with experienced builders to create a new patio, carport, deck, pergola, verandah, or other stylish structures for your property.
If your Sydney property is ready for its next upgrade, we have over 25 years of construction experience to build the outdoor space of your dreams. Contact us for a free quote today.