Aluminum Pergolas for Shade or Sun – Fine Homebuilding

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Written By Jim J Neal

When I think back on all the improvements I’ve made to my house over the years, the pergola over my backyard patio has to be the feature that’s been enjoyed the most by my family and friends. It turned a simple stone patio into a true outdoor room where we can hang out with neighbors or just relax by ourselves in the shade on a sunny day. But the Achilles’ heel of the wooden structure is that it requires a lot of maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape. Recently I discovered an attractive aluminum pergola system made in Dahlonega, Ga., by a company called Struxure, and I decided to look into it as a possible replacement for when mine eventually succumbs to the forces of nature.

Struxure fabricates all of its components out of extruded aluminum, then powder-coats each part and fastens everything together with stainless-steel hardware, making the pergolas superstrong and maintenance-free. The company’s flagship Pergola X line consists of custom-sized post-and-beam frames with a number of choices of fixed and movable ceiling systems. The company’s original and most popular ceiling type is their Pivot 6 louver system, in which rows of aluminum slats can rotate in unison to let in or block sunlight, allowing you to control how sunny the space underneath is. To control the motorized louvers you can opt for hardwired wall switches, a weather-resistant remote control, or the Somfy smartphone app—or you can pair the structure with one of several popular home-automation systems. There’s even an option to connect wind, rain, and temperature sensors so the louvers react to changing conditions without you having to lift a finger.

White pergola system
Struxure offers caps, bases, and other trim details which can be added to give your pergola a more traditional look.

If you want part of your covered deck or patio to be more protected from the elements, Struxure’s Pan 6 ceiling might be the right choice for you. Instead of open louvers, there’s a continuous flat roof made up of fixed tongue-and-groove aluminum planks that integrate with a hidden gutter system in the pergola’s frame.

The most impressive ceiling option is the Pivot 6 Slide, which has the same motorized louvers as the Pivot 6 system, but it turns part of the structure into what is essentially a giant motorized sunroof, giving you a completely unobstructed view of the sky through a portion of the pergola when you want it.

No matter what size and configuration you choose, there are tons of ways to customize a Struxure pergola. The pergolas come in six standard understated colors, but Struxure offers custom colors and faux wood finishes for an added fee. For a sleek modern aesthetic, you can simply stick with the unadorned rectangular profile of the basic pergola, but there are a number of optional caps, bases, cornices, and brackets you can add to adjust the look to complement your home’s particular style. There are functional upgrades too, including cross beams for mounting ceiling fans or lights, plus Struxure’s TraX system, which conceals retractable screens or continuous strips of LED lights in recessed channels on the posts and beams.

Cabana style pergola set against palm trees
The TraX system allows you to add a wide variety of retractable screens and LED lighting features to any Struxure pergola.

With each Pergola X being fully custom-made, you will need to work with a Struxure representative to configure and quote your project. If you’re looking for something more plug-and-play, the company’s Cabana X model is a freestanding pergola which comes in one size and offers a smaller list of custom trim details, colors, and lighting options than the Pergola X line. Each 10 ft. by 10 ft. Cabana X comes with 4 posts, 17 motorized louvers, and starts at $11,000.

Photos courtesy of the manufacturer.

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