Need help with covering Pergola with fiberglass panels

forgiven(z5 IN)June 30, 2003

Hello fellow gardenweb members.

We have a pergola over a cement patio and I have been thinking about adding clear fiberglass panels over the top to:

1. Cover for rain/leaves. We never get to sit out on the patio because of the mess the neighbors trees leave on our patio. It is very unsightly and I have problems keeping it cleaned off.

2. We would sit out on the patio more often, but it is in the sun most of the day. While the clear won't give us shade, it would be nice to be able to sit out there when it is raining.

3. I wanted to use the clear fiberglass because it won't be noticeable. I believe if I put a real top on the pergola, it would be considered as a porch and I would have to pay more for property taxes.

Any help/comments would be appreciated.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
weebus(Z8 Sunset 5 WA)

I would find out if it would be considered a porch. Ask the question but DON'T tell them who you are.

If it would not be considered a porch, I would put a tinted
polycarbonate or fiberglass roof on it.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2003 at 12:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
redhanded1(Z7 SC)

are you asked for help on how to do this or whether you should do this?

Even if you use clear panels, the 2' x ?' sections will overlap and be somwhat unsightly. I am assuming you are using the wavy fiberglass panels you get at HD or Lowes. Have you thought of using acrylic/plexi flat panels? Is the pergola sloped or flat? You would have to consider snow loads in the winter either way.

I would think that the city would consider any covered outdoor area a porch, if it is attached to the house. I don't think that the material used for the roof would matter.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2003 at 4:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Chris_MI(z5 MI)

we had the same problem with our deck. We used the 2x6 wavy panels-they were grey, but the sun frosted them. We did have them on a slope to the yard (not house) and used the wavy wood supports, and just used caulk and overlap to make them 8' long. the sun still came through the side on the south side, so put up a cheap horitontal blind, and lowered it when sitting outside. it becameour favorite spot to see the yard in comfort & read the paper.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2003 at 8:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd also recommend you go with polycarbonate (lexan). Fiberglass will cloud pretty quickly. Polycarb is what most greenhouses go with when they want a rigid structure. My solarium has polycarb panels and it's five years and running, and still is clear as a bell. (easy to work with, as well)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2003 at 3:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
taylor_tx(zone 8 TX)

It is a little more expensive, but fiberglass will cloud and break in hail. PVC is a little better than fiberglass, but will also break in small hail. Trust me, I've had all three...
Polycarbonate is best.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2004 at 2:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

wait- I thought that the whole purpose of a pergola was to train a wisteria over to provide shade? or a trumpet vine, since you're trying to cut down on the shed debris- and wisterias are MESSY during blooming season!

but a living roof- even morning glories- would provide shade, some protection from your neighbor's tree debris, and look a whole lot better than fiberglass.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2004 at 10:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenhummer(zone 5,Ohio)

Can you post a picture ? That would really help.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2004 at 6:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
taylor_tx(zone 8 TX)

Me, again. In response to the post by chinacat...
I have a concrete floored porch with a clear polycarbonate roof. I also have vines climbing up the porch poles. With a clear polycarbonate roof, you can have the best of both...a living roof and a water proof roof. I let the vines climb over the top to offer shade and the clear roof allows the sunshine to come through to get the vines growing. The roof itself, protects us and the porch furniture from getting wet. It is a wonderful spot to sit in, especially when it rains!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2004 at 11:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
DonnaNJ(z6 NJ)

This is the pergola we built. It is not attached to my house and the taxes are minimal. We love it.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2004 at 7:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you just need something to keep the leaves etc off the patio area, why don't you just cover the top with the mesh you use for screens. You can buy it on a roll. It will not really give you any shade as such, or keep you dry, but is probably the least expensive way to solve the leaf problem

    Bookmark   September 12, 2004 at 4:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
forgiven(z5 IN)

Thanks to all who have suggested ways to accomplish my idea of covering my pergola. When thinking of what I want most out of this space, I would say being able to sit out back in any weather (rain or shine)along with not having to contend with neighbor leaves constantly.

I did intend to grow some old fashioned wisteria over the pergola, but somehow I misplaced the seeds.

Using both the fiberglass along with the vines sounds like an awesome idea and would certainly hide the fact that it has a cover on it at the same time. And if covered, it would not matter that the fiberglass was discolored.

As for whether it will slope or not: as of now, the pergola is actually flat on top, but we would definitely have to find a way to rais up the side attached to house in order to allow for run-off.

Thanks again everyone!

Oh, and I will certainly take a picture of the pergola to post.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2004 at 5:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

These are some great ideas for making use of this awesome feature on our deck. Taylor TX: Did you grow the vine over the polycarbonate roof or just underneath it? And to anyone - how long does it take for the Wisteria to grow up and actually cover the pergola enough to doe some good? Finally, how much does the polycarbonate cost? Thanks!!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 12:18PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
barrier for plants with invasive roots
What have you used in the ground to prevent invasive...
Natural insect killer.
I'm just starting to use diatomaceous earth, which...
mango seed
I decided to plant a mango seed. After I cracked the...
retaining wall planter...need help
I have a slope about 11ft deep by 5ft high. I'm planning...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™