When it comes to budgeting for your pergola, there are a great many things to consider - some of them obvious, some less so. In most cases if you're hiring a builder these costs will be included and you won't get stung for anything on top of the final quote, although it's always better to err on the side of caution, and not to assume that this is the case.
Check to ensure that things like permits and finishes are included, and remember to factor in the cost of lighting and installation of services if they're not included in the quote.
Some of the things that can add to the price of your pergola include:
- Cost of design/planning. If you are able to do this yourself then you won’t have to pay, otherwise you should get quotes from various specialists. Remember that this needs to take into account weight and loads at various points - particularly if you're in a high wind or cyclone prone area.
- Cost of permits. Consult your local council about what permits will be needed for your construction - in many cases you won't need a permit at all, but this will depend on where you are and what you're building. For permit approval, you will usually need detailed plans to present, including things like soil type and exact dimensions in relation to the main structure.
- Cost of site preparation. This should include any digging, clearing or laying down of gravel or other material will need to go in, as well as treating the area with a termiticide if necessary. If it’s a small job on clear land, you may be able to dig the holes yourself without even clearing the site, but a larger job on a bushland slope may require machinery and/or labour hire.
- Cost of concreting. Your pergola’s posts will be concreted in, so larger pergolas will mean more posts which will need more concrete. You may also have to include the hire of a concrete mixer.
- Cost of labour. If you’re having a professional construct the pergola for you, you should get a number of quotes before settling on a price. This will give you an indication of how reliable the tradesperson is; a quote wildly over or under the average price could show up a con artist or shoddy workman. By the same token, a higher price can sometimes indicate a higher standard of workmanship, so make sure you assess a builder's costs against their credentials, professionalism and experience.
- Cost of timber. The choice of material to build your pergola out of will make up a very significant portion of the final amount, and may even account for the lion's share of your expenses. Be sure to shop around for the best price, but don’t make the mistake of sacrificing quality for cost – your pergola has to last and the savings you make on materials may cost more in maintenance expenses later down the line.
- Cost of hardware and fastenings. Buying or hiring the right tools for the job is essential if you’re doing it yourself. A good design will let you accurately plan how much you’re going to need to spend on fastening, but always buy quality and always buy extras.
- Cost of cladding. If you’re having a clad roof, you’ll need to get quotes on the price of the cladding along with any required fastenings, flashing and additional waterproofing it might need.
- Cost of paints, finishes or stains. Unless you’re making your pergola entirely from colour-coated steel, it is likely to need some sort of paint or finish both to colour it and protect it from the elements. Knowing how much of the support structure you have to cover will be important.
- Cost of lighting. If you are planning on having a lit pergola, you will want to factor in the cost of the lighting and wiring itself as well as the licensed electrician you will need to install it.