Is wood or vinyl best for you?
Cost – The cost difference depends on what type of structure you’re getting. For pavilions and pergolas, the cost difference is 20-30%. Since vinyl structures are essentially the same wood from structures as well, except they’re wrapped in vinyl, they are more expensive. With gazebos, the difference is much smaller due to the higher cost of the wood railings and posts we use.
What is hollow on a vinyl structure? On a pavilion, nothing. It’s wood wrapped in vinyl. For gazebos, the balusters on the railings are hollow. They’re also extremely durable. (We’ve had one order for replacement balusters in 5 years.) For the vinyl pergola, everything is solid except the non-structural top runners. The braces are solid polystyrene. Everything else is filled with pressure treated pine.
Maintenance – Obviously the maintenance the vinyl products is lower. How much maintenance is required for wood structures? Stain or sealer needs to be re-applied to weather-exposed areas every one or two seasons depending on the environment. Paint typically lasts 5-8 years.
Style – Pergolas and gazebos are mostly the same. For pavilions even though the framing is very similar they look quite different. The vinyl pavilion has enclosed curved brace trim and a very nice trim set at the top of the post where the posts and beams go together. The wood pavilion trim is more minimalist with half-moon braces. The post base trim looks very different as well.
Character/Environment – If a gazebo is going in a historic district or a wooded area, wood may be the best choice because of the surroundings. If it’s going next to a contemporary house with vinyl or cement siding, vinyl can blend in very well.
Color choices – With vinyl, it’s kind of like the Ford Model T. You can have any color you like as long as it’s white. (or off-white.) For wood, your structure can be painted any color you like.