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Pergola kit lead time estimations for the 2018 season
Lead times can fluctuate throughout the "pergola season" in the 48 Contiguous US States. Those lucky enough to live in the Florida or Californias of our country are able to install their pergola kits year round! The rest of us, however, account for the "pergola season" when we typically install between April - October. Fabrication of a standard or custom pergola kit may be as fast as one week in the offseason whereas an order placed in mid-July may have up to a 4 to 5 week lead time if there is an extra large influx of orders.
To ensure you're able to use your vinyl pergola kit this Summer we are suggesting to finalize your project by the end of March or April. Do not hesitate to contact us at 563.345.6745 or email us at email@example.com with any questions!
Check out a few of our recently installed pergola kits as we have just officially kicked off the Spring Season!
Top-Notch Pergola Kit Support
Unless you’re a contractor who does pergolas, the pergola market is pretty much one-and-done. Very few people (even DIY!) are familiar with pergola designs, post spacings, roof dimensions, post attachments, shade options, etc., etc. the list goes on! It’s important to find a pergola kit manufacturer, dealer, or contractor that can service you from start to finish. You’re likely to only go through this process once in your life – so what specific questions should you be asking? What qualities should you be looking for? Let’s take a look!
Whether information is helpful or not, if you do not receive it in a timely matter it’s useless! A lot of people only have a specific timeframe or day of the week to really make progress on their pergola kit project. A good pergola kit manufacturer, dealer or contractor is going to provide you an answer that same day. A great one will have an answer for you within an hour – and the best will have an answer for you instantly. There are plenty of situations that come up during pergola projects – let’s quickly look at a common example that just happened this last weekend:
A DIY customer goes to the box store on Saturday morning to buy a few fasteners to complete his pergola’s installation. He lives 30 minutes away from the box store. This customer forgot his installation guide at home and couldn’t remember the specific fasteners he was supposed to purchase for his post installation. Did he:
You’d be surprised how many experiences are forced to go with Answer A. A lot of install guides or directions are very vague or don’t specify what works best for different applications. Answer B works only if you’re pretty savvy on your phone and can easily navigate to the correct page, find the install guide, and then find the necessary information in the install guide. This is hit or miss – it may take you 10 minutes and you’re good to go, or you may burn 30 minutes and have made no progress. Option C sounds terrible but this is probably the most common option for people that aren’t working with a highly responsive company. You can’t get a hold of anyone, you don’t want to wait until Monday or next week, so you need to go home and find the information to make any progress.
Option D is where you want to be. There are very, very few pergola kit manufacturers, dealers or contractors that are going to be there for you right away any day of the week. At a family business like Heartland Pergolas it is extremely important that we alleviate any potential problems that may arise for you. We also don’t just want to help your problems disappear, we want them to go away as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is just plain rare in the industry we work in – and we pride ourselves on being in that unique status. It is all too common for a pergola kit customer to ask an installation-related question, a design question, or to be looking for a quote and have no response for 24-72 hours. Choose wisely.
A vast majority of the pergola kit market is out there making it up as they go. An easy way to distinguish if your manufacturer, dealer or contractor has credibility is to ask if these types of tangibles are available. If they are legit, they should have 100’s, if not 1,000’s of pictures available of their pergola kits. There should be drawings specifying post spacings, dimensions, center-to-center measurements, etc. Their written installation guides should be exhaustive and clear enough that any DIY’er could follow. If they’re really good, they’ll have some sort of video installation guides or some videos on common difficulties. There are a very high amount of pergola kits out there that simply have little (if any) of these tangibles associated with their product.
A good way to build your confidence with the company you will purchase from is to go to their website and play around for 15-20 minutes with their information. If you’re going to spend $5,000-$10,000 on a pergola it only makes sense to make sure they are legit. Poke and prod at their customer service – if you call the number listed did someone answer? If they have a chat box did someone who was actually able to help you respond or did they just take your basic info and send you on your way? Check the reviews of their product on a couple different platforms you found using a search engine on their name. Doing a small amount of due diligence could save you a ton of time and hassle throughout your pergola project.
The last category I’d suggest looking for is tangible documentation for any and all testing that has been done on a specific pergola kit. It’s not uncommon for Homeowners’ Associations asking for engineering stamps on your pergola kit before you install it. Maybe you need fire ratings for the type of materials you’re using? How in the world do you provide things like this if you’re just making it up as you go? We do vinyl pergola kits at Heartland Pergolas and constantly send out snow load information to customers up North and vinyl flame ratings to customers in the South. If someone is trying to charge you a premium to go buy some wood from a local lumberyard and build “a pergola kit” out of it, you’re simply out of luck if you run into these common roadblocks.
If you have questions don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 563.345.6745 or firstname.lastname@example.org!Read More>>
Installation tips to look for when buying a pergola kit!
Choosing the right pergola kit for your space can be a hassle! Throughout this selection process what many people don’t think about is the difficulty of the installation. Whether you’re a DIY’er or you’re hiring a professional, finding an engineered pergola kit with an efficient installation process can be tricky. The last thing anyone wants is having their product show up and it doesn’t go together the way it is supposed to... better yet - the company doesn't respond right away when you need something! Here are some of the different pergola installation topics to keep an eye out for while you’re selecting the right pergola for you.
OK – so every pergola kit out there has an installation guide of some sorts. You really need to take a good look through their materials and see how much detail they go into. Too many install guides leave a lot to the imagination. Make sure to go through the pergola installation guide and see what, if any, questions you may have for your specific project. Detailed diagrams that make sense are also vital to a clean and efficient installation. Lastly, make sure your pergola company makes their installation guide easy to access on their website – make sure they have nothing to hide!
How much effort did your pergola kit company put into their installation support? Some brands offer full video support for pergola kit installations! Everyone learns a different way – and a lot of DIY’ers or carpenters learn best by watching someone else do it first. There’s a few companies out there that can offer this level of support to really show you the in’s and out’s of their pergola kit’s installation process. Heartland Pergolas offers exactly this! We have a video for every step of the pergola kit installation process – here’s an example of installing a small vinyl post sleeve over your post mount - it's one of the many videos we have on our YouTube Pergola Kit Installation Series.
Not all pergolas are perfect squares or rectangles! The installation process will differ at specific areas that are unique to your project space and sometimes everything doesn’t make it into the install guide. Here are some common areas to think about:
These are all common questions you’ll have to assess when planning your pergola’s installation. Make sure your pergola kit’s company has the capability of providing you with this extra information if necessary. You should be given a drawing or CAD drawing for square or rectangle pergolas – and a custom hand drawing or CAD drawing for uniquely shaped pergolas! Here at Heartland Pergolas we also like to make PDFs for situations like splicing – see the rafter splicing example below!
This may be the single biggest thing people forget to look for when selecting a pergola kit. What happens if you get stuck or you need a question answered in the field? Some of your options online for pergola kit companies cannot support you outside of weekdays during normal business hours. This may be fine if you’ve hired a professional, but what if you’re installing on Saturday morning and you need something – do you just wait until next Saturday? Be sure to find a company willing to give you a cell phone or at least an email address they will respond to outside of normal business hours. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes you make a mistake or get confused because you don’t do pergolas every day! Heartland Pergolas is a family business and can support you 7 days a week! Rest easy knowing you won’t be waiting 6 hours for a response to a simple (or complicated!) question regarding your pergola kit.
It’s also not uncommon for us to make personalized videos and privately link them on YouTube for customers. Sometimes you have a very unique situation that requires a little creativity to get the job done. We are more than willing to make a video in our fabrication facility demonstrating exactly how we would solve one of your problems. These types of personal support responses don't take days or weeks to get done... we do them right away because we know you need it!
If you have installation questions don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 563.345.6745 or email@example.com! We have drawings, pictures, videos, PDFs and anything else you may need!Read More>>
Custom vinyl pergolas explanations and pictures are available today!
Not all pergolas end up as perfect squares or rectangles! Although most vinyl pergolas out there are very simplistic, 10’ - 12’ squares, today’s outdoor room commonly requires unique dimensions or sizes. While the installation may be a little more difficult – don’t shy away just because your space is unique! We can take a look at some of these different shapes and talk about some of the skills needed get the job done right with custom vinyl pergolas.
The possibilities for different shapes of custom pergolas are endless. Just keep in mind the more angles and creative you get, the more complicated the installation will be. Here’s some common requests and shapes we see in today’s outdoor living spaces:
Many patios are rounded on the edge away from their structure. Don’t try to make a square peg fit in a round hole – make your custom pergola mimic the patio! The finished product, like in this picture, makes for a classy and purposeful pergola that truly fits your unique outdoor space.
This project started off as a CAD idea and came to fruition just a few weeks after! This poolside custom vinyl pergola created a huge amount of shade in a much-needed area. The customer wanted a very large octagonal pergola to match their gazebo on the other side of the pool and we made it happen!
This pergola is in the works as we speak! As a custom attached vinyl pergola, this unit will end up 32’ wide with various custom post spacings. Our customer reached out with their house plans, and we designed a custom vinyl pergola to cover their entire space. The most efficient way to create a custom pergola is to provide us with a drawing!
Installing a custom pergola will require more advanced carpentry skills versus a smaller, perfect square or rectangle. These extra carpentry skills can range from pretty common (sharing a post to make a pergola roof longer) to very advanced (custom cutting angles in pieces to make them fit together). We do have DIY customers do some of the most advanced pergolas we’ve ever seen – but more often than not our customers are hiring an experienced professional to make it happen.
This is pretty simple compared to some of the other advanced skills needed for custom pergolas. Some of our vinyl pergolas share posts in the middle – which is very common once your roof lengths get over 20 or 24’. We have created some straightforward PDFs to explain these common advanced carpentry needs that are not in the installation manual for a standard pergola.
Miter cuts are a common occurrence for custom shaped pergolas. Any custom pergolas with octagonal roofs will likely need to create some custom angle cuts on beams that are sharing the same posts. Depending on the angle that a beam is coming in to join with a post – you will need to make miter cuts for the beam to safely attach to the post AND look good doing so!
On some custom pergolas a bay window or some other portion of the structure is going to get in the way. There are a couple different work arounds here – most commonly using what we call a floating beam. This beam is installed ‘upside down’ versus the traditional method and requires a little more know-how than the normal beam installation method. Another common scenario is the attached beam project. Normally the rafters attach to the house – but sometimes you can’t fit a post in where a beam would normally attach – so you make the beam attach to the house too!
There are so many unique outdoor spaces that each job may require some different skills or thinking to complete the installation. Experienced carpenters are used to these types of scenarios – whether it be custom pergola installations or any other products (decks, cabinets, structures, etc.). We are always available here at Heartland Pergolas to help with custom designs and installations. You can simply let us know what day you intend on installing and we will provide you with a team member’s cell phone to make sure you don’t get stuck in the field!
If you have a unique space you’d like designed or quoted – don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 563.345.6745 or firstname.lastname@example.org!Read More>>
Your pergola looks great, but is that all it needs to do?
There are two main reasons people choose a pergola: looks and shade. Of course you want your pergola to look good! Nobody wants to add a new addition to their outdoor living space that they don't want to look at on a daily basis. The problem is that many people don't look too far past this initial thought... meaning they end up with a great looking pergola that has no utility and needs maintenance on a yearly basis. We can touch on the maintenance factors in another post - let's focus on shade!
There's a few different ways to create shade on your pergola roof:
Each of these options may or may not work for your application. They all have their positives and negatives associated with them as well. Let's take a look at each!
All-natural shade coverage can look amazing when done correctly! It's also quite cost effective versus all the other options. Plants can give a great touch to a pergola roof - especially if it's in a garden or located in an area with a lot of vegetation surrounding it. The drawback of this approach is that you must wait for the plants to grow enough to create the shade you desire. You also can't directly control the exact direction and volume of the growth. There may be a couple seasons of maintenance and trimming until you can deem your plant project successful.
Many people come up with their own creative material and/or installation ideas on how to cover their roof. This can also be quite cost effective depending on what you choose. The biggest benefit if you're capable of coming up with an effective and safe method of installation would be rainproofing the area under your pergola. Not having to worry about rain is usually the biggest driving factor in people wanting to put their own materials on the top of the pergola. If you can make it work, this may be a great option. There's one big issue with this application: safety. If you need a permit or to pass local code - this is not going to work. There is likely no testing for whatever materials you are using in this particular application. The biggest no-no for installing your own cover or roof materials is if you're in an area that is prone to snow in the Winter. The last thing you want is a collapsed roof or portion of your roof after some snow build up. There may also be some trial and error during the installation of materials since you are making it up as you go.
Canopies have a lot of benefits! You can pick the length, width, and color of the canopy going over top of your pergola. There are also canopies of varying quality and utility levels. Some canopies can retract and move around at your leisure, whether you're manually moving those or perhaps there's a motor-powered unit that moves the canopy for you. If you're in an area that receives a lot of snow you can usually remove the canopy during Winter so you don't have to worry about heavy snow loads. Canopies have their downsides as well. The most prevalent being their typical cost. A nice canopy or canopy system is a lot, not just a few hundred bucks, we're talking in the thousands. It's hard to put a nice canopy on a pergola if the canopy itself costs half as much as the pergola. Some of the fabrics on more affordable canopies are prone to deteriorating over the years, leaving you to buy a new one and reinstall it. The ability to retract the canopies are great, until the motor shuts down or your product doesn't slide smoothly back and forth like it did that first year it was installed.
A pergola with an integrated shade system means it has two things: an efficient way to put it together and testing that proves it's safe and functional. This is how the Heartland Pergolas vinyl pergola kits are set up. With the integrated system you receive a tried and true method of shade coverage. One of the best feelings that people take for granted when they purchase a pergola is peace of mind. Purchasing an engineered system means you can see pictures of what it will look like before it's done - you see how it's done - and when it's completed it actually looks just like the picture and videos did! You can ask the tough questions to companies or brands that have an integrated shade system. These questions can be: how does it hold up to snow, what about wind ratings, how many of these are out there, what is your experience in instance XYZ? Any reputable company should have someone readily available to answer these questions for you in a timely manner. Purchasing everything together ensures a peace of mind knowing that you're going to get what you paid for, and someone has already thought through the installation and application portion of the project. The only real negative to an integrated system is that you likely won't be going back and changing the shade level after it's installed. It is possible, just not practical in most instances. Almost all integrated shade systems on the market do not allow for you to change around the shade level once they are installed. Some systems can allow for that, if your pockets are deep enough and you're willing to maintain the system that allows the shade pieces to move around.
Extra materials are middle of the road when it comes to shade coverage. This is what you would see on most wood pergolas out in the market. The more materials you buy and fasten over the roof - the more shade coverage you have. This can be cost effective if your pergola does not have low maintenance, lifetime warranty-type materials. If the pergola is simply for decoration and you're looking to keep your cost as low as possible - this is usually the route to go. The main downfall here is that you have to figure it out as you go. How many extra pieces of materials should you put every XYZ inches to make it look good... and how much shade coverage will that actually give you at 5PM mid-July when you'll be using this pergola for your party? The answer is tough to know because you're kind of making it up as you go. You don't know how snow or wind may impact these pieces because your spacings, quantities and materials are all custom to your job.
Our big advantage is the ability to customize our shade levels based on your needs. We can orient the roof based on where the sun is in the sky at the time you want to use your pergola! On top of this, we can find that sweet spot you are looking for in terms of sunlight. A vast majority of our customers pick our 75% shade level - it's still mostly shaded but allows some sun to get through. Some people would find it too cold in early Spring or late Fall if all of the sun was blocked out - so they extend their pergola's usable time by allowing some sun in. Others may require as much sun as possible to be blocked out. If your pergola is poolside and you need some serious shade when it's too hot out - the 90% level is for you! Words can only describe so much, so here's a couple picture examples of our shade levels.
This display pergola has a left-side 90%, right-side 75% shade level roof! We do this for a lot of pergola displays to show customers the difference in shade levels. You can also stand in the two different patterns and feel the temperature difference!
How are the levels so different? Looking down on the pergola from above is a great way to see the difference in material quantities on the roof. Once again, left-side 90%, right-side 75% shade levels on this display.
Here's the difference while under your vinyl pergola kit and looking up at the sky. The left side is the 90% shade, which blocks out almost all the sky. The right side shows some blue sky as it's only the 75% level! Maybe your pergola is sitting over your hot tub - remember that 75% or 50% is better for stargazing!
Give us a ring here at the office! You can reach us directly at 563.345.6745!Read More>>
Pergolas for many different scenarios!
Our vinyl pergolas add that finishing touch to many outdoor spaces - no matter what application they are used in! Over the last couple of weeks we have sent out a large variety of pergolas, here are some examples!
1. Over the garage
Some people want a finishing touch to their garage. It's a great look and casts a nice shade pattern across their garage doors.
2. Over the hot tub
Adding privacy by connecting a privacy fence panel or a privacy trellis is common on a hot tub. Notice on the backside how the view into the neighbor's yard is blocked and looks great. This pergola was a fantastic finishing touch to this outdoor area that did not quite feel finished without the pergola.
3. Lighting up the night
This customer elected to go with lighting on the landscaping pillars instead of in the pergola - giving a ground-lit effect that looks great. All of our vinyl pergola kits have holes drilled out in the center of the posts in case you want to run wiring for lights in the roof or a fan mount - it still looks great without them though!
4. Spanning big on a deck
We can span far! Like, 22' clear span making for a 24' roof far! This deck was covered using only two posts and our attachment method. Our roof can span far and still look great with no deflection due to our fully extruded aluminum interior frame.
5. Decorating the walkway
This customer decided to make their walkway a little more classy and it worked big time! With everything able to be trimmed - this DIY install happened over the weekend - he was easily able to trim his 10' long posts to the correct height and make the pergola he was going for.
We love to help out our DIY customers along with any and all professionals that are installing our kits. We have a comprehensive set of written installation instructions along with an efficient and to-the-point video series located on YouTube: Click Here for Install PlaylistRead More>>
Happy 4th of July!
Enjoy your outdoor space with a Heartland Pergola this 4th of July! Check out this recently completed pergola project with a vinyl Heartland Pergola kit covering the entrace to the basement of the house - and the start of the outdoor living space!
Also, check out the Hoellein's pergola installation video as they complete their pergola installation, DIY style! The pergola installation starts at the 6min, 52second mark.Read More>>
Answering FAQs with PDFs!
We receive some of the same questions for our Heartland Pergolas vinyl pergola kits all the time! So to best answer them we have made som great visuals in PDF form! Whether you're doing an attached vinyl pergola or a freestanding vinyl pergola - there may be a couple unique spots where a picture would best answer your question.
See here how our 5x5 post installs:
Ordering 7" Columns? See the difference here:
See what our beam attachment bracket options look like for the more friendly DIY installation:
What about the Hurricane Clips that give the wind warranty? What will they look like?
Attaching your pergola to a house or structure? Take a look here to see how it's done:
Sharing a middle post on a large pergola? You'll need to splice your beams on that post - here's how:
As a family business we strive to provide our customers with all the help we possibly can. If you have a question, all you have to do is ask! If your question is best answered by a picture or diagram, we will absolutely make it for you.
You can call 563.345.6726 7 days a week and find the answer to your question now.Read More>>
Does your pergola pass the International Building Code?
Engineer tested and approved, the Heartland Pergolas' system will hold up to the elements no matter what area you live in. There are many pergola kits and builders out there that can piece together something that looks good for a couple of years... but is it safe and will it last? What will it look like in 5 years? At Heartland Pergolas, we've taken measures to ensure your pergola not only looks beautiful, but passes the International Building Code as well. With a Heartland Pergola purchase you will receive a lifetime warranty on the interior and exterior materials of your pergola - you will also enjoy the peace of mind knowing that your purchase has passed the structural integrity requirements of the International Building Code.
There are two types of pergolas you can buy if you're looking for low maintenance pergola kit:
1. A box store pergola - this likely WILL NOT pass minimum requirements and will not span past 12'. The reinforcement is likely wood or air. It will look decent for the first 2-3 years you have it. It will be cheaper than everything else and you will get what you pay for.
2. A lifetime warranty pergola - there are a few different companies out there that offer lifetime warranty, low maintenance pergolas. Some of these pergolas are similar to ours, but they don't have the testing done, they can't span what we can, and they can't offer you the same installation support. At Heartland Pergolas we have positioned ourselves to offer you everything you may desire out of a high-quality vinyl pergola kit. This includes: customizable options, aesthetically pleasing final product, roofs up to 24' long without additional posts, lifetime warranty interior, lifetime warranty low maintenace exterior - and best of all - an aggressive price. You will get what you pay for if you purchase a Heartland Pergola - but rest assured you will not overpay. We are priced "in the middle" of the low maintenance pergola market - yet we offer you the best of the best when it comes to customer support, pergola design, engineering tests tangibles (ask the compeition for tangibles), video walkthroughs on installation, and a transparent sales process. We are a family business and we are successful because we care.
We are Heartland Pergolas. Call us at 563.345.6745.
A copy of our most recent engineering test results which covers any pergola sized 20x20 or smaller (yes, we said tangibles!):
Create a beatiful outdoor room at night too!
At Heartland Pergolas our goal is to help create a beautiful outdoor living space for you - this goes for both day and night! Our vinyl pergola system is designed for customizable shade levels during the day - and it's predrilled for wiring if you want to light it up at night!
The above vinyl pergola kit is just completing the installation process (one more railing and then the railing on the stairs!) but our customer is so excited about the lighting they had to send us the picture early! The aluminum post mounts of our system have a hole predrilled directly in the center - making it very easy and efficient to run wires up the posts or columns. The beams and rafters that make up the roof are hollow 2x6 or 2x8 aluminum profiles with vinyl casings - meaning you can drill a hole anywhere in them and easily pull a wire through.
Whether you want the lighting directly in your pergola or lighting on the decking or landscaping below it (pictured in these two) - a Heartland Pergola completes a great looking outdoor room at day and night time!
Give us a call at the office at 563.345.6745 and we can help make your outdoor living space look great too!Read More>>