News

Check back here for the latest updates on Heartland Pergolas!

Hurricane Florence meets a Heartland Pergola

Sep 21, 2018

Heartland Pergolas are built to last a lifetime and hold up to the most harsh conditions imaginable! North Carolina was hit with Hurricane Florence last week and we received some feedback just now!

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Newly installed commercial pergola pictures available now!

Sep 04, 2018

Heartland Pergolas work great in commercial applications! Hotels, nursing homes, restaurants and multi-family complexes are some of our favorites. Call for your quote today - 563.345.6745

Commercial pergola - Heartland Pergolas

Commercial Pergola angle 2 - Heartland Pergolas

Secondary commercial pergola - Heartland Pergolas

Our pergola kit has been engineered to hold up to the elements no matter where you are located! From backyards to large hotel chains, Heartland Pergolas may be found creating shade for people in all 48 Contiguous US States. We encourage you to perform your due diligence on any pergola kit or pergola system before considering a purchase - the Heartland Pergolas team welcomes your call or visit to our office!

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High-end installation techniques!

Aug 09, 2018

Who needs ladders when you have access to lifts? Champion Brick in Milwaukee, partnering with Liban's Landscaping, is finishing up the installation of this beautiful commercial pergola outside of a well-known engineering building! Well done to all and keep up the great work!

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Urban Sanctuaries joins the Heartland Pergolas Team!

Jun 12, 2018

We are excited to announce Urban Sanctuaries as a new Heartland Pergolas dealer in Madison, WI! They will have an outdoor display located at Don's Home Furniture on the Beltine. Casey is very well-versed with our system and may complete any basic or custom-designed pergolas in a professional manner. You may contact Casey at 608.235.8997 with any pergola quote requests or installation questions.

 

Urban Sanctuaries may be found on the web at: https://www.urbansanctuarieswi.com/

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May is almost here - get some shade!

Apr 24, 2018

May is just one short week away! The Midwest and Northern Regions are finally enjoying some nice weather - which means it's pergola time. There are quite a few decisions to be made when selecting what type of material to use for a pergola - let alone the right size and shape for you. We want you to know that as a family business we're here to help! We are incredibly helpful over the phone with design, installation and quoting support. Whether you're a homeowner, contractor, or business owner - we can provide you with everything you need for your pergola project. Check out some of our pergola kit pictures below to see if any of our examples apply to you.

 

vinyl pergola kit shade levels

Above: At Heartland Pergolas we offer varying shade levels. Above you may see our 90% shade offering on the left and our 75% shade offering on the right of this display pergola kit. Most of our pergola kits are sold at the 75% level because the 90% option offers so much shade it might be too cold in early Spring or late Fall!

vinyl pergola kit on deck

Above: We absoloutely do custom work whether it's a deck or landscape pergola kit. We can mimic any size or shape required by your unique space - all you have to do is ask!

outdoor living room with pergola kit

Above: Create your outdoor living space for this Summer's family and friend get-togethers! Pergola kits are always a great addition to any outdoor room.

modern pergola kit in vinyl material

Above: Looking for something more contemporary and sleek? See our new modern pergola kits - renderings, CADs and installation videos available now!

white vinyl pergola pvc pergola kit

Above: Check out the beveled caps on this beautiful pergola! We offer different designer caps (or flat caps) on the end of all roof profiles.

 

Being in the pergola industry for a decade means we have pictures and videos of everything! If there's something you want to see or know - do not hesitate to give us a call at 563.345.6745 or email aaron@heartlandpergolas.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Pergola kit lead time estimations for the 2018 season

Mar 21, 2018

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 aaron@heartlandpergolas.com with any questions!

Check out a few of our recently installed pergola kits as we have just officially kicked off the Spring Season!

vinyl pergola kit march 2018

Above: See a great looking attached pergola over a newly built deck. Flat caps on rafters with pergola scrolled caps on beams.

Above: Custom angled pergola with routed beams through 5" posts

vinyl modern pergola kit

Above: Modern pergola kit shown by Peoria Brick at 2018 home show
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Top-Notch Pergola Kit Support

Jan 25, 2018

Pergola Kit Customer 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!

How quickly can you receive information on your pergola kit?

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:

  1. Wait until Monday to contact the company and figure it out then.
  2. Get on his phone and try to find the information online. Hit or miss.
  3. Drive 90 minutes back home and back to the store and back home again.
  4. Open up his call log and call the person’s cell phone on the team he is working with. For some crazy reason, the team member answers every time or calls you back within 10 minutes!?!

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.

Pictures, Drawings, Written Guides and Videos

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.

Tangible Testing

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 aaron@heartlandpergolas.com!

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Installation tips to look for when buying a pergola kit!

Dec 28, 2017

Pergola Kit Installation

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.

vinyl pergola kit shade installation

Make sure to find out how the roofing / shading portion of your pergola kit goes together - some systems can be a nightmare!

Exhaustive Written Installation Guide

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!

          english vinyl pergola kit installation guidespanish vinyl pergola kit installation guide

 

Video Examples

 

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.

Extra Install Documents

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:

  • Are you installing over a deck? Installing on a concrete patio? In a footing?
  • Do you have big columns or small posts?
  • Is it a large pergola where there are required splicings for the roof pieces?
  • Is this a perfect square or do you have extra posts for a unique shape?

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!

Personal Support

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!

vinyl pergola kit shade installation step      vinyl pergola kit aluminum post mount installation

 

If you have installation questions don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 563.345.6745 or aaron@heartlandpergolas.com! We have drawings, pictures, videos, PDFs and anything else you may need!

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Custom vinyl pergolas explanations and pictures are available today!

Nov 20, 2017

Custom Vinyl Pergola Designs

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.

Different Shapes

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:

The Rounded Patio

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.

The Octagon

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!

The Unique House

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!

Skills Needed for Custom Pergola Installations

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.

Beam or Rafter Splicing

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 for Shared Posts

    

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!

Floating Beams or Attached Beams

 

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!

Additional Skills Needed

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 aaron@heartlandpergolas.com!

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Your pergola looks great, but is that all it needs to do?

Sep 14, 2017

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!

Types of Shade

There's a few different ways to create shade on your pergola roof:

  • Go all natural and grow plants
  • Install some sort of poly vinyl or aluminum cover or roof on the top
  • Buy a canopy to go with the pergola
  • Select a pergola that has a shade system integrated
  • Buy extra materials and space them out on the 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!

Growing plants

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.

Installing a cover or roof

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.

Buy a canopy

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.

Integrated shade system

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

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.

 

The Heartland Pergolas Way

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!

 

Questions about our vinyl pergola kits?

Give us a ring here at the office! You can reach us directly at 563.345.6745!

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