Hurricane Ian vs Heartland Pergola

A pergola that lasts.

Itís something we say often and try to promote to anyone beginning their pergola kit search. We know what our pergolas are capable of, but until Mother Nature wants to bear down on your home; itís hard to fully appreciate the specs.

We were sent a message not long after Hurricane Ian made its destructive path through Florida that described the incredible damage done to homes in the Ft. Myers area. It was a message of appreciation from our customers Marty & Amy on their Heartland Pergola. Through all the damage and destruction that came with the wind, storm, rain and storm surge; their Heartland Pergola withstood the hurricane.

A pergola kit that withstood a hurricane
The Heartland Pergola that withstood Hurricane Ian prior to the storm.

Our pergolas are created to be strong. The structural framing within the pergola posts, beams and rafters is engineered to be put through extreme conditions. Yet, itís aluminum, so itís light enough to be easily installed as well as remain rust free. This gives our pergolas the support needed to remain standing during adverse weather. We give you the information on properly securing your posts (and structural attachment if installing an attached pergola) to whatever surface you are working with. Properly securing your pergola to a concrete patio, stonework or decking is an essential step! Without this, even a moderate thunderstorm could send a cheap pergola crashing into your home or collapsing in pile.

This pergola that went through Hurricane Ian was at a home in Ft. Myers Florida, just a few miles East of Ft. Myers Beach. Homes in this area received high sustained winds, some blowing 100mph. They also faced a storm surge of several feet of water. A combination that is detrimental to most structures. Many Florida homes have screened in porches around their pool areas and our homeowners noted that the neighborís screen room had been destroyed in the storm.

Damage around a home in ft myers after hurricane ian where the heartland pergola survived the storm

Other damage to their home included shingles blown off the roof, the metal flashing and chimney toppers ripped from the chimney, soffits blown out, downed trees, broken stone pavers around the pool, and broken outdoor furniture. But upon inspection of their Heartland Pergola, it remained intact and holding strong at both the posts and the wall mount on their home. A fan mount was included as part of their pergola. While the fan was ripped from the base during the storm, the fan mount attached to the pergola was still in place. There was no actual damage to their Heartland Pergola! The winds and flying debris were the cause for just one missing purlin cap and a couple of screw plugs. All easy small parts that we were able to ship out right away for replacement.

Only pergola damage sustained in the hurricane are a missing cap and plugs

The only pieces to come off during Hurricane Ian were a single purlin cap and a few plugs

Damage around a home in ft myers after hurricane ian where the heartland pergola survived the storm

Everything on the patio was destroyed except for the pergola!

Amy sent her thanks to our design and engineering team for a well-designed product. While we hate for this to be the way they had to find out, we are proud to show you just what you can expect out of a Heartland Pergola. Floridians are resilient when it comes to hurricanes and will build back stronger and better as always. And while a pergola is not an essential item, of all the rebuilding they will be focused on in the coming weeks, we are very happy that we arenít one of the replacements on the to-do list. One less project, one less headache, one less rebuild. Hurricane Ian damage to soffits as seen through Heartland Pergola purlins

So how can you make sure that your pergola structure is built for the long haul? That your pergola can withstand a hurricane or severe storm?

  1. Choose the right materials!
    In this case the aluminum framework was essential. A vinyl pergola on itís own without the structural components inside would have been reduced to nothing in a storm like this. Wood structural framework which you can find in many pergola kits, would have been soaked in the storm surge. The soaked wood would end with rotting posts! And it would rot from the inside where you wouldnít see the damage. Ultimately destroying the integrity of your pergola structure and being a danger to you and your family. Aluminum posts, beams and rafters wonít take in the water, wonít rot, wonít sag and wonít deteriorate like wood does. Ensuring you have a pergola that not only withstands the elements but be a safer long term option for your home and family.
  2. Anchor your pergola correctly
    Anchoring the pergola properly is the difference between having a pergola that is still standing and one that becomes an airborne structure in a storm. Proper blocking on decks, anchoring to concrete or stone that is thick enough and using the right fasteners will keep your pergola attached where it supposed to be. On pergolas that are attached to your home or other structure, knowing what your ledger board is attaching to is key. All homes are different in what materials the exterior is made of; brick, stone, stucco, siding, etc. so you must do your homework to determine what fasteners to use as well as where you can anchor into structurally. Not every DIYer knows these details about their home so a knowledgeable experienced carpenter/contractor maybe needed for consultation or installation. Sample plans and interior aluminum structure view of Heartland Pergolas
  3. Research your product specs and warranty
    A short term warranty on a Lowes or Home Depot pergola kit is probably the norm. But itís not going to cover things like hurricane winds or high winds. You may end up replacing your cheaper pergola kit a couple of times over! Heartland Pergolas are rated for winds up to 105mph or 120mph depending on the use of hardware. Which brings me to my last point.
  4. Proper hardware
    Heartland Pergolas can be ordered with Hurricane Clips! For all our coastal customers, we do advise these additional brackets that install in minutes but provide extra support for your rafters in hurricane prone areas. The hurricane clips adjust your pergolaís wind rating from the 105mph to 120mph!
Heartland Pergola Kits Hurricane Clips
Hurricane clips that are an added option to your pergola kit and increase your wind warranty

When you make the additional investment to your home with a pergola, we believe it should be a permanent fixture for you to enjoy for years to come. And if you end up facing a powerful storm, we want to be one less thing to worry about. So when the sun comes back out, and the debris is cleared away, you can simply enjoy your outdoors once more.

To read Amyís full testimonial on her Heartland Pergola read below:

ď...our Heartland pergola is sitting in Fort Myers approximately 10 miles east of Fort Myers beach. Hurricane Ian delivered hours of high winds and a storm surge to our neighborhood. The winds were estimated at 100mph at times and the storm surge of about 7 feet completely destroyed many of our neighborís main floors.

At our home we have damage to all aspects of our exterior. We do not have a screen cage over the pool, but our neighborís collapsed in the storm. Our screens are ripped, the chimney cap is gone, the roof shingles are missing, the soffits got blown upward, we have two 40 foot palm trees that came down, lost landscaping, the brand new patio table and bench in our pergola were tossed around in the storm surge, we lost bullnose tiles around the pool, and have broken flower pots and urns.

We are so pleased to report that our pergola is in fantastic condition! We are only missing one end cap on a roof slat and 4-5 hole plugs. The ceiling fan that was attached to the pergola is gone. I will send some photos to try to convey the damage and devastation that is surrounding the pergola, and your product stands with no bends or dents. Our pergola is attached to the house and the soffits can be seen blown in just above where the pergola is connected to the house. Please feel free to share these with your design team and customers. We thank you and congratulate you for a well designed product!"

Interested in finding out more? Try our instant pergola quote tool to get pricing and details on a pergola for your home. You deserve the peace of mind of a safe and secure pergola!