How To Choose the Best Screws for Your Pergola

A pergola is attatched to a pool house. There is a table and chairs under the pergola.

A per­go­la is a gor­geous out­door gar­den build­ing that forms a shad­ed walk­way or sit­ting area, but it will only last if installed cor­rect­ly with the right per­go­la screws. We’re here to help you choose the best screws for per­go­las, no mat­ter the mate­r­i­al or shape you choose. 

Wood, met­al or PVC: we’ll arm you with the right per­go­la bolts or screws along­side our tips for a smooth fas­ten­ing process. 

Pergola Material Options

Before you choose your per­go­la nails or screws, you need to choose your per­go­la mate­r­i­al. You have three main options: wood, met­al or PVC. When choos­ing your mate­r­i­al, you should con­sid­er your geo­graph­i­cal region, exist­ing archi­tec­tur­al style, bud­get and landscape.

Wood

When build­ing a per­go­la, it can either con­nect to the exist­ing exte­ri­or wall of your home or it can be free­stand­ing. Wood, a very pop­u­lar mate­r­i­al, is a great option that can accom­mo­date either choice. It offers a nat­ur­al look but can also be paint­ed if you pre­fer anoth­er col­or. You have plen­ty of species options to choose from, includ­ing teak, cedar, mahogany, red­wood and more. 

High­er-priced woods have nat­ur­al oils that can make them resis­tant to insects, rot, shrink­ing, warp­ing, decay and ter­mites. How­ev­er, some cheap­er options may be sus­cep­ti­ble to these prob­lems and require high­er maintenance.

Metal

If you’re look­ing for a rus­tic, nat­ur­al look, met­al may not be your first choice. But if you’re look­ing for some­thing mod­ern and high­ly durable, a met­al per­go­la is a fan­tas­tic option. Met­al is robust and high­ly resis­tant to com­mon prob­lems oth­er mate­ri­als face like rot­ting, warp­ing and pest dam­age. How­ev­er, it can rust from mois­ture if not prop­er­ly tak­en care of. 

We sug­gest gal­va­niz­ing the met­al to safe­guard its pro­tec­tion or remem­ber­ing to main­tain it with prop­er seal­ers to stop rust from building.

PVC

Polyvinyl chlo­ride (PVC) is a thick, plas­tic mate­r­i­al that is high­ly resis­tant to the prob­lems both met­al and wood suf­fer from. Since a per­go­la is out­doors, a PVC per­go­la is one of your best options when it comes to pro­tec­tion from the ele­ments. The best part of using PVC is that it doesn’t need very much main­te­nance. How­ev­er, crit­ics call out PVC for its unsus­tain­abil­i­ty, so if you’re search­ing for an eco-friend­ly option, PVC may not be your first choice. 

Nails or Screws for Pergolas?

While this is ulti­mate­ly a per­son­al choice, we rec­om­mend screws. A big advan­tage of screws is they make it easy to replace dam­aged wood. If you install a per­go­la post by attach­ing it with screws, you can replace the post with lit­tle to no dif­fi­cul­ty when it poten­tial­ly gets dam­aged. Screws can be eas­i­ly removed while nails are more difficult. 

Screws also have more hold­ing pow­er than nails. They real­ly grab the wood because the threads of the screw cut into the mate­r­i­al, giv­ing it a sol­id grip and more secured dura­bil­i­ty. Nails offer the advan­tage of a quick install, espe­cial­ly if you have a nail gun, but there has been a lot of inno­va­tion occur­ring in the screw indus­try to make the instal­la­tion eas­i­er and quick­er than in the past, allow­ing you to have both high install speeds and durability.

The Best Screws for Wood Pergolas

If you’re going for an eco-friend­ly, nat­ur­al look, Flat­LOK Struc­tur­al Wood Screws are the way to go. This screw deliv­ers a strong, code-com­pli­ant con­nec­tion for mul­ti-ply LVL, gird­er truss­es and mul­ti-ply lum­ber beams. It’s a mul­ti­pur­pose struc­tur­al wood screw that’s approved for sin­gle-sided instal­la­tion, mak­ing it eas­i­er to com­plete projects at ground lev­el or in ele­vat­ed applications. 


Its flat head allows for easy fin­ish­ing, has mul­ti­ple sizes depend­ing on your project needs and max­i­mizes fit to reduce the poten­tial for strip­ping. It also includes a sta­bil­i­ty but­ton for max­i­mum pen­e­tra­tion into the fas­ten­er for a wob­ble-free dri­ve. A free TORX® ttap® bit is includ­ed in every box.​It works for any wood species, includ­ing ACQ or treat­ed lumber.

A FlatLOK structural wood screw, colored in red, and a TORX® ttap® bit, colored in grey, are displayed horizontally on a white background.

The Best Screws for Metal Pergolas

If you’re seek­ing to build a met­al per­go­la, you’ll want to go with the Cor­tex Driller Hid­den Fas­ten­ing Sys­tem. The 1−5÷8” 410 stain­less steel fas­ten­er requires no pre-drilling, and the TORX® ttap® Dri­ve Sys­tem is almost impos­si­ble to strip out. The sta­bil­i­ty but­ton keeps the fas­ten­er straight through the entire instal­la­tion. Sim­ply dri­ve the fas­ten­er to cre­ate a clean, cored hole. Then, gen­tly tap in the plug made of the same met­al mate­r­i­al to cre­ate a fas­ten­er-free surface.

Cortex PVC

The Best Screws for PVC Pergolas

You have two great options if PVC is your mate­r­i­al of choice. First, you have the Cor­tex Hid­den Fas­ten­ing Sys­tem for PVC. The TORX® ttap® Dri­ve Sys­tem is almost impos­si­ble to strip out and the fas­ten­er is eas­i­ly removed. 

With a sta­bil­i­ty but­ton, your fas­ten­er remains straight through the entire instal­la­tion process. You get a stronger set­ting tool that is opti­mized for pro con­trac­tor use. It has stronger bit mate­r­i­al and indus­try-grade felt to enable you to install 350 fas­ten­ers on one Cor­tex Set­ting Tool. 

It has a short­er and faster trim screw, with 2” fas­ten­ers to deliv­er high lev­els of hold­ing pow­er and offer you ver­sa­til­i­ty when it comes to appli­ca­tions such as per­go­las, decks and trim. The dual thread design spins the fas­ten­er 50% faster, help­ing you achieve quick­er install times. 

Cortex

Your sec­ond option is the Col­lat­ed Cor­tex Hid­den Fas­ten­ing Sys­tem for PVC. The Col­lat­ed Cor­tex Hid­den Fas­ten­ing Sys­tem is sim­i­lar to the fas­ten­ing sys­tem above. If you’re try­ing to cut down on your per­go­la project time­line and expe­dite labor, this is the screw for you.

It also has a short­er and faster trim screw, with fas­ten­ers offered in both 2” and 2 ¾” options to deliv­er high lev­els of hold­ing pow­er and even more ver­sa­til­i­ty when it comes to appli­ca­tions you can accom­plish. Just like the loose plug hid­den fas­ten­ing sys­tem, the dual thread design spins the fas­ten­er 50% faster com­pared to com­pet­i­tive screws, help­ing you achieve quick­er install times. 

These Cor­tex plugs come on a col­lat­ed strip to min­i­mize han­dling and save you even more valu­able time on your project.

Collated Cortex® Trim Hidden Fasteners for PVC Trim from FastenMaster

How FastenMaster Can Help

No mat­ter the per­go­la mate­r­i­al or the project in gen­er­al, our vast prod­uct offer­ing at Fas­ten­Mas­ter makes it easy to find the right fas­ten­er for your next project. 

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