You’ll Get Superb Results When You Hire A Pergola Contractor

pergola contractorPeople have used pergolas for thousands of years to create shade and beauty in outdoor spaces. Traditionally, pergolas are wooden, rectangular-shaped, open structures. However, today’s modern designs incorporate a variety of materials and shapes. An experienced pergola contractor can create the perfect structure for your yard.

Structurally Speaking has been helping homeowners create beautiful outdoor additions since 2008. Our passion for designing and building shows through every project. Beginning with our personalized consultation, we’re committed to building the ideal pergola you need and can afford.

Some Of The Many Benefits Of A Pergola

Primarily, pergolas are open structures adding visual interest to your landscaping. Although seemingly simple, pergolas provide a foundation for more elaborate landscaping features. Plus, by using elements from both the interior and exterior of your home, you create a visual link.

For example, your pergola can be a framework for climbing plants such as roses or wisteria. You can also hang a chandelier for a touch of elegance or string lights for a festive atmosphere. Thus, these versatile structures can enhance any type of home.

Nonetheless, these structures provide much more than just visual interest. Pergolas can provide much-needed shade in a sunny spot in your yard. Moreover, they define outdoor space and add value to your home. Presently, backyard pergolas are extremely popular and trendy leading Houzz to declare The Year of the Pergola.

Notably, the most popular type is a wooden, rectangular shape with a flat latticework of rafters for a roof. However, modern styles can incorporate curving lines, innovative roofing styles, and contemporary materials. Moreover, in addition to using traditional wood, contractors can build pergolas from metal, vinyl, and fiberglass.


Traditionally, wood has been the material of choice for many pergola builders. Wood offers a natural yet elegant look. A cost-effective choice, you can also stain or paint your structure in a variety of colors. Thus, your pergola can blend in or make a dramatic statement.

In addition, you can choose from a variety of wood such as pressure treated, cedar, redwood, or tropical hardwoods. Although resistant to rot and insects, wood pergolas will require either sealing, staining, or sealing every few years.


If you want a more maintenance-free option, you may want to consider a metal pergola. Available in either steel or aluminum, metal is stronger and more durable than wood. You’ll never have to worry about cracking, splintering, or warping with a metal pergola.

Plus, a metal pergola offers a minimalist design for a modern, sleek look. Moreover, metal pergolas are very versatile. Available in a wide array of colors and designs, you have plenty of flexibility to complement your outdoors.


Another low-maintenance choice is vinyl. Rot, insect, and mold resistant, vinyl requires very little upkeep. Plus, some manufacturers construct vinyl pergolas with a metal interior for improved durability and strength.

Admittedly, the biggest drawback with vinyl is the lack of color choices. Currently, vinyl pergolas are only available in white.


Ultimately, the material offering the greatest strength, durability, and lowest maintenance requirements is fiberglass. Although the most expensive material choice, fiberglass won’t rust or corrode. Moreover, its strength allows for longer spans. Plus, you can choose from a wide variety of colors.

FAQs When Hiring A Pergola Contractor

Certainly, when you decide to undertake any type of home improvement project, you’ll have a lot of questions. We’ve put together some of our most frequently asked ones.

Are DIY Kits A Good Investment?

Undoubtedly, as you start investigating materials and designs for your pergola, you’ll come across many manufacturers selling DIY kits. Certainly, the greatest appeal of these kits is the amount of money you’ll save on labor. Moreover, pergolas appear to be an easy structure to build.

Yet, building a functional, beautiful pergola also involves thoughtful consideration of several landscaping principles. Designing a structure both proportionally sized and complementary to your home is hard. Additionally, structures built from a DIY kit have conventional, unimaginative, and uninspired designs.

Moreover, you’ll only be able to choose from standard sizes. A one size fits all mentality won’t necessarily be a perfect fit for your yard. If you choose a smaller size, you may overcrowd your guests when entertaining. While if you choose a larger size, the structure may encroach on other areas of your outdoor living space.

However, when you hire Structurally Speaking to build your pergola, you’ll get a unique structure well suited to your yard. We design your structure with your budget, function, and aesthetic goals in mind. Plus, we’ll present your design using computer software so that you can visualize the finished project in 3D clarity.

What Much Does It Cost To Build A Pergola?

Certainly, the price of your project varies according to the size of the structure, materials, design, and added accessories. However, when you call Structurally Speaking, we’ll give you a free consultation to discuss your project. Our owner, Jim Brenan, will personally meet with you to discuss your needs and budget.

Can I Personalize My Pergola With Accessories?

In addition to customizing your design, you can also add accessories to personalize your space. These added features can add privacy and increase usability:

  • Retractable awning/rotating louver roof
  • Curtains
  • Lighting
  • Planters
  • Privacy Walls
  • Ceiling fan

Can You Build Other Outdoor Structures?

Certainly! We also build decks, screened-in porches, 3 season rooms, sunrooms, and hot tub decks. With competitive pricing and superb craftsmanship, you’ll see why our previous customers are always happy to recommend us.

Of course, hiring a pergola contractor that understands your needs is critical to loving your outdoor space. Structurally Speaking is passionate about creating the perfect outdoor structure for you. Call us at 919-786-4825 to set up an appointment for your free consultation.

You’ll Love These Five Porch Design and Construction Tips

porch design and constructionHere at Structurally Speaking, our porch design and construction team has helped homeowners throughout North Carolina create the outdoor living space of their dreams. Suffice it to say, we’ve learned a thing or two over the years about good porch design! When thinking about what you want in a new porch, here are five tips to keep in mind.

Consider Traffic Flow for Your Outdoor Space Design

Like all areas of your home, your family will quickly become frustrated in an outdoor space if it has poor traffic flow. These are some common issues:

  • An outdoor kitchen or grill that isn’t convenient to access from your indoor kitchen
  • Too many small seating areas without room for everyone
  • Having to walk around obstacles
  • Doors that open in an inconvenient direction
  • Areas where it is easy to run into people (like tight corners)
  • Stairs that lead away from the action
  • A confusing layout
  • Inconvenient walkways

This isn’t a full list, but it will get you started thinking about the layout for your porch, deck, and/or sunroom. When we design an outdoor living space, the traffic flow is at the forefront of our mind. We want your space to be as functional as possible.

Maximize Use with Multiple Outdoor Areas

Your porch doesn’t have to be the only outdoor space you and your family enjoy. We can design a porch that leads to a beautiful deck or an indoor/outdoor space such as an enclosed porch or sunroom. We can also add on a hot tub deck if you want an ultimate relaxation zone.

Even your porch alone can have multiple areas or zones. For example, you might want a small nook where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and a great view, along with a second larger seating area for family meals. We’ll make sure that traffic flow makes sense, while also making the most of the space.

Keep Your Outdoor Space Beautiful All Year Long with Smart Design

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when building their outdoor living spaces is not considering how they’ll use the space throughout the year. The weather might be perfect for grilling right now. However, will you use the space when we hit colder temperatures in the fall and winter? What about when it is raining? Is your new porch still useful during the hottest part of summer?

We look at the position of your porch in regards to the sun to make sure there is adequate shade when you need it. You have multiple options for shade, including roofs/pavilions, pergolas, and awnings. Additionally, we can design areas that are screened-in or even cooled/heated to make the space functional during most of the year. With good porch design and construction, you’ll get the most bang for your buck. After all, you don’t want to only use your new porch on the handful of “perfect weather” days we get every year.

Design Your Space with Maintenance in Mind

You have multiple options for materials to build your new outdoor space. One question we’ll ask you during your initial consultation is this: How much maintenance do you want to do?

Some materials have lower upfront costs, but you’ll pay more every year in maintenance. Other materials are the reverse. Of course, it’s not just about cost; you also want the material you choose to match your personal aesthetic and the look of your home. At the same time, if you absolutely hate outdoor work, you’ll want to choose a material that doesn’t require you to sacrifice your precious free time to keep it looking beautiful.

This article can get you started with learning about material options. During your initial consultation and design presentation, we’ll go into more detail about the options that will work best for you.

Remember, Your Porch Should Reflect Your Specific Needs

The Structurally Speaking team designs and builds custom decks because custom designs are the best options for homeowners. Cookie-cutter designs rarely meet the needs of homeowners. With a custom option, you’ll get the exact outdoor space that works best for your family.

Our owner, Jim, designs every porch and is extremely involved with the construction process. He has decades of experience designing custom options and can help you consider design elements that weren’t previously on your radar. For example, do you want multiple levels for your outdoor space? Are you interested in built-in features such as planters or benches? Do you need outdoor storage space? How big should your new porch be?

The answers to these questions vary from family to family. No two porches we build are exactly the same because no two families are exactly the same.

FAQs about Porch Design and Construction

When you work with our team, you can ask us any question that pops into your head. We’ll explain the entire process of porch design and construction from start to finish. No question is too big or small. Here are some of the most common questions we get:

Do I need a permit or license to build a porch or deck?

It depends on where you live. Most cities and many counties do require certain paperwork if you are building a new structure, but this may change if you are building a screened porch from an existing porch or building a patio instead of a deck. We’re extremely well-versed in the requirements throughout the Triangle area.

Do I need permission from my homeowner’s association to build a deck or porch?

Again, it depends. Some homeowner’s associations only require permission if you are building onto the front of your house. Others require permission for all building projects. We are experienced with dealing with homeowner’s associations and are confident we can get permission for your new porch with no problems.

Is my backyard big enough for a porch or deck?

Most backyards are big enough, but the size of your new outdoor living space will depend on the space you have available. We can get creative if you don’t have a large space.

Do you have more questions about building a new porch or other outdoor living space? Contact us today to set up a free no-strings-attached consultation.

Incorporate Enchanting Enclosed Pergola Ideas Into Your Yard

enclosed pergola ideasFor thousands of years, gardeners have used pergolas to define and beautify outdoor spaces. Although traditional pergolas are often minimalistic, modern styles reflect new trends. Moreover, search the internet and you’ll find many distinct and fresh enclosed pergola ideas.

Yet, choosing options from among all the different ideas can be overwhelming. Certainly, Structurally Speaking can help you maximize your outdoor space by creating a unique and custom enclosed structure. We can help you choose the right materials and design to get the most use out of your backyard.

What Is A Pergola?

Although pergolas are generally permanent structures, portable metal-framed pergolas also exist. All portable pergolas offer a canopy for shade and some also have netting for protection from bugs. However, portable pergolas are about convenience rather than adding value or beauty to a home.

Traditionally, pergolas are a basic structure. Freestanding or attached to the house, pergolas consist of columns supporting an open roof of beams and rafters. Often, homeowners grow vines to form a canopy over their backyard pergola for extra shade in the summer. Bougainvillea, wisteria, trumpet creepers, and climbing roses are very popular choices.

While climbing plants are pretty and great at blocking the sun, they don’t provide much protection against the rain. Moreover, you’ll have a lot of cleaning up to do once the plants start dropping their leaves. Plus, while traditional pergolas are an elegant addition to any yard, they offer no protection from insects.

Some Good Reasons To Enclose Your Pergola

Due to lockdown orders, many homeowners are looking for more ways to extend their living space. Similar to enclosing a porch, you may want to enclose your pergola to provide more room. An enclosed structure affords more protection against insects and bad weather. Thus, you’ll add more usable space to your home to use however you want:

  • Dining area
  • Living room
  • Home office
  • Entertainment area
  • Playroom

With the addition of screens or windows, you’ll also have more privacy. Furthermore, depending on the materials you choose, you may be able to use your enclosed structure all year round. Plus, you’ll add value to your home.

Some Enclosed Pergola Ideas To Consider

Now that you’ve decided to begin your home improvement project, it’s time to explore some enclosed pergola ideas. Notably, the choices and styles for enclosing your structure are virtually unlimited. You can choose from several different types of roofs, and curtains, screens, or windows for the sides. Thus, it’s best to begin by deciding on how you’re planning on using your new space.

For example, roofing materials include metals like copper, aluminum, tin, or steel. Additionally, you can choose to install louvers to adjust the amount of shade. Louvers also provide excellent protection from the rain. However, if you are looking for something more cost-effective, you can choose from fiberglass, acrylic, or fabric.

Next, you need to decide on the material for the sides of your enclosed space. While curtains are the most cost-effective choice, screens and windows provide more protection from the elements.

Generally, curtains offer shade, privacy, and some protection from insects. Moreover, fabric panels are water repellant, fade, and mildew resistant. With plenty of colors to choose from, you can match any decor.

Alternately, screens provide more protection against bugs. Additionally, screens keep your enclosed area cleaner requiring less maintenance. You won’t have to worry about sweeping leaves, twigs, and other debris from your outdoor living space.

Finally, choosing windows allows for year-round use of your space. By enclosing your space with windows, you can include climate control for optimal comfort.

FAQs Regarding Enclosing A Structure

Undertaking any home improvement project typically generates many questions. We’ve answered many of our most commonly asked ones below.

What Will My Project Cost?

One of the greatest benefits of working with Structurally Speaking is our unique designs. Jim Brennan, our owner, personally meets with each new client to develop a design that meets your needs and budget. Moreover, Jim considers your home’s architecture, color theme, and yard for a seamless look.

Since each project is unique, prices will vary accordingly. The size, style, materials, and amenities of your planned enclosure all influence your final price. Thus, we recommend you set up an appointment for our free no-obligation consultation.

Unlike other contractors, we offer at least 2 design recommendations. We show you each design on a laptop for 3-D clarity of elevation and viewpoints. Moreover, to ensure your satisfaction, Jim will continue to adjust your design until you’re completely satisfied.

Do I Need A Permit?

While local building codes can be difficult to navigate, their enactment serves to protect the public’s health and safety. Obtaining a building permit and final certificate of occupancy ensures your structure meets existing laws. Even home owners’ associations can dictate the appearance of an enclosed structure.

However, when you hire a local contractor, you don’t have to worry about setback restrictions, zoning ordinances, or permits. Structurally Speaking is a local contractor that will handle all necessary paperwork quickly and efficiently. We’ll design and build an outdoor structure within existing rules that meets your needs and budget.

Can You Build Other Outdoor Structures?

Structurally Speaking specializes in building unique, outdoor structures. We can design and construct decks, pergolas, hot tub decks, as well as enclosing these structures. Our designs are always particular to your needs and budget. Furthermore, in addition to our personalized approach, we offer competitive pricing and expert project management.

So, why spend another day dreaming of your beautiful new enclosed pergola? Call us today at 919-786-4825 to set up your free consultation.

3 Things to Know Before You Hire Raleigh Deck Builders

Raleigh deck buildersWhen you envision your new deck, do you see a large, luxurious outdoor living space perfect for entertaining? Do you want a simple, easy-to-maintain wood deck suited for a few chairs and a grill? Are you seeing yourself enjoying a hot tub deck with a chilled drink? We can help you turn these visions (and more!) into reality. When you hire our Raleigh deck builders, we create the perfect outdoor living space for your family.

That said, before you hire any deck builders, including the Structurally Speaking team, you should take a moment to educate yourself a bit about three things:

  1. The questions you should ask any deck contractor
  2. Decking material options
  3. Your budget and financing options

Knowing about these three topics can give you the best deck building experience possible!

Questions You Should Ask All Raleigh Deck Builders

First and foremost, you should never hire any contractor without asking a few questions. The world is full of ethical, knowledgeable contractors who work hard for their clients, just like we do. Unfortunately, the world is also full of cheap, unskilled “contractors” just trying to make a quick buck, even if it means cutting corners. These questions will help you feel comfortable weeding out Raleigh deck builders who don’t have your best interests at heart.

Do you provide multiple design options?

We believe that the best decks aren’t cookie-cutter options. When you work with us, we listen to your concerns and provide multiple designs based on what would best fit your home and goals.

What is the project timeline?

Don’t work with a team if there is not a project time line. Yes, rain or material delays can happen, but you don’t want to give a deposit or full payment to someone who still hasn’t started your deck 6 months later.

Is your price quote the final price I’ll pay?

Beware of deck builders who won’t give you a definite price before the building starts. Many people feel awkward talking about money, but this is one case when you absolutely need to make sure you are on the same page. You don’t want to get a bill at the end that is ten times higher than the price quote.

Who will be doing the actual deck building?

Some builders subcontract the building work to a third party after designing your outdoor living space. However, we think this is a recipe for disaster. There is no guarantee that an outside team will be able to bring the vision to reality. Plus, they might not have the proper licenses or insurance. Work with a team like Structurally Speaking who has an in-house construction team. Our owner, Jim, oversees every project to ensure our homeowners love the final product.

Decking Material Options

Did you know that there are dozens of deck material options? The most commonly used materials for decks are wood or composite. However, you have many wood options and they can vary greatly when it comes to price, durability, and long-term maintenance. This article is a great place to start when it comes to learning about your deck material options. Here’s a quick run-down from our perspective:

  • Pressure-treated pine: If you want a wood deck, this is a popular option. Pine is durable and inexpensive. However, it does need to be stained or painted and sealed regularly.
  • Exotic hardwoods and cedar: Other woods are more expensive, but can give you a unique look. These woods are also typically resistant to rot and insects. The downside is that they do require the most work in terms of maintenance.
  • Composite/Plastic options: Composite is a material that combines recycled plastic with wood by-product to create a very durable option. Composite decking requires very little maintenance while still giving you the look of wood. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a similar option that uses plastic only (no wood). It is best for homeowners who don’t want a lot of annual maintenance and don’t mind the aesthetic of plastic instead of wood.

Regardless of the material you choose, make sure you are prepared to maintain your deck. Each material has its own maintenance needs. By providing proper maintenance, you can ensure your deck looks great for years to come. Read our top maintenance tips here!

Your Budget and Financing Options

Last but not least, we recommend crunching your numbers so you know exactly how much you can spend on a new deck. Decks have tons of benefits, including adding value to your home. That said, we never recommend homeowners overextend themselves to build a deck.

Keep in mind that there may be financing options available to you. This includes a home equity loan or line of credit, as well as traditional bank financing. Again, we don’t recommend overextending yourself to build a deck. So, know your numbers before you start! During our initial consultation, we’ll ask about your budget. Knowing this information upfront can ensure we design a deck at a good price point for you.

FAQs about the Deck-Building Process

When you hire deck builders, it is important that you feel comfortable asking any questions, not just those listed previously. Here are some of the most important questions we get about the process:

Do I need a permit to build a deck?

Probably not, but maybe! It depends on where you live. We serve not only Raleigh, but also Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Apex, Hillsborough, Carrboro, Holly Springs, Garner and other surrounding areas. If you need a permit, we’ll let you know.

Is a deck the best option for my yard?

Again, it depends. We also build screened porches, three-season porches, sunrooms, and other outdoor living spaces. We can take a look at your home and your goals to help you determine the best option for your family.

Do you have other questions about the deck building process? Contact us today! Or, fill out the form above to get started with a free consultation.

How To Enclose A Patio Without Breaking Into A Sweat

how to enclose a patioThe pandemic restrictions have forced many Americans to spend more time at home. Now, families are attending school, working, and vacationing at their residence. Moreover, industry experts expect trends in improving and utilizing outdoor spaces to continue. This development has led many homeowners to research how to enclose a patio to extend their living space.

With homeowners now considering outdoor spaces an indispensable extension of their interior, many are searching for reliable, skillful contractors. Structurally Speaking has established itself as a leader in the construction of outdoor living spaces. Since 2008, we have been helping homeowners create unique and functional outdoor living spaces.

How To Enclose A Patio Isn’t A Simple Procedure

Undoubtedly, enclosing a patio is a complex process. Unless you have experience in design and construction, it’s best to leave enclosing a patio to the professionals. A poorly constructed structure can actually devalue your home and become an eyesore. Furthermore, any enclosure failing to meet your building codes will cause legal issues when you try to sell your home.

Moreover, hiring an experienced contractor brings workmanship guarantees and warranties to protect your investment. Plus, a skilled contractor can get the job done quickly, allowing you to enjoy your new space faster. You’ll also avoid costly mistakes in design and construction.

For example, when developing your design, you need to consider aesthetics and functionality. Your enclosed structure should match the rest of your home seamlessly. Additionally, you need to consider the flow of the room when adding an exterior door. Finally, you may have to account for any physical obstructions when adding screens.

Often, your inexperience may lead you to make some mistakes. For instance, most patios cannot handle the additional weight of a roof. A patio with a shallow foundation will cause cracking in both the foundation and the enclosure’s roof. Moreover, building a roof and framework for the screens can be complicated. Mistakes in framing can lead to moisture issues and structural damage.

Which Is A Better Option, Screens Or Glass Windows?

Your patio or deck offers a great outdoor space until the mosquitoes start biting or the clouds start rolling in. Then it’s time to head for the indoors.

However, enclosing your outdoor space with screens or windows can increase your enjoyment. With a roof over your head, you’ll have protection from the sun and rain. Likewise, screens and windows will keep out those pesky little critters.

Certainly, screens are the most cost-effective means of enclosing a patio. With the air passing through, you’ll feel like you’re outdoors without the bugs. However, a screened-in enclosure is less than ideal in the colder months.

Undoubtedly, an enclosure with glass windows offers much more protection against the elements. Glass window structures can be either a 3 or 4 season room. Both can extend the usage of your enclosure beyond a screened porch.

FAQs About Patio Enclosures

Often, homeowners have many questions about how to enclose a patio. Below, we’ve answered some of those more commonly asked ones. For additional information, call us at 919-786-4825. Our staff would be happy to answer any other questions.

Do I Need A Permit?

Many home improvement projects require a permit in NC. You may even have to consider local zoning ordinances. Setback restrictions, size limitations, and building codes need careful consideration.

Thankfully, Structurally Speaking is a local contractor. We know how to design and build your structure to meet all rules and regulations. Plus, we can handle all your building permit paperwork to get construction started as soon as possible.

How Much Does It Cost To Enclose My Patio?

Certainly, creating additional living space in your home can be priceless. Your enclosed patio provides room to spread out so that everyone isn’t on top of one another. While you can’t put a financial value on your peace and happiness, you still must consider your expenses.

Undoubtedly, the best way to determine the cost of your project is to make an appointment for our free estimate. During our meeting, we’ll discuss your plans and budget. We’ll explain how each factor will affect your cost:

  • Size
  • Material
  • Design
  • Amenities

Jim Brennan, our owner, personally meets with each new client. Moreover, Jim presents 2 customized design recommendations using a 3-dimensional computer program to envision your new space. Our priority is to design an enclosure that you love within your budget.

Should I Choose Single Or Double Pane Glass?

Ultimately, the answer to this question lies in your planned usage of the enclosed patio. Both can be a good choice depending upon the purpose of your structure.

Comparatively, single-pane windows are much cheaper. However, these are basic windows with little insulating properties to protect you from extreme temperatures or noises.

On the other hand, double pane windows have a layer of trapped gas between panes for insulation. Thus, you can heat and cool your room for year-round use.

What Types Of Amenities Are Available?

Including amenities in your screened patio allows you to enjoy the outdoors in comfort. We can draw from your style and planned usage to include those “must-have” elements:

  • Fireplace
  • Storage cabinets
  • Lighting
  • Ceiling fan
  • Electrical wiring

At Structurally Speaking, we can design any type of enclosed structure from simple to grandeur. If you want a deck, screened porch, hot tub deck, sunroom, or pergola, we can create a unique, functional structure.

Your beautiful patio enclosure is just a phone call away! Request your free no-obligation consultation by dialing 919-786-4826.