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Everything you need to know about the structure of a pergola and how to close the slats

The pergola is becoming an essential outdoor feature

A compromise between an arbour and a veranda, the pergola has become a must-have for outdoor living. It can be used all year round, and adapts easily to your home. But choosing the ideal material for the structure and slats of your future pergola can be a complex task. And the system for opening and closing the slats also needs to be clarified. To help you choose your pergola, we present the different structures and explain how adjustable slats work.

What material should you choose for the structure and slats of your pergola?

Wood and aluminum are generally the most popular materials for the structure and slats of a pergola. However, pergolas with PVC slats are also available. Discover the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of pergolas.

Aluminium pergolas: a versatile material

One of aluminum's major assets is its ability to adapt to any environment. Whether it's an old building or a contemporary home, an aluminum pergola can be perfectly integrated into your architecture, thanks to its many colors and finishes.

A top-of-the-range material, aluminum is also renowned for its longevity. It is resistant to weathering and corrosion. Easy to maintain, aluminum structures can be cleaned with a mixture of soap and water. There's no need to buy expensive cleaning products. This reduces maintenance costs over the long term.

However, aluminum's high quality and sturdiness make it an expensive material. As a result, the aluminum pergola is one of the most expensive pergola models.

A wooden pergola: a natural material

Thanks to its natural, decorative charm, a wooden pergola blends effortlessly into a green setting. Decorated with climbing plants, the wooden frame brings a pleasant freshness to your terrace. It's a perfect match for rustic, old houses.

Given the wide variety of wood species available for frames, this material is generally less expensive than other materials. Although relatively durable, wood is less timeless than aluminum or steel. Quality wood is therefore preferable for the longevity of your pergola, but its price is considerably higher.

Wood also requires more regular maintenance. Susceptible to fungus and insect attack, wooden pergolas require several layers of specific treatment.

A PVC pergola: an economical material

Whether free-standing or attached to the front of your house, a PVC pergola is the most affordable solution. Lightweight, PVC pergolas are easy to secure to the ground and require no major construction work. Another advantage of PVC is its ease of maintenance. Gentle cleaning is all that's required. Nor is PVC prone to rust.

However, PVC pergolas do have a few important drawbacks to consider. Its resistance to weathering is relatively low, which can lead to premature degradation of parts. The lifespan of a PVC pergola is estimated at between 5 and 10 years. PVC also limits customization options, as the choice of colors and shapes is very limited.

How do the slats open and close?

How a pergola's slats open and close depends on the system selected at the time of purchase. There are several options. Here are some of the most popular with both private and professional customers:

Manually adjustable slats

Some pergolas feature manually adjustable slats. In most cases, these are adjusted by means of a crank handle. You can thus choose the desired light flow and air ventilation under your shelter.
Weather-related constraints must be taken into account for manual adjustment. The constant movement of the sun forces you to adjust the slats frequently. And a sudden downpour forces you to leave your home to close the slats to protect your outdoor furniture.

Motorized slats

The latest adjustable-slat pergolas are now equipped with a motorized system. Using a remote control, you can adjust the slats directly from a distance. Lying back on your deckchair or by your pool, you can easily adjust the slats throughout the day.
Aesthetic and elegant, motorized slats integrate perfectly into the roof, without the need for manual supports or devices. Motorized slats also prevent potential damage from mishandling.

Weather sensors

Some pergola systems offer the option of fully automating the slats via weather sensors. Installed on your motorized roof, they adjust the slats automatically to the vagaries of the weather. The sensors are programmed with predefined configurations and operate even when you're away. Here are the different models available:
Rain sensor: detects showers and triggers the closing of your pergola's slats to ensure your comfort. The sensor is usually equipped with a heating system to evaporate water droplets from the surface. This prevents the formation of frost in winter.

The solar sensor: adjusts the adjustable slats according to the strength of the sun's rays. Enjoy a pleasant temperature under your pergola or in the adjoining interior room thanks to this device.

Wind sensor: also known as an anemometer, this adjusts the slats to the safest position in high winds. It ensures optimum protection of the structure against storm damage

The Biossun bioclimatic universe

Designed in France near Grenoble, our bioclimatic solutions are based on 100% French know-how. In favor of a more sustainable economy, Biossun manufactures its pergolas from 98% recycled aluminum. We use this material rather than any other for its longevity and versatility.

Biossun works with approved partners throughout France. From pergola installation to equipment and feasibility studies, our team is at your service.

Modular in width and length, our made-to-measure pergolas can be adapted to any outdoor dimensions. Biossun offers a complete range of pergolas to meet all your needs, whether you opt for an awning, canvas or adjustable slats.
Biossun develops innovative and unique systems to enhance user comfort. We have two models equipped with a patented process.

The slats of our pergolas are equipped with climate sensors to ensure your comfort in inclement weather. We also offer parallel or perpendicular slats for total control of light, ventilation and shade, depending on the exposure of the house.

We have a wide range of accessories for your pergola, including LED lighting, recessed sockets and side closures. Our vertically lowering Zipsun awning provides protection from the wind on your roof terrace. Equipped with an obstacle detector, it locks automatically if it encounters resistance when closing. Our pergolas also come with warranties to certify the quality of our work.