Want to enjoy your garden even longer during summer evenings or during the day when the sun shines too brightly?
You can do so with a pergola canopy!
A pergola canopy can be installed agaisnt your house or in almost any pergola .
A pergola canopy waterproof or a retractable pergola canopy , we will explain the advantages and disadvantages to you here below.
What are the advantages of a pergola canopy?
A pergola canopy offers many advantages compared to a regular shade cover of a solid roof.
Let us name the most imortant ones:
- You can slide open and close a pergola canopy.
You and you alone decide whether you wish to sit in the sun or in the shade, without having to install a regular shade sail, or having to demolish the roof of your veranda.
- You can also slide a pergola canopy half-open or half-closed.
No more arguing at the dinner table about sitting in the sun or in the shade; you just open the pergola canopy half and everybody decides whether they wish to sit in the sun or in the shade.
- Heat rises through the fabric;
A standard pergola canopy has been fabricated with HDPE thread which has been woven and stitched together. Between the threads there are little holes that allow the heat to rise through the fabric.
When your terrace is situated on a windy hill, that is not of much importance, but when it is in the middle of a town with no wind at all, it definitely makes the difference.
Compared to the price of a veranda or other fixed roof, a pergola canopy is really not that expensive.
- Easy to install
A pergola canopy is easy to install, you don't need any professional help with that! Just read our installation guidelines and you will see that you can easily do it and save a lot of money!
Are there any disadvantages?
Yes, a pergola canopy is not waterproof.
Is this really a disadvantage? Well yes, it is when you are just sitting down for a nice meal and it starts to rain... However, most of the time we don't sit much outside when it rains, so you might ask yourself if it is really that important that a pergola canopy is not waterproof.
Pergola canopy waterproof
When the fabric is fully folded, you have the space in your pergola completely free so that daylight can simply shine into your home. Practical & neat.
The design is clean and understated, so this waterproof pergola canopy will fit in with any garden design, modern, traditional or, for example, over a swimming pool for much-needed shade.
The acrylic canvas with a Teflon coating ensures perfect waterproofing. The waterproof pergola canopy will easily withstand a small shower or downpour, however, we recommend storing the pergola canopy indoors between October and March or at least protecting it from dirt with one of the separately available covers.
Cleaning is easy: a little warm water with soap and a soft brush. That is all.
Wish to know more? Check out our waterproof retractable pergola canopy page.
How do I install a pergola canopy?
Installing a pergola canopy is not so difficult, however there are a few things you have to pay attention to to ensure that your will be able to enjoy investment for years to come.
Take a look at the video first, it seems really easy.
(the video contains the old tensioning system, the new one is much better but we will explain that in more detail soon!)
Next, let's talk about your pergola or the walls to which you want to attach your retractable canopy.
After that will follow the tips for installing the retractablecanopy itself.
Where and how do you attach your pergola canopy?
A pergola canopy can be installed in the following places::
- As retractable canopy in a pergola. This is the easiest way. You then have a good structure (provided you have a good pergola, of course), and the hanging is easy. You can easily screw on all the elements like fixing brackets and pulleys.
- In between 2 walls, also a great solution but you will have to drill a lot of holes in your walls.
- Under a glass canopy (then you have to have 2 strong beams on the left and right for fastening. By the way, this is not efficient; it does refract direct sunlight, but under the glass it has become very hot anyway)
- Between posts; not convenient, but possible, and you have to secure your posts very well in the soil.
When buying a pergola canopy from Vinuovo, do you have all the parts you need?
Basically yes, it depends a bit on how you want to install the pergola canopy.
The standard package of a pergola canopy includes the following items:
- 1 retractable canopy
- The aluminium ribs in the right size (these are the aluminium rods that are slid across in the retractable canopy in order to hang the fabric straight)
- The stainless steel cables with tensioners and fixing brackets. These cables are stretched lengthwise between the beams of your pergola or walls, the pergola canopy slides underneath.
- pulleys, rope, a tiewrap and a hook to wrap the rope around when you have slid the pergola fabric open or closed.
- Stainless steel screws to secure anything in wood. But, be careful with these screws! I personally find the screws supplied by Nesling and Garviks to be of poor quality. In softwood it's okay, but I have broken many of them in the past. When fastened in hardwood, you can forget it altogether, they will all break off! I therefore recommend ordering good screws and throwing away those from Garviks or Nesling. Below is a table with the number and type of screws you need per size of pergola canopy.
Number and type of screws for fixing a pergola canopy:
|Width of pergola canopy
|Decking screw 5x60mm - Reisser RT UT
(for fixing the cable tensioners)
|Retinox 2plus stainless steel screw 4.5x45mm - Reisser
(for fixing the other parts)
If you want to attach a pergola canopy to a wall you will need different materials, you can read more about that in the section: Mounting a retractable canopy in between 2 walls.
Mounting a retractable canopy in a pergola
Make sure that the posts of your pergola are strong enough for a retractable canopy
When mounting a retractable canopy in a pergola it is extremely important that the posts are strong enough to withstand the tension of the steel cables!
In the simple drawing, the red arrows are the steel cables of the retractable canopy. These steel cables must be tightened to ensure that your pergola canopy hangs straight and slides smoothly over the cables.
I myself know from experience that even our 9x9cm beams warp slightly due to tension. I saw a video of a colleague where they were mounting a retractable canopy in a pergola made of planks less than 5cm thick. That really doesn't work! When tensioning the cables, these planks immediately warp. A strong blast of wind will pull on the retractable canopy and the planks will break. Planks might be a bit cheaper, but I really don't think that will make you very happy!
Mounting a retractable canopy in an aluminium pergola
When installing a retractable canopy in an aluminium pergola, the material thickness of the aluminium is very important!
Pay particular attention to the following points:
- Do not overtighten your screws: aluminium is quite soft, you can easily destroy the screw hole
- Don't over-tighten the cables: you'll undelibaretely pull the mounting brackets out of the aluminium posts in no time!
Yeah, right, I do have some personal experience with this..... We had an aluminium pergola from Nesling in our showroom some time ago. While building it up, I broke screw holes and pulled 2 fixing brackets completely out of the aluminium pergola when tensioning it!
I had to dismantle that pergola. I reinforced the attachment points on the inside of the beams with steel plates and then rebuilt it. The fabric never hung nice and tight and slid badly over the cables because they were not tight enough.
By the way, the thing just collapsed 2 months later with a bit of strong wind. The corner attachment of the poles to the beams is just very weakly made. You can buy one if you want, but not from me. I don't sell that kind of weak junk. (I don't think aluminium pergolas of any other brand are much better: to keep the price down, they use as thin material as possible while such a pergola soon costs 1500€. And then you are stuck with the mess).
Mounting a retractable canopy in between 2 walls.
Do you have a terrace between 2 walls that are no further than 5 metres apart? Then you are lucky!
If you have 2 walls to hang a retractable canopy in between, you don't need to buy a pergola, which will save you a lot of money.
But you do need to pay attention to how to attach your retractable canopy to the wall:
- Mounting the pulleys is not such a problem, there is little tension on them.
Just drill holes in the wall, insert good plugs and screw down.
- Mounting the steel tensioning cables for your pergola canopy is another story.
A lot of force is put on the tensioning cables, especially in stronger winds. To prevent the tension cables from being pulled out of the wall, it is best to use chemical anchors. A chemical anchor is a kind of 2-component sealant that is mixed into the nozzle of the sealant sprayer (Can be bought at the hardware store).
Proceed as follows:
- Measure out the correct position for the fixing points on the wall
- Drill Ø8mm holes, at least 6cm deep (we assume you are using 5x60mm screws).
- First, screw the screws completely through the holes in the wall brackets
- Check that each wall bracket with screws fits into the pre-drilled holes
- Spray the chemical anchor into the holes and push the wall bracket with screws in as tightly as possible.
- Furthermore, do not touch it again, let it harden quietly without moving the brackets. (Usually takes 20/30 minutes, follow the instructions on the packaging of your chemical anchors)
Once everything has hardened and is firmly in place, you can proceed with the normal assembly of the retractable canopy.
Mounting the retractable canopy itself
Now that you know where and how to mount your pergola canopy, we can start the installation.
Tip: Is your pergola not yet assembled and are the beams still on the ground? Then first attach all the tensioners and pulleys to the beams before putting the pergola up. Then you won't have to stand on stairs all the time to secure everything!
Step 1: Start by unfolding the pergola canopy and laying it flat on the ground.
Make sure the ground is clean, bit of a shame if your retractable canopy is immediately full of stains.
Step 2: Slide the aluminium ribs into the gleven in the retractable canopy, where the rings are.
Note! Depending on the width of the pergola canopy, you need to slide 2, 3, 4 tubes into each other.
The male tube has a groove in it, the female tube has a tip punched into it. Slide the tip into the groove and turn it a quarter turn at the end. The tip then locks into the groove.
This prevents the tubes from sliding apart when they are in the fabric. The wind moves the pergola canopy and this could cause the tubes to slide apart.
Step 3: Now we start measuring!
When installing the cables, it is important that they are positioned exactly at the same distance as the eyelets in the shades. If the distance between the cables is not correct, the pergola canopy will start to wrinkle while opening and closing or you won't be able to open and close it at all! Take your time with this, it really needs to be right. Most manufacturers indicate what the distance between the cables should be, but I know from experience that it is better to measure it. Your retractable canopy is made by people and people make mistakes. The stiff HDPE fabric of the retractable canopy is also not very helpful, so the eyelets are not always exactly in the right place.
Measure the following measurements:
- the distance between the eyelets
- the length between the edge of the pergola canopy and the first eye
Make sure there is at least 5cm between the retractable canopy and the beam of the pergola on both sides. Left and right do not necessarily have to be equal, depending on how you want to position the pergola canopy.
Step 4: Choose to which side your retractable canopy should slide open
You can mount the pergola canopy left or right, that is, you have to choose the side where the retractable canopy will hang once folded up.
There are 2 different mounting brackets in the kit. With or without a tensioner.
On the side where the pergola canopy is to be folded, place the bracket WITHOUT tensioner. With tensioner on the other side.
The bracket WITH tensioner must be mounted with the gearwheel upwards.
Step 5: Install the attachment brackets of the pergola canopy
Draw lines at the distances you have measured out on the post of the pergola.
Place the brace with the centre exactly on the line, the screws come on the left and right of the line.
Make sure you place the bracket as low as possible on the post, later the pulleys will be above it.
Use good 5x60mm screws. (It is better to throw away the screws provided), see: When buying a pergola canopy from Vinuovo, do you have all the parts you need?
For a pergola made of hardwood, you need to pre-drill a hole of Ø3mm, 50mm deep. This is not necessary for a softwood pergola; you can screw in the screw directly.
Step 6: Mounting the pergola canopy itself
The mounting brackets are attached. Lay the pergola canopy on the ground.
- Take the cables. At the start of the cable there are 2 nuts on a threaded end. Remove the nut on the side of the cable and put aside (don't lose it ;-))
- Hook the cables into the mounting bracket without tensioners
- Pull the cables through the first row of eyelets of the pergola canopy and slide the canopy against the tensioners on the studs.
- Slide the nuts you laid separately over the cables and screw them onto the studs
- The retractable canopy is now attached to your pergola on 1 side
- Now pull the cables through all the other folds of the pergola canopy and slide the whole thing against the beam of the pergola (be careful not to forget 1 fold, then you can start all over again! yes, once more, I speak from experience ;-))
- When tensioning the cables, it is better if the canopy does not hang on the cables. You can secure the canopy against the beam of the pergola with a glue clamp or slap a tensioning strap around it and tighten it well.
Step 7: Tension the cables of the retractable canopy
- Insert the steel cable through the 1st hole of the tensioner
- Then through the hole in the shaft of the tensioner itself
- And then you have to push a bit so that it comes out on the right side
- Tighten the cable by hand as tight as possible
- Put a socket spanner size 10 on the bolt above the sprocket and tighten the tensioner as tight as possible. The cable should be really tight, being careful not to pull your pergola apart.
- Tension all cables in this way
The excess of cable can be cut off. If you want to take the pergola canopy down in winter, leave some extra cable so that you can easily insert it again the following season for tensioning.
Step 8: Mounting the pulleys and the rope of the pergola canopy
When assembling the pulleys and the rope, you really need to pay close attention to the drawings in the manual. The rope must pass through the pulleys in exactly the right way, otherwise it will not function.
First determine where you want the rope to come down for operation. This is anyway on the side where the pergola canopy is folded, but you can then choose from left or right.
If you follow the instructions, the rope usually comes out on the right . (right when standing under the pergola). If you want the rope on the left, mount the pulleys in mirror image.
Simply follow the assembly instructions for the pergola canopy.
Does your pergola have posts of 9x9cm?
Then there is too little space to mount the pulley above the mounting bracket as you can see on the picture. Above all, do NOT put the pulley next to it, it will not function. Always make sure the rope runs exactly above the steel cables.
I always put the pulley in the bench vice for a while to bend the angle flat. Be careful which side you bend flat! (This also depends on the rope going down left or right).
The lip then sits on top of the beam of the pergola, which is fine!
Don't you have a bench vice? Then tell us whether you want the rope on the left or right side, and we will bend the right side flat before sending your pergola canopy.
Step 9: Grease steel cables with Vaseline
Nobody tells you this, but you really have to do it!
Take a cloth and a jar of (cheap) acid-free Vaseline and grease the steel cables. Repeat this 2 to 3 times in the first few weeks, the pergola canopy will slide over the cables nice and easy.
Do this 2 to 3 times a year or when the pergola canopy starts to slip a little. If you don't do this, the cable will wear out in the eyes, in the worst case the cable will fray and then you're screwed. The retractable canopy no longer slides and you pull the cable further apart.
Done ! Your pergola canopy is installed!
The Vinuovo team wishes you a nice and sunny season, enjoy!