Pergola choices... please HELP

Thanks for looking at my post. I have a concrete slab patio I'm wanting to put a pergola/arbor/trellis (terminology seems interchangeable) over. The slab is about 16x30 and I'm thinking of covering 16x24 of it. I've had 3 quotes and they're all quoting roughly $5000. This is in Houston. Anyway, I have some questions that I'm stuck on and that I'm getting conflicting answers from each contractor. 1. Two of them say pressure-treated wood is okay; that arsenic is no longer a problem since they use copper-chromate or something now. The wood is smoother and you don't have to worry about splinters. The other guy says cedar is the better way to go. It naturally resists rot and insects. He says treated pine you will have to keep treating every year or it won't be any good. My dilemma is that treated pine is cheaper but I don't want 20 years down the line they find out copper-chromate causes brain tumors. I also don't want the hassle of yearly treatments on the wood. 2. Two of them want to put ledger boards on my house and then hang the rafters off them. Part of that ledger board will be on my roof. Aesthetically that will look better since the only posts will be on the outside of the patio and not right up close to my house. The other guy says that it is not structurally sound enough. The roof is construted to hold up the soffit, the gutters, and not much else. He says to put up a large wood structure that has the wind swaying it will put undue pressure on the roof. He wants to put up posts near my house if it doesn't block a window view. I like the looks of not have double the amount of posts, but I don't want something that will sag my roof. 3. I want to grow vines like Wisteria on my pergola. At the same time I want rain coverage so I was thinking of putting a polycarbonate like Lexan on top to allow light but not rain through. Two of the contracts say the vines will pop the Lexan sheets up. So I have to choose either vines or rain coverage. The other guy says I'm okay to have both.
So thanks for reading through all my problems. I really appreciate it if anyone can offer their opinion. Thanks again.
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Thanks for looking at my post. I have a concrete slab patio I'm wanting to put a pergola/arbor/trellis (terminology seems interchangeable) over. The slab is about 16x30 and I'm thinking of covering 16x24 of it. I've had 3 quotes and they're all quoting roughly $5000. This is in Houston. Anyway, I have some questions that I'm stuck on and that I'm getting conflicting answers from each contractor. 1. Two of them say pressure-treated wood is okay; that arsenic is no longer a problem since they use copper-chromate or something now. The wood is smoother and you don't have to worry about splinters. The other guy says cedar is the better way to go. It naturally resists rot and insects. He says treated pine you will have to keep treating every year or it won't be any good. My dilemma is that treated pine is cheaper but I don't want 20 years down the line they find out copper-chromate causes brain tumors. I also don't want the hassle of yearly treatments on the wood. 2. Two of them want to put ledger boards on my house and then hang the rafters off them. Part of that ledger board will be on my roof. Aesthetically that will look better since the only posts will be on the outside of the patio and not right up close to my house. The other guy says that it is not structurally sound enough. The roof is construted to hold up the soffit, the gutters, and not much else. He says to put up a large wood structure that has the wind swaying it will put undue pressure on the roof. He wants to put up posts near my house if it doesn't block a window view. I like the looks of not have double the amount of posts, but I don't want something that will sag my roof. 3. I want to grow vines like Wisteria on my pergola. At the same time I want rain coverage so I was thinking of putting a polycarbonate like Lexan on top to allow light but not rain through. Two of the contracts say the vines will pop the Lexan sheets up. So I have to choose either vines or rain coverage. The other guy says I'm okay to have both.
So thanks for reading through all my problems. I really appreciate it if anyone can offer their opinion. Thanks again.
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If you're concerned about copper chromate don't use it. Cedar is not impervious to rot and insect damage. It is resistant. That said, it is esthetically more pleasing than pressure-treated wood. In any case, if you want the wood to last, you will have to maintain it, either by using chemicals or replacing rotted wood. There are also composite decking materials that may involve less maintenance and have high resistance to rot/insects.

Why don't you ask your local building inspection department. They'll tell you what the code requires.

The Lexan won't work. Tried that. Vines will grow wherever they can and they will easily pop the Lexan. BTW, what kind of estimate did you get on the Lexan. That's pretty expensive stuff and it's difficult to work with without cracking it. Almost as bad as working with tempered glass.

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Thanks for answering. The Lexan is indeed expensive stuff. I got an average estimate of $2000 for about 350 sq ft or it. That's a lot of dough. Nearly doubles my arbor costs. I think I'm gonna go without it and just do vines. Thanks again.
On 3 May 2004 07:55:52 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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Sounds right if materials included.

The treated changed this year (federal regulations). Regardless, the issue is really how much is in contact with soil, or placed directly on top of concrete. That is where rot and/or termites come in. If a significant amount is in contact with soil I would opt for treated.

I did huge fascia boards with great support. My neighbor tried wimpy ledger boards and mine is still standing. His isn't.

Check with your local garden centers. There is some alternative to the southern Wisteria I have. Mine is gorgeous but in summer I swear it is trying to come in the house and grab the dog overnight. Lots of pruning.

If you want a pergola stick with a pergola. My wisteria is so thick a monsoon would have trouble getting through!
Good luck mine has just finished blooming and is the envy of the neighborhood.
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Thanks for responding. The pergola posts will be entirely on top of my cement patio, so I guess there will be no issues with rot. I was mainly concerned with yearly maintenance and cancer-causing chemicals. What is a fascia board? I'm not familiar with that. As for the wisteria, mine is the Evergreen Wisteria. I'm sure it will take alot of pruning too but my wife is in love with the look. Sounds like you have a great looking one too. Thanks again.
On 1 May 2004 18:58:53 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net (Power Cat) wrote:

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I drilled holes in the cement slab and the bottom of the posts for rod about 3/8" diameter to ensure they wouldn't wander. Also put several coats of Titebond II glue on the bottom of the posts to seal them as Titebond II is weatherproof rated. Pulyurethane glue is waterproof rated as is epoxy.

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In the South where I live, wood placed directly on concrete slab can still attract termites unless it is the treated wood. Don't know if that is an issue in N.Y.

Let's see if I can draw it:
x x x <-roof x xxxxxx <-soffit x <-fascia x x <-wall x x
The beams of my pergola are through-bolted to the fascia and also through-bolted through the soffit (the overhang) all of which are quality lumber. The other end rests on those fat fiberglass columns you can get from Home Depot. Then there are some cross members perpendicular at the columns. This was undisturbed by the 2003 hurricane.
Best wishes.
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