Choosing Decorative Metal Brackets for Wood Beams: Weather Resistant Pergola Hardware Ideas
The pergola is the crowning feature of many backyard gardens. It gives your yard presence and a naturally beautiful area to relax and socialize in. On a summer day, it may even be your favorite thing about your home.
Recently, while at a regular client’s house doing some deck work, I noticed that the connectors and ties on his pergola were stainless steel. The hardware looked unsightly, standing out like a sore thumb compared to his wood deck accented in black iron. He had been worried about using weak decorative ties on his pergola and didn’t want to use hardware that would look nice for a season or two, but then need replacing once the bad weather rolled around. I gave him a pat on the back before mentioning, “You really ought to give me a call before a big project like this, buddy. It’s what I’m here for.”
See, there are indeed decorative black iron connectors and ties that are strong, durable, weather-resistant—and would have tied in perfectly with his deck, no pun intended. In fact, there’s a wide selection of decorative hardware that you can use to build a beautiful pergola designed to stand up to the elements, year round. You just have to know what you’re looking for when you go searching for decorative metal brackets for wood beams to compliment your favorite outdoor space, your pergola.
Decorative—and Durable—Metal Brackets for Wood Beams
Wrought iron, a highly sought after look for outdoor structures, tends to be high maintenance, so many homeowners may avoid it when building their pergola. Decorative pergola hardware, though, offers the look of wrought iron but the durability of steel. Basically, they’re your conventional galvanized steel connectors and ties with the addition of a black powder paint coating, giving the product the classic look of wrought iron with none of the headaches of trying to make them weather resistant.
Some contractors and DIYers may be concerned that decorative connectors and ties aren’t as strong as more functionally-focused options, but that’s typically not the case. If you use the right hardware for the right job, you should have nothing to worry about. And, these parts are qualified to be used with ACQ treated lumber. Good decorative hardware really does combine form and function. Decorative hardware options include:
- Truss ties
- Truss fans
- Flush joist hangers
- Notched post to beam kits
- Rafter clips
- Specially designed timber screws
Of course, not all manufacturers make decorative products on the same level of quality. Some focus on products with strength in mind, while other companies attract through innovation. Sometimes you get lucky and find one that does both.
Innovative Ideas for Pergola Hardware
In my line of work, I’m always on the hunt for new products that make my job easier, anything that removes a hassle or shortens the time it takes to do a task. But, I avoid novelty products and cheap gimmicks—the quality of my handiwork and the products I offer my clients still come first. Some examples of innovative, decorative, and durable pergola hardware products are:
- Adjustable length timber bolts: When you’re bolting up two pieces of lumber with a tie, you have to make sure you use the right length of bolt. If it’s too short, it’s not going to hold. If it’s too long, you’ll have a sharp edge sticking out—and the work will look sloppy. This specially designed bolt and nut system, though, takes just seconds to install, no messing around with measuring, cutting, or fetching different sized bolts. Essentially, it utilizes a threaded union to connect two bolts on both sides of the joint, topping them off with decorative endcaps for a little flare.
- Adjustable post to beam kits: When you’re setting up a beam to bolt up to a post, your choices are either to try to hold it yourself, or get someone to help. This can slow down your work and is often a safety concern. Adjustable post to beam kits solve this dilemma. The kits come in a few pieces, including what’s called the lower lip which bolts up to the post, giving you a ledge to set the beam on and confirm measurements for your drill points. Then the face interlocks nice and easy. Not to mention the hardware included with these kits is designed to not split the wood, so you don’t have to worry about pre-drilling.
- Specially designed timber screws: This may be one of the handiest items on my list. There are specially designed timber screws on the market that don’t require pre-drilling. They have a built-in washer, thin shank, aggressive threads, and a polymer coating which all adds up to a screw that will not split your wood. Companies that make specialty screws and hardware tend to keep a standard hex-head size across their products as well so, if you find a screw you like working with, try out their other products. You’ll be able to work faster without having to change out driver attachments. And, as a major bonus, polymer coated, non-galvanized screws are extremely strong and the polymer coating reduces friction to allow for easier driving.
Manufacturing Differences for Decorative Pergola Hardware
Not all products are created with the same focus on craftsmanship and details. If you’re a stickler like me, you keep an eye out for the small things that companies do to show their commitment to quality. Here are some key signs you’re buying from a quality-oriented company offering products that are stronger and will last longer:
- They use thicker gauges of metal: Companies that care about quality use thicker gauges of metal, as heavy as 3/16” or 5mm.
- They cut before they galvanize: Many companies tend to use pre-galvanized steel and then cut it and form it. This means that the edge that has been cut will not have any zinc to protect it, possibly reducing the life of your product.
- They offer high-quality powder coating: There are different qualities of powder-coating on the market—and different formulas used for specific situations, anything from sturdy all-purpose formulas to formulas made to specifically withstand UV radiation from the sun. A quality company uses the right coating for the right hardware.
I told my client all about his options for decorative hardware to replace the unsightly stainless steel he had originally installed. A few weeks later, he sent me an email with pictures of his pergola featuring OZCO hardware and connectors he chose to replace the original stainless ties. He looked quite impressed with the outcome and, honestly, I was too. He loves the products and is really thankful that I referred him over to my go-to company, OZCO.
Any company can just throw some black paint on a tie and call it decorative. That’s not what OZCO does. A truly quality product is one that gives the customer the look they want, while addressing their durability needs and solving common DIY installation problems before they arise. That’s why I choose OZCO every time. They’ve clearly put a lot into designing beautiful, top-of-the-line products that make any job easier to do.
So if you want the best hardware on the market—and the best looking pergola in town—call OZCO at (469) 916-7503 and pick up some new decorative pergola hardware and kick the sunny season off under a beautiful wooden canopy.