See some frequently asked questions our customers ask us all the time before they get their pergola, carport or shade structure designed & built. Have more questions, please contact us anytime.


What is the pergola made of?

Our pergolas and utilise a galvanised steel framework. This framework is fabricated from Australian standard galvanised steel and then powder coated to your choice of colour. We can offer the entire colorbond colour range as well as dozens of other colours in the Dulux powder coat range. All connections, base plates and welds are given an additional zinc-epoxy primer prior to the final powder coat finish to ensure protection against corrosion. The highest level of protection is a Hot Dip Galvanising of the steel, which is available upon request if you live in a corrosive environment.

What is the pergola roofing made of?

The most common pergola roofing material used for a Pioneer Shade Structure is a waterproof and weatherproof Architectural PVC fabric. This is a material that includes a 10-year warranty on both the material and workmanship. Pioneer can also utilise other materials to cover our structures upon request.

How long will the PVC roofing last?

We only use a quality Architectural PVC that has a warranty for 10 years as standard. The fabric of choice is ‘Valmex FR580’ which is supplied by Shann, which is a highly reputable supplier worldwide.

We would prefer Colorbond or Polycarbonate roofing. Is this possible?

Yes. Some minor design changes may be necessary to allow us to properly secure the roofing sheets, and the cost of this is comparable to the PVC. Examples can be seen in our photo galleries.

How does it all fix together?

The bulk of the work is done during the manufacture stage, so it fits together quite quickly on site with bolts and screws. To maximise efficiency on site prefabricated brackets are used to secure the structure together. This also greatly reduces any mess created and the necessary cleanup.

How does PVC roofing material attach?

Two options are available. We primarily use an aluminium ‘rope tracking’, which grips the covering PVC and allows excellent tension around the perimeter of the pergola framework, and results in a tidy, flush finish around the edges. In some instances however, eyelets and awning cord is a more practical method. We would discuss this with you to ensure you are happy with the method being employed.

How does a Pioneer Shade Structure handle high winds? How is it secured into the ground?

Our pergola and carport designs are built within set engineering specifications. High winds are not a concern because we strictly adhere to the maximum spans and designated connection details. The posts are held down either with footings that are dug out and concreted (700mm depth and 100kg concrete as a minimum) or with a welded base plate and bolts. We engage a structural engineer to ensure the structural integrity of our products.

What are the maximum spans?

Based on our standard steel sizes and connections, up to 8m between posts can be achieved if there are secure fixings on both sides of structure (i.e., posts or a building). Otherwise, a span of 4m is comfortably achievable if cantilevered. This is general and may vary according to site conditions. Further, we can increase these spans by increasing the size of the steel members etc.

How high or low can it be?

Whatever the client wants we can make to suit. Pioneer shade Structures are fully customised to best suit your home and your needs so let us know what you want.

What are the options for the structural truss design?

Something is required for structural support but the design can really be whatever you like. The most common is a simple and lightweight vertical bar effect, which is minimal and works nicely with almost any area. Some alternatives are a single heavier (but narrower) beam or a circular design. Examples can be seen in our photo galleries. Do you have something specific in mind? Let us know and we can accommodate.

What are the post options?

Depending what would be more suitable for your property, we can provide either square or round posts for your pergola. Various sizes are available

Can my pergola have guttering and downpipes?

Yes however guttering is not a standard feature supplied on every structure. It can be included in any design at your discretion, but is often not opted for.

Can you design a pergola with a sloping or gable roof?

Gable and flat roof pergolas are often suited to older style homes. At Pioneer Shade we take pride in provided a modern approach to pergola design for modern homes, and so we tend to avoid gabled roof pergolas. We highly recommend an arched design as it creates a sense of space and comfort.

What is involved in the installation?

The installation is generally a fast and streamlined process. Most of the work is already pre-done in the fabrication and manufacturing stage, so once arriving on site it is simply a matter of fixing together the powder coated steel frame. The installers will arrive with a ute and tool trailer, and all work is done from ladders with hand tools.

Who will I deal with throughout the process?

Your primary point of contact will be the person who you initially meet for the quote. They will be able to take your calls at any time and will also keep you informed about the progress of the pergola. You will also be able to speak directly with the installers if you choose to.

Who will install my pergola?

Pioneer Shade has several teams of highly trained installers on staff. We do not use subcontractors or casual workers. They will meet with you on site the morning of the installation, and re- confirm with you the exact position of the structure, where it will align, the heights, and any other vital details, and then install the structure as per the approved plan.

How long will the process take?

From the payment of deposit to final completion the process should take about 4 weeks, which allows approx 1 week for the planning/drafting stage, then 3 weeks for manufacture. This does not take into account any council approval processes that may be required. Council approvals can take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks.

How long will my pergola take to install?

Each job varies of course, but the installation if a residential structure will typically take a maximum of two days but often can be completed in one. Larger projects will naturally take longer.

What can I expect to pay for a Pioneer Shade Structure?

Every shade structure that we install is different because every home is different, so it is difficult to give a firm estimate without first visiting the site. The cost is based primarily on the size of the structure, but the complexity of the design and the difficulty of the install are contributing factors. Further, there are several nonstandard additions which may or not be chosen on any given project, such as hot dip galvanising, guttering, screening or anything else that a custom designed structure might include. In general Pioneer Shade Structures are priced in the mid-level range, but the best way to get an indication is to call us and briefly describe the area that you want to cover.

Is Pioneer Shade Structures licensed and insured?

Yes, we are fully licensed and insured. Our license number is 268641C, and we hold current NSW Workers Compensation and Australia Wide Public Liability policies.

What do I have to do after my pergola is installed?

General cleaning is all that is required, as with anything that you own. The PVC roofing does not build up leaves or dirt due to the lack of grooves and ridges, so the rain tends to wash it all down by itself, however to keep your pergola looking its best, we suggest a quick clean every few months to prevent dust and cobwebs from accumulating. If you live in a corrosive environment you will need to clean it more frequently.

Does my pergola or carport require council approval?

Council requirements vary from area to area and it depends on several factors. Your design consultant can advise you based on a site inspection and some knowledge of your needs.

Can I have a written structural engineer’s certificate for my pergola?

Yes however a fee will apply.

Where is Pioneer Shade Structures located?

All manufacturing is done at our premises located in Smithfield NSW. We service Sydney and surround regions.