How do you maintain a wood pergola?

Wood pergola

How long will a wood pergola last?

A pergola is a minimal, but sturdy structure of four beams to frame a square, crossbeams and lattice creating an open top, leaving it with a look for being unfinished. Some have a covering over the top beams, most are left open.  This is a place to sit and relax quietly or entertain guests. Routine pergola maintenance is necessary to keep the structure safe, sturdy, and enticing. 

The maintenance of pergola is basic and easy, and if you skip the routine for a short time, it isn’t likely to cause a major expense, like forgetting to change your HVAC filter for six months. Because they are typically made of wood, pergola no maintenance isn’t possible. If you have a pergola made of other materials, like metal or plastic, a pergola maintenance free doesn’t exist if you want it to look appealing, safe, and sturdy. 

A pergola is a piece of your home’s outdoor décor, adding a special appeal to your home as an outdoor extension. Because they are outside all of the time, they are exposed to the elements and UV rays, all of which can shorten the life of a pergola if routine pergola maintenance isn’t performed. 

Most pergolas are made of wood and offer a lifespan from five years and as long as twelve years or more, if pergola maintenance is done. A wooden pergolas gives the landscape a rustic charm, but because it will require a steady routine of pergola maintenance, it may not be the ideal structure for many.  

The pergola maintenance is keep mold and rot at a minimal, which requires re-staining it periodically. You can choose to have built with low maintenance pergola materials to avoid this issue like either of these:

  • A Metal Pergola: A metal pergola has a typical lifespan maximum of five years and are less expensive than a wood pergola. They aren’t made as sturdy and because they are metal, they tend to rust, adding to the lack of sturdiness. Any pergola maintenance here would be by personal choice of keeping it painted to minimize the possibility of rusting. 
  • A Vinyl Pergola: A vinyl pergola is the most popular, offering a lifetime of enjoyment. A vinyl pergola is practical and stylish. There isn’t any require pergola maintenance with a vinyl one because it is impervious to the weather. You can simply use a water hose to clean it off if needed. 

Should I paint or stain my pergola?

If you choose to build a wood pergola, you  can paint or stain the unit. If you paint, it will need to be refreshed once year, typically during early spring, creating more pergola maintenance.  If you stain your pergola, it is recommended to do that before  constructing the pergola.  

Staining will seal the wood and doesn’t require you to apply both a stain and a seal.  Stain soaks into new wood, and with two to three coats, your pergola will be protected and sealed. Applying anything, a sealant or paint over the stain will simply give it a tacky surface. 

How do you waterproof a pergola?

Obviously, a pergola covered with open lattice isn’t going to be waterproof, so to enjoy your pergola on a rainy days, you need a cover that will keep you and your pergola dry. 

  • A Fabric Top: There choices of waterproof fabric are endless and when secured with metal grommets, will give your pergola a stylish look but make it easy to remove for winter’s ice and snow. 
  • A Waterproof Cover: If you don’t want pergola maintenance of removing the cover before winter ice and snow arrives, there is the choice of a metal top which will withstand those elements without any problem. However, there will be some pergola maintenance required with painting the cover annually to keep it looking good, unless rust is the look you’re going for, which is acceptable for the outdoors. 
  • A Shade Sail: A shade sail is affordable and convenient way to shade your pergola with style. Sail shades can be stretched over the pergola, a deck, even between trees or across your pool. With various sizes as small as 6 foot by 6 foot and as large as 24 foot by 24 foot, you could entertain covering your entire backyard! 
pergola with a wood bar

How do you clean a pergola?

Regardless which material you choose for your pergola, wood, metal, or vinyl, you’re going to want to keep it looking good, so some pergola maintenance, like cleaning is needed periodically. 

A general cleaning is all you’ll need and that can be done with a general purpose cleaner, warm water, and a soft brush. 

You simply need enough to clean away any debris and dirt that has collected over the seasons. This also provide the opportunity to inspect your pergola and make any notes for repairs needed, typically for a wooden pergola. Look for any cracks developing and use the same stain to touch it up to keep your pergola looking good. .

A pergola will give any size backyard a touch of style and will provide your family and guest hours and years of entertainment. Create an outdoor kitchen under your pergola or a place to sit and relax, the choices are many and they’re all yours to decide!  

Can a pergola have a solid roof?

Typically, the intention of a pergola is to be open to the outdoors. They are usually an open frame of rafters above, but as we mentioned earlier, there are covers that you can install if you choose to cover the roof.  Using one of the fabric options is a preferred way because it leaves the pergola open to the sky and outdoor beauty. Adding a solid roof makes a pergola a shack of sorts. Call (817) 506-7722 today for pergola restoration in Fort Worth and Arlington, TX.