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How to Maintain a Pergola

How to Maintain a Pergola

Exterior renovationsHow to Maintain a Pergola

A pergola is a great alternative to a traditional patio umbrella. Not only does this sunshade provide a more aesthetic appeal compared to the latter, but it also offers a wide range of options in terms of materials and sizes. On top of that, it doubles as a permanent patio lounge area, while still shielding you from the elements. Despite being exposed to Canada's harsh East Coast climate and other elements, preserving its condition for many years to come requires meticulous care and maintenance.

Pergola Care & Maintenance Tips

Source: Canva

It’s recommended to clean and inspect your pergola twice a year to assess its overall condition. First prior to using it, around mid-spring, and then a second time during fall, when it’s plagued by dead leaves and other debris. Naturally, in the event of damage or mishap, or if your yard is prone to grime, pollen, or efflorescence, rinse it with clean water from time to time to remove any residue.

Routine maintenance and inspections will help materials last for many years to come, and allow you to carry out any necessary repairs before the problem worsens. Follow the guidelines set out below to adapt your maintenance methods according to the pergola's structural material.

Avoid at all times:

  • High-pressure washes;

  • Thinners and solvents (acetone, bleach, etc.);

  • Abrasive cleaners.

Cleaning an Aluminum or PVC Pergola

These two materials are pretty simple to maintain. Their sturdy structures were basically designed to withstand bad weather, sun exposure, frost, and snow build-up.

Use soapy water to wipe the entire structure with a soft, non-abrasive sponge. Use dishwashing liquid or Marseille soap for a thorough cleaning. If stains linger, use white vinegar to scrub them off. Rinse with clean, lukewarm water at medium jet pressure, then dry immediately with a soft cloth, microfibre wipe, or clean rag.

If you own a motorized louvered aluminum pergola, use the above-mentioned cleaning techniques. However, do bear in mind that the pergola’s other components—blinds, blades, and mechanisms—should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


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Caring for a wrought iron pergola

Source: Canva

When it comes to this type of pergola, the main concern is humidity. Therefore, to prevent rust from eating away at the metal, you need to apply an effective anti-corrosion agent. For proper maintenance, first, scrape off any traces of oxidation prior to applying the rust prevention product. Top it off with a varnish or paint specially formulated for outdoor wrought iron.

Preserving a top-notch wooden pergola

Wood is the most high-maintenance structural material. Albeit most lumber is already treated against pests, mould, and fungi, pergolas made with such material are vulnerable to wear, fade, and grooves.

These are some of the most widely used and hard-wearing wood species:

  • Bamboo

  • Oak

  • Cedar

  • Treated pine

  • Teak

Step number 1 consists of inspecting your structure to spot any anomalies, imperfections, breaks, cracks, etc. To determine whether there's evidence of rot or not, push the tip of a small tool such as a screwdriver into the wood. If the latter is easily driven as if the wood was rendered soft, look no further. If this issue seems to be affecting a greater part of a board, consider replacing it altogether. Should luck be on your side and only a few minor areas are affected, these can be repaired with wood putty. Leave it overnight before sanding and continuing maintenance.

Then, check the sturdiness of your pergola by gently shaking the structure. Tighten screws and fixings as you see fit.

Now comes step 3, meaning the cleaning stage. Begin by removing all dust and residue by scrubbing it with a wire brush or floor scrubber. Peel off any pieces that appear to be breaking away from the boards and gently sand the surface. Then, clean it with black soap. Regular wood deck cleaners also do the trick. As above-mentioned, avoid high-pressure jets when rinsing off a wooden pergola. 

Allow it to fully dry prior to applying any of the following finishing products:

  1. Outdoor wood treatment to apply every 3 years: This product prevents fungi growth, and protects against moisture and harsh weather.

  2. Yearly insect-repellent treatment: Not mandatory, yet highly recommended for added protection, especially in rural areas.

  3. Waterproofing sealer when needed: It preserves the wood's natural colour or any heat-resistant wood paint and varnish that may have been applied.

How to Maintain Pergola Accessories

Source: Canva

Motor

Unplug it and store it somewhere away from the cold and humidity, together with the cables, batteries, and remote control. 

Screws

Stainless steel hardware is rather low maintenance. However, if it’s metal-based, make sure that rust isn’t eating away at your screws, and apply a preventative product (e.g. Corrostop paint).

Sliding glass panels and tracks

Here, the same principle applies as with normal home window cleaning! However, you should do this from time to time, especially to prevent the tracks from jamming with gravel or anything else that could cause the mechanism to strain and wear.

Gutters

Remember to take a look at the gutters from time to time to ensure they're not clogged. If they appear clogged, clear and clean the rainwater drainage holes.

Shade fabric

If your pergola is fitted with a PVC or fabric shade, note that it’s pretty resilient, and thus can be cleaned just as you would the rest of the structure, meaning with water and soft soap. Use a sturdy ladder and a broom or a long-handled brush. Allow it to dry properly to prevent mould stains. 

Blades

To clean the blades, flatten them out and use a pressure washer to remove dirt stains. You can also lubricate the joints to maintain their smooth motions all summer long. Last but not least, besides the odd spot checks for breaks, open the blades after every rainfall to avoid water build-up. Also, note that once you've used it for the last time, you should lock the blades in a vertical position to prevent snow from damaging them. 

Get 3 renovation quotes for your pergola-related maintenance project

RenoQuotes.com can help you get quotes for your pergola-related maintenance project. If you submit your project, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes) and receive quotes from companies that are specialized in home renovations.

Dial 1-844 828-1588 to speak with one of our customer service representatives.

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Last modified 2023-12-05

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