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How to Clean and Maintain a Pergola

how to clean and maintain a pergola
From structure to shade, from utility to oomph factor, a pergola is a golden way to add beauty and character to your garden. While some pergolas may be more decorative than functional, they make your outdoor room cozy and inviting.

However, like the flowering buds in your garden, your pergola too needs upkeep and maintenance. If you clean and maintain a pergola, it will give you years of shade and comfort.

Most pergolas are open structures that come with retractable canopies, some of them have pretty climbing vines overtop. These multifunctional structures can even serve as a roof for your walkway or porch.

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Pergola Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

When you clean and maintain a pergola, you not just take care of its outwardly appearance but also increase its lifespan. It is therefore prudent to know how to care for your pergola especially since they can be made from different materials like wood, vinyl, metal and even plastic.

How to Clean a Pergola

It is prudent that you regularly hose your pergola. Use a high pressure water hose that will help eliminate dirt and grime easily. The high pressure will easily dislodge any dirt that may be clinging to the surface. The pressure of the hose can be easily adjusted depending on the material that your pergola is made of.

Remove all furniture lying around your pergola before you start hosing it down. Begin hosing in a downward direction – just like you wash a car or anything pretty much – start at the top and work down.

Detergents and Cleansers for Pergolas

If you are unsure about what detergent or cleanser you should use to clean your pergola, simply buy a pergola cleaning kit. The kit will contain everything from a cleanser to brushes of different sizes.

Use a cleanser that can be applied using a brush with bristles that are tough enough to get the grime off! You may also use an old toothbrush to get stubborn stains off. If you spot splinters of wood or paint that seem to be peeling off, gently remove them.

If your pergola is made of metal or vinyl, first use a bristle brush to remove all the rust that may be clinging to the surface. Most vinyl material will react well to regular cleansers, and hence you will not need to invest in an expensive can.

pergola cleaning and maintenance tips

How to Remove Stains and Mildew from Your Pergola

Mildew, mold, and stains can make your pergola look old and unkempt. Certain fasteners used on the pergola could also contribute to the staining. If your pergola has corrosive fasteners, they will leave black or brown spots on your wood. Regular clean ups will ensure that these stains are tackled and your pergola looks elegant all through the year.

To remove stains and mildew, mix a cup of vinegar, oxygen bleach with a gallon of plain water and apply it on the stains soon after hosing down your pergola. Leave it on for a few minutes and use a brush to gently rub the stains off. Once you see the stains begin to lighten, apply some soap and wash off the solution using a hose.

Taking Care of Cuts and Dings on Your Pergola

Soon after rinsing your pergola clean, look out for cuts and dings. Apply wood or metal putty to refinish the area. You can also use a touch up kit to repaint the damaged areas.

Most vinyl pergolas come with repair kits that are designed to help you take care of minor damages. These DIY kits have detailed instructions that are easy to follow!

If you find stains forming due to the fasteners on your pergola, replace them right away. Pick stainless steel or aluminum fasteners that do not react with the material of your pergola.

These fasteners are slightly more expensive than their cheaper counterparts, but will keep stains at bay. This will keep your pergola clean and nice. It also will lessen the burden of maintenance.

As a part of regular maintenance, make sure you tighten all the fasteners. Do not put away any repairs and replace damaged parts immediately. This will ensure your pergola remains fresh and clean for years to come.

prevent heat damage on pergola

How to Prevent Heat Damage on Your Pergola

If you live in a place that has relentlessly hot weather, the heat can take a toll on your pergolas too. The best way to remedy this is to repaint your pergola with a heat resistant paint that will not just enhance the beauty and uniformity of the structure but also prolong its life span.

Keeping Mother Nature in Check

Creepers accentuate your pergola and a touch of green does wonders to the ambience, making it livelier. However, when these vines grow and thicken, they add to the weight on your pergola.

While most pergolas are designed to tolerate weight, it is advisable that you keep trimming them once in 3 to 4 months. This will help keep the frame sturdy and keep your vines look groomed and glorious.

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About the Author

Greg Bailey is a partner at Outdoor Living Manufacturing Ltd, a value added forest company specializing in do-it-yourself western red cedar kits. He has been in the forest industry for over 30 years and an owner at OLM for over 10 years.

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