An outdoor pergola is an open structure that can be used for shade and can come with retractable canopies or climbing vines overtop. It can serve as a roof for the walkway or for the porch. When you maintain an outdoor pergola, what you really do is not only take care of its appearance but increase its lifespan. Knowing how to care for it is important especially since pergolas can be made from many different materials such as wood, plastic, vinyl and metal. Hose it Down Irrespective of what the pergola is made of, it is always prudent to hose it down. It is advisable to use a high-pressure water hose to eliminate any dirt that may be clinging on the surface. The pressure of the hose can be adjusted depending on the type of material used in the pergola. Always begin hosing in a downward direction. Make sure there is no furniture or other items lying around during the process to avoid damage. Clean It Purchase a proper cleanser for your outdoor pergola that can be applied with the help of a brush with bristles that are tough enough to clean the area properly. You can also use a tooth brush for stubborn areas of the pergola that cannot be targeted with a bristle brush. Always take care to remove any splinters of wood or paint that may appear to be peeling off. For a metal pergola you may want to use a bristle brush to clear away all the rust clinging to the surface. If your pergola is made from vinyl, you could do well to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the cleanser. Most vinyl material will also react well to cleaning by a detergent. Removing Mildews and Stains Mildew is something you cannot afford to ignore unless you want to risk spoiling the appearance of your pergola. Fasteners used on the pergola could also cause staining. If the pergola has corrosive fasteners they could leave black or dark brown spots on the wood. To remove mildew, mix a cup of oxygen bleach with a gallon on water and apply it after washing your pergola thoroughly. Once you see the stains lighten, wash it again with soapy water followed by rinsing. Rinse the Pergola Once the cleanser has been properly applied and cleared of all the dirt or debris, then rinse the wash water with a hose. Carefully study your pergola if any of the areas need special attention. One could repeat the exercise if necessary. Touch Up Damages A touch up kit or a repair kit makes it easy to work on areas that are damaged. You can apply wood or metal putty wherever there are cuts or dings and then refinish that area. The touch-up kit is also ideal for repainting the damaged areas. Several vinyl pergolas come with repair kits specially designed to take care of damages. Sealing and Staining If your pergola is made from cedar, with time, its color will change from light reddish to silvery gray. This is because cedar weathers with age. If you wish to preserve the original color then a sealant used for hard woods could come in handy. Clean the pergola well before applying any wood stain and sealant. Spray the pergola with a translucent oil-based wood stain suitable for cedar. Allow the stain to dry before applying a sealant. A coat of wood stain every alternate year will help boost its appearance. Repairs If you notice stains forming due to the fasteners, it is advisable to replace them immediately. Always use stainless steel or aluminum fasteners that do not react with the material of the pergola. These fasteners are a tad expensive but are guaranteed to give your pergola a nice, clean look. This will also reduce staining and lessen the burden of maintenance. Care must be taken to tighten up any loose fasteners. Any repairs to damaged parts must be undertaken as soon as possible to ensure uniformity in beauty of the entire pergola. Painting Some places have long summers marked by relentlessly hot weather, which can wreak havoc on outdoor furniture including pergolas. Dry heat can take a toll on wood pergolas. One of the best remedies is a quality heat resistant paint. Repainting it with a salient and fantastic heat-resistant paint will not only enhance its beauty but also prolong the life of your pergola. Trim the Vines Most people grow creepers along their pergolas. A touch of greenery undoubtedly makes the ambience livelier. However, it is important to remember that vines thicken and add to the weight on the pergola. Although most pergolas can tolerate weights, it is wise to keep trimming the vines couple of times every year. This will reduce the burden on the frame while the vines will take no time in regaining their lost glory.