How to Take Care of Your Pergola
There are many reasons why you need a backyard pergola. You may have decided to install a pergola because they are function, beautiful, and elegant. They can be used as a space for entertaining or to accent a walkway or garden entrance. Pergolas provide shade and add an architectural element to your landscaping that is classic and will never go out of style. Pergolas are also an investment into your home value, and you need to know how to maintain them to ensure they last properly.
Sealing and Treating the Wood
The most common and stylish pergolas are made from solid hard or softwoods. You must treat and seal the wood to protect it from weather damage and rot. Sealing usually needs to happen every two years and will also help to preserve the color against fading.
If you stain your pergola, make sure to use an oil-based stain and clean the wood thoroughly before applying the stain. You will also want to make sure the wood has been planed and sanded before you begin the sealing and staining process. You can also paint your pergola if you want a bold color statement, make sure to choose a heat resistant outdoor paint. Staining, sealing, painting, or staining your pergola will significantly increase its lifetime.
Cleaning the Pergola
You will want to hose your pergola off every so often, especially after mowing the grass if the pergola is in your yard. You can use a pressure washer to clean your pergola and blast away the dirt and grime.
One thing you must be wary of is mildew. If mildew begins growing on your pergola, it will start to look dark and dirty with back and brown spots. Fungus is also an allergen and is not good for humans to breathe in. A water and bleach solution can be used to scrub away mildew. Once the stains lighten, you can use soapy water to clean the pergola.
Fasteners and Hardware
The metal pieces of your pergola can rust over time or cause staining to the wood of the pergola. Staining around the metal pieces is an indication that the hardware needs to be replaced. Only use stainless steel or aluminum fasteners to reduce staining and are more durable.
You should also check the hardware a few times a year to make sure nothing is loose. You would hate to be sitting underneath the pergola or entertaining guests if the curtains suddenly fell or a rafter swung loose. Your hardware needs to be in working order not only for aesthetic appeal but the safety of people too.
Many people like to plant creeping plants whose vines will grow and wind their way up the columns of the pergola and spread across the top to create a natural ceiling. This is a great way to have a shady spot in the yard, but you must remember that vines can become thick and heavy. You should take care to trim vines a few times a year so that the job doesn’t become overwhelming when you finally get around to it. Most pergolas can hold a great deal of weight, but your pergola will also be difficult to clean when completely covered in thick vines.
Pergolas are one of your best options for outdoor structures that are versatile and great for entertaining, but you need to make sure you are prepared for the maintenance required to keep these architectural beauties in great working order.
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