Pergola Maintenance Guide: How To Care For Your Pergola

Pergola Maintenance Guide: How To Care For Your Pergola

Pergola maintenance may be a chore, but it’s a core part of ensuring that your pergola stands the test of time. With the use of proper cleaning methods and regular inspections and repairs, your pergola should live to see many more birthday parties and family dinners. When it comes to maintaining pergolas, it’s important to promptly address issues such as rot, mould or structural damage. Wooden pergolas require more care than aluminium or vinyl pergolas, particularly when it comes to sealing and painting a pergola or carrying out repairs.

With the following pergola maintenance tips, you can extend your pergola’s lifespan and keep it looking pristine for longer, whether you plan to use it for outdoor cooking or relaxing on your garden furniture


Why is pergola maintenance important?


Ensure pergola longevity

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Pergola maintenance should be your number-one priority if you want to make your outdoor living space a long-term, durable feature of your home. With proper maintenance, a high-quality aluminium pergola should last 15 to 20 years. A well-cared-for wooden pergola should last 10 to 15 years.


Maintain its aesthetic appeal

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Pergolas are more than an outdoor living space. They are one of the most aesthetically pleasing patio ideas. They have the potential to transform the design of your home and garden. Regular maintenance prevents your pergola from looking weather-worn or breaking.


Ensure your pergola is safe

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A well-maintained pergola is a safe pergola. When pergolas crack, split or collapse, it is usually because of rot, mould or structural damage caused by rain and wind. Carrying out regular inspections and repairs can prevent this from happening.


Enhance your property’s value 

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Other factors aside, looking after your pergola is good for your finances. A well-maintained, high-quality pergola can make your home more attractive to potential buyers. Outdoor features such as a new patio or outdoor kitchen increase a property’s appeal. 98% of realtors rate this as important to a potential buyer, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2023 Remodelling Impact Report.


How to maintain a pergola


Cleaning your pergola

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Cleaning your pergola will prevent rot and mould growth. Dirt and grime can be wiped away using a soft cloth or brush and warm water mixed with mild dishwashing soap. For stubborn grime, you can employ the help of a gentle garden hose.


Inspecting your pergola for wear and tear

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One easy way to ensure you have a low-maintenance pergola is to identify problems early. This involves regularly inspecting your pergola. Look out for cracks and splinters, no matter how small, as they can quickly spiral into a bigger structural problem. Any loose or rusty screws should be identified and fixed or replaced right away, otherwise, the pergola can eventually collapse.


Seasonal maintenance tasks

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Vines and crawling plants may be great garden shade ideas, but they need to be trimmed after summer because they can weigh down sections of your pergola or hide cracks and rusty screws. Trees or bushes should also be pruned to prevent falling limbs from breaking your pergola. During rainy or snowy seasons, dirt and grime form quickly, so the pergola may need cleaning every few weeks. 


How do you care for a wood pergola?

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When you are carrying out wooden pergola maintenance, avoid using a power washer or scrubbing too hard as these techniques can damage the wood. You also need to inspect a wooden pergola for insect damage and termite tracks.

Wooden pergolas should be coated with a sealant during the first six months, then once or twice a year afterwards. Cedarwood needs a water-repellent stain as well as a sealant, or else the wood can quickly turn grey.


How to maintain an aluminium pergola

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An aluminium pergola, one of the best modern pergola ideas, requires very little maintenance compared to a wooden pergola. Basic cleaning will need to be carried out using mild dish soap and water. You should use a soft cloth or brush because hard bristles will mark the aluminium.


How to repair a pergola

Despite your best efforts, sometimes you might need to repair a pergola. Here’s how to handle some of the most common problems.


What to do when your pergola has rot

Rot is usually caused by water damage. If the rot only affects a small area of the pergola and there’s no structural damage, the affected area can be removed using a chisel and replaced with treated wood secured by screws.

Larger areas will need to be torn down and replaced with new wood. This may require the help of a professional.


What to do when your pergola has mould

Mould can be removed by scrubbing the affected area with a soft brush and bleach solution made up of 10 parts water to one part bleach. 


What to do when your pergola has structural damage

Structural damage can be difficult to resolve if it affects the stability of your pergola. In the latter cases, the part will need to be removed and replaced. 

If you want to wipe off basic scratches or scrapes, you can use metal polish and a microfiber cloth on aluminium pergolas or a solution of one part cooking oil and one part vinegar for wooden pergolas.


Pergola restoration

Before restoring a pergola, you first need to remove any dirt, old paint, mould or stains. The pergola should then be fully checked for damage, including any rusty or loose screws, and repaired.

Once any repairs have been dealt with, the pergola should be cleaned with a hose or cloth. If you are applying stain or paint to a wooden pergola, remember that you’ll need to apply a coat of water sealant first.


With regular cleaning and inspections to address any issues as and when they arise, pergola maintenance is incredibly straightforward. Especially if you choose an aluminium pergola. A high-quality aluminium pergola requires little to no maintenance other than regular wiping down and checks for structural issues.

Harbour Lifestyle’s award-winning range of PergoSTET pergolas are constructed from high-quality aluminium and include a built-in drainage system to prevent water damage. These functional but stunning pergolas are a great choice if you want a low-maintenance pergola that creates a stunning family outdoor space that lasts.