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How to Prep Your Pergola for the Winter

Q: How can I prep my newly stained pergola for the upcoming winter?

A: Without proper winter prep for pergola health, the elements will cause damage and premature aging of your backyard pergola. This preparation revolves around cleaning away dirt and debris, using a deck wash, and assessing and fixing structural damage.

Your pergola is your summertime sanctuary. Whether newly constructed or a storied fixture of your home, preserving this sanctuary can maintain a newly-stained appearance against the winter elements. Winter's fury is hard on exposed wood. Without proper winter prep for pergola health, the elements will cause damage and premature aging of your backyard respite.

There are three simple steps you can take for a winterproof pergola, ensuring its beauty and longevity. Following the guidelines below will provide the protection it deserves to get through the cold season and preserve it for more pleasant circumstances.

1. Clean the surfaces of all dirt and debris.

Starting with clean surfaces is the key to all wood preparation and preservation. Nature can get messy. Mold, rust, leaves, dust, chemicals, and anything that might be blown in on the wind will accumulate on your pergola's wooden surfaces. Sweeping or brushing away the loose particles is the first step toward a winter-proof pergola. Be sure to remove any detritus from cracks and crevices, or between boards. Use a small brush or hand broom to sweep down any nooks or crannies in the structure. Debris left behind may attract insects or retain moisture, potentially causing mold or wood rot.

2. Use Olympic Premium Deck Brightener and Wash to cleanse your pergola's pores.

Keep in mind that even the hardest wood is organic material. It may be tough, but it is still a porous, biological substance. We suggest that you skip the pressure washer and heavy duty cleaning solutions that may cause damage to the wood or finish. Instead, we recommend using Olympic Premium Deck Brightener and Wash, to clean and winterproof pergola surfaces. It is a no-mix, ready to use cleaner that works in about thirty minutes to remove mildew, rust, and tannin stains on wood or composite materials. Following instructions on the product label, use a soft bristled cleaning brush and garden hose to gently scrub and rinse away any remaining surface stains, dirt, or mold that dry sweeping did not remove. By using a soft brush, you will not scratch, scrape, or damage the finish of the wood.

3. Inspect, assess all damage, and fix it, ASAP

Even if your pergola is brand new, it is important to check for structural soundness before it goes into winter. Always be on the lookout for loose boards, nails, or railings. Inspect the wood for damage from insects, rot, or rotten kids, if there might be any around. Check posts and beams for splitting, warping, or twisting, as these things not only refuse to correct themselves, but can quickly contribute to the demise of your structure. Make appropriate repairs as soon as you discover the need.

Winter prep for pergola maintenance is as easy as that! Your winter-proof pergola will stand quietly by, braving the elements, waiting for you and your fair-weather friends to rejoin it in the spring.

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