The Best Advice for Refinishing a Pergola

The Best Advice for Refinishing a Pergola


Pergolas create another level of wood framing on a patio or deck. They add dimension and a unique design element. Similar to decks, wooden pergolas are susceptible to water and sun damage as they age. Every few years home owners should refinish their pergola the same way they do their deck. Here are a few tips for refinishing your pergola.



Evaluate the Condition

Take a good long look at the pergola to evaluate the wood. Check for chipping, splintering, cracks and rotting pieces. All of the weak points you notice should be fixed during the refinishing process. Also make sure to check screws, nails, and footings for strength. Wood moves and shifts so there is a chance joints loosen. Even though a pergola doesn’t see any traffic or have to support the weight of people and furniture, it is still a structure that needs to be safe. A damaged pergola could collapse and be a danger to your guests.


Replace Bad Wood

Begin by replacing the damaged pieces you identified in the first step. Rotting, warped, or cracked wood should be replaced with new pressure treated boards. Carefully inspect the wood you purchase. Knots and small cracks lead to weaknesses down the road. Number 1 pressure treated prime works best for outdoor building.


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Sand Surface

Most home owners think power washing effectively cleans their decks and pergolas. However, pressure treated washing pushes dirt and debris particles further into the layers of the wood. For total surface cleaning and prep, thoroughly sand the wood. Professional grade sanding opens the pours of the wood and allows the stain to absorb more efficiently.



Now that the wood is prepped, cleaned and ready to be sealed, it’s time to stain. The quality of stain matters. Different stains carry different warranties. Select a stain with the backing of a manufacturer’s warranty for more than one year. Make sure you stain the pergola in 60+ degree weather with no chance of rain. Dry climate works best. You can roll larger areas of the pergola with a paint roller. Go over those same areas with a brush to make sure all crevices and edges are covered. Apply two coats of stain for an even finish. We recommend a self-priming stain in colored or semi-transparent finish.