How to Stain a Pergola

Looking to spruce up your backyard with a beautiful pergola? While pergolas can be a great addition to any outdoor living space, it’s important to properly maintain them so they don’t become an eyesore. One key step in maintaining your pergola is staining it. Staining not only gives your pergola a refreshed look but also protects it from harsh weather conditions. So if you’re wondering how to stain a pergola, keep reading for some helpful tips and tricks.

1. Choose the right stain for your pergola

Now that you’re ready to stain your pergola, it’s important to choose the right product. As mentioned earlier, there are three main types of stains: Clear, Semi-Transparent, and Solid, with a variety of shades available depending on the brand product you choose. It’s important to take into consideration the color of the wood, the color of your home, and your taste when choosing the right stain.

We recommend using Thompson’s Water Seal stain/sealer in ‘Woodland Cedar’, as it gives a beautiful, rich cedar color to the wood. However, if you have a new wooden pergola that has been sanded, it will be perfectly fine to use a water-based stain. Whatever product you choose, make sure it is of good quality and suited for the type of wood your pergola is made of.

Choosing the right stain is the first step to a beautiful and long-lasting finish. Keep reading to learn how to properly prepare the area for staining and clean your pergola before diving into the staining process.

2. Prepare the area for staining

Before you start staining your beloved pergola, it’s important to prepare the area properly. First, make sure you have covered any surfaces you don’t want to get stained. Plastic sheets work well for this. Next, ensure that the pergola is clean and dry. You can either use a pressure washer or simply rinse it down with a garden hose.

After cleaning the pergola, inspect the surface for any dirt, dust, mildew, mold, or gray/ yellowing appearance. Signs of UV damage necessitate additional preparation. If you notice any such signs, you may want to sand the surface before applying the stain. For pressure-treated lumber, experts advise that you allow the wood to dry out completely for several months before staining.

In addition, be mindful of the weather forecast. It’s recommended that you choose a rain-free window of around 24-48 hours after application. Follow the application guidelines on your chosen stain to maximize its efficacy. Take a high-quality brush, roller, paint pad, or spray and apply one thin coat for clear, toner, and semi-transparent stains. For solid stains, you’ll need two thin coats. Dip the bottom half of your bristles into the can after stirring the stain. Remember to let the first coat dry completely before reapplying the second one, which should be done after two days. Proper maintenance of stained pergolas increases their lifespan.

Now that you have properly prepared the area, cleaned the pergola, and selected the right stain, it’s time to start staining!

3. Clean the pergola thoroughly before staining

Now that you’ve prepped your pergola and have protected the surrounding areas, it’s time to clean it thoroughly before staining. This step is crucial as it will ensure that the stain adheres properly and lasts longer.

Firstly, remove any loose debris and dust off the pergola using a broom or brush. Next, wash the pergola with a pressure washer or a scrub brush to remove any dirt, grime, or mildew. If there are any tough stains, use a solution of water and mild detergent to scrub them off.

Make sure to rinse the pergola thoroughly with water and let it dry completely before applying any stain. Moisture trapped inside the wood can cause the stain to bubble or peel off, so it’s important to wait until the wood is completely dry.

Cleaning the pergola may seem like a daunting task, but it’s necessary to achieve a beautiful and long-lasting finish. Take your time, and don’t rush the process. Your efforts will pay off in the end with a stunning stained pergola that will last for years to come.

4. Protect surrounding areas from stain

Now that you have chosen the perfect stain for your pergola and have prepared the area for staining, it’s important to protect the surrounding areas from getting stained. This step is crucial to avoid any unwanted mess and to ensure a clean and professional-looking finish on your pergola.

To protect the surrounding areas, cover any nearby plants, furniture, or any other objects that might come into contact with the stain. Use plastic covers, tarps, or drop cloths to cover the areas that are at risk of getting stained. Be sure to secure the covers tightly to prevent them from blowing away in the wind.

If the area surrounding the pergola is paved or made of concrete, use masking tape or painter’s tape to tape around the edges. This will act as a barrier between the stain and the surface, preventing any unwanted staining on the surrounding area.

Protecting the surrounding areas from stains requires some extra effort, but it will save you time and frustration in the long run. This step will ensure that your stained pergola looks neat and clean, without any unwanted stains or splatters ruining the overall look. So take your time, protect the surrounding areas, and enjoy the beautiful finish of your newly stained pergola!

5. Begin staining from the highest point of the pergola

Now that you have prepared the area and cleaned your pergola, it’s time to start staining! It’s important to begin staining from the highest point of your pergola and work downwards to avoid drips and runs. Start at the top and work in small sections, applying the stain evenly with a brush or roller.

Remember to protect surrounding areas from the stain by using drop cloths or plastic covers. Take breaks as needed and don’t rush the process. Let the stain dry completely before applying a second coat, which should be done after two days of applying the first coat.

Staining your pergola can be a rewarding task, and doing it correctly will extend its life while adding beauty to your outdoor space. Don’t forget to clean your tools after use and maintain your stained pergola to keep it looking great for many years to come!

6. Use a brush or roller to apply the stain

Now that your pergola is prepped and ready, it’s time to apply the stain! You can choose to use either a brush or roller, depending on your personal preference. Make sure to use a wide brush or roller to ensure even coverage.

When applying the stain, start from the highest point of the pergola and work your way downwards. This will ensure that any drips can be caught and smoothed out as you work your way down. Remember to always work in the direction of the grain to avoid any streaks.

Be sure to pay attention to any corners, edges, or hard-to-reach areas while applying the stain. Don’t skimp on these areas, as they can be prone to excess wear and tear.

For best results, apply a second coat of stain after two days of allowing the first coat to dry completely. This will provide extra protection and durability to your pergola.

Once you’re done staining, be sure to clean your tools thoroughly. This will prevent any residue from sticking to your tools and causing issues during future projects.

By following these steps, you’ll ensure a lovely and long-lasting stain on your pergola. Keep up with proper maintenance, and your stained pergola will be a beautiful addition to your home for years to come.

7. Let the stain dry completely before reapplying the second coat

Now that you have applied the first coat of stain to your pergola, it’s important to let it dry completely before reapplying the second coat. This will ensure that the stain adheres evenly and gives you a beautiful finish. In general, it’s best to let the stain dry for at least two days before reapplying the second coat. Make sure the area is completely dry and free of moisture before starting the second coat, and then use a clean brush or roller to apply the stain evenly. Remember to use light, even coats to avoid drips and over-saturation of the wood. By properly allowing the stain to dry before reapplying, you’ll achieve a longer-lasting, beautiful finish on your pergola.

8. Apply a second coat after two days after first coat application

Now that you have applied the first coat of stain to your pergola, it’s time for the second coat. Remember, waiting for two days after the first coat application ensures that the stain is well-dried and adhered to the wood properly. This will also give you a chance to inspect the pergola for any missed spots or uneven patches.

When it’s time to apply the second coat, make sure you have all the tools and materials you need at hand. Check the weather forecast and make sure that you have a clear day with no rain or excessive wind. Protect the surrounding areas by covering them with plastic sheets or tarps.

Using light even strokes, apply the second coat of stain over the entire pergola. Pay extra attention to areas with high traffic or exposure to the elements, as they may require more protection. Allow the stain to dry completely before touching or walking on the pergola.

After two days, you should have a beautiful, fully-stained pergola that is ready to withstand any weather conditions. Don’t forget to clean your tools and store them properly for future use. By following these steps, you can be sure that your pergola will look great and last for years to come.

9. Clean your tools after use

Now that your pergola staining project is complete, it’s time to clean your tools properly. Proper maintenance of your tools will ensure that they last longer and can be used for future projects. Here are some steps to clean your tools:

1. Wipe off the excess stain using a rag or paper towel.

2. Rinse the brushes or rollers with warm water until the water runs clear.

3. If there is still some stain residue, use mild soap and warm water to clean the brushes and rollers.

4. Dry the brushes or rollers with a clean towel.

5. If using a paint sprayer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.

Remember, never leave your tools soaking in water or solvent, as this will damage the bristles or rollers. Keep your brushes and rollers in a cool, dry place to prevent mold growth. By taking care of your tools, you’ll be able to use them for years to come.

10. Proper maintenance of stained pergola to increase its lifespan

Congratulations! You have successfully stained your pergola and it’s looking better than ever. But, to ensure that it lasts for years to come, proper maintenance is crucial. Here’s how to take care of your stained pergola and elongate its lifespan:

1. Regular cleaning: Use a mild soap and water mixture to clean the structure at least once a year. This will prevent dirt and debris from accumulating and causing damage.

2. Inspect for rot: Check for rot or water damage at least once a year, especially after heavy rainfall or extreme weather conditions.

3. Stain touch-ups: Keep an eye on the stain for signs of chipping or fading. Touching up any areas that need it will help maintain the integrity of the stain.

4. Sealing: Consider re-sealing your pergola every few years to prevent water damage and rot. It will also add a layer of protection to your stain.

By following these simple maintenance steps, your stained pergola can last for up to 10 to 12 years! Not only will it continue to enhance the beauty of your outdoor space, but it will also provide much-needed shade during hot summer days. So go ahead and enjoy your stunning pergola for years to come!