We have a pergola out in our yard. A sprawling wisteria makes its home there, twining its way relentlessly around the wooden support posts. When the wisteria blooms in spring, it's a beautiful sight to see. Sadly, the above photo was taken the spring before last, and lately I'm noticing my poor pergola's not looking quite so charming.
Yes, it's time to consider a little pergola maintenance. Honestly, I'm dreading it. All those posts! All that pruning and trimming! All that sanding! All that wrestling with the ladder and drop sheets! Ugh. So I made a plan. First, I did a little online research on pergola maintenance, to arm myself with the facts. Second, I figure I'll psych myself up all winter, so when the weather warms up and it's time to paint, I'll be all prepared and will have no excuse to procrastinate further!
So much for my plan. Let me share with you the tips I found.
1) Okay, this first one is not a tip, it's an observation. Repainting a pergola is dreaded by every homeowner who has one of these structures. I know this because every time I Googled various keywords, I got tons of hits from fake pergola manufacturers! We're talkin' fiberglass, composite, plastic, you name it. The biggest selling point of these charmless wood substitutes? No painting. Ever. But, people, that's just not the same as real wood.
2) The best summary of how to approach this task can be found on the do-it-herself website BeJane
. Apart from that, there's not much else out there.
3) Be realistic. Accept that a pergola repaint requires extensive prep work. The painting itself is very time-consuming, too, with all those posts, many of them overhead. Having to work around established plants (like the main branches of my wisteria) also takes time and patience. So expect the job to take at least a full weekend.
4) Get the right gear. BeJane has a handy list of all the stuff you'll need
, from sanders to sponges.
5) Sanding correctly is key. The more carefully you sand, the longer the paint will last. It's tempting, I know, but the experts say don't skip this step. (Darn!)
6) A paint sprayer can speed up the process, but if you've never used one before, expect to spend time setting it up and cleaning it all out when you're done. Then there's the money you'll spend on purchasing or renting one. A low-tech roller and brush may be easier in the long run for beginner DIY'ers.