How to stain a pergola?

How to stain a pergola?


Staining a pergola is a great way to enhance its appearance and protect it from the elements. Whether you have a new pergola or want to refresh the look of an existing one, staining can make a significant difference. In this article, we will dive into the process of staining a pergola, covering everything from preparation to application techniques.


Before you begin staining your pergola, proper preparation is essential. Here are the steps you should follow:

Clean the surface: Start by removing any dirt, dust, or debris from the pergola. Use a broom or brush to sweep away loose particles, and then wash the surface with a mild detergent and water. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry completely.

Sand the wood: If your pergola has rough or uneven areas, sanding can help create a smooth surface for staining. Use a medium-grit sandpaper to sand the wood, following the grain. This step will also remove any existing stain or finish.

Protect surrounding areas: Cover any nearby plants, furniture, or other surfaces that you want to keep stain-free. Use plastic sheets or drop cloths to prevent accidental staining.

Materials and Tools

To stain your pergola, you will need the following materials and tools:

Stain: Choose a stain specifically formulated for exterior wood. Consider the color and type of stain that best suits your pergola and personal preference.

Brushes or rollers: Use a brush or roller to apply the stain. Brushes are ideal for reaching into crevices and corners, while rollers cover larger areas quickly.

Protective gear: Wear gloves, safety goggles, and a mask to protect yourself from the stain and its fumes.

Stir stick: Stir the stain thoroughly before application to ensure an even color.


Now that you have prepared the pergola and gathered the necessary materials, it’s time to apply the stain. Follow these steps for a successful staining process:

Test the stain: Before applying the stain to the entire pergola, it’s a good idea to test it on a small, inconspicuous area. This will help you determine if the color and finish are what you desire.

Apply the stain: Start by dipping your brush or roller into the stain and removing any excess. Apply the stain evenly, working in small sections. Follow the wood’s grain to ensure proper coverage. If using a brush, use long, smooth strokes. If using a roller, apply the stain in a back-and-forth motion.

Allow drying time: After applying the stain, allow it to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually takes a few hours or even overnight. Avoid walking on or touching the stained surface until it is completely dry.

Apply additional coats: Depending on the desired color intensity and the type of stain used, you may need to apply multiple coats. Allow each coat to dry before applying the next one. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the number of coats required.


Staining a pergola can transform its appearance and provide long-lasting protection. By following the preparation steps, gathering the right materials, and applying the stain correctly, you can achieve a beautiful and durable finish. Remember to test the stain, apply it evenly, and allow sufficient drying time between coats. With these guidelines, you can successfully stain your pergola and enjoy its enhanced beauty for years to come.


– Wood Magazine:
– The Spruce:
– Bob Vila: