A garden building provides an excellent addition to your outdoor living space, either as shelter from the rain or shade from the sun, or maybe you use it for an outdoor eating area when you are entertaining. Whatever your gazebo serves you as, it is a building that has a long life, if it is maintained thoroughly.
One of the main issues that affects the wood in your gazebo can be ventilation. Whilst sealants are used to protect the wood, we don’t want it to be unable to breathe, surrounded by foliage. It is recommended that any surrounding plants are cut back to a distance of at least 3 feet, as not only can plants cause damp and ventilation issues, roots and tendrils can compromise the wood itself.
Once a month it is important that you take some time to fully inspect the inside, outside and roof of your gazebo.
Inside, be sure to remove any spiderwebs that you see. You can use a long-handled brush for this – especially useful if you have a fear of spiders! With any open-fronted building, you may be at risk of insects nesting inside. Please do make sure that any wasp nests are destroyed by a professional, and if you are lucky enough to be chosen as a residence for bees, contact a local beekeeper to arrange the safe removal and relocation to protect our declining pollinating population. If you keep any furniture or furnishings inside the gazebo, always give them a thorough wipe down with some warm soapy water and a clean cloth, to keep them fresh and clean.
Sweep the floors so that you can inspect the floorboards. During this internal inspection, it is important to check for any loose nails, or chipped boards. Dealing with small imperfections like this in a timely manner will prevent them from becoming bigger problems as the seasons change.
Outside, be sure to regularly remove any encroaching vegetation. Check the integrity of all the boards, look for any protruding nail heads and gently knock them back in, and replace any chipped or broken boards.
Using a ladder, climb up to inspect the roof of your gazebo. It is very important that you look after the roof of your gazebo, removing any debris and checking that the roof shingle or thatch is intact. Don’t use a blower to clean the roof, and make sure that if you have any guttering, it is clear of debris and tree branches.
You can keep the interior and exterior of your gazebo clean using some warm soapy water and a soft brush but be aware that your gazebo receives a lot of water through the (almost constant) rain we have in our British gardens, so it is best to avoid too much water. Never use a pressure washer on your wooden gazebo – the wood will not take that amount of water well and you could do more damage than good.
If there has been a period of high winds or severe storms, it is definitely a good idea to perform extra checks on your gazebo – a fallen tree branch could do damage to the roof, and your first line of defense against the weather would be effectively wiped out.
A wooden gazebo will look its best if you regularly treat the wood, from floor to ceiling, including all rafters, window sills and thresholds. We recommend this process takes place every 3-5 years.
To do this, we suggest the following steps:
Remove any soft furnishings from the gazebo, and store away from it. The gazebo will need time to dry fully from treatment before the canvas and cushions can be returned to it.
Clean the wood well, using a stiff brush. Make sure that you spend time to remove all debris from the gazebo, including between the boards and paying special attention to the floorboards as these may need extra treating.
To make sure that all previous treatment and paint has been removed and the surface of the wood is adequately prepared, you need to thoroughly sand all the surfaces within the building. This includes the rafters, the ring beam, any posts and railings, as well as any permanent furniture such as benches.
If you are in an enclosed building, make sure you take steps to adequately protect yourself from breathing any sawdust in.
Once you have completed this step, sweep out all the sawdust, again paying attention to between the boards.
When it comes to choosing the right treatment for your wood, you can have a bit of freedom – as long as the stain protects the wood from the elements, it can be a paint-based stain to match your garden colour scheme, or you can go for a clear waterproof sealant. Be aware that your paint application may need to be repeated more often than every 3 years and will need a waterproof topcoat of varnish applied for extra protection.
You might also find it beneficial to apply an extra coat of your preferred treatment over high traffic areas such as the threshold and the floor. This will greatly improve the longevity of the protection from your sealant.
Following all the steps included in this guide will ensure that your gazebo is well-maintained and extends its usable life for decades.