How to Winterize a Gazebo

With this article we will explain how to prepare your gazebo for winter.

Gazebos are made of natural wood material. These gorgeous structures allow us to enjoy the outdoors with a bit of shelter. They also create a nice focal point in your yard. As they do so much for us, it’s only fair that we be kind to our gazebos. They are permanent backyard structures that of course remain outside year-round, but they will require annual maintenance. This maintenance is best to perform in the fall before the snow comes so when springtime arrives, you’ll have a headstart. It’s wise to lessen the workload that comes with spring cleaning.

You will have to take some precautionary steps to protect the gazebo from sustaining weather-related damage like splintering or cracking or warping. Protecting your gazebo through the winter months will ensure its longevity and give you years and years of use.

Read our review of the 7 best hardtop gazebos

The steps are fairly simple when it comes to winterizing a gazebo.

You will need:

  • broom
  • rake
  • bucket
  • warm water
  • mild detergent or mold remover
  • soft-bristled brush
  • screwdriver

First, remove all patio furniture from the gazebo. No matter what your furniture is made of, it should be kept indoors through the winter months. Otherwise moisture can cause rot or rust, as well as fading and ruining the overall lifespan of your furniture. Store the furniture in the shed or garage with winter protection (tarps, blankets, or whichever you use).

Secondly, at the end of fall and before the snow comes, rake up all the leaves and debris. You will also have to get a broom and sweep up remaining debris, such as twigs and dirt. It is best to clear all of the excess debris out before the snow falls. Otherwise the snow will fall atop and compact the dirt beneath it. This will not only weaken the integrity of the gazebo, but will also make an even bigger mess when the snow melts. Additionally, the dirt will meld with the wet snow and become liquefied. Once liquefied, it will seep into the wood pores and thus cause major staining.

You will have to remove all cobwebs for the same reason you remove the dirt. There should be nothing trapped between fallen snow and the material of your gazebo. It will only create a worse mess in the spring when everything melts. You will also want to clean all spaces where pests might burrow, such as between the steps or under the gazebo (if applicable). Be sure to get the broom bristles in all the cracks and crevices to clear out as much as possible so critters don’t burrow in the wintertime. If your gazebo has a lattice bottom make sure everything is in tact and there are no holes. Now is a good time to complete any and all repairs so that you can go strong into the winter and come out with a sturdy gazebo in the spring.

Once you have completed these steps, the next step is to use the garden hose. The water will wash away any dust or debris that the broom could not catch. It’s good to focus the water on cracks and crevices. Water pressure will get rid of any cobwebs that are especially sticky.

Next, get a soft-bristled brush. You will use this brush to remove any algae or mildew. This can be cleaned with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent or mold remover. Any harsh soaps will be too strong for your gazebo and cause potential damage.

Finally, check all screws to make sure they are all tightened. The weight of snow is surprisingly more than we’d think. If there are any loose screws then the snow will put more pressure on the wedges/corners and potentially collapse the gazebo. Additionally, winter can bring some wild winds with it. It is important to secure the gazebo against potential wind damage.

You may also want to fix vinyl sheets to the roof of the gazebo before winter comes. This will create a waterproof barrier between the snow and roof, ensuring the snow doesn’t soak through and cause rot. The vinyl will also help the snow slide off easily.

Be sure to check on your gazebo periodically throughout the winter. Remove any snow buildup. Even if you have vinyl sheets laid down, it is helpful to lessen the weight on the roof.

Tip: if your gazebo is untreated, consider sealing the wood with a water-repellant finish. You can do this with a paintbrush. The sealant will prevent water getting into the wood and cracking or warping it. (Do not apply sealer over existing stain or paint).

The steps are fairly simple, and this job can be done in a single afternoon. Just don’t wait too long!

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