How to Maintain Your Gazebo
It is important to take care of a gazebo, both inside and out. Harmful or unwanted plants need to be removed from the vicinity of the building. Mold and mildew should be eliminated to prevent damage at the microscopic level. Repairs and maintenance are needed to prevent the gazebo from becoming unstable and eventually falling apart.
Maintain a cleared path around the gazebo, anywhere from 3 to 10 feet wide. Within this zone, pull or dig out all unwanted plants, including brambles, climbing vines and common weeds such as crabgrass. By keeping a cleared area, the gazebo is better protected against plants which may cause severe damage as they grow, and gives your family is a safety zone free from poison ivy or sumac.
Removing Mold and Mildew
If you have a vinyl or canvas gazebo, mold and mildew are your enemy. For easy cleanup, mix 1/2 cup household bleach, 1/4 cup of liquid laundry detergent and 1 gallon of hot water. Using a sponge or rag, apply the cleaning mixture liberally and allow it to soak in for 5 to 15 minutes. Wipe down all surfaces, removing the stains and signs of mildew and mold. When the cleaning is completed, rinse liberally with water from a regular garden hose. Unlike chemical cleaners, diluted bleach will not harm your gazebo or the plants which grow around it.
Examine your outdoor gazebo at least once a month. Tighten up joints by tapping the nail heads with a hammer. Similarly, drive in any nail heads which are working their way out. If a section of the gazebo becomes damaged, replace it as soon as possible. Broken or chipped wood compromises the sealed finish and allows for rot and termites.
Once every 6 months, or after any severe storm, inspect the roof for damage caused by high winds or falling branches. Replace damaged shingles and gutters, and make sure that all drainpipes are directed away from the building to prevent erosion problems. A solid, leak-free roof is one of the best protections your gazebo has, and it should be treated as the first line of defense against inclement weather.
Painting the Gazebo
If your have a painted gazebo, remember that the paint should be replaced every 3 to 5 years. Before painting, fill crack or holes with painter's caulk and wipe the excess. Use drop cloths to cover all plants as well as to isolate areas which cannot be painted, such as a built-in arbor. Painting can be done with brush, roller or spray, and a latex paint is recommended, primarily because it is offensive to growing plants.
Having a gazebo means that you will need to spend a small amount of time keeping it in good shape. Failure to tighten loose joints or nails can result in a structure that wobbles in high winds and eventually falls apart. Likewise, painting prevents decay and keeps the gazebo in good condition. Most people do no realize it, but painting is one of the most effective ways to prevent damage from both the weather and termites.