How Do You Paint a Pergola?

calander Jul 25 , 2023 user-icon Nash Painting

Pergolas are charming outdoor structures that add elegance and functionality to any backyard or garden. They also offer just a little bit of relief from direct sunlight without casting more shade than you want.

Over time, however, they definitely can get weathered and worn. Sunlight, rain, harsh weather, pests… They all take their toll. The good news is that a fresh coat of paint can be a real game-changer, offering totally revamped style and surface protection.

So, how do you paint a pergola? Let’s take a look, from prep to color selection to that final topcoat.

Assessing Your Pergola’s Condition and Getting Ready to Paint

Remember, surface preparation will make or break your project, so we need to start by seeing what the current condition is. Your paint is only as solid as the surface underneath.

  • Clean and Inspect: Thoroughly clean the pergola to remove dirt, debris, and mildew. Inspect for any signs of damage, such as rot or loose parts, and address these issues before painting.

  • Consider Material and Type: The type of material your pergola is made of (e.g., wood, vinyl, metal) will influence your painting approach and the paint type you choose.

  • Sanding and Repair: Smooth out any rough areas with sandpaper and repair any damaged parts to ensure an even surface for painting.

  • Cleaning and Priming: Clean the pergola again to remove any dust from sanding. Apply a primer to improve paint adhesion and enhance the paint's durability.

How Do You Paint a Pergola?

Choosing the Right Paint for the Pergola

With prep done, it’s time to choose your product. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Paint Types for Different Materials: Opt for outdoor paint that is suitable for your pergola's material. Acrylic latex paints work well for wood, while rust-resistant paints are ideal for metal pergolas.

  • Consider Color and Finish: Choose a color that complements your outdoor space and home's exterior. Go for a finish that suits your preference, such as satin or semi-gloss for a classic look.

Pergola Painting Techniques

You could use a sprayer, carefully containing and masking the space, but we’re going to assume here that you’re painting with a brush and roller.

  • Tools and Equipment: Gather the necessary painting tools, including brushes, rollers, and drop cloths, to ensure a smooth application.

  • Painting the Pergola: Start painting from the top of the pergola and work your way down. Use even strokes and take care to reach all corners and crevices.

  • Drying and Curing Time: Allow the paint to dry and cure completely before using the pergola. Follow the paint manufacturer's recommendations for drying time.

  • Regular Maintenance: To extend the life of your painted pergola, perform regular maintenance such as cleaning and inspecting for signs of wear.


Q. Can I paint a vinyl or metal pergola, or is painting limited to wood?

You can paint vinyl or metal pergolas with the right type of paint designed for each material. Make sure to clean and prime the surface before painting.

Q. How often should I repaint my pergola?

The frequency of repainting depends on various factors, such as the paint quality, climate, and level of exposure to the elements. On average, you may need to repaint every 3-5 years.

Q. Can I paint my pergola a different color from my house's exterior?

Yes, you can choose a different color for your pergola to create contrast or complement your existing outdoor space.