For the majority of homeowners, gazebos are a favorite spot to enjoy a lovely evening outside in the backyard during those warm, sunny summer months.
However, summer doesn’t last forever. The rain is becoming more often nowadays and the air’s getting colder; thus, you’d be wise to prepare your outdoor space for the winter months ahead.
While winterizing your gazebo will be an absolute necessity, these structures are meant to remain outdoors throughout the year. Therefore, offering your gazebo the much-needed winter protection against wind and snow will have a huge impact on its overall structural integrity.
But most people don’t seem to understand what steps to follow to get this done. There’s a quite long list of things to do to get the yard and all of its summer accessories fit for winter. So, below we have shared some tips on how to prep your space for those chilly winter months.
Remove All Furniture
Firstly, all patio furniture in the gazebo will need to be removed. No matter the number of chairs or tables, or the material used in the making of the furniture, they should all be kept indoors throughout the winter.
This is because moisture can cause mold and rust and even fade, compromising the overall lifespan of the furniture. You might want to keep them in the garage or shed with winter protection like covers and tarps.
This could also cause an adverse effect on the gazebo’s ability to last long, especially when the items get banged around inside.
Clean Up the Debris
While fall could be one of the most beautiful seasons, those golden orange leaves falling lazily onto the surface can be a real issue for gazebos. So take your time and rake up all the debris and leaves such as sticks and dirt that may have gathered inside and on top of the structure.
For instance, with a soft-top gazebo, leaving fallen leaves on the soft top of the canopy material can lead to degradation of its waterproofing ability. The debris will spoil and compromise the effectiveness of the PU covering on the fabric that waterproofs the material of the canopy.
This will not only affect the integrity of the gazebo; it can also cause an even bigger mess when the snow melts. Besides, the dirt will meld with the melted snow and become watery. Once liquefied, the wood will absorb it and cause major staining in turn.
The next step to winterizing your gazebo will be to take out all the cobwebs. Make sure there is nothing trapped between the material of the gazebo and fallen snow, as this could create a bigger mess when the spring comes and melts everything.
This is how you keep away any critters and pests that could turn your gazebo into their own winter home.
Wipe Down the Structure
Once you’re done cleaning up the debris and cobwebs, the next step will be to wipe down the structure. You may want to use a garden hose for this. The water will eliminate any dust and draw away debris that couldn’t have been removed with a broom.
Be sure to focus the water on all the cracks and crevices so that the water pressure removes any cobwebs that were rather sticky and hard to remove at first.
Next, grab a soft bristled brush and use it to get rid of mold and algae. You might want to use a mixture of warm water and mold remover or a mild detergent for best results. Steer clear of any harsh soap that could be excessively strong for the gazebo to avoid potential damage.
Remove Snow from The Roof
Watching the snow pile up on top of your gazebo may seem quite amusing but the fact is that when the snow starts to melt, it can cause significant structural damage no matter what type of material your gazebo is made from.
So, it’s incredibly important to clear all the snow that may have accumulated on top of the structure. Eventually, the snow will melt and water will seep into the material of your gazebo, causing rotting and rusting that could mess with its integrity.
Depending on the weight of the snow, the frame legs might be buckled and the roof could also collapse under excessive weight. Heavily compacted snow will definitely take longer to melt, which can lead to longer problems.
Tie Down the Structure
It can get really windy in some places, so you may want to use bungee cords to tie the whole thing down. Remember to check the screws and make sure they are all tightened properly. Again, the weight of the snow can be surprisingly tremendous.
So in case of any loose screws, the weight will exert more pressure on the corners and wedges, which could collapse your gazebo. Also, winter is often accompanied by winds. So making sure your gazebo is well secured against potential wind damage is imperative.
Ideally, you can consider fixing vinyl sheets to the roof before winter arrives. This will provide some sort of waterproof barrier between the roof and snow, keeping the snow at bay, rather than soaking through and causing rot. Vinyl also helps the snow to slide off pretty fast.
Treating Your Gazebo before Winter
For the concerned wooden gazebo owners, a quality wood preservative would be great to apply, especially during the summer months. By doing this, the wood will be tough enough to endure the snow and freezing cold winds.
For untreated gazebos, sealing the wood with a water-resistant finish would be a nice idea. This can be done using a paintbrush. The sealant will keep water from seeping into the wood and warping or cracking it. However, the sealer should not be applied over existing paint or stain.
In the case of metal gazebos, consider applying anti-corrosion sprays to enhance the integrity of the steel frames and keep them intact against rusting. For those who have a pop-up canopy, the best option is to bring them inside and wait to use it again the next season.
Although some folks do, leaving a pop-up canopy or a soft-top or even instant shelter outdoors isn’t really a good idea. But if you own a hardtop gazebo, you can leave it outside as generally they are more challenging to keep moving them around every time winter arrives.
In addition to lessening the weight, you can consider fixing vinyl sheets to the roof of the structure before winter arrives. This will provide some sort of waterproof barrier between the roof and snow, keeping the snow at bay, rather than soaking through and causing rot. Vinyl also helps the snow to slide off pretty fast.
Summer will soon come to an end. And when you edge deeper into fall, it’s high time you overwinter the plants, stow away the outdoor furniture and winterize your gazebo. Remember to inspect the structure periodically throughout the winter and remove the excess weight from the roof.