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Factors Affecting the Safety of Your Wooden Pergola and Signs to Look For

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Pergolas are highly versatile, attractive, and durable structures. However, over time, they can become weak since they are constantly exposed to environmental factors. Like any outdoor structure, pergolas, too, need regular care and maintenance.

Factors That Affect the Safety of Pergolas

You may not even realize that your wooden pergola has turned too old to be marked safe until it is too late. Numerous factors can have an impact on the safety of your pergola. To be able to take better care of this part of your home, you must be aware of the factors that are a risk to your pergola’s safety.

1. Water and Rot

Pergolas are exposed to moisture that is present in the air and soil all the time. Not only is the moisture in the air a problem, but your pergola also faces the rain head-on. If the wood is not appropriately treated, it will absorb moisture and get weak gradually until it is too weak to keep standing. Water and moisture are the primary factors that affect the safety of a pergola.

2. Insects

Termites and borers are insects that snack on wood. You will never know that you have a termite or borer problem unless the damage becomes too widespread. The damage imposed on a pergola by insects can go undetected for several months, which makes them one of the biggest threats to the safety of a pergola. These pests make their way beneath the surface without giving you a clue of what’s happening inside the wooden structure.

3. Heavy Loads

Pergolas are usually made of wood. Wood has a certain load capacity, which a lot of pergola owners tend to overlook. You won’t realize it at first, but the load of the furniture, uneven distribution of people, and potted plants may be too much for a pergola to handle. Moreover, if a pergola has already been attacked by pests, its load-bearing capacity has been further reduced – but you won’t be aware of this. This puts your pergola under enough stress that can literally result in its collapse.

Signs of Pergola Damage

If you lookout for signs of pergola damage, you can still save it from giving up. If you address the damages on time, prolonging the lifespan is still highly possible. Some of these signs to look for are listed below:

  1. Water pooling on the deck
  2. Rotting or damage under the ornaments, furniture, and potted plants
  3. Damage between the gaps in wood panels and joints
  4. Bending or warping of wood
  5. Discoloration or damp patches
  6. Damage at the base of pergola posts
  7. Deterioration in any part of the substructure
  8. Broken or loose decking boards
  9. Movement in the framework


Taking care of the safety of a pergola is one of the most critical responsibilities you take upon yourself when you get a pergola built. Having a professional pergola company build your pergola and looking for signs of pergola damage can help you keep your pergola in great condition for longer.