Have you been putting off refinishing your battle-worn gazebo because it sounds too hard? We asked a panel of professionals to break the process into simple steps. Read on to arm yourself with the knowledge and motivation you need to get that gazebo looking as beautiful as it used to.

Karen Condor

Karen Condor

Karen Condor is a real estate and home insurance expert with TheTruthAboutInsurance.com.

Maintain by cleaning the wood

Since creating a nice outdoor space is one of the home improvements that can reduce stress, you want to refinish your gazebo right – and add to your home’s curb appeal.

First, strip the old stain or paint from your gazebo. Then inspect your gazebo: Check the wood for nails, staples, rough edges, basically anything sticking out from the smooth surface. When you find any defects, fix them by hammering or sanding them.

Then prep your gazebo: Sweep the inside to remove any dust, dirt, and debris. Apply a wood cleaner, scrub, and wash away. Give it 24-28 hours to dry.

Before you apply the stain or paint (use latex paint, for four-season weather), do a gazebo test: Find a small, hidden area and apply the same number of coats you plan to use on the entire gazebo, let it dry and see if it’s the color you really want.

If your test was a success, then apply the stain or paint (do an all-purpose acrylic latex primer coat before painting) with a brush or a roller, applying evenly. If you leave a thicker coat on any spots, your gazebo will have disproportionate tones on the wood.

After the stain or paint is applied and evened out, walk away from the gazebo. The coat needs anywhere from 24 to 78 hours to dry, depending on humidity and temperature. Since stain penetrates into the wood, it’s recommended to do two to three coats of stain. For paint, two coats is recommended.

While a topcoat sealer isn’t required for stain, it protects from scratches and fading over time. So if you apply a sealer, use a polyurethane finish with a brush and apply one or two coats. And a sealer shouldn’t be required for paint, as exterior paints are formulated with chemicals that make them waterproof and resistant to extreme weather.

And since you’ve put all that work into making your gazebo look nice, make sure to maintain it by cleaning the wood once or twice a year with a mild, eco-friendly detergent and a soft-bristle brush instead of a harsh scrub brush or a pressure hose.

Clean, stain and let it settle

This three-step approach is easy and interesting. Wash off the dirt and fix any holes. Next stain it with your [favorite] finish, oil shellac, or French polish – whatever suits you. Lastly, let the stain settle for a good two to three days and you’re good to go.

Pro tip: After the stain has settled properly, finish the gazebo with some ceramic plates and wooden frames.

Jill Sandy

Jill Sandy

Jill Sandy, Gardener & Founder at constantdelights.com
Lucas Robinson

Lucas Robinson

Lucas Robinson, CMO of Crediful, personal finance site.

Work with the parts

In my spare time, I like to do a lot of DIY and one of my [favorite] items in my backyard is the gazebo. To be able to refinish a gazebo, you have to take it down and work with the parts you are wanting to refinish. I would suggest sanding all the wood areas you will be adding more coatings to so that it can really soak it in, which will save you a lot of time when you are doing multiple coats of paint. The finish should be glossy as this works better for wood, and a couple of coats should get it looking as good as new.

Clean it up thoroughly

Like most wood surfaces, gazebo’s can quickly deteriorate if neglected. You’ll slowly start noticing cracks, splitting as the wood begins to gray due to the harsh UV rays and moisture repeatedly hitting the surface. Before starting your mission to refinish your gazebo, it’s essential to clear it out and clean it up thoroughly. Once it’s all nice and clean, then you can begin staining.

Be sure to apply the wood stain across evenly to avoid disproportionate tones on the surface. Once you have given your gazebo a nice spread out stain coverage, allow it to dry for at least 24 to 48 hours, depending on the wood stain you purchased and the humidity levels in your area. When it’s all dry and good to go, you can then sit back and enjoy your freshly coated gazebo. Make sure you keep up with the maintenance to ensure its long life.

Keith Melanson

Keith Melanson

Keith Melanson, Project Manager of RenosGroup, a renovation company with over 35 years of experience.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.


  • Nate Barrett

    As the President of SRI Decks, my greatest satisfaction comes from the immediate sense of fulfillment that our work brings. From the initial design discussions with our customers to the moment we capture the final project in photos, I feel an immense pride in my team for their dedicated efforts. My passion for hands-on work and outdoor projects is matched only by the joy I derive from seeing a delighted customer when we’ve successfully completed a job. Fun Facts: I like hot chocolate in my coffee. I’ve been with SRI for 12 years, prior to ownership. I have a daughter, 3 dogs and a loving girlfriend.

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