Replacing an Outdoor Pergola

What You'll Need
Safety goggles
Power drill with screw bits
Pry bar
Styrofoam cups with lids
Marking pen

An outdoor pergola provides a framework for climbing vines. Replacing a pergola should not be an overly exhausting chore, especially if you have the right tools, some time, the correct know-how and possibly a friend or two to help.

If you do not need to keep the materials undamaged, the task comes down to a demolition job. If you want to keep the parts, pay attention when you remove the old garden pergola. If your new pergola is made from the same material and is basically the same size and shape, you may be able to reuse the ledger board. A ledger board attaches the pergola to an exterior wall of your house and also supports the pergola's roof.

Step 1 – Examine the Pergola to Be Removed

Identify any wood rot to avoid injury. Rot can cause the wood to crumble or dislodge, an event that could allow other parts of the outdoor pergola to move unexpectedly.

Step 2 – Remove All Furniture and Plants

Before you disassemble the old pergola, remove all furniture and plants from the area. Make sure the work area is clear, even the area extending beyond the pergola. Let everyone on the property know that you are proceeding with the project.

Step 3 – Remove Side Walls

Remove any side walls by either unbolting or unscrewing them. If you encounter nails, you may need to use the claw end of a hammer or a small pry bar to remove these walls from the pergola.

Step 4 – Remove Rafters and Beams

Starting at the top, remove all rafters and beams. If the original construction includes bolts and washers, remove these with a wrench. Place all reusable hardware in a Styrofoam cup with a lid and clearly mark the outside for its contents. Use a power drill to remove wood screws. Keep these for reuse. You may need to tap each board a little to loosen it from its seating before removing it. Make sure to wear gloves that will protect your hands from splinters or other sharp edges.

Step 5 – Remove the Top

After you remove the roof beams, you should see two outer beams attached to two support posts. If the support posts have been “planted” in the ground, remove the outer beams by unbolting or unscrewing them (or remove it, if it is nailed, with a hammer or pry bar).

Step 6 – Remove the Posts

You may need a shovel to dig out the bottom of the posts from the ground to remove these.

If you are replacing this pergola with a similar sized one, retain the ledger board already attached to the house exterior, if possible. If not, carefully remove it so you do not damage the exterior wall siding.