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Here’s how to prep your patio for spring

Now that we’ve had our winter storms, and temperatures seem ready to rise, you’re going to feel a lot more like spiffing up the patio for spring.

You can clean up the outdoor furniture and replace some of the torn cushions. But it’s also a good time to do maintenance on the paving of your patio and your stucco or masonry fence walls.

If you have landscaping pavers on paths or patios, you probably rinse them off now and then with water from a hose and a broom. But spring time is a good time to restore good looks. Your pavers have probably faded in the sun and may have soaked up grease and dirt around the barbecue area.

Paver manufacturers, like Belgard, urge cautious cleaning with a power washer so that the force of the spray doesn’t remove the paver’s surface and expose aggregate underneath.

Paver cleaning solutions can be harsh and acidic. So, before applying any paving solution, test a small area of paving first to be sure to get the results you want. Read and follow any directions on containers very carefully and always rinse the solution off thoroughly after use. If you’re worried about damaging favorite plants, you might use some gentler, organic compound instead of a heavy duty solution. If serious stains aren’t cleaned off, you might need to replace some pavers in the affected area.

After cleaning, homeowners can also use a sealer on pavers. But using a sealer too often can put a film on the surface that can discolor in sunlight. So, only use a sealer every couple of years.

As for masonry walls around your yard and patio, you might want to clean up those powdery white marks that make spots on many walls and patios when walls get wet. The problem develops when hot sun dries out the wet walls and pulls soluble salts to the surface from inside the stucco, concrete blocks or brick.

You can’t stop the rain, but repair any exterior plumbing leaks as soon as possible. Avoid letting sprinklers spray water on walls or pavers. You can also seal your walls with a silicone-based penetrating product to prevent porous concrete from absorbing water.

You also want to repaint your stucco or concrete walls every five to seven years when you repaint your house.

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