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Protect your patio from wear and tear

Patios are typically the go-to spot for warm weather outdoor meals.

Whether hosting friends or simply enjoying a relaxing meal under the evening sky, homeowners tend to spend as much time as possible on the patio once the weather warms up.

Because it's such a high-traffic area, the patio should be protected from wear and tear. Wear and tear on the patio can result from Mother Nature or be a byproduct of all those spring and summer evenings spent relaxing outdoors. Fortunately, there are a handful of ways homeowners can keep their patios looking pristine through the summer party season.

*Stain the concrete. Staining concrete protects it from natural elements, which can cause the color of a patio to peel or flake. Concrete stain penetrates deep and infuses the concrete with a permanent color that's less likely to fall victim to the elements. Stains are generally solid-color stains or acid stains. Solid-color stains, as their name suggests, provide a more even and solid look, while acid stains provide a more marble-like appearance. While neither are likely to fade or peel quickly, over time an additional coat or stain might need to be applied to counter natural factors like sunlight.

*Cover the furniture. Patio furniture can vary significantly in price and quality. Homeowners who picked up a few plastic chairs at the nearby grocery store might not feel furniture covers are worth the investment. For those with more expensive patio furniture, durable furniture covers that can withstand year-round weather are a sound investment. Waterproof and heat-resistant fabric is ideal, as the furniture will be vulnerable to spring rains, summer showers and high temperatures during the summer party season. Covers should also fit snugly around the furniture to provide optimal protection.

*Consider retractable awnings. Retractable awnings might cost a little money, but they can also pay homeowners back over the long haul. First and foremost, retractable awnings protect patio from sunlight and ultraviolet rays in hot weather.

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