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HANDY HARRY; Your guide to DIY.

WHAT damage has the winter weather done to the vulnerable areas outside your home?

You've been hibernating in the house during the worst of the weather, ignoring the frost, rain, snow and high winds which have assailed us - even though this has been what the weathermen describe as a 'mild' winter.

Now, with spring almost upon us and the prospect of warmer days ahead, it's a good time to start carrying out some jobs outdoors.

One of the most important jobs in early spring is to check over your garden furniture. One of the first things to check is the joints.

Make sure they're sound and tighten up any bolts or screws. If there are traces of mould you can get rid of it with a fine wire wool.

Wooden furniture that has been left out in the elements can start to look dull and dowdy. If old varnish or paint is starting to flake or split, it may be worth stripping it with a chemical paint remover so you can apply a new top coat. Prime undercoat and top coat the piece for long-lasting good looks.

An alternative finish is to apply oil using a brush to cover large surfaces and get into carvings or mouldings. Modern oil finish is ideal for exterior furniture.

It is easy to apply and requires no more than annual maintenance to protect any wood from weathering.

You simply rub or brush a generous coating of oil into the wood grain and leave it to soak for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping off excess oil with a clean cloth.

After about six hours, coat the wood with oil once more. The next day, apply a third and final coat.

To give it a slight sheen burnish it with a soft duster.

Take a look at your fences. They can act as sails in high winds and blow panels to pieces and snap off ageing posts. Start by replacing useless posts, digging out the old and setting a new one in concrete, or in a handy spike which can be driven into the ground.

Damaged panels should be replaced or repaired and the wood treated with preservative.

Paths and driveways can take a beating in the winter. The surface of paths can also become green and slimy and dangerous during the winter. Use a high-pressure hose to clean them off.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 17, 2002
Words:396
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