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Tuesday, December 4,2012

To My Readers

By Roger Zona  
The 7th Phase of our retirement home re-do is to examine the exterior patio deck and determine how it could be improved.


Existing Condition: I checked the patio conditions and determined that there were several areas that could be improved – such as adding some bench seating. The more I examined the wood, the more I considered an alternative material for portions of the wood, and especially the deck flooring.

The Project: I looked at the various products available and determined that a plastic-wood should replace the flooring and steps of the deck. This material is manufactured with the same color throughout the plank. It can be sawed and nailed just like wood and is easy to install. Removing the old wood was more difficult than installing the new material.

I left the foundation beams because they were in good condition and had very little exposure to the weather. With the decking removed, I plugged the nail holes, stained the beams to match the new decking and waterproofed all the wood surfaces. It was not as difficult as it sounds.

Next I began replacing the decking. I used screws rather than nails to attach the deck to the beams. We were soon back on the deck with a bright market umbrella and furniture that can take the weather. North Carolina has weather seasons, but there are many months when the patio can be used.

We placed two or three bird feeders around the deck to attract hummingbirds. As an after-thought we had a roll up awning installed over a portion of the deck and near the door into the house. It was a $600 item that we will enjoy for many years.

Estimated Cost: For the new decking and other materials needed, I budgeted $2,400 including all the material and labor.

Expected Results: The new deck will be used frequently. I already have a nice stainless Steel charcoal grill and my wife has designated me as the outdoor chef – which seems to be more often!

Next Project: The landscaping is old and the plantings are not our preference. We like flowering plants, which were not used.

I will seek the advice of a landscape architect before tackling this project. There are many nice plants in North Carolina that do not grow in Florida so I have to do some research.


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