LESLIE: Now that summer is here, let’s help Fred in Florida enjoy his deck a little more.
Fred, what’s going on?
FRED: Yeah, I’ve been kind of procrastinating putting a deck in because …
LESLIE: Ah, you need to build one to enjoy it.
FRED: I’m not sure what kind of footing to put on it. With Florida having so much sand, would it be better to get those pre-poured concrete forms (inaudible) or would it better to sink a hole and fill that full of cement and do it that way?
TOM: Well, if you have a sandy base, the forms really work well; the Sonotubes. And all you’ve got to do is dig a hole, stick those in there, and fill them up with concrete. And by the way, you can have them come up above the hole and then cut back the form to right below ground level when you’re done so it looks like a nice, pretty concrete footing sticking up there. So I think the forms look real good.
Some of the other choices you’re going to have to make are what are you going to build the deck out of. Are you going to build it out of pressure-treated lumber? Are you going to build it out of composite lumber? Are you interested in any of the vinyl products? I think what probably makes a lot of sense, especially in your area of the country, is to build it out of pressure-treated lumber for the base but to use composite decking and composite railing materials, which will be really comfortable to walk on and really comfortable to handle and certainly very, very safe.
LESLIE: Oh, and durable.
TOM: Yeah, real durable. That’s a good point. You know, we use it in my part of the country along the Eastern shore where there’s boardwalks that people walk on all summer long. Millions of people walk on these and they take really brutal winters in the northeast as well and they stand up really well whether it’s summer or winter. So I think composite is a good choice, Fred.
FRED: And I think I’ve heard you talk about the composite before. It’s low maintenance too, isn’t it?
TOM: Yes it is.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: It really needs – it barely needs much cleaning, really. That’s all it really needs. You know, the composite wood is made up of ground wood fiber and plastics mixed together, so the fibers itself sometime can grow mildew or grow mold or moss and needs an occasional cleaning but it’s not nearly as bad as wood.
LESLIE: And it makes excellent dust when you cut it. It makes these great, frilly fringes; it’s really fun. It really does. And it …
TOM: (chuckles) Which is so important, Fred, you know. The size and the shape of your sawdust is just critical in Leslie’s world. (chuckles)
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It is. If you’ve got to clean it up, it better be fun. Well, and you know what? The composite decking used to only be available in standard gray and now it’s available in so many different colorations and tones that mimic wood and even exotic woods that it’s just a great choice.
TOM: And it even has different textures, different surfaces. Some are straight and grooved and some look just like wood planks. OK, Fred?
FRED: OK, thanks a lot.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
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