Monday, August 18, 2008

Better News from Lowe's

There was some encouraging news from home improvement retailer Lowe's today.

Well, I guess you could say that the news wasn't "as bad" as some were expecting. And in today's economic climate this qualifies as good news.
  • "2nd quarter net income dropped only 7.9% to $938 million, or 64 cents per share, beating analysts projections by 8 cents," said Lowe's.
  • Also, "sales rose 2.4%... and revenue rose for the first time in 3 quarters."
  • Analysts believe that tax rebates played a large role in the slight uptrend.
Now I'm not here to do a detailed analysis of tax or economic policy for you because there are online publications that do a great job of that... though I do have my opinions.

But the contrarian in me does see something positive here...

Saving and investing in yourself - by building a pool deck for example - is one of the best things you can do in any economic climate. Especially now.

Inflation and credit concerns are very likely to be big issues for awhile...

But, if Lowe's is doing a "little better than expected", i.e. less bad, then perhaps others are starting to realize the importance of saving and investing in yourself.

Building a deck around your pool is a productive venture.

You're using resources, many of which could be from here in the US... especially if you're using lumber... to build something that could possibly increase the value of your home.

Or these days maybe it just softens the blow...

Nonetheless, this is far different than borrowing against your home equity to purchase miscellaneous consumer items that depreciate... which is basically like recycling money to foreign banks for a negative return on investment and higher interest owed.

If you borrow against your home equity to build a pool deck or do any other home improvement - or if you pay out of your cash savings - you're borrowing or saving and then spending with the goal of being productive. Thus, making your own little infrastructure improvement.

This also benefits other productive ventures here in the US - like timber for example - and leads to increased domestic and personal savings... and this helps lead to more capital investment, production, and a rising standard of living.

This type of activity is the road to prosperity for the US and yourself. High levels of debt and over consumption of depreciating goods is not.

I can't tell you how to spend your money or credit.

But, if you're building an above ground pool deck or just thinking about it then pat yourself on the back.

You're not only doing something good for yourself and your family, but you're also an example of what independence and an appreciable standard of living is all about.

As always, enjoy your pool!


Paul Ottaviano

Monday, August 4, 2008

More on Pool Deck and Surface Repair

Many of you who started your above ground pool deck earlier this summer or spring are likely finished now... or close to it.

Those of you who just started recently will be finished eventually, likely before the end of summer.

So now is a good time to start thinking of how you'll maintain your pool deck and go about surface repair.

Hopefully - if you followed building code and used a guide like "How to Build a Pool Deck" - you're above ground pool deck is sturdy and generally safe.

However, like all things pool decks are gradually worn down over time by use or natural elements and will require surface repair from time-to-time.

But if you're paying attention and do your basic repairs as necessary your pool deck will remain a generally inexpensive and safe - and possibly valuable - addition to your home for a long time.

There are many pool deck repair issues to be on the look out for... termites, surface damage, loose railings, raised nail heads, and more...

That said, one of the most common problems and the most dangerous to your wood is moisture, i.e. wet and dry rot.
  • Wet rot will be colored black and has a spongy texture.
  • Dry rot is less dark but also has a spongy feel.
What causes this is moisture, so make sure your wood is dry before assembly. And consider painting it - completely.

Also, remember to sweep your pool deck regularly so that the air and sun can act as a natural drier and disinfectant for the wood.

If there is obvious compromising of a structural board - such as a joist or beam - you will need to replace it.

It's a little bit of work and some attention to detail is necessary. But it's much better than the alternative, which is ignoring your pool deck and not fixing a problem before it's very costly to fix... or too late.

That said, if you make it a regular priority - or even just an occasional chore - to care for your pool deck and do the necessary surface repairs then your above ground pool deck will remain safe and fun for everyone lucky enough to use it.

As always, enjoy your pool!

Best regards,

Paul Ottaviano

P.S. - Learn more about how to build a pool deck and pool deck surface repair here.