Friday, December 4, 2009

Aquatic Therapy and Physical Training

When I was a kid our neighbor Al had shoulder surgery. Al was an old timer who spent some of his free time helping my Cub Scout den make those little wood cars for the derby, and the derby was always a big deal.

So it was only natural that when Al had his shoulder surgery my parents let him come over and use our swimming pool for therapy. At the time I remember wondering why Al "wasn't really swimming" but instead walking in place and doing a very slow breath stroke in the shallow end. Then my mother explained to me that he had been injured and the pool was an important part of his rehabilitation.

This was when I realized that a swimming pool could be something more than just for play or for racing my friends. Now when I swim it's either for soothing relaxation or exercise.

One of my favorite exercises, back when I was surfing a lot a few years ago, was to swim underwater laps. The resistance was greater a few feet under the surface, or at least it felt that way, and it expanded my lung capacity. My body was trained to stay calm while underwater, always useful when surfing.

Swimming pools offer you weightless strength and stamina training, meaning less stress on your joints than a land based workout. A pool like the Hyrdroworx has taken this to a new level and is used by collegiate and professional sports teams.

A pool like the Hydroworx can be used inside or outside your home, and you could also build a small pool deck around it if you wanted to. Visit the Hydroworx website for an example.

If you have an above ground pool already but it's now too cold to use it, then consider using a local aquatic center or see if your gym has a swimming pool. Swimming burns calories very quickly, is a total body workout, and is much easier on your body than a land based workout.

As always, be safe while swimming and if necessary improve your swimming skills before taking to an Olympic size pool, doing underwater laps like I did, or attempting an advanced stroke.

Happy holidays!


Paul Ottaviano - How to Build a Pool Deck

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why Advertising?

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile will probably have noticed the new Google ads feature in the left column.

I always want to focus on writing good blogs that hopefully give you some useful insight and information into above ground pool decks, and pools in general. That said, I don't want to overwhelm readers with advertisements either.

However, in this economy it is important for information publishers like myself to ethically monetize websites or blogs in a generally acceptable way.

We do sell the eBook guide How to Build a Pool Deck at our website - a good building season seller - but at this moment it's important that I find ways to continue growing so I can continue to bring good content to you, and relevant advertising is part of the solution since it also gives you additional resources.

The Google ads you see should be relevant to decking, home improvement, and swimming pools. All things I assume you're interested in. If you're reading this the day of the post, it be might another day or two before Google can start feeding relevant ads. If you're reading this at a later date and the ads are not relevant please let me know.

I make no guarantees regarding any of the third-party Google advertised sites you visit and I reserve the right to stop the ad feed at anytime. That out of the way, based on my experience Google does a good job of making sure the websites listed are at least relevant.

That said, of course you do not have to click through to any of the websites advertised unless it looks good to you. That is at your discretion. I love it every time you stay here or click through to our website and you're always welcome back!

I appreciate your understanding and your visits.

Enjoy you pool!

Best regards,

Paul Ottaviano

Friday, November 6, 2009

Above Ground Pool Deck ROI

It's hard to believe that November is already here. I hope you all had a great summer and if you decided to build an above ground pool deck then I hope everything went as smoothly as possible and that you still had some time left over to enjoy it this summer.

If you had your return-on-investment (ROI) in mind it's very possible you made a good decision to build a pool deck.

Appraisers will usually not include just an above ground pool because it's not considered a permanent structure. However, an above ground pool deck could possibly be included in your appraisal.

I don't want to give you the impression that it's really that simple because there are details that could influence an appraisers or perspective home buyers thinking.

For example, the size of the deck, its location or compatibility with the home, whether it's made of composite or wood, etc... and of course whether or not you build your pool deck in compliance with local building codes could have a impact on your ROI. There is also the ups and downs of the housing market too.

That said, if you build an above ground pool deck of reasonably good quality and it's up to code you could very well see a nice ROI.

As always, enjoy your pool!


Paul Ottaviano - How to Build a Deck Around a Pool

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Who Say's Above Ground Pools and Decks Are Only for Swimming?

It's not decking season so let's look at something fun and unique.

Check out this story from
Florida's Seminole Voice. It's about how a local college theater group used an above ground pool and deck as a set for a play, very interesting.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dome Covers for Your Above Ground Pool

I'm still reading The Ultimate Guide to Above Ground Pools by Terry Tamminen. Actually, I'm reading it for the second time.

There is so much quality information about above ground pool maintenance that you'll find it impossible to remember it all just after one reading. It's one of those books that's a fantastic reference guide.

Since my mind is still on winterization I found his brief mention of dome covers really interesting.

A dome cover benefits you if you live in a climate where rain and snow are common. It helps keep dirt and debris out of your pool. If used in a rainy climate during the swim season, it will protect swimmers.

The cover is made of clear plastic and it's held together by a lightweight frame. Tamminen says that for larger pools a blower is used to keep the dome inflated and that the blower "requires no more electricity than a 100 watt light bulb".

It looks good too,
even though it's plastic. The picture in Tamminen's book resembles a yurt or something you might use while camping.

I'd heard of dome covers but while living in southern California they weren't needed, so I had never seen one before. For those of you living in a rainy or snowy climate it might be very useful.

If you decide to get one for your above ground pool and deck, ask your local pool supplier for details and make sure you get the right one for your pool.

As always, enjoy your pool!


Paul Ottaviano - How to Build Decks for Above Ground Pools

Friday, September 11, 2009

Winterizing Your Above Ground Pool

Hopefully you had a good summer and enjoyed your above ground pool, and deck. It seems like yesterday that it was May and many of you were ramping up your pool deck plans.

Now that it's September and school has started you might have an additional few weeks or so of decent swimming weather, but it's already nearing that time when you're going to have start thinking about winterizing your above ground pool.

For those of you who are relatively new to pool ownership or are just looking for good information on winterization - and general pool maintenance info - I recommend The Ultimate Guide to Above-Ground Pools by Terry Tamminen.

In addition to a lot of pool care information - everything from pumps to filters - there is a whole chapter on above ground pool repair and winterization that is very easy to understand.

Tamminen writes that winterization in temperate climates is easy, but warns against doing nothing. He keeps the water circulating and heater on every few hours to prevent any freezing, which he says is better than replacing broken pipes.

For colder climates, Tamminen goes into more depth but also includes a "quick start guide" for those of you with a little more experience and just looking to cut straight to the facts.

All of that work you put into your above ground pool deck might be regrettable if you don't winterize. Cracked pipes, algae, and problems from dirt and debris can be prevented if you remember to take care of your pool during the winter.

As always, enjoy your pool!

Best regards,

Paul Ottaviano - How to Build Pool Decks

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pool Decking Safety

I sometimes walk barefoot on my old deck. There haven't been many splinters to deal with, but there are a few popped up screws here or there to look out for. It happens as a deck ages.

This brings to mind some safety precautions you can take with your swimming pool deck.

When building a deck around your pool, remember that most people who use it will be barefoot. If affordable, it's a good idea to invest in the best decking lumber available.

Naturally resistant wood might be a good choice for you. Also, redwood reportedly does not splinter easily. I can't personally attest to this because it's not what my deck is made of.

Remember to reseal your wood every year. Some recommend doing this twice each year, or more.

As with many things, if you take care of your above ground swimming pool deck then it will take care of you.

Enjoy your pool!


Paul Ottaviano - How to Build Pool Decks

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Guide: Don't Let Your Roses Bug You!

Our sister website has just released a new rose care guide on rose diseases and pest control titled "Don't Let Your Roses Bug You!".

Those of you who also have roses, or know someone who does, will find this rose care information valuable.

As always, enjoy your pool!


Paul Ottaviano - How to Build a Swimming Pool Deck

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How much does it cost to build a pool deck?

I got a good question last week from a reader named Terry who asked, "How much to have an above ground pool deck built? What are the best options in your opinion?"

My answer...

There are many good options to choose from if you're going to build a pool deck. What's best for you might not be best for others, and vice versa.

Also, a lot depends on the dimensions and dynamics of your backyard, and your local building codes too. So it's difficult to generalize without being able to see your backyard.

That said, what if you just have a basic need to build a pool deck?

For example, if your wife is insisting on one so you can see your kids swim without having to stand on your toes, then a wraparound deck on a floating foundation is the most common, generally regarded as the easiest to build, and might be the right deck for you.

We use the wraparound example in the step-by-step construction chapter of our eBook "How to Build a Pool Deck".

If you want to build a pool deck your friends will really admire and you're planning on having a lot of swim parties, then perhaps a multi-level deck is best for you. It all depends on your preferences and how you plan on using the deck.

As for costs, that depends on you and some choices you make. For instance, it depends on which lumber you choose, how big your deck will be, if you buy or rent tools, etc.

I know of some people who invested up to $20,000 building a deck, usually a multi-level deck, and some people who have spent much less.

It's really up to the individual builder and what you want out of the deck.

As always, enjoy your pool!

Best regards,

Paul Ottaviano - eBook "How to Build a Pool Deck"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another Code Horror Story

City Deems $20,000 Pool Deck Illegal

I've written before that you need to check with your local building inspector before building a pool deck. It's not because I think codes are always perfect but because it can be very costly if you don't.

This particular case involves a man in Arkansas who built a very nice looking above ground pool deck for his family. As far as safety is concerned, there doesn't appear to be any problems. The problem is that there is supposedly an easement in his backyard that prohibits the building of a deck. So now the city is telling him to take down the entire $20,000 deck.

He claims that a building inspector told him it was fine to build there. Another inspector is saying no. I don't know all the facts of the story but if there is a lesson to be learned, perhaps it's that you shouldn't trust what some worker for the city says and you should double check and get the necessary permits before building.

You can check out this story from 4029 TV in Arkansas here.

As always, enjoy your pool.


Paul Ottaviano - How to Build Pool Decks

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cap and Trade and Your Deck

I usually don't get too involved with politics on this blog because most of it isn't related to building a pool deck. However, the Waxman-Markey climate change "cap and trade" bill making its way through Congress could have impact on your decking plans or even just your backyard.

For example...

The now famous "shade tree" requirement (Section 205) is a real part of the bill.

Those who voted for this bill - assuming they read it - would now like the government to be your chief landscaper. There will be "minimum required distances" between your trees and your home, as well as other things, like your pool deck.

Also, if this bill becomes law there will be "lighting efficiency standards". So those of you who just installed outdoor lighting that doesn't meet the government prescribed list of qualifications can expect what? An energy audit? I don't know.

I understand that many of you probably have different views on government, energy, and the environment.

My point here is not to force my personal views upon you but instead show how this bill could possibly impact your decking plans, your existing pool deck, or other DIY projects you have in mind for the future.

Waxman-Markey is a mammoth piece of legislation. At 1000 pages nobody can realistically be expected to read the whole thing in one sitting - most of the House didn't read it - but there are people out there who do just that and post their findings.

So I'll be keeping a close eye on this and anything that looks like it could affect your pool deck ideas or plans will be passed along to you.

You can view the bill for yourself here.


Paul Ottaviano - How to Build Pool Decks

Monday, July 6, 2009

Code Enforcement: Safety or Corruption?

Couple builds a pool deck and then is fined $5000.

I've written before that when building a deck around your pool you'll need to follow local building codes.

That said, I write that not out of love for all codes or building inspectors but instead out of genuine concern for your safety - and especially your wallet - because some local governments crack down hard on people who circumvent their local permit system.

With that in mind, take a look at this story out of Chicago's Daily Herald where a couple was fined $5000 for building a above ground pool deck without acquiring a permit.

Even more interesting are the reader's comments. Many are calling the village inspection department corrupt and incompetent. Others would make my libertarian friends proud by questioning the governments role in "pool deck safety".

Without passing any moral judgment on this one case or the people involved, my own general opinion on codes and inspectors is this...

If they're going to exist at all it should only be for safety reasons and not design preferences. And of course inspectors should be competent and honest. But back in the real world, some are incompetent and dishonest.

Also, codes should not be used as a system where you are forced to pay tribute to a local government just for "the right" to build a pool deck or help the government "raise revenue". And any "penalties" for "non-compliance" should not be draconian.

If someone builds an ugly deck, then they'll pay for it later when they try to sell their home. That's penalty enough.

What do you think?

Enjoy your pool! If you can.


Paul Ottaviano - How to build a swimming pool deck

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How to Build Your Deck with Rental Tools

Rent the Tools You'll Need Only Once

When I was in college I worked for a small home improvement chain in La Habra, CA. After my "breaking in period" I was assigned to the tool rental desk.

At the time, I didn't know much about the tools we rented. That said, there wasn't a huge inventory of tools to rent and most of our customers knew what they were looking for anyway.

Many of the people who rented tools were either contractors or DIY'ers with at least a little bit of experience. Many of them had stories about how they bought new tools for one particular project only to never use that tool again. Now that I think about it that was their way of saying, "I'm your rental customer. Don't try to sell me something I don't want to keep and I'll probably be back."

Tool rental is really a great service and I highly recommend that you look into it for your above ground swimming pool deck project.

It's great for contractors because they'll likely spend less on tools they don't need regularly and hopefully they'll pass those cost savings on to you.

If you're building a deck for your pool, then renting tools you'll only need for that project is a obvious money saver.

For example, you probably won't need to buy excavation equipment or an hydraulic jack. So rent those if you need them.

The best thing to do when planning your above ground swimming pool deck is to make a list of all the tools you'll need, and also what you might need.

Then take inventory of what you already own and what you can borrow from a friend or neighbor.

It may feel awkward to ask a friend to borrow a tool, but it could save you some money. And who knows? Maybe your friend will want to help out with the construction. A long shot, but you never know until you ask.

Next, think about any other DIY projects you might do in the future. Will you need a new tool for that project as well? Then perhaps it makes sense to go ahead and buy it.

If you don't plan on doing another project in the near future or it won't require a specific tool you don't already have, then rent that tool instead.

Renting tools should be easy. Most reputable home improvement centers should offer the service.

As always, enjoy your pool!


Paul Ottaviano - How to Build a Deck for an Above Ground Pool

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Venice: Is there anything you can learn from it?

I just returned from a two week tour of Italy.

I didn't see any above ground pool decks, or any decks really, while driving around the countryside and catching a glimpse of Italian towns.

Then again, I spent most of my time in coastal towns and cities like Rome or Florence. Locals may or may not agree, but a city like Florence doesn't need much "improvement" in my opinion.

Also, from what I could tell it seems like many Italians live in apartments so naturally there would be little reason for people to add something like a pool deck. Now that I think about it, I didn't see that many residential swimming pools at all.

"Ah, Venice."

One of the cities I visited was Venice. There is no other place like it in the world. If you like art and architecture then it's a city you must visit at least once.

If you're a DIY'er who loves to analyze the contours of a bridge, the craftsmanship that went into a door, or the artistry that goes into a marble floor or column then Venice, like the rest of Italy, would strike you as a marvel.

People say one of the best things to do in Venice is to "just get lost". Pick a side street or alley and just wander. Go and see what you stumble across. I did this.

As wonderful as the city is, while I was wandering I couldn't help but notice the problems Venice is having with its buildings.

As you probably know, Venice is a very old city. Most of our American cities are babies by comparison. Many of the buildings and homes in Venice were built hundreds of years ago. One person told us that his walls were a thousand years old.

The city was built on a swampy archipelago, 118 islands if my information is correct. And now after centuries of use the buildings are sinking.

Water levels appear to be rising but this strikes me as more of an illusion because some old homes along the canals - and I mean old - are teetering. Towers are leaning not unlike the one in Pisa. I looked closely at the water line and water is seeping underneath first-floor doorways in some places.

But Venice is still standing and the people who live there appear happy as they move about on their boats, water taxi's, and water buses. Unfortunately though, power boats are part of the problem.

Visitors from around the world still want to go there and their tourist dollar is still welcome in most areas, even if locals complain about trying to "get their city back".

How long can Venice stand? I don't know. I hope it stands forever but based on what I saw that's not a realistic possibility.

Across the city skyline I could see many cranes. When I asked what was going on, the answer I got was that they're installing some sort of "metal plates" along the canals that will hopefully help control water levels.

I don't know much about that sort of engineering or Venice's foundations, but I was immediately skeptical of this plan. It seems to me that the mother of all levee projects might be necessary to save a city like Venice.

They are installing floodgates at each of the three major inlets. A controversial project costing an estimated $6 billion Venetian planners are hoping this prevents flooding when tides rise. But there is still the issue of their soft, swamp like soil and how some buildings are just sinking.

What can you learn from this?

The most obvious lesson to be learned is to only build on good soil. The last thing you want to do is build a pool deck and then watch it sink or lean over the years because of weak soil or erosion.

That said, your pool deck won't be as heavy as a Venetian home but depending on where you live the soil might be something you'll need to consider.

As always, enjoy your pool!


Paul Ottaviano - How to Build a Deck Around Your Pool

Upcoming Home Show Schedule

Thanks to for the head's up.

Hamptons Home & Garden Show | June 5 -7 | General Admission $10
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Pima Home & Garden Show | Pima County Fairgrounds | June 5 -7
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Admission $7, 16 under free

Reno Home Flower & Garden Show | June 13 -14 | Free Admission
Reno-Sparks Convention Center | Parking $7

33rd Home Remodeling & Redecorating Show | June 27 - 28
L.A. Convention Center | Free coupons online

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Create Your Own Wraparound Deck

I'm going to cover a familiar sounding theme but one that is crucial if you're going to build a solid deck around your above ground pool. And that is planning.

I'm sometimes asked to look at a persons pool deck plans and comment on the design. This is a difficult thing to do unless I'm looking at a persons backyard and learning more about what they really want out of the deck.

So I usually ask, "why are you building an above ground pool deck?"

The answer for many people, and perhaps this is true of yourself, is common...
  • You just want a simple deck that will make the yard and above ground pool look better.
  • You want a basic deck so you can watch your kids swim without having to stand on your toes.
In other words, many of you just a have a basic need for an above ground pool deck and you want it built relatively quickly so you can enjoy it during the summer, or at least before the summer is over.

If this describes you then I recommend you build a wraparound pool deck on a floating foundation.

This is a common deck that is regarded by many as the easiest to plan and build. It fits around most oval above ground pools and does not require digging for post holes.

It's the deck we use for the step-by-step construction chapter of our eBook How to Build a Pool Deck.

If simplicity is what you want, then a wraparound deck on a floating foundation is the one for you and it will look great too.

As always, enjoy your pool!


Paul Ottaviano

Friday, April 17, 2009

Time to Work On Your Pool Deck Plans

It's mid-April and we're quickly approaching that time of year when the weather will be accomdating to your above ground pool deck project.

If you've already decided on the key elements of your pool deck design... decking, railings, etc., then now is a good time to start putting your plans on paper.

You'll need pool deck plans drawn in order to get a permit from your local building department. If you don't know what is required visit your building department before drawing any plans.

You might also find sample deck plans at your local building department

Local building departments will sometimes refer to each required deck drawing using slightly different names. But there are generally four plans that you'll need to submit for approval.

1. The Site Plan or Site Map

2. The Plan View or Plan Drawing

3. Elevation Plan

4. The Master Plan or Detail Drawing

It may be best for you to go in that order. But, you may discover that drawing your plan view or elevation after drawing your master plan is the easier way to go.

Just make sure that you're giving the local building department what's required and that you have a workable, and safe, above ground pool deck blueprint before starting construction.

It's almost that time of year!

As always, enjoy your pool!


Paul Ottaviano

P.S. - Click on the link for more on above ground pool deck blueprints and plan drawings.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pool Deck Decoration Ideas

Some of you may already have above ground pool decks and are eagerly awaiting the fast approaching summer for a chance to use it.

That said, some of you may be building an above ground pool deck and you're planning on getting it done with enough time left this summer to enjoy it.

Either way, you'll likely want to add decorations to your pool deck that:

  • Reflects your personal style
  • Aesthetically blends with your home or indoor rooms
  • Makes your pool deck a place where people want to be
Let's take the first point, you spent a considerable amount of time and money when building a deck around your pool. Decorations that reflect your personal style - or represents your family's tastes - is like your signature. It will say a lot about you. So have fun with it and make it look good.

Here are just a couple ideas that I'll throw out there... but the only real limit is your imagination...
  • Do you collect antiques?
If so, maybe take some of your cheaper items that won't rust and include them around your pool deck for a nostalgic feel.
  • Are you a gardener?
Then consider adding some plants around the perimeter of the deck. Succulents could work for you... just be careful not to splash chlorinated pool water on any plants you might use.
  • Are you an outdoor enthusiast?
Remember, it's your personal style we're talking about here. Have fun with it.

That said, I'm not a landscape designer or art director. So I'll just suggest that you write down all the things that you and your family take great interest or passion in... then tinker and experiment with the details... and then go with what looks good and feels right to you.

Now let's take the second point from the first list above.

If you want a decoration that is compatible with your indoor rooms then find similar items for both places.

It's good to have your pool deck admired from the house and your home admired from your pool deck. If this is a priority for you, then compatibility and continuity in style for both places is important here.

One more thing to remember...

Any decorative item that you choose to include with your above ground pool deck must be safe and securely fastened or weighted down.

As always, enjoy your pool.


Paul Ottaviano
How to Build a Swimming Pool Deck

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More on Pool Deck Railings

Your swimming pool deck railings can be aesthetically pleasing and should be compatible with the look of your home and backyard.

But you also need to keep safety in mind.

Your railings height should be at least 3' above the decking surface. This should be high enough for the average person to lean on or rest their elbow without fear of falling over. Some railings are up to 4' high, but the height of your railing will depend on the height of your swimming pool deck.

As always, check with your local building inspector to find out what your local building codes are. Most codes will require railings for wood pool decks 3' off the ground and all stairs. But it's a good idea to have railings regardless of the height of your above ground pool deck.

Railings are a good way to show off your personal style but are also an essential part of any deck. You want to make sure that people who swim in your pool and use your deck are free from fearing for their safety so all they do is have fun... and you're free from worry.

Enjoy your pool!


Paul Ottaviano

P.S. - With that said, you also have to build your wood pool deck and railings properly so you'll know they'll remain secure through years of use. Learn how to build an above ground swimming pool deck.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Builder Beware

My neighbors are building a new garage and remodeling their kitchen. This project started months ago before the holidays. It's not finished yet and probably won't be anytime real soon. Why? They gave the contract to a one man show and paid for the entire project up front.

Before they started the project, their first contractor - who does all the work himself for some insane reason - gave them a sob story about how hard life was for him... he was in debt and creditors were all over him... his fiance was expecting and he would have another mouth to feed... blah blah blah... so he needed the entire $5000 for the garage up front (a low ball estimate).

My neighbors are not rich and $5000 is a lot of money for them... it's a lot for most of us these days. But they're very nice people, my neighbors, and so they paid without any contract or payment schedule written up.

Months later...

After no shows for days or weeks, slow work progress, the contractors work not passing inspection, and a generally poor attitude my neighbors had no choice but to fire the contractor with the project only about half-way completed.

Not surprisingly the contractor had already spent the $5000, probably on some things unrelated to the project. So now my neighbors are filing a complaint through the state contracting board and they're hoping to get their money back through the contractors bond. But that could take awhile.

So for now they're out thousands of dollars and they've hired another contractor to finish the project - who is doing a good job - but it has basically doubled their cost. The difference they're paying with their credit cards.

How does this apply to your above ground pool deck project?

If you're going to hire a contractor to build your pool deck there are a number of things to remember prior to awarding the contract and paying any money...

1. Meet with at least several contractors

Do not be seduced by a sob story like my neighbors were. Make sure your contractor has a good track record and has been in business for awhile.

You want professionalism, which means stability and continuity. If he starts talking about how desperate his personal life is, don't give him the contract just to "help him out". That's what my neighbors did. Don't be like them.

2. Have a work contract with specifics clearly understood by you and the contractor

  • Include a description of the work to be completed, i.e. the specific project and where it is to be done, when, and with what materials, etc.
  • Make sure the price is listed. This includes supplies, labor, and local fees or taxes.
  • Work schedule: include the project start date and finish date. But be flexible in case of bad weather or emergency situations.
  • Payment plan: It is important that you don't pay for it all up front like my neighbors did. Pay in installments upon completion of various phases of the project.
A good contractor who wants you to pay him for building a deck around your pool should have no problem agreeing to these things.

There might be some nuances in the contract he wants to discuss or clarify, but that's normal. However, if he disagrees with the idea of having a contract at all or a payment schedule move on to someone better.

As always, enjoy your pool!

Best regards,

Paul Ottaviano
DIY Above Ground Pool Deck

P.S. - We go into more depth on this subject in our eBook "Only Hire a Builder if You Need One". It's a free bonus to our eBook "How to Build a Pool Deck".

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Add More Beauty to Your Backyard with Roses

Your above ground pool and deck will be great additions to your backyard. But as you know there is a lot more to your backyard than just a swimming pool.

A lot of you probably have roses growing in the backyard or old rose bushes that look like they're beyond help and not worth the time it takes to care for them. But what if I told you that caring for your roses is actually easier than you might think?

That said, some of you might have beautiful roses already and would like to learn more about how to maintain healthy rose plants or encourage repeat blooms. But you're unsure of how to do it. And what if I told you there was a new info product available from us that showed you how to do it?

And it was simple and easy-to-understand? No rose snobbery.

Would that be something that interested you?

That's why that I'm announcing the launch of our newest home and garden themed website: "Be Happy with Your Roses".

The first thing we're going to show you is how to prune your roses so you maintain healthy roses and encourage healthier blooms year in and year out. Think of how that will compliment your above ground pool deck!

Whether it's rose plants in your soil or containers resting on your pool deck, these easy-to-understand steps will give you a lot of confidence and have you set up to grow beautiful roses when it's time for them to bloom in your climate zone each year.

And we don't plan on stopping with rose pruning! We're going to produce additional rose and flower information in the future.

Click on this link to check it out now...

When and How to Prune Your Roses

As always, enjoy your pool and backyard!

Best regards,

Paul Ottaviano

P.S. - Also, check out our rose care tips blog A Nose for Roses. We've been busy with the website so the last post is about a month old... but we're going to be adding a lot more to it now! So if you enjoy the pool blog and you're interested in how to take care of your roses, I think you'll like our rose blog too.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Upcoming Home & Garden Shows

Thanks to the newsletter for the heads up.

February 2009 Home & Garden Show Schedule

Feb 6 - 8:
  • Kansas City Lawn, Garden, Remodel, Redecorating Show at Kemper Arena
  • 17th Annual North Florida Home Show at Leon County Civic Center, Tallahassee FL
  • Home Improvement & Backyard Living Expo at South Point Events Center, Las Vegas NV
  • 6th Annual Columbus Home Improvement Show at Ohio Franklin County Veterans Memorial
Feb 7 - 8:
  • Maine Home, Remodeling, & Garden Show at Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland ME
Feb 12 - 15:
  • Des Moines Home & Garden Show at Celebrity Designs Iowa Events Center
Feb 18 - 22:
  • Portland Home & Garden Show at Portland Expo Center, Portland OR
Feb 27 - Mar 8
  • 28th Annual Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show at DL Lawrence Convention Center
As always, enjoy your pool and backyard!


Paul Ottaviano
DIY Above Ground Pool Deck

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Be Your Own Free Pool Deck Plan

There are a number of places on the Internet where you can search for free pool deck plans and a few that might give you some decent ideas on what's realistic in your backyard.

That said, many of the free pool deck plans out there don't take into account your personal needs or style, your local building codes, or your budget. Many of the plans I see are for more complex designs or multilevel pool decks that require a serious amount of construction skill and are very expensive to build.

Also, the most common above ground pool deck is one with a floating foundation. So if you go with something like a floating foundation because you want to build the pool deck in time for the summer swim season then just keep it simple, and don't distract yourself with too many complex designs.

What is the best free pool deck plan? It's one that you'll do yourself and it's not difficult. Here are some basic steps to help you get started...

1. Start by taking measurements of your backyard... most importantly the distances between your pool and house, property lines, utility lines, trees, etc., and other backyard amenities.

2. Sketch your own pool deck design on a piece of paper.

This does not have to be a work of art. Just get your ideas down on paper. Also, make sure the design is compatible with the dynamics of your backyard and home, i.e. your local building codes might prohibit you from building over utility lines... this is where your measurements will help you.

It's also a good idea to visit your local building inspector before planning so you can get a better understanding of what's practical and up to code.

Since your above ground pool deck is something your family will enjoy it's a smart idea for you to show them your plans and get their feedback on it.

Eventually you'll take your sketch and draw your pool deck plan to scale on graph paper. This will essentially be the blueprint for your above ground pool deck and likely what the local building inspector will want to see prior to issuing any permits that may be required in your community.

If you're unsure about your skills in this area then you can hire a local contractor or engineer to draw the plan for you.

Deck design software is also available from various sources on the Internet. That said, most of the ones I've seen or used are not pool deck specific and their pool deck applications are not very useful in my opinion.

As always, enjoy your pool!


Paul Ottaviano
How to Build an Above Ground Pool Deck

Monday, January 5, 2009

Building Material Prices are Rising

One of my favorite newsletters is Steve Sjuggerud's Daily Wealth. It's an investment newsletter that covers a wide variety of business news and investment opportunity. Occasionally he has a guest writer for the newsletter.

On December 24th, Tom Dyson wrote a piece in Daily Wealth titled "Here's How You'll Know the Market Has Bottomed".

I think it's important to bring this to your attention because he specifically discussed the price of building materials in his article and how prices are rising. This rebound for prices occurring after they had dropped over 50% since October 2005.

According to Tom Dyson's article and the manufacturers themselves here is how much prices have risen recently:

  • Plywood is up 9.9%
  • Pine lumber is up 5.8% to 15.7%
  • Most metal connectors are up 5% to 20%
  • Truss prices fell only 2.9%, but the strength in pine is expected to push prices up in January
Also, some prices have dropped:

  • Roll foundation plastic dropped 6.7%
  • Rebar -3.4%
  • Spruce lumber -15%
  • Studs -10%
  • Drywall products dropped between 6.7% and 9%
Overall, every major supplier in drywall, insulation, roofing, insulation board, steel studs, and most miscellaneous building categories have announced increases in cost from 7% to 10%, according to the article.

Tom Dyson wondered if these price increases really have much to do with supply and demand.

With that said, let's look at it from the point-of-view of someone like yourself who is thinking of building an above ground pool deck and has to take material costs into consideration.

Now might be a very good time to build your pool deck or start buying some materials that can be stored during the winter... and waiting there for you when the spring or summer season comes around... at least while prices remain relatively low compared to the peak of 2005.

As you can see from the data above, prices are on the rise again. If the market has indeed bottomed and this trend of higher prices continues then it's hard to imagine pool deck building materials being any cheaper than they are now.

As always, enjoy your pool!

Happy New Year,

Paul Ottaviano
How to Build a Deck Around Your Pool