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