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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200+ Displays | Under 14 Free

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