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Fiberglass decks and acoustic ceilings

Your Home Improvements

Posted: July 19, 2008 12:42 a.m.
Updated: September 19, 2008 5:04 a.m.

Dear Robert,
I am the VP of an HOA community, and I have a question for you. We need some deck work done, and we're planning on rebuilding them from scratch. So far, we have received bids on three different types of decking - eurathane, fiberglass and a muir coat. Are there any other types that we should look into? I'd like to know which one is the best.

Hello Dorothy,
I'm familiar with all three of the decking types you mentioned. In my opinion the best choice, hands down, is the fiberglass system. It's much more durable and more forgiving on the maintenance if you occasionally happen to neglect the schedule. It's also much more resilient if anything is dragged across the surface.
If you're looking for a strong, durable and waterproof decking system, go with the fiberglass. It will cost you a little more for the install, but well worth it.

Hi Robert,
I've noticed you get a few swimming pool questions, so I thought I would ask about mine. The pool itself is in great condition, but the concrete around it is in horrible shape. It has cracked, lifted, sank ­- you name it. There are weeds growing up through the cracks in one section. Someone came out and told me what it would cost to break out all of the old concrete and repour it, and I almost had a heart attack! He also said that there were no guarantees that the new concrete would not crack again. Instead of spending that kind of money with no warranty, what do you think about installing a redwood deck, covering the bad concrete, all around the pool? Would redwood be the best choice?
Jim B.

Hi Jim,
I would recommend against that. You're talking about a constant maintenance issue with the acidic and chlorinated water from the pool. Even with the redwood, this is going to be a maintenance nightmare.

You'd have to finish the planks, and the chlorine will turn it white. It will be spotted and nasty in no time.

Unless you've got a lot of extra time on your hands and love to spend your weekends stripping and sealing, stripping and sealing, I would not even consider it.

The contractor you spoke with is correct. Concrete will crack, but there are other options available. You probably don't have to remove all of the concrete around your pool and re-pour the entire area. Just make the necessary repair to get a good even surface. Then you could apply a cool deck. This is a three step system that begins with a two stage primer - basically an adhesive. After the adhesive is completely dry, you apply the texture coat with a hopper, meaning you spray it on. Typically, we then hit the texture with a trowel to give it a knock-down finish. After this dries, the final top or finish color coat is applied with a roller. Then you let it sit for 24 hours before foot traffic and 72 hours before moving any furniture onto the surface. There are several colors available for the texture and top coat so it's easy to match any scheme you have. This cool deck is, like the name implies, also much cooler to walk on and provides a long lasting, skid resistant surface.

Dear Mr. Lamoureux,
We have added on and basically remodeled our entire home. In what was the original living room, we still have an acoustic ceiling that I don't like and does not match the rest of the house which has smooth ceilings. What's the best way to take this off or would it be easier to put new drywall over the top of it and go from there?
Erika J.

Hello Erika,
No, I wouldn't add drywall over the acoustic. You'd want to remove the texture and finish in your choice, but first of all you'd want to find out if there is any asbestos in it. Generally, as a rule of thumb, you find asbestos in structures pre-1973. We haven't used acoustic in 10 years in new construction, easy. If your home is older than 1973, I would call an abatement company and have it tested. If it's positive, it has to be abated.

If no asbestos is present, get all of the furniture out of the room and cover everything in plastic. Get a Hudson sprayer and spray the ceiling with a very light mist of water. This will help to keep the dust down and will also soften the acoustic because there is an adhesive in it. Let this sit for about 15 minutes then get a paddle scraper on a pole and start scraping the texture off of the ceiling. Work on small areas at a time until you get the feel for it. Be careful not to gouge the drywall beneath the acoustic.

Make sure, and I cannot emphasize this enough, that you let the drywall dry thoroughly before you refloat with the topping compound. If you float on top of wet drywall, you will have the nastiest smell you can imagine in your home that will take months to dissipate. After you have finished scraping, put an industrial fan or two in that room and leave them on for two days. Once you have it floated out, you can primer it and texture coat it. If you want a smooth surface, sand it down really well and paint.

Robert Lamoureux has 25 years' experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contacting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor, after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Send your questions to


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