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Here's How: Add a Softer Layer Over Your Patio and Deck for Comfort

James Dulley on

Dear James: My old deck and patio have gotten worn and rough over the years. Instead of having expensive repairs done, are there comfortable, durable coverings I can put over them? -- Cheryl T.

Dear Cheryl: Deteriorated deck and patio surfaces can be very uncomfortable to walk on, and they look bad. A rough wood surface can be dangerous because of splinters and exposed nailheads. Before covering the surface, inspect it carefully to be sure it is still structurally sound because problems will be hidden under the covering.

You can use one of several materials to cover the surfaces depending on the appearance and feel you desire. One material to use is a covering similar to Astro Turf, which is used on some sporting fields. It is usually placed over concrete, so it would work for your patio. It will also make the patio blend in better with the adjacent landscaping.

Another commercial covering to try is the green grass carpeting used at miniature golf courses. This will work equally well on a wood deck or a concrete patio. Since it was developed for outdoor use and foot traffic, it resists the sun's damaging rays and abuse from feet.

This type of grass carpeting is made from polypropylene plastic fibers. This plastic is excellent for outdoor use because it does not absorb water, and it can be tinted with bright pigments. Nylon carpeting tends to hold some water, but it is more crush resistant to maintain its thickness.

Once you select the type and texture of outdoor carpeting, you must choose a color. Lighter colors with a subdued tint reflect light well and give the area a more open feel. Choosing cooler colors tend to make the floor appear to recede, creating a sense of depth. Whatever color you select, make sure the pigments and the base materials include ultraviolet light inhibitors.

Standard indoor-outdoor carpeting is available in many quality grades. In addition to the price, the thickness of the carpeting is often a good indicator of its quality. Carpeting with an all-weather, marine-type of backing will be most moisture and mildew resistant.


If your patio or deck is on the exact same level as the floor indoors, consider running the same indoor-outdoor carpeting into the house for a few feet. This creates a visual link between the two areas and provides durable carpeting where your children's dirty shoes first enter the house from the outdoors.

The majority of this carpeting is sold in rolls that are six or 12 feet wide. When determining how much carpeting to purchase, add in the width of seam overlap if you need several pieces. Always run the seams parallel to the light source so they are less apparent. Also, try to place the seams in lower traffic areas.

The carpeting can be attached to the deck or patio with adhesive, double-sided tape, or it can be loose. For outdoor use where children will be running over it, it is best to use adhesive tape to make sure it stays in place. The packaging for the carpeting you select should indicate the recommended type of adhesive for the backing material. Always install carpeting on a dry, sunny day for a faster drying time of the adhesive.


Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com. To find out more about James Dulley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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