Dear James: We have a patio and a deck in the backyard. Often, when the kids run on them, they complain about the surface hurting their feet. Is there a water resistant, soft carpet-type of covering I can install myself? -- Elizabeth B.
Dear Elizabeth: Of course! Remember the green "grass" on the miniature golf course you take the kids to? Well, that substance works great on patios and decks. It definitely feels better on feet than concrete does.
Another plus that comes along with grass carpeting is that it is resistant to sunlight and bacteria, as well as mildew. To match your house, the carpeting comes in a variety of colors including reds, browns and greens.
Grass carpet is made of polypropylene plastic. Polypropylene is a fiber that works well for outdoor carpeting because polypropylene doesn't absorb water, like nylon does. Nylon, on the other hand, is more crush-resistant and has a better memory than polypropylene.
When choosing the color of the carpeting, consider that pale colors reflect light and make your area seem airier. Neutral and cool colors recede and seem farther away than they actually are. Make sure that the carpeting material that you select includes a blend of ultraviolet and color pigment stabilizers.
Indoor/outdoor carpeting comes in a variety of grades. You can identify the higher grades by the greater thickness of the carpet. For your specific area, which will be fully exposed to the weather, make sure you get an all-weather marine backing for resistance.
The lowest grade is the economy grass carpet. This is best for indoor areas or covered outdoor areas with little traffic. If you were to use grass carpeting in a basement area, the best type is a berber loop with marine backing.
You might want to install the carpeting continuously from the outside deck to inside your house. This links the two together and seems as if they are connected, instead of creating an abrupt break between outside and inside.
Before you do any purchasing, determine how much carpet you will need. It comes in six-foot or 12-foot rolls. If you can't cover your entire surface with one roll, add extra in for seems. Be sure to put the seams in a low traffic area, avoiding any vocal points. To make them less noticeable, run the seams parallel with the strongest light source.
Indoor/outdoor carpeting can be laid loose or attached to the surface with double-sided tape or adhesive, but for general outdoor use, adhesive is best. The best type of adhesive to use depends on the backing and grade of the carpet and the surface material it will be installed on. Thoroughly clean and dry the surfaces before you begin installation. Plan the installation for a dry, sunny day.
Installation is fairly simple. You can usually find detailed instructions where you purchase your carpet. Once the carpet is laid down, let it dry completely for 72 hours. To connect one room to another, use a metal binder strip or aluminum saddle.
Now your backyard is ready for your kids and you to relax without complaints of wounded feet.
Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.