This client in the Country Club Hills neighborhood had a recycling/trash bin enclosure that had seen better days. The enclosure was well-built around 8 years ago by a respected local builder, and made of treated wood. But a shady spot with minimal sunlight – combined with a location at the bottom of a steep driveway – made for a soggy mess.
(Here’s what the situation looked like BEFORE:)
Even treated wood rots eventually. In short, the floorboards of the enclosure were just…shot. The wood attaching the structure to the ground below was just…shot.
Getting the trash cans in and out was a dangerous endeavor that got worse every day. In addition, several of the enclosure “fence” boards were rotted and needed replacing.
So, instead of replacing the wood with more treated wood, and having the same potential issues down the road, we decided it best to tear out the rotting joists and floorboards and replace with pavers, locked in with sand! Brick durability with sand drainage. Win, win.
As usual, when dealing with wood rot, we run into deeper, unseen problems…like more rot. In this case, all of the wood between the asphalt at one end and the brick on the other was completely shot. One corner 4×4 was mushy-saturated and beyond repair. So we brainstormed and all decided that the quickest, cheapest option was to just replace parts that came into contact with the asphalt — a composite PVC, which would last almost indefinitely. And we all decided to keep the whole enclosure “above ground.” IE: Not anchored. (It weighs several hundred pounds and took three of us to move around; it’s not going anywhere, short of a massive hurricane directly overhead.)
We then headed up to our favored supplier and got a few pieces of PVC, to make a “sandbox border” that we could place the enclosure on top of.
Next up was the brick laying. I mean, we are by no means brick masons, but this small affair isn’t rocket science; we can totally handle this. After ordering up roughly 230 red brick pavers and about 40 bags of play sand, we dumped the sand out deliberately and tamped it down — to make the surface as flat and level as possible. Next was laying down the pavers. When all of the pavers were laid out we put a light layer of sand down and swept the whole area, to get the sand down into the cracks and crevices. Next, we’d water the area down, to let the sand seep down into the cracks. And then do the sanding and watering again. Rinse, repeat, until all of the crevices were fully filled. (This “locks in” the pavers to sand.)
Next up was replacing those enclosure fence boards. Quick work: measure, cut and screw. (Any imperfections will be masked by caulk & paint. The clients have a preferred painting crew that will give the final touch-ups.)
(And by the way…this job deal took a day and a half…it doesn’t just happen magically, or in a few hours. There are multiple steps, with steps in-between…)
The final result is a handsome, updated flooring system for the enclosure that is safe, will drain water effectively, and will last indefinitely. Once the fencing boards are painted they should be rot-free for at least 8 more years.
The clients are really happy with the new system and think it looks great. We do too. (It’s kinda’ too bad that the pavers are behind the enclosure and out of sight…it really does look good!)
The cool thing about being a builder is knowing that your solutions brought satisfaction. Making it even prettier than before is a bonus.