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Don't you wish you could just cover up some of your home's ugliest eyesores? Now you can, with these new products that install directly over existing surfaces.

I recently attended The Remodeling Show, an annual trade show for building industry professionals. It's a great place to check out some of the newest and up-and-coming building products, and this year's show in Maryland didn't disappoint.

One of my favorite trends at the show were building materials designed to install directly over your home's most offensive eye sores -- no demolition required. Yep, you can skip the effort and mess involved in ripping out your old deck, moldings, stairs and more with these ingenious, instant cover-ups. They're about as DIY-friendly as it gets.

The average life expectancy of some decks can be a short as 10 years, according to deck structure experts. But the bigger problem is that many of them show cosmetic wear long before that. The combination of sun and moisture wreak havoc on the boards, which start to "check" (long cracks down the length of the board), flake, and wiggle loose from the nails or screws holding them down. And -- even if they're in good shape -- they require at least biannual cleaning and staining to keep them in top condition.

Sound like an intense maintenance routine? You might want to consider installing ProFekt Decks. The PVC material acts as a "cap" for unsightly deck boards. It comes in four colors, looks just like real wood, and is easy to clean with mild soap and water. ProFekt ships in 40-foot rolls that you apply like laminate flooring: you adhere it directly to the original deck with polyurethane construction adhesive, a few nails and a rentable 100-pound flooring roller. And the material is rugged; it's protected with a 15-year warranty against rot, splinters, splits, checks, and termite damage.

ProFekt Decks makes a similar product for concrete patios and sunrooms. You can also use their products on picnic tables, docks, and benches that need a face lift.

Empire Cover Trim

Empire Cover Trim
The first step of a trim upgrade -- even the most basic job -- is always to remove the existing molding. You've got to cut caulk beads, pry away the wood, and then dispose of it somewhere. And only then can you start installing the new trim.

Building product manufacturer Empire hopscotches the expensive, time-consuming and messy removal phase. Their product, Cover Trim, installs right over existing builder-grade moldings. The environmentally friendly material is made from post-consumer materials and comes in exciting and nicely proportioned base molding, door/window casing and even crown molding designs You can miter Empire's Cover Trim or use transition blocks in the corners so all your cuts only have to be square.

Retro Tread Young Manufacturing

Stairs are often the centerpiece to a home. But constant foot traffic takes its toll over time. When stairs are covered in dingy carpet -- and that carpet covers structural framing like plywood treads and risers -- it's easy to feel like your only cover-up choice is new carpet. Young Manufacturing's RetroTread is a refreshing alternative to carpet runners for staircases.

While at the high end of the DIY difficulty spectrum, RetroTread comes in 6 real hardwood species (red oak, white oak, hard maple, poplar, hickory, and Brazilian cherry) and installs over existing builder-grade stair treads. The product does require prep work (notably cutting the nosing off the existing stair tread if there is one) and some careful carpentry during installation. You also need a sliding miter saw and table saw to trim the pieces to fit just right. Choose from plain rounded treads or treads with more elegant nosings.

Pole-WrapPole Wrap

Painted structural beams, most commonly found in the basement, are an eyesore you ordinarily can't do much about. One eminently DIYable solution is Pole-Wrap. Because you cannot nail into a beam, Pole-Wrap is designed to install with construction adhesive.

Simply cut the material to length, wrap it around the post, and press to adhere it. Pole-Wrap is available in red oak, maple and cherry woods (each of which can be stained), or in paint-grade MDF (medium-density fiberboard).

Use a top and bottom trim piece (for the architecture geeks out there like me, a captial and a plinth) to clean up the edges. And, for basements that see a lot of socializing, Pole-Wrap makes a drink shelf that attaches to the pole seamlessly.

Would you try one of these DIY cover-ups to avoid demolition?


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