Ronna Pennington is a professional craft writer and a life-long DIY-er whose motto is "If I can hot glue it, I can do it."
Our Problem and the TrueGrid Solution
We knew the house we bought was a fixer-upper; what we didn't know is that the wooden-decked screen porch was rotting from below because of erosion issues. The slide rolling hill behind our house was just enough to cause the hidden damage. It was obvious that our first step was to remove the rotted decking. What wasn't so certain, was what we'd do next. Would we remove the screen porch walls and just have a covered concrete patio? Would we replace the deck with wood or maybe composite? We even considered removing the covered outdoor area all together, but in the South, any bit of shade is welcomed in the summer months. We debated the best solution for four years, and finally found another option -- TrueGrid pavers. (I am not paid by TrueGrid for this product review.)
Why We Chose TrueGrid
After reading reviews online and watching a variety of installation videos on YouTube, we decided to try TrueGrid for three reasons:
1) It was less expensive than rebuilding.
We paid about $300 for about 400 square feet of the grid product and $250 for a load of gravel. The gravel was more than enough for the screen porch project. It will also help us complete a French drain and some front-yard landscaping.
2) It allowed us another flooring option.
As the gravel continues to pack into the grid, it becomes more solid and strong. Additionally, as the gravel settles, it allows for a tile-like pattern to show on the floor. The tile keeps the gravel from shifting and creates a concrete-like foundation. The best part about this foundation is that the application is very forgiving. Our surface was "pretty level," but not exact. We were able to adjust for the difference by adding extra gravel to the low areas.
3) It could give us a short-term or long-term solution.
As I mentioned, we debated the final outcome of the screened porch for four years. We still were not 100 percent dedicated to a final plan, but we needed a solution to the problem that had only worsened over the course of that time. With the porch floor area growing muddier as we debated, we finally decided it was time for at least a temporary solution to eliminate muddy paw prints tracked in my our dog that accesses her yard through that porch area. Gravel alone did not seem like a good idea. We thought traditional paver stones or bricks might be our only temporary option, until I ran across TrueGrid on Amazon. Going with TrueGrid now gives us a chance to see if we correct our drainage issue properly with our future French drain before we invest in decking. It also eliminated our paw-print problem immediately. We couldn't be happier!
It's a "Snap"
This is the TrueGrid we used for our projects.
Installation of TrueGrid was easy. The grids slide together with a snap. They are also simple to cut to size with the use of a small hack saw for the sides that must be scaled back. There was a corner area that was especially awkward for us to cut a piece for, so we were able to cobble one together. By just wedging in a random left-over piece, we were able to effectively fill with gravel. It fits right in.
Once the grid is snapped together, it's as simple as dumping gravel on top and spreading it out. It's like a zen sand garden. Start by dumping a small pile of gravel right on top of the grid. We used the back of an eight-tooth garden rake and a push broom to spread the gravel. We were surprised that a little gravel goes a long way. The reinforcement of the grid keeps it in place and helps pack it in with more traffic. Knowing that the only real traffic in this area would be foot traffic, we chose to also tamp the gravel after it was spread across the entire area. We added more if it packed below the grid. Because we use the area so little, we are still periodically tamping or raking gravel around to different areas. Even so, the grid and the gravel are solid and continue to pack in place nicely.
Loved it So Much, We Expanded the Project
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Ronna Pennington