Q: "How do I replace the redwood dividing strips embedded in my concrete patio?"
The redwood dividing strips embedded in my concrete patio have finally rotted in several places. How should I replace them?
— Tim, Star Prairie, WI
Tom Silva replies: It should be pretty easy to cut the damaged wood out using a hammer and a sharp ¾-inch wood chisel. The ends of any protruding nails holding the wood strips to the concrete can be cut with a hacksaw blade, or a reciprocating saw with a metal-cutting blade. Brush all the debris out of the channels, then vacuum out any remaining dust and dirt.
Now, run some beads of marine-grade polyurethane sealant along the bottom of the groove and push straight strips of redwood or pressure-treated wood into place. (Don't use too much adhesive; if it goops out around the strips and onto the patio, you'll have a mess to clean up.) Weight the strips down with cement blocks or heavy rocks for a few days until the adhesive cures. Your patio should look as good as new.