After catching the famous Mallory Square sunset the evening before, the This Old House team gets to work, first checking in with general contractor Roger Townsend to see the jobsite's progress while our master carpenter visits the local lumberyard to look at some of the building materials Key Westers use to beat the elements and stay true to local architectural traditions. Homeowner/architect Michael Miller takes us on a tour of one of his projects, and old Conch cottage converted into a library and guest room. Its porch is quintessential Key West - tongue-and-groove painted decking, simple columns, full dimension exposed rafters and beadboard ceiling - and serves as a model for what Michael and Helen want to do to their back porch. Back on site, excavator Ray Vanyo starts digging the pool, only to come across a buried cistern and a floating piece of Key West History.
Watch and learn: The best materials to build with in semi-tropical and hurricane-prone climates.