If you have a pool then you’ve almost certainly gone over some ideas for concrete around a pool. After all, you probably use your outdoor space for a wide variety of different activities. Pools intersect with everything from daily workouts to barbecues and moonlit parties. The more you use your pool the more you start to see its potential. And you also start to see how some small changes could make a great asset even greater. But there’s a wide variety of ways to leverage concrete into your pool’s design. And you’re about to see the best of the best options.
Benefits of Concrete as a Pool Deck
One of the most amazing things about concrete pool decks is just how big a wide range there is. There was a time when concrete was considered a fairly basic design choice for pools. Most people agreed that it was a functional option. But few saw just how much potential concrete had as a strong but elegant building material for a pool deck and the surrounding areas.
But people have experimented with different concrete designs over time and the results speak for themselves. What was once considered a utilitarian choice has proven that it can perfectly meld an elegant form with sturdy functionality.
There are a variety of different benefits and options to consider when looking into concrete.
But the following options and designs highlight some of its most impressive features.
Classic Concrete Look
A monthly payment calculator is one of the most important considerations for any type of pool construction. You always need to carefully balance the options you’re most interested in vs what you can afford.
And any chance to save money on one aspect of your pool provides you with the ability to add more features to another.
This is one of the biggest benefits of concrete. It’s an eye-pleasing and sturdy material. But it’s also among the least expensive options. And that’s especially true for the more classic concrete look. You’ll also find a surprisingly attractive simplicity in the classic designs.
When you think of plain concrete you might imagine results akin to a sidewalk. And sidewalks indeed are one of the more common examples of concrete surfaces. But make no mistake, even the most basic concrete pool options will look vastly different from a sidewalk. Part of this stems from the fact that you have total freedom to shape the concrete in your pool area to match your unique perspective. And elements like stains and sealants can give concrete anything from an appealing sheen to texturing or beautiful coloring.
The classic concrete look can also help keep people safe when they’re done with a swim. Most people have had a close call at some point in their lives when they get out of the shower. Wet feet and slick tiles are a dangerous combination. And the danger of slipping is just as present if you climb out of a pool and onto a potentially slippery surface. Concrete helps you avoid that danger through a naturally non-slip surface. It’s a porous material that provides natural friction when you’re walking over it. This helps to distribute water and keep you from slipping.
One of the great things about concrete is that you can have a seemingly smooth surface that nonetheless provides you with significant protection against slipping. Sand finishing, in particular, can smooth out the surface area of concrete to a remarkable extent. Or at least it appears that way to the human eye. In reality, sand finishing grinds and smooths out the surface of the concrete to expose the underlying aggregate. This can then be smoothed out even more to produce a seemingly smooth surface that can still prevent slips thanks to the inherently porous nature of concrete.
You can also gain even more control over the look and feel of your construction through the use of stamped concrete. This technique lets you add several different elements to your pool area. The possible enhancements include both functional elements like anti-microbial properties and added aesthetic appeal.
You might not be familiar with the term stamped concrete. But you’ve almost certainly encountered it before. Have you ever seen stone surfaces that almost looked like a totally different material? For example, concrete squares that had the patterns and sheen of glazed wood? Or you might have taken a moment to admire a unique pattern in glossy stone flooring that seemed both beautiful and unique. In both of those cases, there’s a good chance that you were looking at stamped concrete.
Stamped concrete is very true to its name. The concrete is essentially “stamped” with textures and patterns. During this process, a color hardener is often added to create a variety of colors that can complement the selected design. This is how stamped concrete can emulate, for example, the look of various types of wood. Concrete is laid down and colored before proceeding to stamp in a texture that correlates with specific types of wood.
One of the remarkable aspects of this process is just how much freedom it provides. You’re not just choosing a wood design. You can have stamped concrete that emulates anything from hardwood like oak to softwood like cedar. But make no mistake, this process isn’t limited to wood-based textures. Stamped concrete can also emulate other types of stone using the same methods used with wood. You can even keep your pool costs down by using stamped concrete to emulate the look of more expensive stone options. For example, acid etching can emulate the distinct elements of limestone or sandstone. Stamped concrete also pairs extremely well with pool coping.
Coping, the element that surrounds the edge of your pool, also comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Adding coping that highlights contrasting colors and patterns can provide the perfect decorative complement to stylish stamped concrete. Some of the options include limestone, concrete tile, broom-finished concrete, and stamped coping.
Stamped concrete provides you with a considerable number of benefits. Though there are a few issues to keep in mind when you’re going over design options. In particular, it’s usually a good idea to avoid patterns with rough surface textures or deep grout lines. Both of those designs look great. But they can be uncomfortable to walk on with bare feet. And rough surfaces or deep grout lines add cavities for water and debris to collect. This will in turn provide the perfect nest for mold and other destructive growths.
Additionally, all types of stamped concrete can be further enhanced through the application of sealants. Doing so can lock in color, make the concrete even more slip-proof, and increase durability under many different conditions.
Are Cracks an Issue?
Concerns over the durability of concrete and its ability to stand up to harsh weather conditions might make some people start to worry about cracks. And concrete can indeed crack under certain conditions. For example, you’ve almost certainly seen cracks in concrete sidewalks. But it’s important to keep in mind just how much variation there is in modern concrete designs. Concrete can be specially tailored for specific needs. And the various landscaping options for pools will take that very special environment into account. In the case of concrete, that means using control joints to prevent cracks.
Concrete can shrink or expand when exposed to moisture and extreme temperatures. And any material doing so within a contained area is at risk for cracks. This might seem like a big problem when you consider that pool areas typically combine hot summer days with plenty of splashing and evaporating water. But the experts take that into account and compensate with control joints.
Control joints are regular indentations within a concrete surface that are then typically filled with a flexible sealant.
The control joints let the concrete shrink or expand in response to environmental conditions without any danger of cracking.
This is the most common method to prevent cracks. But several other options can match a remedy with the most common problems.
You can also gain even more protection against cracks by using sealing. Sealing is a protective coating that imparts a number of benefits. As previously mentioned it can help protect against both cracks and other forms of physical damage. But sealing can also augment concrete’s already significant non-slip surface. You simply need to use a sealer with a non-skid grit additive.
The type of sealer and finish can also guard against specific issues. For example, you’ve probably found relief in your pool during particularly hot summer days. But the feeling of stepping onto the hot ground after your swim can instantly rob you of that relief. Sealers can ensure you never experience that annoyance ever again. If you choose a finish that doesn’t absorb heat then you can stay relaxed and happy during even the harshest summers.
Sealing can also protect concrete against mold. The fungus tends to grow in small areas where it has a steady supply of warmth and moisture. The porous nature of concrete, combined with the water in a pool, is everything mold looks for. But most sealing options will protect concrete against mold. The sealant keeps both water and microbially appealing debris from collecting in the concrete. Taken together this forms a great defense against mold on pool deck surfaces which are frequent to get wet.
Turning Ideas About Concrete Into Concrete Plans
Concrete isn’t just a building material. You can essentially think of it as the paint used to create a stunningly beautiful work of art around your pool. When including other elements to your backyard space like plants, lighting and rocks you can create a truly unique space
It’s even versatile enough to fit all pool types. There’s only one remaining step now that you’ve seen what concrete can do and what a concrete deck can offer. You need to think about all of these options and decide which concepts will bring your dreams of the perfect pool to life.