Let’s discuss deck repair. What should you do with those cracked decks?
We are at the most popular time of the year for major pool repairs. These repairs include resurfacing the pool with pebble and plaster products, replacement of tile, acid washing, and at the top of the list, deck repair and replacement. Some may argue that the condition of a pool deck is more important than the surface of the pool since everyone is able to have an unimpeded view of it. At least the pool surface is camouflaged by thousands of gallons of water. I will lay out some options to consider for your deck repair.
Pool decks can suffer tremendous damage from improper care and poor judgement. At a certain point there is no other option than to replace the concrete. Most pools will have the coping separated from the main deck. This enables the pool professional to replace the concrete without disturbing the perimeter of the pool. The deck pictured here has sustained some pretty severe damage. It looks chemical related to me and I wonder if someone used a lot of calcium to melt ice from it at some point. The entire top layer of concrete has eroded, exposing gravel underneath. In this situation, the affected slab should be replaced and if able, the entire deck may be replaced.
Kool Deck is the most popular deck repair product that I know of. It not only hides imperfections and makes an ugly non-uniform pool deck look seamless, but it also reflects the sun and remains many degrees cooler than standard concrete. The process for applying Kool Deck is complicated and best left to a professional. The deck must first be cleaned thoroughly. All of the cracks are opened up with an angle grinder or concrete saw and then filled properly. Care is taken to mask all areas around deck before applying the topping. The deck topping is applied with a sprayer and then, after it dries, the color is sprayed on top. An old trick that I don’t see much of anymore was to add a faux brick pattern to the coping. It really looks like brick and is a very cool touch, especially on vinyl pools.
I have recently discovered another interesting deck topping by a company called Rubaroc. I have not experienced this product first hand, so I can only base my judgement from first impressions made via their website and twitter (where I discovered them). I hope to one day find a pool with the decking or perhaps even use it on a job myself. It certainly does look like a promising product and it should prevent slipping quite well.
If all the options so far are out of your budget, there is always the option to simply paint a deck. I cannot recommend this to anyone because of the fact that it usually does not last very long, but it may be just what you need to get you through a swimming season. Painting should only be performed on a deck with minimal cracking or damage since the paint will not cover up damage well. Paint is very effective at hiding patches done to a deck, such as when an underground leak is repaired, leaving your deck with a 2′ x 2′ square patch in the deck. These patches are most often a different color concrete and they really stick out like a sore thumb. Painting will make it all blend together again and even though the patch will still be noticeable, it will not draw attention as it did before. I have also seen people strategically place plants or other objects on top of patches in their decks to hide them.
Deck Repair Conclusion
Whatever you decide to do, do it now before the swimming season arrives or save your money and prepare to do it next winter. You don’t want to take on a full deck repair when your wife and kids are ready to go swimming. That would be a disaster.