At one point in time, a huge portion of pool decks being installed were made of concrete. Concrete pool decks were extremely popular, and more good reason. Concrete is a highly utilitarian material. When compared to materials such as natural stone, you can’t beat the economic value. Still, a concrete pool deck won’t last forever. And when the time for pool deck resurfacing comes, it’s important to know your options. Whether you’re giving your existing concrete a little facelift or are looking into a larger resurfacing project, it’s helpful to know your options.
What is pool deck resurfacing?
Pool deck resurfacing is almost synonymous with concrete pool deck resurfacing. Why? Most people who need to fully repair or update their pool deck have originally installed a concrete surface. When you start to talk about updating your swimming pool deck, it’s much easier, (and more cost effective) to make simple changes to existing concrete pool decks than to pavers or natural stone surfaces.
With this in mind, pool deck resurfacing is a process that refers to one of two processes. Repair, or an aesthetic update.
Existing Concrete Repair
If the goal is to repair a damaged old concrete pool deck, the first step is to look into a common resurfacing product. Typically, this means laying down a concrete overlay. Concrete overlays are made from cement and polymer resins. Sometimes, other materials such as epoxy may be applied to existing cracks. This process adds strength to your pool deck without forcing you to completely the concrete surface.
Decorative Concrete Pool Decks
If your current concrete is in good shape, then a move to resurface may be purely aesthetic. In this case, the resurfacing process may be as simple as adding a stain to change up the color, or exploring other decorative options such as a stamped overlay. At the end of the process, you will be left with a new pool deck that breathes new life into your space. All at a fraction of what it would cost to break ground and tear out your existing deck in a full remodeling project.
Concrete Pool Deck Resurfacing Options
There are a lot of ways to give an old concrete pool deck a new look. From simple sprays and colored concrete paint, to complete concrete resurfacing, what you pick will be dependent on what your swimming pool deck needs most.
When you talk about resurfacing your pool deck, most contractors will point straight at a good quality overlay. We’ve discussed this process in depth, but we’ll summarize here.
A concrete overlay is a thin layer of concrete material that is poured and spread across older concrete to create a new surface. Overlays can help to repair minor cracks and chips. They have become increasingly popular as design ideas have become more modern. In fact, a large deal of overlay work now occurs on concrete floors inside homes.
Choosing a concrete overlay kills two birds with one stone. Not only does it give existing pool decking a new look, but it also helps to improve the overall quality of the deck. It also improves the safety of the surface around your pool.
Stamped Concrete Overlay
Love the look of pavers, brick, or stone? Don’t want to endure the headache of completely ripping up your pool deck and starting over from scratch? Enter stamped concrete. A subtype of the classic concrete overlay, stamped concrete takes things a step further.
This process acts a way to fill cracks and repair minor damage, as well as add decorative appeal. Choose from endless designs and color options. Utilize stained concrete in your overlay and explore fancy finishes that mimic materials like marble.
This is a more time and labor intensive approach to resurfacing. As a result, it is also one of the most expensive options. Long term, stamped concrete pool decks are more cost effective than both a complete repour, paint, or textures sprays.
Concrete overlays will hold up similar to concrete slabs, and are resistant to weather, pool chemicals, and other seasonal wear and tear. UV exposure will quickly fade paint and epoxy may crack with time, but an overlay will be nearly as durable as the original concrete surface.
Pool Deck Paint
Looking for something fast and affordable? Nothing has ever been easier than a fresh coat of paint. Pool deck paint is designed specifically for concrete, and is inexpensive and simple to apply. For a low cost, you can cover stained concrete, and give your backyard a whole new look. Explore endless color options and give your pool deck a completely cohesive look.
It is important to know that paint will not fix any structural issues in concrete surfaces. Additionally, this paint will not last more than a season or two.
So while it is a cheaper avenue up front, the cost of maintenance will begin to add up over time. This is a cost effective option for a season or two, but eventually you will want more permanent fix that will resist damage over time.
Epoxy is another popular approach to redoing pool decks. In this process, decorative pebbles are mixed into an epoxy. This is then applied to the existing deck. Many like this because it more affordable than options such as stained concrete, and more durable than paint or sprays. These surfaces can be installed quickly, and come in a wide range of color combinations and styles.
Still, homeowners should be aware of the pitfalls. Similar to a mosaic finish, pebbles in the resurfaced deck can pop out when subjected to months or years of wear and tear. Eventually, this surface will need to be repaired or replaced again. This can get costly and more complicated as time goes on.
If hot concrete in the summer is too much for your bare feet, a spray texture resurface, kool deck, or knockdown finish may be worth looking into. In this process, a non slip textured material is sprayed over the existing deck to create a finished surface that is comfortable, safe, and resistant to the heat of the summer sun.
This is a great option for those looking to boost the usability of their pool deck. Spray texture comes in a wide range of custom colors, and aggregate effects or scorelines can be added to the process to customize the look more thoroughly. Concrete coatings such as spray texture are especially good for families with small children who want to reduce heat transfer while increasing slip resistance.
If you’re not ready to take the plunge, there are always other, less extensive options you can try that don’t involve concrete coatings of any kind.
Sometimes, a good cleaning is all it takes to make your existing deck look and feel new. Pools go hand in hand with foot traffic, and the dirtier your concrete, the worse it will look. A regular hose-down is great, but it can only do so much.
For a deeper clean, rent a pressure washer. Get between the seams of your concrete slabs, and blast the surface of your pool deck backwards by a few decades.
Pros and Cons of Pool Deck Resurfacing
The benefits and drawbacks to resurfacing your pool deck are unique to which process or product you choose. For example, overlays offer long term solutions, but are expensive, while paint is quick and convenient, but won’t last more than a year or two.
While some resurfacing options are more expensive than others, all of them are more affordable per square foot than completely ripping out your old deck and installing a new one. Whether you’re interested in a long term fix, or a short term solution, this is a huge benefit of resurfacing over replacing.
Additionally, today’s technology means that you are almost unlimited in the amount of colors and styles available to you. Mimic stone finishes with epoxy, bring a new hue to your space with paint, or mimic the look of pavers with stamped overlays.
Many of these options also increase the safety of your pool. Over time, concrete’s original grit can wear thin. New pool deck coatings are slip resistant to increase traction and therefore safety around the swimming pool.
Pool deck coatings and resurfacing projects are affordable, but they have their drawbacks as a whole.
First, you are limited to the current layout and overall design of your existing deck. This means that while you can change up the look of the surface, you can’t change the overall design or navigability of the space. Next, you should consider the long term expense outlook of resurfacing.
A resurface of your pool deck may be the right answer in the current moment, but in coming decades you will almost certainly need to take on a full repair. If you have the funds available, it could make more sense to skip the interim band-aid and simply put the investment into a full facelift.
How much does pool deck resurfacing cost?
Cost is dependent on what avenue you take. Simpler options like pool paint or texture spray cost anywhere from $3-$5 per square foot. Overlays are far more expensive, running you up to $10 a square foot.
DIY projects will always be more affordable than hiring a professional, but when was the last time you poured concrete? It would be a shame to spend money on material, only to mess up during application. Professional help costs more, but it’s usually worth it.
At the end of the day, you can make this project as budget friendly as the scope of your project allows. But we encourage readers to remind themselves that pool deck resurfacing is already a more affordable avenue than replacement alternatives. If you’re already saving significant money overall, spending a little more to make sure you’re investing in quality product and a team you trust is well worth it.