Robert Lamoureux | Diving into a pool deck remodel

Robert Lamoureux
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Question: Hi Robert, we are redoing our pool deck area, as the original install was less than the quality we like. Our question to you is, do we go with pavers or concrete for the new installation? Is one better than the other for durability with the chlorine over time?  

Any recommendations you can give would be great, before we begin reaching out to any contractors. Also, are there any add-ons that you’d recommend, while the deck is open, after demo of the old? We’d like to maximize this opportunity, but don’t know much about the latest gadgets and gizmos so if there is something that we should know about to make pool life/care easier, we’d love your advice. Thank you!  

— Joan and Jim S. 

Answer: Joan and Jim, great questions prior to starting your project. As far as the coping, the top edge of the pool that separates it from the actual deck, this is a personal choice because it is aesthetic.  

One thing to keep in mind is, if it’s a man-made concrete product the chances are that there is rebar in it for strength. In time, the water will get into the concrete and cause the rebar to rust and come through the concrete, showing up as stains. Keep in mind this is not going to happen overnight — this takes many years to happen.  

A natural stone, such as flag stone for instance, is natural and will not rust out but will likely chip a little. It is also a more rough surface, something to think about.  

There is always going to be maintenance with owning a pool, you cannot get away from this so just pick your battles. Keep the deck O seal, the sealant between the coping and deck, maintained always, as it keeps water from getting under the deck and causing undermining. The purpose of the deck O seal is it allows the deck to move while not allowing the coping to be pushed inside the pool. Both the deck and coping expand and contract at two different rates. 

Regarding upgrades; the variable speed pump and motor are super-efficient and cost-effective. The rule of thumb is, 18 to 24 months is about when the cost difference between a conventional pump and a variable pump is then paid back.  

As far as “toys” as part of your pool equipment, a complete control center is fun. The control center will allow you to run your entire pool from your phone. The valves are automated, the blower, heater, main pump, and auxiliary pumps if you have one. The cost of installation is around $3,000 but worth every penny. I personally recommend “Jandi” as a control system.  

Feel free to write in again if any further questions arise. Best of luck. 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].             

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