If you've ever owned an in-ground swimming pool, you know the importance of maintenance. Along with the joy of relaxation and entertainment comes the responsibility of water treatment, pump maintenance and cleaning. Luckily, there are a number of ways to keep up with the day-to-day – but what about bigger, long-term maintenance? One of the biggest factors contributing to your pool's beauty and safety is what surrounds it: your pool deck.
Preserving your pool deck is important for many of the same reasons as it is to maintain your driveway, sidewalks, patio and other concrete surfaces: lifespan, curb appeal and safety. In fact, it can be argued that the potential for injury on a pool deck is higher than other cement surfaces around your home, so the safety benefits alone are worth your careful attention to concrete maintenance.
Today, we're sharing four ways to maintain your concrete pool deck that can help extend its lifespan, increase curb appeal, and most importantly ensure safety for your family and guests.
Pressure Wash Your Pool Deck
One obvious yet important way to help your cement last longer is to keep it clean. With debris from trees, dirt, mud and other elements, a dirty pool deck is inevitable. Additionally, the damp environment can lead to algae and mold growth, which is not only unsightly, but can create a slippery, dangerous surface.
Pressure washing is the easiest and most effective way to remove dirt and algae growth, and it's a relatively easy project. If you're the DIY type, you can purchase or rent a pressure washer and concrete cleaner and finish the process in a matter of hours. Hiring a professional is another viable option, and can likely become part of your annual or bi-annual service schedule.
Use A Sealant to Protect Your Concrete
Using a sealant is beneficial for any concrete surface, but is especially important for pool deck surfaces because of the increased exposure to water and other elements. Unprotected concrete stains easily and is prone to surface damage and physical deterioration.
Nature can cause stains from moss, mold, algae, leaves or simply a buildup of deeply seated dirt. Then there are the typical man-made stains that can occur from contaminants like oil and fertilizer. Regardless of the cause of the stain, these ugly spots and patches drastically affect how concrete looks and the overall appearance of the property.
Surface pitting and physical deterioration - or spalling - is another common problem where one or many areas of the concrete surface are peeling or flaking away. Spalling is created – and accelerated – with the freeze/thaw cycle. Moisture is absorbed into the concrete and, as temperatures drop, freezes and expands, breaking the walls of the concrete surface pores. Once that damage occurs, the surface area exposed to future damage increases – meaning the effects of the freeze/thaw cycle worsen exponentially every year.
Using a concrete sealant goes hand-in-hand with pressure washing, and should be part of your annual maintenance regiment – whether as a DIY project or hiring a contractor. Not only will you instantly improve the beauty of your pool deck, but you'll help protect and extend the lifespan of your concrete by controlling water seepage and preventing damage.
Repair Small Cracks
While the use of a sealant will help reduce spalling, cracks and other damage, small cracks are bound to appear at some point as time and nature take their toll on your pool deck. The same is true for driveways, sidewalks, patios and other concrete surfaces. Cracks can arise for many reasons, and even small ones can leave your concrete vulnerable to more damage – not to mention a tripping hazard. When water seeps in through a crack, it can cause the soil to shift beneath the concrete. This shift can lead the concrete to settle or sink, and can even compromise the integrity of your pool.
The good news: sealing small cracks can usually be done on your own without the need for calling in a professional contractor. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that repairing cracks early makes a big difference, and will help your concrete last longer. If you aren't the DIY type, or end up with a crack that's a little too much to handle, Thrasher can help in the Omaha area and beyond. We use special tools to chase cracks in concrete, which involves grinding the crack to smooth the edges and filling and sealing with our proprietary silicone-based NexusPro™ caulking product. Once the caulking has set, the crack no longer allows moisture from rain or snow to seep below the concrete slab. It's also resistant to ultraviolet light, which helps to avoid drying and cracking that is common with other caulking products.
Lift and Level Any Sinking Concrete
With careful attention to cleaning, sealing and regular upkeep on your concrete pool deck, you'll already be in a good position to prevent further damage. Even so, over time concrete will inevitably shift or settle as the soil beneath it shifts. A 2- or 3-inch differential between a sinking deck slab and the coping stones bordering the pool is not uncommon, and can cause a tripping hazard for an already treacherous area. With slippery wet areas, diving boards, ladders, curves and the pool itself – tripping hazards around a pool add another element of danger and can lead to tragedy if not addressed.
There are several ways to repair a trip hazard around an in-ground pool, including mudjacking, sand-jacking, poly-jacking, demolition and replacement, and grout filling. While demolition and replacement may be required when there's extensive damage, often times, repairing before replacing will save money and time, and will extend the life of your concrete. In fact, our PolyLevel® polyurethane injection system can be completed in a matter of hours, cures in 15 minutes, and is less destructive and more durable than mudjacking or sand-jacking.
Learn more and see for yourself how PolyLevel® works, or contact us for a free inspection and estimate for concrete repair.