Although options like inlaid tile, stone and mosaics make for expensive changes to concrete pool decks, there are a variety of affordable options for resurfacing the concrete to breathe new life into a pool area.
Repairing Damaged Concrete
If your pool deck is in good condition with no cracking or pits (scalling), jump ahead to the Decorative Finishing Techniques section below to learn more. If the concrete of your pool decking is damaged, you’ll want to repair it before making enhancements.
Before restoring the surface of your pool deck, make sure the concrete is even with no sunken areas, and that cracks are minimal. If the damage is minimal or mainly aesthetic, you can avoid the cost of entirely replacing the concrete.
Instead, clean the entire surface with a pressure washer, then use patching materials to fill in damaged areas, sand and smooth these patches once they dry and then add the resurfacing layer to the newly smoothed surface. According to HowMuchIsIt.org, the contracting cost of pool deck resurfacing ranges from $4-9 per square foot.
Decorative Finishing Techniques for Dried Concrete Surfaces
You can apply all of the following decorative concrete techniques to a clean, dried concrete pool deck once they have cured. If you have just resurfaced your pool deck, it will already be smooth and clean and prepped for these finishes.
If it is in good condition already, power wash the entire surface before adding a decorative finish. Some finishes will also require you to grind or sand the concrete or use special acid washes before adding color, texture or pattern.
Using an acid wash, texture layer and your choice of size and shape of pattern molds, you can choose from a variety of visually appealing patterns and stamp the surface of your pool deck.
Following the stamping process, color and seal the surface. This technique is often used to emulate the look of natural stone as pictured below. Concretenetwork.com places the typical cost of this finishing option at $8-12 per square foot.
Scoring Geometric Patterns
Saws cut into the concrete surface to create a design, a process that is simpler and quicker than stamping. Although it is possible to have curved designs scored into concrete, scoring is typically used to produce patterns composed of straight lines. This technique is excellent for emulating tile and creating border patterns.
As a design option, scoring concrete is an affordable way to revitalize a pool deck. For simple patterns, scoring can cost as little as $2 a square foot, that’s less than 25% of the cost of stamping a pattern onto a concrete surface.
The simple scored concrete in the photo below delineates the diving board area and continues on the other end to elongate the pool.
Refinishing the Surface with a Stain
For do-it-yourselfers, this is an affordable option that requires just a few supplies from a home improvement store. Keep in mind that you can’t achieve a color any lighter than the existing color of the concrete, but other than that, there are hundreds of shades from which to choose. For a more sophisticated stain, one that emulates slate, stucco, etc., you may want to contract a professional.
Concretenetwork.com estimates the average cost of this technique at $2-4 per square foot. Keep in mind though that this is the cost of applying the stain to a clean surface in good condition and that any repairs to damage or prepping of the surface must be done beforehand or will come at an additional cost from the contractor.
Sealing the Surface
Sealants differ from stains in that they serve the purpose of ensuring the longevity and durability of the concrete.
Surface sealants specific to pool decks offer a slip-resistant texture and composed of UV resistant material, which not only protects your concrete deck but also cools the surface slightly, providing comfort to bare feet in the summertime heat.
This is the least aesthetically noticeable finishing option for your pool deck but it’s instrumental in ensuring the longevity of the design choices you make and the surface of your concrete deck should be resealed every few years.