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Thread: Pool deck question...

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    Pool deck question...

    Need some help with anyone with masonry experience. Having our stamped concrete poured in a few days. The mason put rebar down, but only within 3-4 feet from the pool. Should the rebar be everywhere concrete will be? He says he's using a fiber additive. I'm thinking we should also have rebar. Comments??
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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Pool deck question...

    If he put some rebar down, I can't figure his logic in not installing it throughout. Wire mesh is more commonly used in a flat pour here in NC.....not sure why the need for rebar to begin with.

    The fiber additives give the concrete great strength but once it cracks, it can still shift pretty dramatically. Wire mesh or rebar doesn't keep it from cracking but it holds the crack tightly together and prevents shifting so the crack stays very small.

    I think I would have to have a pretty good reason that made sense to me not to insist on rebar or mesh throughout the pour.
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    ktdave's Avatar
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    My deck was just poured last week and it had rebar throughout. Not a very large deck either.
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    From_Arizona's Avatar
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    No rebar in my deck that was poured on Friday. I had skybars added in front of the stools in the pool for a larger cantalever, but other than that, no steel. That seems to be standard practice in AZ...when I was in CA everything had some type of steel.
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    I had 750 sq feet of stamped concrete installed this spring. My brother, who has been in the trade for years, said the mix the company uses now doesn't really require rebar and it is the industry standard, at least in California. Rebar just makes it hard to demo when the decking gets old and battered. I did insist they use felt along the perimeter where the deck meets the house. One bit of advice I have is to stay off the deck for at least 72 hours. You will be less likely to get cracks. But you will get cracks.
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    Just my opinion but I would at very least ask for an add for wire mesh.

    Since the are reinforcing at the pool edge and counting on fiber on the rest I would say that they are not tryiing to gge over on you BUT alot of variables come in to play with this sort of construction. In my opinion wire mesh is just good insurance when using fiber additive. By the way look at the product from every load, you should be able to easily see the fiber in the concrete. You are paying alot of $ for this product so pay attention to the details and have more control joints put in.
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    I suspect that what is happening is that they are using concrete rated for use without rebar but that within 3 feet of the pool they need to provide an electrical bonding grid and happen to be using rebar for that. When properly installed concrete with fiber reinforcing is potentially better than concrete with rebar since the reinforcing fibers are spread more uniformly through the concrete than you could ever do with rebar or mesh.

    One of the tricky things going on here is that it can be very difficult to tell if a professional trades person is doing their job correctly, perhaps in a way you are unfamiliar with, or if they are making some major mistake (usually because of bad communication, though sometimes because of cutting too many corners or plain old mistakes). They are professionals hired to do a job because they are trained to do it correctly. It isn't usually a good idea to question their professional judgement, for example by demanding mesh when it isn't appropriate. Often you can get the same effect by asking questions, what is the rebar for, would it last longer with wire mesh or is the new fiber approach better, and so on. Though that can cause problems as well if you ask too many questions since they aren't paid to teach you how to do their job.
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    tagprod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    One of the tricky things going on here is that it can be very difficult to tell if a professional trades person is doing their job correctly, perhaps in a way you are unfamiliar with, or if they are making some major mistake (usually because of bad communication, though sometimes because of cutting too many corners or plain old mistakes). They are professionals hired to do a job because they are trained to do it correctly. It isn't usually a good idea to question their professional judgement, for example by demanding mesh when it isn't appropriate. Often you can get the same effect by asking questions, what is the rebar for, would it last longer with wire mesh or is the new fiber approach better, and so on. Though that can cause problems as well if you ask too many questions since they aren't paid to teach you how to do their job.

    I don't want people to tell me how to do their job, but I will ask questions about what they're doing. I also like to watch what they're doing. If I'm quiet and don't bother them, I don't see anything wrong with picking up a little knowledge that I'm paying for in a roundabout way. Any tradesman worth his salt should be able to work in that environment.
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    My mason said he's using "4,000 lb. cement" Is that particularly strong for concrete??
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    Hi Medic2051 -

    Your mason is probably refering to the PSI strength, this is the strength of the concrete based on the mix of rock, sand and cement...as well as the temperature and other additives that can be used. The strength for resdential jobs is usualoly what is obtained in 28 days.

    Normal strength concrete is around 3000psi and can be used for 4" thick patio without rebar or mesh. For a patio, a 4" thick 2000psi strength is acceptable...with the addition of rebar.
    High strength concrete is at or above 6000psi and takes a longer cure time for maximized strength.

    Ask your mason what he is using to gain the 4000psi strength? Does he have any additives?
    1980's Shasta built 30,000 gal inground diving pool. Pebble-tec interior. Pentair DE Filter. In ground pop-ups. Hayward Navigator sweeper.

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    Thanks for the info-
    I'm now wondering if I should just request either rebar or mesh. Will I gain strength/reduce cracks if I pay extra for that?
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    From_Arizona's Avatar
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    Medic 2051 -
    Just talk with your mason and express your concerns, he should be the expert for your pour. You will just be throwing money and labor cost away to add rebar or mesh if he doesn't think it is waranted.

    btw - when I say expert...are you using a licensed contractor? Have you checked the license out to see how long they have been in business, complaints, bond amount? Checked the bbb? Checked out other jobs or received verbal referals to this person? All those things are part of making the customer more comfortable with using a specific company, as well as specific standards, etc. I check out my contractors thouroughly, that way if they do not do something that is at least standard work quality, then I have some re-course.

    I have used unlicensed contractors for concrete work, I have been around concrete construction all my life and love to attend the World of Concrete Show.....but even though I have a familiarity and basic understanding, I am not an expert and only will use unlicensed if it is a small job that I have a complete understanding about, I am fully supervising and mainly am looking for labor, and the big one....I understand that if there are problems I only have my slef to blame since the unlicensed construction worker will more than likely disapear.
    1980's Shasta built 30,000 gal inground diving pool. Pebble-tec interior. Pentair DE Filter. In ground pop-ups. Hayward Navigator sweeper.

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    Thanks for the tips, all good info. The mason is a sub for the PB, who is licensed, insured and a member of the BBB in good standing. I'm sort of wedded to the mason, as a significant amount of the concrete was included in the bid. I am comfortable with him in my dealings so far. I'm going to speak to him about the benefits/cost of further reinforcement.
    thanks!
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