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Thread: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

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    Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    Hey gang,

    I am, in the near future, planning on replacing my pool's decking. The pool is an older inground pool that currently has a wood deck. It appears that in the past in may have had a concrete deck, which was torn out and replaced with the wood decking. The wood decking is very aged and becoming dangerous to walk on. It is time to replace it.

    I enjoy DIY projects, but frequently travel so I will not have time to finish the project in one sweep. My plan is to purchase a small concrete mixer and knock out pieces of the deck in time-managed "chunks."

    1. Is pouring the deck at various intervals doable? Will spreading this out over time somehow hurt the integrity of the deck?
    2. What is the min/max recommended distance for expansion joints - this is how I will plan each pour.
    3. What are some best practices for creating the deck form - how deep, (south Texas - clay soil)
    4. Rebar, wire mesh, etc.
    5. What goes between the existing coping and the concrete deck?

    Sorry, a lot of questions, but I would like to do this right.

    BTW - I was able to fix some other pool related problems with TFP's help and I also now save myself $150.00/month by using TPFs methods (I fired the pool guy - he couldn't keep the pool blue). For the past 6 months my pool has looked INCREDIBLE, now costs me about $50 per month, and doesn't really take that much effort. Not to mention, I've taught my daughters some chemistry - they test the water's chemistry.


    Thanks.
    Scott
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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    I don't think you'd be happy with the results. I have the larger (3 1/2 cubic ft) of the Harbor Freight mixers. It's been a little work horse but the small batches will be inconsistent in color.

    An alternative would be to buy a yard of concrete at time from one of those U Cart concrete places. You'll need to buy some concrete finishing tools and practice with them. I've placed dozens of yards of concrete this way but, again, I'm not sure you'd be happy with the results. My wife would never let me pour and place the concrete decking at our house.

    Have you solicited any bids to have someone do it? You might be surprised that it isn't as expensive as you might think. Especially if the old concrete decking is already removed.

    Have you considered pavers? It is certainly a DYI friendly project. With your labor it can be quite a bit less expensive than someone placing concrete. Pavers would also eliminate the problem of isolation from the coping. Concrete decking would require an expansion joint between it and the coping. "Deck-o-seal" or another brand of butyl rubber will be wanted to fill the joint.

    Since your pool is older and the decking has been altered, make sure to check/install bonding wire or grid system.
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    For concrete you need a bonded metal grid anywhere that is within 3' of the water. That can be rebar or just coarse steel mesh. For the rest of the deck, rebar or not depends on the type of concrete you use. It has gotten fairly common for concrete to come with fibers already in it that serve the same purpose as rebar, but check as this is by no means universal.
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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    I'll second the recommendation for pavers. It's an easy DIY job, you don't need to do it all at once, and it looks great.
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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    The code has changed again regarding the bonding grid. Now they want a #8 copper 4-6 inches deep, 18-24 inches from the waters edge connected to the shell or #8 tags in 4 equidistant locations around the perimeter of the pool. It doesn't matter whether its pavers, poured concrete or wood decking.

    Also agree that pavers would be the best solution. It would be very difficult to get good results mixing your own concrete.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    Which code year do you have?
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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    I don't have a copy and am basing the info on what we have been required to do and my electricians direction. We have been following the previously mentioned code in most carolina counties for about the last two years. Prior to that we were doing what Jason said. I alway ask the inspector what he wants ahead of time if its a county we havn't built in in awhile.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    I have the 2011 code and it says they want the loop if the rebar isn't present. But you're exactly correct, it's whatever the local inspector wants. And local laws may be more strict than NFPA 70 (NEC).
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    It's very possible that the chief inspector is trying to simplify interpretation to eliminate confusion. Every county is different in that there could be 20 electrical inspectors or maybe 2 or 3 multitrade inspectors. They also choose at different times to adopt the latest NEC or might wait for the state to adopt them first and follow later. The bonding of pools has been bouncing all over the place the last 10 years. The 220v GFICs is a similar issue in that I think it was first part of the NEC in 1998 but hasn't been enforced around here until the last 3 years or so by most counties although there were two counties I can think of that required it 10 years ago.

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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    Thanks for the input. I'm not sure what "pool bonding" refers to. I've considered pavers as well. I imagine that the pavers would be placed on a bed or crushed gravel and sand? Do you guys recommend a certain type of paver? Size? etc. that will give me a long lasting deck that is relatively maintenance free?

    Again, thanks for the information.

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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    Bonding is a method of eliminating the electrical voltage potential between conductive surfaces. Since these surfaces (water, metal, wet concrete) can be electrical conductive, yet have different levels of resistance, the electrical potential exist between them. Alternating current is easily felt. To eliminate this effect, a "bonding" wire is connected to between all these items. A wire is connected from the light niches, to the rebar in the shell, to your metal hand rails, to the wire in the decking, to the pool equipment, ect......... If you search this site, you can find discussion and diagrams on how it should be done. Since you mentioned your location is "south Texas", I'll assume there is no strong code enforement or inspections needed, but for safety, the bonding should be done correctly.

    Since our soil in the Texas gulf coast is clay and sand, the usual way I've seen pavers done is just tilling the soil, adding some portland, compact it flat and dampen with water. It sounds hokey but it must work.

    I did the crushed granite-sand method for my pavers. They seems to be holding up well. I was able to buy Pavestone brand pavers, locally, for around $3 a sq/ft + delivery charges.
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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    For long-lasting and low maintenance I would go with concrete pavers over stone...nothing's really maintenance-free though. Pavers are a little harder to keep clean than a flat concrete deck because little pieces of sand/rock/bark/etc get in the grooves between the pavers, but the little bit of extra sweeping is worth it.
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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    I can confirm that around here they used to require 3' of mesh for the equipotential bond and now have reverted to bare #8 copper tagged 4 places to rebar and wet niches as well as to the pump and any metal fencing/enclosure. I'm not quite sure how you would tag this to any rebar on a refurbish.

    We went for a paver deck and I really like the way it looks. I don't have much experience with how it is to maintain yet, it was just finished yesterday.
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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    This bonding saga just happened:
    Scope of project is a pool spa paver patio outdoor kitchen and room addition. Separate permits for pool and room addition with different GCs but the same electrical and mechanical subs (which are listed on the permits)

    Wed 1pm 1/10/13, subase for pavers is installed , trenched and bonding wire installed. I call for inspection hoping for an inspection thursday or friday.

    Thursday, there are paver installers, the masons doing the foundation for the room addition, one of our employees and the electrician on site. All of them are aware that the inspector might show up and schedule their breaks and lunches so there is always someone there.
    No one sees the inspector.

    Friday is a repeat of thursday with exception to the electrician and no one sees the inspector. At 3:30 the super from the other GC leaves me a message that the inspector never showed.

    Monday 8:30 I call the inspection office to check on the inspection and the office girl tells me it was turned down on Thursday due to "improper installation" . She gives me the inspectors cell and when he returns my call at 11:30 he says he doesn't remember why he turned it down and after describing the job to jolt his memory he comes back with "I did 4 bonding inspections on Friday and can't remember them all". I called for another inspection.

    Tuesday 9:30 our employee calls and said it was turned down because it was too deep and said the inspector only looked at one spot and left. I asked him how deep it was and he said 7 1/2 inches below the top of the coping. He then proceeded to recheck it all and make sure it didn't exceed 6 inches. I called for another inspection and they told me that the inspector had added a reinspection fee of $80 and that had to be paid before another inspection could be scheduled. The only form of payment they would accept was cash or check delivered in person or mailed. I rescheduled my day and spent a little over an hour driving, finding a parking place and walking to the courthouse. Once in the permit office I was the 4th person inline and was told by the girl that normally takes the checks for permits someone from the back office handled reinspection fees. After a few minutes that person came out, took my check and said the inspection had been scheduled. I left and went to the jobsite. Once there I heard the story from the mason and architect that were present along with our guy when the inspector came by the previous day. They both said the inspector spent less than a minute there and when questioned about the depth issue as it related to paver thickness he said " I hate doing pool inspections" and left. They all thought he was going to his truck to get a tape measure but instead he drove off. I had a lengthy discussion with the architect about whether or not we should complain to his chief and decided it was best not to since there were still a lot of inspections yet to be performed on the room addition.

    After sleeping on it, I decided this morning that it was too much bullcrap and to risk calling the chief to complain. I called the architect and he talked me down until we saw what happened today. A little after 12 my guy called and said the inspector walked around the pool didn't measure anything and it passed.

    Not quite Alice's Restaurant but geez.

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    Your tax dollars at work
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    Those type of inspectors give the whole lot a bad name. I was an inspector for a brief stint and if something didn't pass I wrote exactly what and why and gave a copy to the owner and put a copy in my files.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    Bama, there are a lot of good inspectors out there just as there are good PBs. The experience vented above was not typical although I wasted a lot of time on another job this year in the same county because of tardy whiny inspectors. Its seems to be a systemic problem from the top as most complain about being overworked and underpaid.

    If nothing else I feel better by venting and complaining. lol at myself

    Thanks for listening.

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    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    oh my... when my bonding was inspected the wire was just laying there on the ground. The inspector said that before we did pavers we should make a little trench for it (I don't think he mentioned how deep) I said... how about we just put the concrete fines over it and add pavers? He said "that's good" and passed us. Then we had a long chat about how simple inspections used to be, and how much new there is now. He reminded me that the next electrical inspection needs to be the potting (aka blue goo) and then final. Hopefully this week.

    In my electrical saga... we have ONE light fixture that is 11 feet over the pool and 30" outside the water line. It needs ground fault protection.... so I just swapped the normal breaker for a GFCI. Easy? No. Either the breaker is bad or that branch has a ground fault somewhere, I can't get the dang thing to reset.
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  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Replace Concrete Pool Decking

    Quote Originally Posted by strudeau
    Thanks for the input. I'm not sure what "pool bonding" refers to. I've considered pavers as well. I imagine that the pavers would be placed on a bed or crushed gravel and sand? Do you guys recommend a certain type of paver? Size? etc. that will give me a long lasting deck that is relatively maintenance free?

    Again, thanks for the information.
    Pavers are no different than concrete when it comes to preparation of the base. Ideally your gravel base should be well compacted and as deep as the potential frost line in expansive soils. If you have well draining soils you can reduce the depth of the base.

    Thicker pavers are less likely to crack but if its only foot traffic a well manufatured 2 1/2 inch paver will be fine.

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