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Thread: Stamped concrete decking problems - feedback requested

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    Stamped concrete decking problems - feedback requested

    Our NJ pool was built in March 2012. We went with colored, stamped concrete decking. Shortly after the concrete was poured, we had a significant rainfall and soil settling occurred. I called the concrete contractor and showed him the pictures. He assured me it would be fine, and just told me to complete the landscape grading, saying it wasn't settling, rather it was erosion. Since I strongly disagreed with him, I complained about this to my PB who had recommended this concrete contractor, and a meeting was scheduled to address my concerns with the PB and concrete contractor. The result of the meeting was the contractor agreed to have one of his guys come out and back fill the gap with concrete discs and stone, which they did (so I'm told - I wasn't home) He also proceeded to cover up his work with the extra soil nearby so I couldn't see what he did.

    By mid summer, I started to see cracks by both skimmer covers. I don't understand why a stress relief cut was made by only one of the two skimmer covers. And the crack didn't occur "in" the cut anyway. I quickly sent pictures to the concrete contractor who basically said this was normal and offered to come out in spring 2013 to seal the cracks with color matching sealant. (I haven't called yet)

    When I opened the pool in May 2013, I found another crack on the edge of another stress relief cut. And now, I see a crack that runs all the way across one of my sections (between two relieve cuts).

    So the contractor provides their typical 1 year warranty. Several of these issues began only days/months after the concrete was poured, and my fear is they will keep coming.

    Bottom line, I feel the contractor did not adequately prepare and compact the substrate. Everyone rushes to complete the pool to make the consumer happy and make a buck, rather than ensure the job is done right and built to last. They also omitted one cut by one of the skimmer covers. Not to mention a saw cut in one of my coping tiles due to a overzealous worker.

    So, I'm asking all the professionals out there, what action should I take? What should I expect from a reputable concrete contractor in my situation? I paid thousands for my deck, and it upsets me every time I use the pool to look at these flaws after only 15 months. What is your opinion?

    I certainly understand that any repair would likely look worse than what I have today since it wouldn't match the colored/stamped concrete. I'm wondering if I would have to sue for a partial refund for poor workmanship. If I have to live with what I got, at least I would feel better about it if I didn't pay full price for it.

    I'll post some pics after I re-size them.

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    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Central Massachusetts

    Re: Stamped concrete decking problems - feedback requested

    They probably didnt prepare the base well enough. It takes a lot of time and some expense to prepare a base so it wont settle. Some pool guys that i know wont even consider pouring a deck until a few months have gone by. Others do it the next day.

    The reality is, as you have found out, concrete cracks. Not sure what kind of recourse you have. Suing for something like that is tough to get anything, too. You couldnt really show that it wasnt a bad batch of concrete either, which wouldnt be the contrators fault.
    I've seen too many concrete decks crack over time. Thats why i did pavers.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Stamped concrete decking problems - feedback requested

    Thanks for the reply bk406. We considered pavers, but cost was certainly an issue for us. We have a large paver patio that is 9 years old now, and we didn't want to deal with the weeds and settling around the pool either.

    We really like the stamped concrete around the pool. And if done correctly, should not crack. My Sister's 18yo pool decking has no cracks. She does have surface deterioration, but so do my pavers.

    If I were to do it over, I would have waited a few months before I allowed the concrete to be poured.

    Regarding the possibility of bad concrete - I feel that would still be the contractor's problem. I paid him. He selected and paid the concrete company. Not sure if that's how the legal system sees it however.

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    Re: Stamped concrete decking problems - feedback requested

    If your sisters 18 year old pool decking has no cracks it's a miracle.
    18' x 36' saltwater inground vinyl pool

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    chiefwej's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Re: Stamped concrete decking problems - feedback requested

    My concrete deck had a couple hairline cracks within a matter of weeks. In the eight years since there has been no shifting, settling, or movement. That is always the worry, will it shift and the slabs move. There are only two things that a garanteed with concrete, it will get hard, it will crack.
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Re: Stamped concrete decking problems - feedback requested

    as a landscaper
    concrete is not a great choice
    around a pool is going to settle
    you cannot compact it to where you want it to be compacted right agaisnt the pool due to risk of caving in a liner pool

    most concrete people and pool companies will pour a concrete area around the pool as a pool deck
    this concrete will span any settling that will occur for a while untill the concrete cannot support the weight and it cracks and fails

    pavers are a good option, but it is a more complex installation process
    but also one that can easily be addressed if there are any issue
    proper base setup is a must
    it does take more time, which does mean more money

    a good quality paver will last a lifetime, without issues
    most have a lifetime warentee, some even a lifetime transferable warentee
    at 10,000 psi, you will not brake one

    we always use a polymer sand in between the joints, instead of regular sand, this does stop the majority of weeds (95%+ if installed right)
    11,000 gal inground fiberglass pool
    Aquarite SWG system

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    Re: Stamped concrete decking problems - feedback requested

    we had a "Stampcrete" stamped concrete patio put in 4 years ago. It looked great for 9 months. Within 1 year there was major scaling, about 30% of the surface was pitted. In the second year there were 5 major cracks which went across the "stress cuts" - which were all of 1/4" deep. Contractor came out and initially said it was my fault due to me using salt in the winter. On a back patio... that we only use in the spring/ summer. I kept complaining until he came out a second time and agreed that salt would not have caused the issues and he'd come back, grind down the affected areas and repair them. It's been 2 years since I heard from him. I contacted a lawyer who felt I had a great case against the contractor but it would cost me about 8k dollars to hire the lawyer to recoup 7k dollars. I"m going to use the poorly installed concrete as a base for stone.
    21' AG (~11,000 gallons)
    Hayward S180T sand filter (35 gpm)
    Hayward Power-Flow SP1510 pump

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    Re: Stamped concrete decking problems - feedback requested

    Thanks for all the responses and advice.

    Attached are pics of the cracks and settling.

    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Stamped concrete decking problems - feedback requested

    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Southwick, MA

    Re: Stamped concrete decking problems - feedback requested

    That is an install issue, wait until winter that is going to get much worse. It is all about the Prep. My Stamped Concrete Patio is 3 years old and has Zero signs of cracking, same with my walk way. You should not have any air under your patio like that, that will end up being water that freezes in the winter and it will destroy your deck. Did they use Rebar?? That will help, but not prevent the cracking.

    I would make them fix that. Just curious how much did you pay per Sq Foot?? I ask because if it is under $10 I would bet they cut corners, otherwise they could not do it that cheap.
    24X44 IG Vinyl Custom Shaped Pool, Starite S7M400 Cartridge Filter, Starite Sumpermax VS Pump, built July 2015, TF-100 Test Kit, Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG, NG Starite SR400 Heater, Easytouch with Screen Logic, Magicstream Laminars, Bullfrog A7 Spa

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    Re: Stamped concrete decking problems - feedback requested

    No rebar.

    We paid $7.50 sq ft.

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    Join Date
    May 2013
    North East Ohio

    Re: Stamped concrete decking problems - feedback requested

    Oh boy....for sure this is an install issue. They cut way too many THICK is that concrete ?

    I am paying a bit more, but it is 4" thick, and has both "wire mesh" and rebar. Plus the ground was graded last fall and sat for 6 months to settle before the gravel was laid and compacted.
    14,750 GAL IG Fiberglass (16 x 33) NE Ohio || Jandy 1HP 2 speed Pump || Waterco MultiCyclone 16 Centrifugal pre-filter (removed due to not working with sand filter) || 30" 575 Lb. Sand Filter || AquaCal 140K BTU Heat Pump || Solar Cover || Inter-fab Adrenaline Slide || GLI Monsoon Solar Cover Reel || K-2006C Test Kit || BBB with Liquid Chlorine Stenner Injection || Rayner Mighty Mesh Winter Cover

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    Re: Stamped concrete decking problems - feedback requested

    Rebar may keep the slab together but won't stop it from heaving. I wouldn't be surprised if that deck ended up heaving. Actually I'm surprised it hasn't already. That is improperly compacted subgrade for sure. It takes uncompacted soil a LONG TIME to settle. Did they put any piers in it down to natural ground? How deep was the fill they put around the pool?
    18' x 36' saltwater inground vinyl pool

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