Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Deck dowels (skybars) or floating deck?

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Deck dowels (skybars) or floating deck?

    Hello,

    I've been having some pool builders submit proposals for my new pool. So far, the process of choosing a PB is slow, but methodical. Consistently, one builder seems to keep floating to the top of the list in terms of quality of design, reputation, build, etc.. (and consequently, price...). This PB has been in business for over 80 years, and is one of the few PB's who still use skybars in it's construction. In this area, the clay content of the soil is somewhat high and expansive soils is a real issue.

    So what are the pros/cons of using skybars or floating deck design in building pool/deck. What has been your experience re: pool tile falling off / concrete cracking in this respect? Thanks.
    17,500g, IG pool/spa, pebblesheen, Autopilot TC SWG, Pentair 4x160 variable speed pump. Sta-rite cartridge filter, Sta-rite Gas heater, Polaris 280 cleaner

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Can you let us know where in the country you live. Here is PA the deck is usually isolated from the bond beam and is allowed to float. Mine has not moved in 6 years in spite of our frequent freeze thaw cycles.
    ~Megan

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkC
    Can you let us know where in the country you live. Here is PA the deck is usually isolated from the bond beam and is allowed to float. Mine has not moved in 6 years in spite of our frequent freeze thaw cycles.
    Hi Mark,

    I live in Sacramento area, CA. The problem is not really freeze/thaw cycles here, but rather expansive soils due to the high clay content. Soil tends to dry out and shrink in the dry months, and then get saturated with moisture and expand in the wet months. This causes the deck to move, maybe more in this area compared to other places.

    One PB still uses deck dowels (rebar extending from the bond beam into the poured concrete deck) to tightly secure the deck to the bond beam. However, almost all the other PB's in this area have abandoned the practice. The local engineer who draws up the plans for 99%+ engineering pool plans for this county also specifies that the deck should be free-floating and not attached to the bond beam.

    The PB who uses the deck dowels claims that this prevents the deck from sliding/pushing the coping tiles off.
    The other PB's around here claim that using the deck dowels increases torsion stress onto the bond beam when the concrete shifts and will increase the chances of cracking in the bond beam and the deck resulting in cracked/broken coping tile as well as deck damage.

    This guy had a similar issue:

    http://www.howibuiltmyownpool.com/modul ... se=decking
    (scroll down a little to "expansive soil issues")

    But I'm not building my own pool, and I can probably push whichever builder I eventually choose to use deck dowels or to dispense with them. I know it's pretty technical, but if anyone has any ideas/thoughts on the matter, I'd appreciate it.
    17,500g, IG pool/spa, pebblesheen, Autopilot TC SWG, Pentair 4x160 variable speed pump. Sta-rite cartridge filter, Sta-rite Gas heater, Polaris 280 cleaner

  4. Back To Top    #4
    How about using the rebar stubs to keep the deck from sliding but covering the rebar stubs with short lengths of PVC pipe as well as some membrane so that the bond beam is not bonded to the deck. This will allow the deck to move up and down but not slide back and forth. Don't know if anyone has tried that.
    ~Megan

  5. Back To Top    #5
    I don't know if that's been tried before, but covering the rebar stubs with PVC pipe would seem to me to possibly lower the strength of the concrete surrounding the PVC.

    Anyway, it looks like the problem is that the main engineering firm has specified to use floating decks, and that main firm designs virtually all pools in this county. However, the PB I have chosen and has over 80 years of experience has decided to ignore those specifications, because their real world experience over the decades has shown better results with deck dowels. I guess at this point in time, I'm going to go with my PB's real world experience. My PB says the main methods for dealing with expansive soils is pre-soaking the soil and maintaining constant levels of moisture in the ground through irrigation. This is consistent with my research, except that in commercial applications, they can also use lye slurry and other methods to try to stabilize the soil prior to laying concrete. (not practical in a residential application).

    Oh well, I just signed the contract with my PB today. Unless someone can give me a good reason to insist on leaving out the deck dowels, they are going in.
    17,500g, IG pool/spa, pebblesheen, Autopilot TC SWG, Pentair 4x160 variable speed pump. Sta-rite cartridge filter, Sta-rite Gas heater, Polaris 280 cleaner

  6. Back To Top    #6
    From_Arizona's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Glendale, AZ
    Posts
    212
    I had that same discussion with a few builders myslef, I am building my own pool and at the deck install now. We have expansive soil in most of AZ as well, I opted for a floating deck vs. skybars/deck dowels. I thik you have to look at where you want the concrete to move, because it will, and make your decision with that in mind. Also, how wide is your deck where it attaches to the bb? Shasta Pools in AZ is the builder that still uses skybars, they use as standard since they say they typically pour more decking around the pool than others. They reference the width if the deck being the reason they use vs. narrower deck not needing skybars.

    My pool deck does not attach to my patio, so I would rather have it free float and I will deal with the silicone bead where the deck meets the bond in the future. I will be watering my dirt, trying to soak it as well as possible before concrete is laid in, this should reduce movement. Whether you use skybars or not, I would recomend watering in the soil, deeply to expand it before pouring the deck. Watering the soil is standard practive for concrete companies in CA, not standard in AZ.
    1980's Shasta built 30,000 gal inground diving pool. Pebble-tec interior. Pentair DE Filter. In ground pop-ups. Hayward Navigator sweeper.

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re:

    Quote Originally Posted by From_Arizona
    I had that same discussion with a few builders myslef, I am building my own pool and at the deck install now. We have expansive soil in most of AZ as well, I opted for a floating deck vs. skybars/deck dowels. I thik you have to look at where you want the concrete to move, because it will, and make your decision with that in mind. Also, how wide is your deck where it attaches to the bb? Shasta Pools in AZ is the builder that still uses skybars, they use as standard since they say they typically pour more decking around the pool than others. They reference the width if the deck being the reason they use vs. narrower deck not needing skybars.

    My pool deck does not attach to my patio, so I would rather have it free float and I will deal with the silicone bead where the deck meets the bond in the future. I will be watering my dirt, trying to soak it as well as possible before concrete is laid in, this should reduce movement. Whether you use skybars or not, I would recomend watering in the soil, deeply to expand it before pouring the deck. Watering the soil is standard practive for concrete companies in CA, not standard in AZ.
    I know this is an old posting...sorry to refresh it nearly four years later. BUT, I just met with Shasta tonight and they reaffirmed their use of a bonded deck. They offered two version of cement decking underlay - one fully warranted with "mesh" (etc.) with lifetime guarantee, and one, well not guaranteed. My feeling that if we go with Shasta, with their bonded beam, that we will have to go with the fully warranteed cement deck underlay. Otherwise, we'll have cracks galore and hate it forever because we will pay for the repair.

    three builders in Phx area use bonded deck - Paddock, Premier, and Shasta. I'm getting a fresh bid from Premier next week (have an old one) and the Shasta bid. Shasta and Premier have both said they'll do a floating deck if required - but I never like forcing a company to against a major focus of their business model - isn't sound concept. AND I would love to start narrowing the field a bit. We are also getting bids from CalPool and a smaller custom builder who seems pretty stable (20 pools/year) under a cost-plus model.

    From_Arizona - any cracks in your deck? Any issues? Inquiring minds....
    RawhideKid
    Phoenix, AZ (Goodyear actually)
    Pool finally complete!!! IG, 40,635 gallons w/2080 gallon spa with 16 jets. Pool is 40x21 ft with 10 ft deep end; two baja steps
    Pentair Cartridge filter - 520 SQ. PebbleSheen interior. 2 Pentair VS pumps. Pentair Intellichlor SWG
    4 deck jets, 2 bubblers, fake rock grotto/waterfall with wet steps. 3 surrounding half-pergola's with misters in future
    Sunken covered ramada with cabinets, fridge, and wood fireplace. (soon to have big screen TV)
    Basically, 14 years of planning on how to survive this blistering AZ summer!!! WAHOOOOO!!!!!!

  8. Back To Top    #8
    From_Arizona's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Glendale, AZ
    Posts
    212

    Re: Deck dowels (skybars) or floating deck?

    Wow, has it been that long

    Well, last time I saw the pool deck was mid 2009 as I lost my house to foreclosure. The deck still remained in excellent shape and no visible cracks. This was a fairly large surface area and some minor cracking where the deck met the pool bond, this could be rectified by using some type of caulking. Overall the job was well done.

    http://s20.photobucket.com/albums/b244/ ... ing002.jpg
    1980's Shasta built 30,000 gal inground diving pool. Pebble-tec interior. Pentair DE Filter. In ground pop-ups. Hayward Navigator sweeper.

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Deck dowels (skybars) or floating deck?

    Quote Originally Posted by From_Arizona
    Wow, has it been that long

    Well, last time I saw the pool deck was mid 2009 as I lost my house to foreclosure. The deck still remained in excellent shape and no visible cracks. This was a fairly large surface area and some minor cracking where the deck met the pool bond, this could be rectified by using some type of caulking. Overall the job was well done.

    http://s20.photobucket.com/albums/b244/ ... ing002.jpg
    Geez - sorry you lost the house. Can you share who the builder was? From the photo's, looks like an awesome yard/pool.
    RawhideKid
    Phoenix, AZ (Goodyear actually)
    Pool finally complete!!! IG, 40,635 gallons w/2080 gallon spa with 16 jets. Pool is 40x21 ft with 10 ft deep end; two baja steps
    Pentair Cartridge filter - 520 SQ. PebbleSheen interior. 2 Pentair VS pumps. Pentair Intellichlor SWG
    4 deck jets, 2 bubblers, fake rock grotto/waterfall with wet steps. 3 surrounding half-pergola's with misters in future
    Sunken covered ramada with cabinets, fridge, and wood fireplace. (soon to have big screen TV)
    Basically, 14 years of planning on how to survive this blistering AZ summer!!! WAHOOOOO!!!!!!

  10. Back To Top    #10
    From_Arizona's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Glendale, AZ
    Posts
    212

    Re: Deck dowels (skybars) or floating deck?

    Thank you, it was tough losing what should have been my home for many years... and seeing it go to auction at $380k less than what I had into it. Looking back, it was probably the best thing that happened to me as I am now divorced and could not afford the house on my income alone.

    I was the builder on the pool, designed and subbed everything out myself. It was really much easier than I expected, although still painful at some stages, and some regrets once it was all completed. Had major issues with the Paramount In floor cleaner in relation to the solar pool heater/panels... pretty much the solar company fault for the issues. Had aprox 60' run from equipment to pool and 40' from house to equipment, they advised over and over again no pump was needed, but the infloors didn't work with solar until I forced them to add another pump. As my own contractor, had to negotiate and arrange all after build meetings to get things right.

    You should have some good negotiating power with the pool builders in the current economy, keep pushing them and you should be able to vet out the exact details you want in your pool. I now live in a 30 year old home with an older Shasta pool that was remodeled about 5 years ago. The infloors work great, although no solar panels to contend with this time Trying to manage as close to BBB for maintenance as well. It is nice to enjoy a pool again in AZ, at least in the summer time!

    Sincerely,
    Julie
    1980's Shasta built 30,000 gal inground diving pool. Pebble-tec interior. Pentair DE Filter. In ground pop-ups. Hayward Navigator sweeper.

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Deck dowels (skybars) or floating deck?

    Quote Originally Posted by From_Arizona
    Thank you, it was tough losing what should have been my home for many years... and seeing it go to auction at $380k less than what I had into it. Looking back, it was probably the best thing that happened to me as I am now divorced and could not afford the house on my income alone.

    I was the builder on the pool, designed and subbed everything out myself. It was really much easier than I expected, although still painful at some stages, and some regrets once it was all completed. Had major issues with the Paramount In floor cleaner in relation to the solar pool heater/panels... pretty much the solar company fault for the issues. Had aprox 60' run from equipment to pool and 40' from house to equipment, they advised over and over again no pump was needed, but the infloors didn't work with solar until I forced them to add another pump. As my own contractor, had to negotiate and arrange all after build meetings to get things right.

    You should have some good negotiating power with the pool builders in the current economy, keep pushing them and you should be able to vet out the exact details you want in your pool. I now live in a 30 year old home with an older Shasta pool that was remodeled about 5 years ago. The infloors work great, although no solar panels to contend with this time Trying to manage as close to BBB for maintenance as well. It is nice to enjoy a pool again in AZ, at least in the summer time!

    Sincerely,
    Julie
    Thanks Julie - more power to you for designing and subbing out your own pool! Massive accomplishment and always good to hear about lessons learned. THe pictures show it was a beautiful pool.

    I'm struggling with getting these builders to be more real with pricing. Was pretty hard on the Shasta rep yesterday, so we'll see where their bid comes in at. I sent a long email to Presidential last night, basically ripping their bid apart trying to get a lot more clarity.

    Still learning a lot about all kinds of things. Yesterday I learned from Shasta that Paramount has two cleaners - pv3 and pcc2000 or something like that - one is spring loaded and one is not; trying to determine pro's and con's of each, which isn't clear from the Paramount website. Shasta was really pushing the spring loaded type but I like the "weighted type". Which did you go with? Shasta was also pushing the pebbletech over the pebblesheen big time. Perhaps he's trying to get the price down lower to be more competitive....?

    Good to chat with a fellow Arizonian!

    RK
    RawhideKid
    Phoenix, AZ (Goodyear actually)
    Pool finally complete!!! IG, 40,635 gallons w/2080 gallon spa with 16 jets. Pool is 40x21 ft with 10 ft deep end; two baja steps
    Pentair Cartridge filter - 520 SQ. PebbleSheen interior. 2 Pentair VS pumps. Pentair Intellichlor SWG
    4 deck jets, 2 bubblers, fake rock grotto/waterfall with wet steps. 3 surrounding half-pergola's with misters in future
    Sunken covered ramada with cabinets, fridge, and wood fireplace. (soon to have big screen TV)
    Basically, 14 years of planning on how to survive this blistering AZ summer!!! WAHOOOOO!!!!!!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •