MiFam21

New member
Jul 22, 2022
4
Southeast Michigan
First time pool owners in MI and needing help with concrete repair work and first time sealing. We had an in-ground fiberglass pool installed last summer with a concrete brush finish pool deck/patio area that has a basic bullnose coping that was done with silicone forms. We also have an automatic cover with aluminum tracks. Between supply and worker delays & shortages, it took AGES to get our pool project done. Started in May and it was November before everything was finished. The concrete work in particular was a nightmare. Our builder's usual stable of out of state contractors were all over booked, so we had to find a local contractor ourselves or wait more months. Just getting someone to call back or even come estimate was almost impossible. The company we eventually hired for the concrete & accompanying french drains + paver retaining wall lied about their experience with pool decks (we discovered they literally had none and were basically just 2 inept guys who subcontracted most of their labor to cash paid workers).

They weren't careful with the silicone coping molds since they didn't really know how to use them. We've been left with a coping that is very bumpy in areas (from where they didn't use enough release agent) and very darkly stained smooth areas where they used a lot (unbeknownst to us when they poured, they used dark colored release agent that is typically used for decorative stamped concrete work). They messed up a number of other things as well and we were forced to fire them before they screwed up with the remaining un-poured sidewalk areas & paver work. There was no way to get $ back or have them "fix things" any further since every day they were on site seemed to wreck something else. We hired another company to repair and complete our sidewalks & pool drains, but they don't specialize pool deck work so they can't seem to help us with the coping issues. We also have a couple of hairline cracks on the deck/sidewalk and an area near the house & spots right along the cover track where there are stains we haven't been able to get out by cleaning or power-washing. The geniuses we originally hired used Kwik-rete to try to smooth out the worst of the coping at one point, so we're afraid that's what some of that is.

We know we should seal the fully cured concrete this fall, since MI winter is harsh on concrete, but would like to get the coping smoothed out and not seal in a bunch of stains on it or the pool deck itself. We're wondering if some sort of color staining everywhere might help camouflage the imperfections, but know that has to be done before it is sealed for the first time. As a result, it feels like we don't have a lot of time to figure this out. We have no idea what we could do ourselves or who we could professionally hire to help us. Every local concrete contractor seems to only do new pours or just decorative staining & sealing. No one seems to do repairs or specialize in pool decks rather than just patios/driveways. After our horrible experience, we don't want to make things worse ourselves or hire another clueless contractor. Advice on these issues would be very appreciated.
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
40,171
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Welcome to TFP.

Show us pics of your problem areas and we will see what ideas folks have.
 

Jaffles

Bronze Supporter
May 4, 2022
150
Australia Gold Coast Hinterland
Pool Size
22500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Astral Viron eQuilibrium EQ35
Hmmm, I'd be looking into decorative concert coatings rather than repairs. A coating like stencilled concrete but without the stencil, or maybe so if thats your liking.
Its like a concrete epoxy mix that is sprayed on. Extremely hard wearing and has grip like concrete, plus would hide or solve all your discoloured existing by making it uniform.
I'm in Australia so not much point suggesting products. But google coloured concrete or decorative concrete finishes, or stencilled concrete.

Alternatively you could try washing the concrete with hydrochloric acid, maybe 20% acid to water. Add acid to the water not the other way. Use a water can to apply, stiff broom here and there, then pressure wash off with a 2500psi machine.
 

MiFam21

New member
Jul 22, 2022
4
Southeast Michigan
Thanks for the suggestions. We've not seen any service in our area that does an epoxy-style coating for pool decks, just garages & basements (mainly indoor applications). I've seen other pool owners who live in warmer climates here in the USA mention that kind of product, but we live in Michigan and I've yet to find anyone doing it for pool decks around here. Winters get pretty harsh so I'm not sure if I'm not seeing it locally because of the weather conditions or just no one is trained to do it/offer it. I'm really hesitant to try to do anything ourselves and risk making things worse. The rounded coping edge is the biggest challenge - I'm not sure how something like that could be sprayed on without getting on the fiberglass or into the pool itself.

We're looking into possibly having it stained with one of these, which I think is what you mean by stenciled: Brickform Stains & Dyes | Solomon Colors
These seem to be applied with a roller or brush and then sealed after. I'm hoping with the right shade it could make some of the darker areas of the coping - and the mystery stains on the deck itself - seem more like intentional variation instead of just weird patches and camouflage the coping bumpiness too. They seem to also make some overlay products that might be like the coatings you're mentioning: Brickform Resurfacing & Overlays | Solomon Colors I have a possible local hardscape contractor that has some experience with these particular stain products...just not sure if the overlay products are more than they'd be able to do. I appreciate any suggestions. We've got to do something in the next couple months so we can seal before winter, so the sooner we can work out a plan, the better!
 

Jaffles

Bronze Supporter
May 4, 2022
150
Australia Gold Coast Hinterland
Pool Size
22500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Astral Viron eQuilibrium EQ35
The stains looks more like this and I'm sure with google, the supplier, and some I can do it attitude you would do a fine job. It however only colours your concrete.
How to Recolor Faded Stamped Concrete

The resurfacing and overlays in the second link was what I was thinking really. They have a build to them as well as hiding compacity, and colour. You can add patten if you like. I would imagine the thickness of the product would go some way to making your rounded coping smoother and look more finished. Maybe a couple of applications over the rough part then one all over.

As for keeping product out of the pool, you can get masking tape attached to plastic sheet. They use it in the spray painting houses a lot. Probably have to apply it from in the pool, but it would be possible to tape a "hanging" sheet so to speak that floats on top of the water. Or you could use 2" tape and core flute board as an alternative.
 

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MiFam21

New member
Jul 22, 2022
4
Southeast Michigan
Our fiberglass pool was installed last summer and due to a lot of contractor issues the complete concrete pool deck/patio wasn't completed until late October last year so we couldn't seal it. We live in MI where winter can be harsh. We have some ugly concrete discoloration issues on the coping (original contractor, who we had to fire mid-job for incompetence, used dark colored release agent unevenly so some parts are dark, others are very light) and another random spot near our house where wetness over the winter left darker colored splotches in the concrete. We also noticed a hairline crack in the sidewalk (about 10 feet away from the pool) after the winter. Our 2nd round contractor came to look at it in early in the summer and said time in the sun might improve the discolored areas so wait a few months to see - not to rush into sealing. He recommended we caulk the small crack to prevent it from getting worse this winter and we talked about doing a concrete color stain to camouflage the dark areas before we sealed it this fall. Well, they've been too busy this season to get to us and it's now mid-October so I doubt they're going to be able to do anything. I know once you've sealed it you can't go back and do a color stain, so I'm hesitant to DIY just a seal job ourselves right now and potentially seal in all the ugly spots. Would it be too detrimental to just put off sealing it until next spring?

The contractor also said we should caulk all the stress cuts as well before any kind of staining would be done - we've got a large patio area, with a lot of cuts, so it would be a big job to caulk it all and, (I'll be the first to say I don't really know much about stains), wouldn't the caulk get stained/discolored if doing that first? My husband was skeptical that caulking it all was necessary, so I don't know if that's also something we need to do right now. We've been overwhelmed with a lot of other things taking up time lately so there isn't a lot of time to mess around with the pool, but I also don't want to end up creating more problems if letting either of those things go over the winter is a no-no. This is our first pool so we don't know much about any of this and hiring anyone who knows even a bit about pool decks in this area is practically impossible since everywhere is short of staff and behind on jobs. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
40,171
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
What type of "caulk" are people talking about using to fill in the joints?

If those are saw cut concrete control joints that go not go to the ground then they do not need to be filled.

Was your deck a single concrete pour and then they saw cut in those joints?
 
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