When you’re building for the outdoors, durability comes first. Sure, you want things to look nice, but it has to be able to stand up to the elements and anything else the world throws at it. Concrete is a good bet for durability, and the look of concrete has become increasingly sophisticated and artistic over the years. It’s no longer a substance just for dam building and pillars to hold up freeway overpasses.
But there are a number of issues that make pure concrete a less-than-ideal material when you’re thinking about a pool and patio deck:
Problem 1: It’s Expensive and Difficult
Concrete as a material is subject to market forces, and even though people imagine that concrete is a kind of basic, cheap, and abundant material, it’s actually much pricier than they think. The cost of mixing, molding, curing, finishing, and then sealing/coating is much higher than in years past, and the processes needed to use it are time-consuming.
Costs in different geographical locations and for different sized pools and patios would differ, of course, but it’s reasonable to expect to pay anywhere from $35,000 to $65,000 for a concrete in-ground pool. On top of that, you can expect a further $25,000 to $40,000 in upkeep costs over the subsequent decade or so. You need manpower, machinery, tools, and then time to seal the concrete after it’s cured. After that, it will need resealing, acid washes, and more.
On top of this, we have the problem of how difficult (and expensive) it can be with concrete to create anything beyond flat slabs. If you want to create columns, knee walls, benches, waterfalls, and even some pool interiors out of concrete, it’s not as simple a task as you might think. It’s a lot of hard labor, mold-making, mixing, pouring, waiting, and seeing.
Problem 2: Concrete is Porous
Concrete may look like solid rock, but in reality, concrete may as well be a slab of swiss cheese because it’s so porous. The pores that are left on the surface of the concrete after curing are enough for mildew to thrive, and so the only solution is to seal it.
Once the concrete is poured, set, and cured, it has to be sealed. Sealers are usually applied via sprayer or roller, depending on whether it’s water- or solvent-based. Without proper application of a sealer, the concrete will absorb moisture and become a haven for mildew, as well as more susceptible to cracking, spalling, and pitting. These problems are fixable with concrete, but without sealing it becomes a constant chore, so sealing is a must.
Problem 3: Concrete is Inconsistent
Once again, it seems counterintuitive to say this, but concrete is very inconsistent in its appearance. In most cases where it’s used, it doesn’t matter because no one really cares if there’s a bit of staining or inconsistent color on a freeway overpass, but they would care if it were their pool or patio deck.
Concrete is hard to get into one reliable color and finish. While it’s a standardized idea and concept, it’s not a totally standardized color or an exact finish. So, it is for these 3 big reasons and some others that people want an alternative solution.
Concrete-Look Pool and Patio Deck? Try the Semco System
What people really need in this situation is something that can achieve that grand, durable look and feel of concrete but not create a cumbersome and expensive workload. There is one such solution, and it’s called Semco. The Semco system works by applying a special micro-topping to your existing substrate. Even if the substrate is concrete you will still have a more consistent finish that is easier to clean and it doesn’t grow mildew. It can be applied over virtually anything around your pool including the following:
Semco Creates a Seamless Look
First of all, when applied, Semco is reliable and consistent in its look. Anyone who knows concrete will see it and wonder how on earth you managed to get this clean, consistent, pure-looking concrete finish across the entire pool and patio deck. You could even use it to create a pattern of two different colors or textured finishes for an added dimension of refinement.
Even better, it can wrap around virtually any substrate surface, including your desired columns, waterfalls, and other features. Between your new pool and patio deck, you’ll have a clean, better tied-in, and more consistent look; a real sense of style. If you’re installing these features as a property investment, then that’s a big plus.
Semco Boasts the Same Positive Concrete Features
The Semco will offer the same positive features of concrete in appearance and durability, but at the same time will make up for its shortcomings. For instance, Semco is non-porous so it won’t foster the growth of mildew. With simple washing using a pH-neutral soap, you can ensure that it remains clean, crisp, and attractive.
Semco doesn’t need anything like the same level of preparation and labor to apply as concrete finishing, either. Surfaces just need to be cleaned and primed, and then Semco can be applied in layers until the right consistency and effect are achieved. Once it’s all in place, you wouldn’t have any idea what substrate was under it. You could coat 4 different materials with Semco and you’d never know they were anything but beautiful concrete.