Concrete Pool and Patio Deck Design Guide

Are you planning a big outdoor redesign project at your home? A new pool and patio deck design won’t just enhance your living space, but can drastically improve your home’s value if and when the time comes that you want to sell it. Outdoor features are growing in popularity and people want that amazing wow factor on their property.

So, when you decide that you’d like a pool and patio deck design, you first think that a good choice of material would be concrete. That seems logical, right? It’s durable and lasting and wouldn’t be so complex for something like a pool and patio deck. It’s also easy to clean, and you can paint it a different color very easily. There is lots to love about it.

At the same time, however, there are some serious drawbacks to using concrete, too, such as the expense, its porous nature, and inconsistent look. As it happens, there are ways to enjoy the look of concrete without the cost and other issues that come with it. We’ll be exploring one of these solutions in today’s blog — Semco.

What’s Wrong with a Concrete Pool and Concrete Patio Deck?

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.

Enter: Semco
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:
Pool interior
Pool tile
Pool coping
Pool deck
Knee walls
Water features

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.

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Kitchen backsplash resurfacing is becoming increasingly popular. You may feel as though your kitchen needs an upgrade, but you don’t have a lot of time or money. An easy way to change the look of the room is by replacing your backsplash. Due to the durability and clean appearance, many homes have ceramic tile backsplashes. If this is the case in your kitchen, you may not find it feasible to rip everything out. Besides taking a great deal of effort, this can be an expensive project. To remain within budget and to keep things simple, covering your tile may be a smarter option. There are many different ways to top your existing backsplash so that it looks brand new.

Paint Over It

If you don’t like the color of your backsplash, the easiest way to update things is by painting over it. This is quite affordable and can instantly change the look of your kitchen. Before you begin, it is important to prepare your tile.

Everything must be clean so that grease and other residue is removed. These items will keep your paint from sticking properly. To get the job done, it is advised to use a mild abrasive cleaner. When you select your paint, choose an oil-based or epoxy product. A water-based item will likely peel and ruin your efforts.

It is simple to cover your entire backsplash with one color. However, getting creative can be fun. You can use multiple tones to create a diamond pattern or something similar. If you are not a good freehand drawer, you can use stencils to form a different design. This will help you achieve a custom appearance.

If you use a stencil, it is best to choose one with a tacky back. This will keep it in place while you dab your paint. Nothing will seep underneath so that you achieve clean results. Rubber stamps can be used as alternatives. When using these items, apply enough paint so that they leave noticeable impressions. However, you do not want too much paint on the stamps. This will cause your design to glob and run.

Vinyl Decal Fun

The quickest and easiest way to change the look of your kitchen backsplash is with vinyl decals. These are temporary stickers that can be used to cover individual tiles. Your local craft store should offer a wide variety of patterns and designs. To achieve a completely new look, you can apply decals to all of the tiles. If you only want a small change, you may consider placing decals on random tiles. These create accents that bring interest to the room.

Tin is In

If you are looking to give your kitchen a sophisticated makeover, you may want to cover your existing backsplash with tin ceiling tiles. These bring a rustic and elegant look to your room. The texture of the tin tiles will add dimension to your space as well. You will be able to find these types of tiles in a variety of patterns. Application is a breeze. Before you begin, it is essential to clean your existing tiles so that adhesion is not a problem. After the tin tiles are in position, you can go back and add some type of molding around the finished backsplash. This provides a rich appearance.

Beadboard Fun

For a more quaint look, beadboard can be used to transform your tile backsplash. Beadboard is a type of paneling that includes alternating recessed strips and groves. Normal beadboard is white, which makes it easy to paint. This means that it can be blended into any kitchen decor. On the other hand, leaving a natural wood finish offers a charming and rustic flair as well. To begin, you must measure the amount of material that you will need. Beadboard comes in large sheets, so cutting and sizing may be required for a proper fit. To install it, you can use a caulking gun to apply an adhesive glue to the back. For a different twist, you can install the beadboard horizontally. This offers a modern spin on a traditional decorating material. As with the tin tiles, you can edge the new backsplash with a trim molding.

You and your family spend a great deal of time in your kitchen. When it is time for a change, you may opt for some type of makeover. The above ideas will help you cover your existing backsplash. They are easy and inexpensive ways to make a big impact in the room.

Remodel without Removal with Semco’s plaster cement

If you want to go smooth and modern then the Semco system allows you to do just that. Not only can you smooth out all the grout joints with this micro-cement, but you can also create a wide variety of decorative finishes including a concrete look, a Venetian Plaster effect or any other texture and color that can be done with a trowel. Greasy splashes from your favorite fried steak recipe or the errant spill from that glass of rare Bordeaux will leave no lasting effects on this virtually stain-proof material. Originally used on Las Vegas casino floors this resurfacing system will stand the test of time on your backsplash and no one will ever know that underneath it lies a baby blue 2” x 2” tile from 1978.   

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