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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There’s no doubt about it, a kitchen remodel is a big job. Even a modest kitchen rebuild can cost from $20,000 to $30,000, and the more typical range is between $50,000 and $60,000. That’s a large chunk of change, especially in the world so financially strained by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same time, a remodel in the kitchen is still a positive move, adding value to your house and creating a more pleasant atmosphere in this pivotal and crucial family space. Today, we’ll be talking about an interesting way to get the renovation done without too much headache, and that’s cutting out the demolition.

Ways to Save: No Demo

One of the ways you can actually achieve some savings in your kitchen remodel, however, is by cutting out all — or nearly all — of the demolition step. This brings with it a number of other benefits, chiefly that minimal demolition means you won’t be forced to leave the house while the remodel work is going on. Extensive demolition brings:

  • Dust
  • Noise
  • Disruption of plumbing fixtures
  • Reduced or eliminated access to life essentials

Therefore, reducing or eliminating demolition during a kitchen remodel is a desirable solution. You escape all these negatives, and can remain in your home throughout the project. So, how can it be done?

1. Floors

Your floor could made from tile, stone, wood or vinyl. The easiest way to remodel a kitchen floor without any demolition is to go ahead and build right over the existing floor. Some existing methods for doing this include vinyl and laminate systems, but these have limited appeal aesthetically. You could also try to just place new tile over the old layer, but a better option, in our view, is the Semco system.

Semco is a seamless stone material available in a variety of finishes that allows you to directly resurface over other solid surfaces. Regardless of any textures, grout joints, existing scratches or abrasions that are in the current floor, Semco can cover them with no remaining semblance of those inconsistencies remaining. It’s also easy to trowel the Semco all the way up to the edges and around existing fittings like islands.

2. Backsplash

A backsplash is invariably made using tile, and the issue with that is that you have grout lines, which are challenging to clean. In my own experience, something simple like a slow-leaking wine bottle that drips onto your counter tops and splashes onto the backsplash can wreak havoc on the effect. Using Semco for the backsplash allows for a seamless finish that’s much easier to clean in any event, especially in the hard-to-reach spots behind the oven and sink.

3. Cabinets

You could also use Semco for the surface of your cabinets, but there are actually even easier ways to do it. A prevailing trend at the moment is making use of lighter colors for kitchen cabinets, and to do that you can simply spray them with a lacquer or other durable kind of paint. In this way, you change up the color but don’t have to switch out the cabinets. No removal of the cabinets will save you a huge amount, and the visual impact of repainting is often surprisingly powerful. Once again, I speak from experience, there.

4. Plumbing Fixtures

This is where the little bi of demo comes in. The kitchen faucet can’t be tiled over or repainted. If you want a new one, the old one has to be removed. While it does require a little bit of demolition to remove the old faucet or even the entire kitchen sink, it’s hardly “heavy-duty” demo, especially if you’re not changing the size. It won’t create a lot of dust or other contaminants, and can be done quickly. At the same time, it has tremendous aesthetic impact on the overall kitchen design, and can be a big part of adding value to your kitchen remodel project.

There is a bit more work to do when you want to change the size of your kitchen sink. In this case, you will have to switch out the counter top, or at the very least cut a bigger hole in the countertop. If you want to minimize demo, then stick with the same sink and faucet dimensions.

5. Countertops

Your typical countertop can be made of granite, quartz, sometimes tile, stone and others. All of these can be easily recoated with the Semco seamless stone system. Adding just an eighth-of-an-inch layer to the entire surface can create a brand-new finish without having to take out a single existing countertop.

One more benefit here is that the Semco system even allows you to adapt your kitchen countertops to the latest trends without removal. For example, there is an increasing demand for square edges. Using the Semco system, you can take a rounded edge and you can make it square.

If you think pulling out and replacing cabinets is expensive, you haven’t yet gotten the bill —- or the additional noise and disruption — for a typical countertop removal yet. Once again, resurfacing with something like Semco is a great way to get the job done, creating a new surface and look without the hassle and expense of demo.

Kitchen Remodel: No Demo Needed

We hope the ideas above can help you to see that you don’t necessarily need to line up the demolition team when you are planning a kitchen remodel. You can make great savings and still achieve the dream-kitchen look with materials like the Semco seamless stone covering system, and a lick of paint where needed. Your new kitchen awaits!

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