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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Because tile is so durable, homeowners often find themselves in a predicament: The kitchen floors, backsplash and walls aren’t unstable enough to tear out, but the dated color or finish is getting on everyone’s last nerve. Even if you’ve purchased a home with a recently renovated kitchen, powder blue or tangerine tile might not be your cup of tea

But before you decide on a tile resurfacing project, you should consider a few things first. In this article we are going to discuss some of the things that you should consider before you start any tile resurfacing project.

Updating Kitchen Floor Tiles, Updating Kitchen Wall Tiles, and Updating Kitchen Backsplash Tiles

As you can plainly see, the key idea here is update. If your existing kitchen tile is still in fairly decent shape, you have a lot to work with. You don’t necessarily have to tear everything out and start from scratch. Before you grab a sledgehammer or call a contractor, consider your options. Some are better than others, but at least you have a few.

Stick-on “tiles”

There are affordable stick-on tiles or tile decals for giving your kitchen counter or backsplash a fresh new look. Manufacturers offer a wide range of colors, textures and patterns to choose from. Even vinyl and metallic finishes are available.

Mind you, the stick-on tile solution is merely a short-term cosmetic fix. It’s makeup, so to speak, rather than a quality face-lift.

In theory, this is a fast, easy project for a rainy afternoon. Some users, though, say that getting the decals straight was more labor intensive and time consuming than they expected. Depending on the quality of the product, the decals might discolor over time. The sticky stuff is no match in the long run for moist climates like those in bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens.

Finally, if the adhesive is potent enough, it can actually damage the tile.

Again, this is a cheap, short-term fix for a small surface. If you plan on updating your kitchen backsplash tiles in a more permanent way relatively soon, stickers are a nice stopgap measure.

Tile Paint

This one sounds like a piece of cake, but it’s the stuff of nightmares for amateurs. Painting tile, a smooth, nonporous surface, is nothing like painting your kids’ bedroom walls or a cheap wooden side table you found at a flea market. Paint just doesn’t want to adhere to tile.

There’s also the risk of eroding the paint with cleaning products down the road.

If you want to go this route, trust the job to a professional who knows which products and methods are best.

Resurfacing: The Most Practical Solution

Short of a complete teardown and remodel — which involves dirt, dust, noise, inconvenience, the problem of old tile disposal, and possibly plumbing or electrical work — resurfacing is the most permanent solution.

Resurfacing existing tile is far more cost effective than replacing it. Your kitchen won’t be off limits for days or weeks. A quality job results in great-looking kitchen tile that will last for years to come.

Refinishing and resurfacing are not synonymous

Some contractors toss these two terms about as though they were the same thing. They’re not.

Refinishing entails stripping the old finish, applying a fresh coating and reglazing the existing tile. That would all be well and fine if not for the toxic chemicals involved. Most people who have done their homework just aren’t willing to put their families or pets at risk.

The Semco solution

Semco stone aggregate resurfacing material was designed to be safe, durable and highly versatile. It’s ideal for both walls and floors and appropriate for a range of tile products:

  • Ceramic
  • Porcelain
  • Mosaic
  • Marble
  • Granite
  • Cement
  • Limestone

Unlike epoxy overlays that eventually give in to moisture and peel away, Semco’s X-Bond resurfacing material, a compound called microcement, was designed with pools, outdoor decks, steamy bathrooms and traffic-heavy kitchens in mind. X-Bond adheres at the molecular level. You can expect the mechanical, interlocking bond to last for around 15 years before you notice traces of wear and tear.

Not only that, but there are attractive colors, textures and polishes to suit every taste. If you’re updating kitchen floor tiles, backsplash tiles or wall tiles, you can take the look rustic, industrial, or clean and modern. Either way, count on getting lots of compliments on your “all new” tile.

The Resurfacing Process

Even when money is no object, most people drag their feet on home improvement projects. Who looks forward to the smashing, drilling, intrusion and mess? Who has patience for the inevitable delays? Who’s not afraid of fly-by-night contractors who do shoddy work that’s expensive to repair?

The tile resurfacing process is almost embarrassingly straightforward. There’s no demolition work, noise or lingering dust. The existing tile is simply cleaned and prepped. The resurfacing product is seamlessly applied for a new-tile look.

In a day or two, you have a gorgeous kitchen décor that you love, and you’ve added value to your home.

Don’t waste a couple of valuable weekends updating kitchen backsplash tiles with uncooperative decals; for as short a time as they last, it’s not worth it. Save yourself the frustration of trying to get paint to stick to tile.

Updating kitchen wall tiles, backsplash tiles or floor tiles needn’t be a hassle or a huge expense. Semco kitchen tile resurfacing is the way to go.

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