The pool deck renovation case study was only part of a larger landscape remodel including new driveway, courtyard and backyard as seen in the photos.



A swimming pool deck renovation case study is helpful to explain the reasons behind the renovation. When the old decking is concrete that has cracked, is simply out of date with today’s newest finishes or poses a safety problem, a renovation can remedy those issues.

Many pool decks are poured concrete and how the concrete is finished has a role in its durability. For instance, Kool Deck is a type of decorative concrete coating that is sprayed on then knocked down with a trowel to give a clean, contemporary texture. It is then “color coated” and usually sealed. Kool Deck was the go-to finish for many years but problems can occur down the road including delamination, fading and cracking. After all, its still concrete which inherently cracks given enough time coupled with inadequate reinforcement. See my blog post on pool deck renovation options.

Our pool deck renovation case study involved a homeowner who completed a major remodel to their home. After updating the home, the landscape needed to look upgraded as well . JSL Landscape was engaged to redesign the entire landscape front and back including dealing with a pool that had an old tired looking Kool Deck finish.

We discussed options such as re-coating the deck to make it look new. But this approach can’t change the texture or appropriately handle any cracking. The homeowner suggested covering the decking with new stone such as flagstone or travertine. Sometimes, that can be done, but how to handle the coping is usually an issue. This pool had a cantilevered poured concrete coping so there really isn’t a distinct coping border that could have been left intact with the newer decking material placed behind it. Other than ripping up all the existing concrete and starting from scratch, we looked at options that would keep the deck intact and use something that could go over the top.

We looked at applying a new decorative coating but that would require grinding off the existing coating. Furthermore a new concrete coating simply would not be consistent with the level of high end finishes and materials that were used in the remodel. I suggested using concrete paver overlays which are standard concrete pavers but one inch thick and designed to go over concrete slabs or decks. With this approach, the only type of paver that could be used for the coping was a coping piece paver which is simply a standard 2 3/8″ thick paver with a full bullnose on one end. This doesn’t work with a cantilevered edge so I did some more research and found a coping product that is specifically designed as a pool deck “renovation coping”. It has a face that covers the face of the existing cantilevered decking and has a half bullnose edge to blend in with the waterline tile.

Artistic Pavers Mfg is the company and they make an entire line of standard pavers as well as bullnose edge treatments for use on steps, pool coping, spa coping, etc. Their product is 1 1/2″ thick so it can be installed over compacted aggregate base or as a concrete overlay. It is a very contemporary look which was perfect to go with the home’s new look. It would also eliminate the cost of removing the entire deck or grinding off the old coating. Remove the entire deck including the coping and replace it with a number of options including new concrete that is stamped to mimic a stone finish, concrete with a decorative coating to perhaps simulate random flagstone or tile, or new concrete pavers.

I had used Artistic Pavers a few times when I was still located in the Phoenix area, but since moving to Sedona, there are just not that many pools let alone pools that need a new deck. So I called the company and their regional sales rep came to the house to give us the dog and pony show with an array of samples. He already had an appointment to meet with a large pool builder in the area so it was convenient.

We were shown the various lines of pavers including Shelllock, Stonelock, and Corallock as well as the color and size options. These pavers can also be ordered in an “antique” finish which gives a sandblasted texture reducing the slipperiness when wet. We decided on the color “Biscotti” with the antique finish and use two sizes – 8 x 8 and 16 x 16 in a pinwheel pattern.

One feature that makes Artistic Pavers a good choice around a pool is that there is no joint sand used. These pavers butt up next to each other against a slight beveled edge giving a real clean look. Another feature is most all of the available colors are on the light side unlike conventional pavers which tend to be on the dark side. This is a big selling point for use as a pool deck surface.

During the design process, I brought up the issue of the automated pool cover having to be removed and put back on top of the new deck. Since this was a curvilinear pool, the tracks for the cover had to go on top of the deck beyond the widest point of the pool. To me, this was an unsightly unfortunate application that was not legally mandated as a part of the local pool barrier ordinance. Not only was the track very visible on top of the deck, the housing for the cover when rolled up was a huge box 20 feet long at one end. When the cover was over the pool, you could not appreciate the curvy lines of the pool. All you saw was this big blue plastic tarp.

It was a bit awkward for me to suggest the owners remove the cover entirely but I was coming from an aesthetics standpoint. I did not want to have them go through all the expense of the new decking plus all the other landscape improvements and have this sore thumb ruin the look and feel of their backyard. We discussed if there was an overwhelming concern for safety and if children could get near the pool etc. We also discussed keeping the pool cleaner being covered and insulation factors as well – basically all the reasons why you would want a cover in the first place. But in the end, the owners agreed and we never put the old cover back onto the deck. Safety issues were remedied by adding locked gates to the existing pool fencing. Keeping it clean was not an issue.

As shown in the before and after photos, the Artistic Pavers are a huge improvement to the pool deck and a great option for any pool deck renovation. The homeowners are very pleased with the final result.