Decks: The process and what to consider

A few weeks ago, we talked about having a couple of posts on decking. Well, after a detour to deal with heat and algae, we’re back and ready to talk about decks. Just in case you missed it, be sure to check out the article on the suppliers we work with. Join us on this adventure after that.

Just like anything else, there are many type of decks to consider. Once you decide on the size and placement of your deck, you have to figure out what kind of deck you want.

bench and stuff

Basic types of decks

Brush concrete: A lot of decks have a concrete base, and there are multiple concrete options. The default option is brushed concrete, which is simply brushing concrete with a specialized broom after it’s poured to create a smooth surface. Brushed concrete is cost-effective.

Exposed aggregate: This is next on the price scale. Also known as pea gravel, exposed aggregate is a concrete surface that exposes elements such as granite and rocks for a classy look. Exposed aggregate is cooler on the feet than brushed concrete. It can be tougher to walk on, but troweling the surface will smooth it out to make it easy on the feet and the eyes.

Salt finish: This is brushed concrete with a twist. As the concrete is drying, rock salt is poured onto the concrete and troweled. After the troweling, the surface is washed. The water from that washing dissolves the salt, leaving an earthy surface that’s similar to exposed aggregate. Add color to this finish at extra cost.

Spray deck: A spray deck is a way to limit the heat soaking in your deck. Once you’ve laid your concrete, “spray” it with an acrylic surface. Not only does it add color and prevent heat even when topped with a sealer, it doesn’t whittle or crack with foot traffic.

More specialized decks

Stained concrete: This is a versatile deck design where concrete is distressed and can be cut into different designs and patterns for an eye-catching look. The pieces of a stained concrete deck can be cut into different shapes and stained various colors.

Stamped concrete: This is a good option for artsy types. This type of concrete allows for different colors, patterns, and even well-placed cracks in the surface. You can use powder for coloring effects and stencils for designs that will add pizzazz to your deck once it dries. It can mimic flagstone and wood to bring out the artistic nature of your deck even more.

Pavers: While concrete is the default deck surface, pavers are also an attractive option. There are two main pavers that we work with — cement pavers and stone pavers, which are also known as travertine. Unlike concrete, pavers are made of interlocking parts that have flexibility. Instead of cracking, pavers have a base that can move, expand and contract as needed. This makes them durable and resistant to the elements.

Tile and flagstone: This is another fun option, as you can put ceramic or stone tile on top of the laid concrete for a sturdy attractive look, or add flagstone on top of the concrete surface. There’s a weather barrier applied between the concrete and the tile/stone that serves two purposes. It prevents moisture from seeping up to the surface from the concrete and it prevents the tile from being cracked by tension below the surface.

Sealers

Putting a sealer on your deck provides a protective, colorful layer, making it resistant to the elements. But it’s something that is typically recommended by the deck construction company and is usually restricted to spray decks and stamped concrete decks. Applying a sealer increases the amount of heat the deck exudes, making it hot to walk on when exposed to sun or hot weather. If this is something you can live with, a sealer can be a worthwhile addition. Sealers bring out the life of stones and also enhance the color of the deck. You can also add a sand/silicone dust mixture to limit slippage on the sealed surface in wet conditions.


Discover Ultimate Pools

Ultimate Pools has been a leader in pool building and outdoor improvements in Magnolia, The Woodlands and Southeast Texas since 1991, specializing as a pool builder since 1999. From pools, waterfalls, hot tubs, decks, outdoor kitchens and outdoor improvements, Ultimate Pools will provide the highest of quality and customer service to you. Surf our website, send us an email, give us a call at (936) 321-9632, or visit our offices at 5170 FM 1488, Magnolia, TX 77354 today!

Rain and Ultimate Pools: Installing a deck and laying down stone

patio layout 1

This is fifth and final part of our series on rain and moisture and how it affects the pool-building and maintenance process of Ultimate Pools. To access the first four parts, click here.

We’re finally to the end of our series about how rain affects the pool-building process, so hopefully the rain takes a hint and ends as well — at least for a little while. Maybe we can give our excess water to California or something, who knows?

Either way, the last month or so has seen us tread very lightly when it comes to installing pools, and that care translates to items that we build to supplement your dream pool, namely decks and stone. Just like that luxurious pool that you enjoy swimming in, rain and moisture can have a big effect on how effectively your deck and stone is installed.

Just like with your pool, we want to build your deck and lay your stone correctly the first time. We’d rather take some extra time to wait for the rain to stop and the ground to become drier and more secure at the beginning than to deal with the problems that come from rushing a job on saturated ground later.

One caution. Even with best intentions decks can move, crack, etc. as our planet is constantly moving. But we do our best!

So what are some of the risks of building a deck or laying stone on soaked ground?

Insecure foundation for decks: The first part of building a deck is constructing a sturdy concrete foundation that will keep the deck secure for years to come. To do that, you have to frame the foundation of the deck, pour concrete down underneath it, and let it dry before you start the construction of the actual deck.

However, if you do this on wet, saturated ground, you run the risk of the foundational concrete becoming misshapen or slipping during the drying process, compromising its integrity and exposing it to cracks down the road. Overly saturated ground can also cause the concrete itself to take on water, making it weaker and subject to cracking and eroding down the road.

Uprooted stone: When we place stone in your yard — whether for the surface surrounding your pool or to create a walking path from your pool to your house — we want to make sure that the first time is the only time we have to set it. If you think we’re repeating ourselves, you’re right, because we really do strive to do it right and do it well the first time, even if it takes a little more time than initially planned.

As for laying stone, wet, saturated ground encourages slippage, as it is a lot harder for the stone to adhere to the surface when that surface is soaked. This can cause problems down the road, from stone slipping out of position to popping up from the surface. Insecure stone can be dangerous, so we’ll wait until the environment is right to keep it in place.

We know that you want your new pool, deck and stone to be done as soon as possible so you can enjoy all the perks that they have to offer. But when the weather outside is frightful, it might take a bit longer than usual. We’re confident you’ll enjoy the end result, though.


Discover Ultimate Pools

Ultimate Pools has been a leader in pool building and outdoor improvements in Magnolia, The Woodlands and Southeast Texas since 1991, specializing as a pool builder since 1999. From pools, waterfalls, hot tubs, decks, outdoor kitchens and outdoor improvements, Ultimate Pools will provide the highest of quality and customer service to you. Surf our website, send us an email, give us a call at (936) 321-9632, or visit our offices at 5170 FM 1488, Magnolia, TX 77354 today!