Pool remodeling firms in Sarasota, Florida

DBVogtFebruary 7, 2012

Has anyone had experience with pool remodeling firms in the Sarasota area? We have a pool that needs refinishing and replacing tile over polypebble on the lanai. There are almost no reviews of the firms here. Pebbletec - the brand -is recommended because it has a lifetime labor and material warranty. The copies go under various names like Pebblestone and don't offer lifetime warranties on labor and exclude staining which the firms that provide Pebbletec say is a problem. Has anyone had problems with staining of Quartz or the "knockoff" pebble finishes?

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Who did you use for your remodel?
Have lanai/pool deck in Venice/Nokomis area that needs resurfacing and we were told that pavers -- not solid surface--was best long term option

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 12:36PM
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A solid surface will likely crack as the concrete decks of our neighbors show. We went with bishops hat pavers over the slab. We used a pool refinishing company recommended by a neighbor and that firm subbed the deck work out to a paver company. The final appearance is good but it was pure torture getting there. The pool firm subbed the work out to a firm trained by Pebbletec. All three companies use immigrant labor who work hard and long hours but the quality is not there and they do not speak English. Lots of shortcuts taken. Poor coordination between the firms. We had to call all three groups back several times. I had to fix a leak in the pool myself. Supervise the work yourself, don't leave it up to the supervisor or owner. Get lots of estimates. What you say to the owner or what the owner promises you is not necessarily what you get. Suggest you get detailed estimates. Our experience with contractors suggests it's almost universal that they think sloppy work is still acceptable. Good experience with Port Charlotte door & stucco people.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:17PM
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Don't think the first guy who came out is subbing out anything...but understand your caution...will call his past jobs
How deep is your sand base? and what brand of pavers did you use?
Is their surface very coarse--harsh to walk on with bare feet?

I am concerned that because this is going over the original pool decking and the poor stamped concrete work that the sand base can't be deep enough to fit under the sliders/doors that open to the lanai---but the contractor said it would work...
did your job use an acrylic sand vs loose sand between pavers?
did you get sealer/enhancer?

Also how hot is your patio to walk on?
Ours gets good bit of shade during the day but it will be hot
is there any thing we can do to minimize the heat gain/transfer
Thanks for the info
and that is very attractive job...
problem for us is this is vacation house and we are not there 24/7
hoping to arrange for work in April when I know I will be there

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:59PM
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Sand base is minimal - maybe 1/16 to 1/8 in., just to even things out. We assumed it would be deep but the paver guy said it isn't necessary. They had to come out again and redo some - the pavers rocked on the concrete. The brand is Flagstone out of Brooksville, FL, said to be denser than the run-of-the-mill stuff, but the actual invoice did not mention the brand. We don�t find the heat is a problem for some reason, not like hot beach sand. We�re probably not walking any great distance on the pavers and there is a covered portion immediately adjacent. They used an acrylic sand. Be sure to ask for a bucket of it in case you need it. It�s activated by water. They missed quite a lot of the spaces. We had the sealer and the smell lasts about a week and is pretty overpowering. Can�t be healthy. Originally we had thin brick pavers over polypebble but both layers heaved. They had to remove both layers and grind down some concrete. One contractor told us they had to raise the cage to put the pavers below it but this was a scam. There were holes drilled along two sides of the pool to reach the old drains but the paver company installed only one saying it will not flood: again "it�s not necessary." It did flood during a storm a couple of days later so they came back again to do the second deco drain. Be sure to seal your sliders with plastic and tape. The dust from cutting our old pavers looked like smoke from a fire. Dust was everywhere. They will install the pavers then cut out for the drains to maintain the design. Supposedly they concrete in around the perimeter so if you have to replace the cage, your pavers won�t shift. They were leaving some of the old pavers and going over them with the new on one side ("it isn�t necessary to remove them") but the tilt was obvious so yet another trip to redo this. The top surface of the pavers line up with the top of the cage�s bottom rail so any water will flow off.
See below for the original proposal.

Re: High Quality Professional Paver Installation for Pool Deck Area Flagstone Pavers -Bishops Hat Pattern -Cream/Orange/Pewter with Cream Remodel Coping
� Remove and Dispose of Existing Tile from Pool Deck Surface
� Remove Existing 2" White Bullnose Pool Tile from Pool Perimeter
� Rinse Deck Clean and Skim Coat Sand/Cement Mixture on Poly Pebble Surface
� Install Temporary 24" Floating Membrane to Prevent Mortar and Grout from Entering Pool
� Install 2 3/8" Remodel Bullnose Coping Paver on Perimeter Edge of Pool and Spa -Approx. 110 Lineal Feet
� Install 30 MM Pavers over Existing Pool Deck Area -Approx. 1,014 Square Feet
� Modify One Screen Door to Accommodate Pavers
� Cement Border Pavers Adjacent to Screen Enclosure Track
� Cut New Channel in Poly Pebble Sub-Deck to Allow for New Drain System -Approx. 37 Lineal Feet
� Install New 2" Super Deco Drain to be Level with Pavers
� Install New Skimmer Lid to Match Color of Deco Drain
� Apply Premium 30 % High Solids Clear Acrylic Petroleum Base Sealer to Provide Maximum Protection of the Paver Surface and Stabilize Joints

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 4:06PM
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Thanks for the detailed info but I am on an Ipad and some weird markings are at the beginning of lines with your list of materials and labor items

We have only had one guy come out so far--he gave me bid over the phone but nothing in writing specifically--
I sent him email with some more detailed questions but no response yet

He said he normally uses one local paver company--they have online web site--and I have seen other pool remodeling companies or landscape companies list their pavers as material so think their product is likely decent...
He said we have two drains -- long French drain and another smaller one--and didn't need more since they would use sand to slope the area and get water to run toward the drain...
Right now the surface is so uneven from the DIY stamped concrete that some areas under the patio overhang and in the open trap water and it doesn't run to the drains...

He also said they would remove the bottom aluminum strips on the pool cage and roll up the screen...lay the sand base and pavers all the way to the edge of the original concrete--which would be UNDER that aluminum strip...
then after surface was laid and sanded/settled....replace the strip and the screen...He said if the pavers only butt up to that strip dirt and debris like leaves will be trapped there...
So that sounded like attention to detail to me...

Good to know about sealing off the sliders--we have pass through window over the kitchen sink that probably should be done too...

We have since gotten several other names from our realtor and called them and name of company from friend of our daughter whose sister used them...
they are going out...
One of the guys our realtor recommended apparently builds very high end pools--said he does excellent work but probably would be more expensive...

From what you said, I understand your frustration--especially since they had to redo so much stuff from the get-go...
Did the person who recommended company to you have that problem--or did he get different crew...
with contractors that do multiple jobs and have various crews doing work you don't always have same quality of work from one crew to next...
that is same deal with house builders...larger the builder and more crews I find that there is spotty performance...

Here is a link that might be useful: Pool builder/remodeler our realtor recommended

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 2:56PM
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Weird markings are bullets from the proposal I copied/pasted as well as apostrophes. Odd.

Is the base plate of your cage going to be above the tops of the pavers? Our old pavers were on top of the original polypebble and a new cage was put on over top with a base plate of about 2 inches thick by the previous owners. Odds and ends would get trapped along this. With the new thicker pavers, the tops of the pavers are even or slightly above the base so excess water runs right out through the screen.

Make sure they concrete around the perimeter to keep the sand from leaking out. For our cage, there's a perimeter of concrete that covers about half of the base plate. One reason we picked the bishops hat design is that the bevel around the edges was not as deep as other pavers. You'll find after a while that dust accumulates in the crevices and little plants start to grow. With the old pavers, this happened all along the base because rain water could not get out.

We found the screen and spline was so old and hard it had to be replaced. Be sure to get an estimate for that work if required.

We got an estimate from that firm and it was about in the middle of the others. They gave us a bottom line without any breakout between pool items and pavers which gave us no way to compare with other proposals. They were recommended by the firm that replaced our solar panels (Harrimans, http://www.swimwarm.com/ who did a very good job).

It appears that you will never know who is going to do your work. Most contracting firms down here are made up of one or two people who sub out all the work, sometimes to various different subs, whichever are available. You may not be getting the "A Team" and you never know until the job is started. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:44PM
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Guess that is definitely a question to ask for any contractor bidding...
In DFW area people say "no subs" meaning the contractor hires the crews and keeps them from job to job
At least the contractors we have used in past for remodel, roofing, and painting and fencing jobs

One last question
Our patio is original hard surface with very thin stamped concrete pour over that

If you had pavers on top,of your original,decking and that didnt work why do you think this paver job will?
Not trying to be snarky--
Was it poorly prepped first time
Pavers wore out?

I don't want to do this and have to redo it in 5-6 years
It's expensive
One reason we didn't pick a poured hard surface vs pavers this time

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 6:24PM
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The original covering was polypebble and it was apparently loose and coming up so the previous owners had thin (1/2 in.) pavers put on top and used thinset between them.The pavers stuck to the polypebble but the polypebble didn't stick to the concrete. Everything lifted especially around the spa. Elsewhere there were hollow spots. None of the pavers cracked but there were a lot of cracks and stains in the thinset. So it was a matter of penny wise and pound foolish. The new pavers are not fastened down so are a bit free to move. The pool was in horrible shape so we really had no choice but to do the deck as well. Don't hold your breath waiting for your pavers to fail. Note "before" photo and stains, cracks on thinset. Also note cage base over pavers - not a good idea.

"concrete pavers have a 30 year lifespan"
Read more: http://www.homeadvisor.com/article.show.Follow-the-Yellow-Brick-Road-Building-with-Concrete-Pavers.16263.html#ixzz2KpPy1iTB

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:29PM
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Got error on page and photo didn't make it.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:33PM
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can't say about the original surface/paving since the stamped concrete covers it...it might just have been they wanted something more "modern" looking or surface might have been stained and worn...
the only places the surface is really cracking is around the pool area where it probably gets water dripped/splashed on it and is very thin...and it doesn't appear there is anything wrong with the surface underneath...

We haven't tried to take off any of the stamped concrete that is in good shape

And I can't tell in the photo why it is bad idea to put that bottom pool cage strip on top of the pavers vs have them butt up against the bottom strip...
I understand what you say about having the edge of the paver be sloped to facilitate draining off the edges...

Did you get a bullnose coping when you replaced the original?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:42PM
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Stamped concrete? Is this an additional thin layer over the slab with some sort of decoration on it? Any of it coming loose? The reason our job was so big was the removal of two layers on top of the slab - all loose.

We had to redo the pool completely and this included higher bullnose around the pool as the new pavers were higher than the original slab, polypebble and old pavers combined. They have various sizes - we used something called "Large Remodel." When the previous owners redid the deck, they added an additional layer of tile over the pool tile to bring the pool top even with the pavers. Unfortunately, water got in between the pavers and slab and further loosened the polypebble.

The only reason for having the top of the cage bottom plate even with the top of the pavers is so no junk accumulates around the perimeter. We were hesitant at first to do it this way as one company wanted to raise the whole cage and put it on top. This would have cost a fairly large percentage of a new cage ($5K in our case). We would have been back to where we were and there was a certain amount of accumulation of dirt along the base of the cage. No problem now. Photo shows the pavers level with the top of the base plate. Only the paver bevel could accumulate anything.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:28PM
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Our pavers go right up to the aluminum strip at the bottom of our cage (not under it). We really don't have a problem with leaves and debri catching. We're in an area with lots of oak trees.

Our pavers went over an area of river rock and an area of stamped concrete. They've been in place for almost 9 years. No regrets.

Taken after installation in 2004.

Edited to add a picture.

This post was edited by maddielee on Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 15:17

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 3:09PM
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I just looked, our pavers are about a quarter of an inch higher then the aluminum striping. There is some dirt on the aluminum, but not enough that I HAVE to go out there and hose it down. Last time the area was cleaned was right before Thanksgiving.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 3:32PM
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I like your pavers and coping -- but your coping looks like a tile vs a paver material...more ceramic...did they replace the coping when they added the pavers? What brand did you install if you can recall...

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:35PM
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The coping is painted concrete. It really isn't as bright as it looks in the picture. Its original to the pool (1968). We painted it after having the tile redone.

The pavers are basic 2" concrete pavers that we found at a local paver plant.

After 9 years, none have cracked or are miscolored. We probably spray them with a cholrine/water combination once a year, after the rainy season. mostly to clean the sand. We have never had them resealed, although everyone told us we had to reseal each year.

They never get hot or slippery.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 7:54PM
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