Decking ?: Tile over existing concrete.Will this work/Make sense?

renoincaliMay 29, 2007

Looking for options in the decking portion of my pool renovation. I have 800 sq ft of existing colored concrete decking that, while faded/dated looking, is still in good structural condition except for one area around the skimmer.

Now my question: Would it be possible to tile over this existing decking, after repairing necessary areas, with a natural stone(Limestone, Travertine, Slate, etc) and is there coping available to accommodate this increased elevation? I have to do something with the decking as repouring the damaged sections would never match and ripping it all out seems such a waste. Anyone have any experience with this?


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Yes you can set tile or stone on an existing concrete deck. The main concern is elevations if you have stairs or other height transitions.
From an appearance standpoint I personally don't like the look of a coping edge much over 4" and if you currently have that it will be increased by the thickness of your finishing materials.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 11:44AM
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sometimes I read too fast LOL, missed part of your question! If you currently have coping stones around your pool with concrete decks poured up to them you may want to consider installing a poured cantilever or a natural stone coping to match the new elevation of your decks.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 12:25PM
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The pool deck is one level without any transitions (stairs, step ups, etc) if I am understanding your concern correctly, but I am unsure of the coping edge 4" issue you raised. I have attached photos of my situation and the worst case situation (height/slippage) of my existing deck and coping. I would appreciate your feedback and thanks again for your response.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 12:46PM
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your coping stones, due to their curved shape cannot be covered with tile or stone. If you cover your deck you may be able to either have natural stone coping installed or pour a cantilever coping to match the new height of your deck.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 5:31PM
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Cascade - I am actually looking for a replacement coping that will accomodate the added thickness of the deck tile, if there is such a thing.


Can I remove the existing coping and pool tile, extend the travertine/limestone/slate to the pool edge in lieu of coping, and use "taller" pool tiles to make up the difference?


    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 6:58PM
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I don't know of a precast coping that will match the new elevation.(that said, no-one in this market uses precast coping stones anymore so I don't have much experience with them) As I said a concrete coping can be formed and poured or stone could be cut to any thickness you require.
I would not personally install a thinner stone and tile up to it. The appearance of too much tile above the water line does not "look right" IMHO.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 10:03AM
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Thanks for your responses.

I am not looking for precast coping in particular, but something (stone) that has different thicknesses to meet up with to the deck height after the addition of tile. I am not sure how thick the the existing coping edge is and I see your point that too thick would not look appealing. I've got to think someone has gone this route before vs tearing out perfectly good concrete and starting over.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 12:41PM
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Tile works just fine over concrete on a patio or pool deck.

I tiled a 1000 sq.ft. patio on my previous house and it looked great. If you have a lot of expansion joints they will have to be covered so the tile doesn't crack. I used a tile that had a crazed finish(not smooth) so it wouldn't be slippery and I was surprised how cool it was(almost as cool as KoolDec). The tile installer will know how to finish the edges of the tile so they are not toe trippers.

If you don't buy too expensive a tile you will find that the tile is actually cheaper than the paint finishes. It ended up costing about $6.00 a sq.ft. I was quoted $9.00 to $12.00 a sq. ft. for paint and higher for other finishes.

I would suggest laying the tile is other than the straight square pattern, this will and another dimension to your deck.

Cliff s

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 1:16PM
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When lying tile, there is also a rubber undermount you can apply to the concrete to assure it doesnt crack. We almost went with a thin travertine, set in thinset and grouted but decided on the tumbled marble set in sand. Both could go over the existing kool deck. The thin travertine would have had the rubber undermount so we wouldnt have had to worry about cracks. We have a concrete kool deck and we would have went right over it. A few neighbors did it and it looks really nice.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 2:29PM
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Where do you get thin travertine? Also, what about the slipperiness of travertine or tile?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 6:59PM
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I have a suggestion. In our front yard, on our driveway, walkway, and porch, we had an epoxy coating put on that looks like flagstone. We used Steve O'Brien Coatings, but if you're not in my area you could call them and get a recommendation for someone in your area. Adjusting heights will not be an issue and they can "redo" your coping as well. They can do hundreds of different designs or colors.

Here is a link that might be useful: Steve O'Brian coatings (epoxy)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 11:58PM
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In Tampa Fl there is a place called StoneMart. They sell it. Since it is not finished shiney surface I dont think it feels slippery. They also used an OGee edge as the coping. I was too afraid to do something so permenant, so we went for the thicker version set in sand over our existing deck. Here is a picture of what the neighbors did.

But that epoxy coating sounds neat too.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 8:45AM
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My dh is in the concrete/ stone business and we are personally redoing our decking sometime this century. Since you are redoing the pool and can rip out that old tile and coping, there are lots of options. There are 4 companies that come to mind that carry precast coping that can handle the increased stone elevation. I don't like the look of stone with precast like cascade says. Get a good stone mason to remove that old coping and do the whole deck in stone.
Awesome look if it doesn't break the budget. See pavestone website,C and D thinpavers websites for precast, or take a look at Durango stone or Gothic stone website for awesome stone looks. NPT carries both of those, you should have one in your area if you are in Cali. Gorgeous, but pricey. Now you see why we haven't made a decision yet........... too many choices and not enough $. Barb

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 1:27PM
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Thanks for the responses. My rationale on the decking/coping/pool tile renovation was why rip out the existing to end up with a marginal upgrade (brick coping but a lot more grout joints) when for the same or less money I could have Travertine and an upgraded look. The picture gk5040 posted above is the look i was going for, but the question of coping being available to work with the existing coping-height-decking was the question. I am in West Covina so Riverside or Anaheim are both about a half hour away if anyone can recommend reasonable stoneyards.
I do have a question regarding the photo gk5040 posted above: Did they use real travertine for the pool tile as well and is that a durable solution?


    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 2:13AM
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They did use a 4 inch travertine as the waterline. I almost did too, because when we ripped out our coping we used a 1 1/4" thick bullnose travertine. My previous coping was that hiddious white shiney cap "bathroom" least that is what it reminded me of:) My tile line now had to be 8 inches instead of the standard 6. We went with a 6 inch tile and ran it on the diagonal...its beautiful. Our pool guy had suggested doing the 2 rows of 4 inch travertine to get the 8 inches we needed to cover. I read a lot on this forum that you had to be careful with travertine inside the pool because of the chemicals....especially if you have a salt system. We dont have the salt system and I didnt want to rule out ever getting it. Another neighbor did the travertine, one row and the waterline is just at the bottom of the row. Hers has been in for a few years and she tells me she has had NO problems with it, never brushes it, etc. It looks beautiful too. Personally, I was a little nervous about putting a porous stone inside the pool and decided to do tile. Several tile places were leary of it when I would mention what I wanted to do.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 8:26AM
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