Existing Kool Deck want to replace

robin11034June 16, 2007


We would like to extend and improve the rather ugly deck that was on our house when we purchased it. It has huge, thick 4 foot posts and top rails that literally block the view of the view of the backyard and pool. To watch the kids in the pool, I can only sit in one spot and even then I can't see the whole pool. At the same time we want to replace/spruce up the "decking" around the pool.

I've done a bit of research on the internet and in these archives. To my dismay I learned that what I thought was a layer of concrete flaking off is in reality Kool Deck. On top of that I learned that (some? maybe not all?) Kool Deck has asbestos in it and therefore must be removed by a professional. Sounds like $$$$.

Can we just put something over it? But what would be stable? I really do not like (read: hate) the look of the Kool Deck so I would rather not just paint more Kool Deck over it. And if we put something over it then it would be higher than the coping and would just be awkward. We plan on taking the deck out as far as we can (in wide step down areas so as to avoid having to use rails for safety) and still use the pool cover in the winter. The pool has about a 3 foot Kool Deck covered concrete decking around 3 sides. The Kool Deck actually covers all of the concrete in the whole back yard from the gate at the fence to around the pool. The last side would be covered with mostly the deck ... I hope.

Should I just resign myself to Kool Deck for what we don't cover with the deck?

Any and all ideas are welcome ... well, except selling the house and moving ... oh, and filling in the pool with dirt. :)

Oh, we live in the Charlotte, NC area if that makes a difference.



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Just to clarify, your Kool Deck most likely does not contain asbestos unless it was installed prior to the mid 60's. There are several products on the market today that can be applied over concrete that look great and do not change the elevation significantly. Check with some of the specia;ty concrete contractors in your area.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 1:02AM
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Finally someone with a date! Thanks, golfgeek! Absolutely nothing I read would give a date for the asbestos in the Kool Deck. It would just say something like, "It was later reformulated," or some other vague wording, although I was pretty sure our pool was built during the "later" time period. Since our house wasn't even built until 1991, or shortly thereafter, I'm assuming that I can assume we're safe?

I also found a site yesterday that finally came out and said IF the Kool Deck is not currently flaking and is stable, that something can be adhered over it (stamped concrete, etc although what I've been reading about THAT is leaving me a little leery.) But the bottom line is ... IF we decide to break up the surround ... to put in something like pavers ... I won't wind up giving my kids cancer from asbestos ... right?

I looked at a bazillion pictures yesterday. Is Boogerhead still reading the pool forum? If you are ... what is the distance between the edge of your pool and the deck you installed? That actually doesn't look too awkward, but I was wondering about tripping. From your pictures it looks like it might be at least 1.5 feet if not 2 or 3 feet. Fantastic job, btw! Oh my goodness, that was a lot of work! Makes what we have to do look like a walk in the park!

Another question that came up. We have a gunite pool. I read yesterday that "plaster" only lasts about 7 years. Again, I'm assuming here that "plaster" and "gunite" are synonyms. The pool was put in shortly after the house was built so it is about 14 or 15 years old. There were spots the paint had completely worn away and you could see the concrete. We did paint it I think the second, maybe third year, we were here. There were too many other higher priority things needed fixing before we could paint the pool. We plan on repainting it again next year. Painting a pool can be done, IF you do the proper prep work. Everyone I've read who did not like the final result finally admitted they did not do the prep work that was required. Anywhooooo ... IF you keep it painted AND in good repair, why would the plaster need to be resurfaced every 7 years? Is that contractor scare tactics?

Sigh, I'm really getting tired of just doing research and would like to get on with making the backyard look great and be more user friendly. But I know doing anything without the proper research just results in regret.

Thanks for letting me pick your brains!

Robin in NC

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 9:04AM
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I wouldn't put anything on top of the kool deck. You should have it scraped off and then do whatever you are going to do. As you say that would be the proper prep work in this case

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 10:16AM
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Plastered pools with reasonable care should last 20+ years without the need for replaster. This may vary in different parts of the country because of winter weather conditions. Painting a pool is a pain in the neck and something I do not recommend, but it has it's place in the industry.
I usually get called in when the paint is peeling. I usually recommend replastering.
Kool Deck can be covered but all loose material should be removed. Good prep is key to any overlay. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 9:31AM
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Hi Robin,
Your assumption of plaster and gunite being the same is
wrong. Gunite and shotcrete is what is used to form the shell of a pool.(after excavation and form/steel)
The plaster or finish is applieded later.
Most PB today don`t use plaster anymore,they use an acrillic
finish containing quartz,which is more durable.
Some of these are diamone brite,marquise,gem stone,etc.
Now the optima is peeple tech! very beautiful but very

As for the deck Sun deck type coatings are the choice of
most.PBs love it. I personally don`t care for it. I am
starting my second pool in a new house and have opted for
brushed concrete.Helps strained budget(4k reduction).
If not happy with it,later I can go to thin pavers,tiles,
or whatever.

Good Luck...JR

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 10:18AM
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The distance of the original Kool Deck is 4 feet. Yes, I was worried about tripping too, but it has not been a problem yet (we are in the 2nd summer of at least part of the decks being finished). We thought about pavers, but the expense was far too much for us. I didn't care for ours too much at first (the height and color difference), but it has really grown on me - and I actually like it now. It really seems to set boundaries for the kids for some odd reason! I cannot tell you why, but the kids seems to keep MOST (not all) of the horsing around to the concrete area and off the deck...odd.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 9:25PM
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Dh and I talked, JR. He thinks the pool is old fashioned concrete. Is that shotcrete? We treated it as concrete when we painted it. It is sorta rough although painting made it somewhat less rough. I've used the two terms (concrete and gunite) interchangeably. When we painted it there was literally very little color left to the pool. Bare gray concrete looking stuff and a little "white" paint. It may have been a blue at first and was bleached by the sun and water chemicals. Well, since the paint is holding up and not peeling and is at least 3 years later, we'll just assume that that was right. Still confused on the difference between the two though. Maybe I'll wander into a pool place and ask them to show me.

Drats, drats and double drats! Neilaz, I'm definitely not going to scrape that stuff off! And I am definitely not paying someone to do it. There is WAY to much of it! I can understand why someone would put it down, but it's sorta like going into business with the devil. The cons outweigh the pros! I did a quick "paver" calculation. $$$$$! Maybe stamped concrete would work, but we came up with another plan.

Thanks, Boogerhead. (Ok, gotta admit that feels a little odd to type! lol) As with you, the cost of things is definitely playing into what we do. We've finally come up with a plan for what to do with the house deck and pool decking. Actually dd#1 was the one who said, "Why not extend the deck over to the right under those trees so you can sit in the shade. Duh! That part of the yard is literally unused because of the slope and trees. That will make it usable AND provide shade. Out of the mouths of 15 year olds! We'll have to cut down two or three small trees and raise the limbs, but by golly it's a grand idea!

So the current plan is to chop down the huge posts on the deck and extend it out over the pool decking and down the right side of the pool under the trees. We'll do this in safe levels so we don't have to put more posts up and we'll cover as much of the ugly Kool Deck as possible. I finally did see a picture of "wood decking" that went right up to the edge of the pool and did not like it. Looked like it came right out of the 70's. So we'll set it back a bit like Boogerhead's, which I liked when I saw the pictures. Eventually we'll go around the whole deck.

Which brings me to my final question, Boogerhead. (Well, maybe not final final.) I can't remember, but did you use real wood that you painted (it was gray, correct?) or did you use one of the fabricated wood look products? Our current deck is painted gray wood and is peeling horribly! We hate it. Well, we hate the peeling. Hmmm, maybe a stain vs paint will work. Guess I'll start researching wood vs fabricated wood costs. Sigh! Maybe we'll be done by the time we have grandchildren. First kid just graduated.

Now I have to decide if I can live with just 4' of the Kool Deck vs the expanse that is there right now. I'm a faux painter, maybe I can get two colors and make it have some character rather than flat ugly. I did some reading about it last year before I gave up in disgust because I hated the way it looked. Gotta dig out those notes. I realize now that trying not to look at it is not an option.

Thanks for all your input!

Robin in NC

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 10:34AM
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