Anyone go with flagstone and regret it?

drmarvellJuly 21, 2008

We are in the pre-planning stages of a pool next spring and I really love the look of flagstone, but my husband says it doesn't seem practical around a pool. Can anyone give the pros/cons of flagstone around a pool?

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gina171

What does he feel is not practical about it? Is he worried about rough edges (don't worry, they hand chisel all the edges so they are rustic in appearance but still safe)? Our PB had ours sealed so they won't be slippery.

We love ours, especially all the variations, can't imagine wht is impractical. Could you share more info?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 10:11PM
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zookeeper93

We do shot-crete today so of coarse, we don't have coping yet but I do have Oklahoma flag picked out. Flag seems to be all the rage here in N. Central TX -Arlington area. We have several friends who have built in the last 6-8 years with Flag and absolutely love it.
Honestly, I did have a hard time with going with Oklahoma, but mine was a color thing.
I LOVE the Arizona flag and used it as a long pathway stepping stone. It blended perfectly with our paver patio and house brick.
However, with building a pool and using moss rock on nearly the whole back side of our pool, Arizona would look terrible. Oklahoma is not my favorite. It is the worst at looking like a dress on a hanger. But once on, it will look great. Combined with all the other elements, I am hoping for W-O-W!
The Tenneessee that my PB offers is charcole grey. That color too wont work in all pool scapes but when used right, it is a knockout.
I have seen the use of flag not look right as coping with the certain choices of of tile and decking but that could be said of any coping or wrong combination of elements.
If he wants a salt system, some PB's say Flag is a no-no. Mine does.
There are many Flagstones out there and perhaps not all are recommended for pools but a reputable PB would offer only those that are.
What is the nature of his objections? Perhaps the question could be addresses more specifically.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 6:46AM
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lala2874

Zoo93- I have moss rock along the backside of my "proposed" pool and I was wanting Arizona buff or buckskin for my coping. Our deck will be pea gravel. Natural look with lots of tropical landscaping...palms, philodendrons, vari ginger, crotons and such. I thought that this combo would look good together. Why do you say that Arizona would look terrible? I am not great at designing myself, I'm rather more of a look at pictures copycat type so I need guidance.

Sorry, didn't mean to highjack drmarvell!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 10:55AM
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sandrasmith140

One thing about flagstone is that it us sometimes a pain to get your chairs balanced on there, since the stone is uneven. Some flagstones actually flake, but most of them are solid and won't flake over time.

Does anyone know if sealing the stone is a good idea?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 4:44PM
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zookeeper93

Hey Lala,

Not to hijack the thread but to answer your quesiton-my arizona is pretty pink. I think there are other colors of arizona, as there are with Tenessee.
My PB has a showroom where they have a stack of moss rock and 4x4 mock ups of the flagstones they offer. Putting the flag up against the moss rock, it did not look very good. Of coarse, it could be that it just looks like a dress on a hanger and could look better once down.

Do you have a pic showing what you are wanting? I could not find one using a lot of Moss rock and pink flag coping. I

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 5:11PM
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drmarvell

Gina171, he says it doesn't seem practical because of the nature of the stone...uneven, flaky, rough on the hands and feet for getting in/out of the pool, etc.

zookeeper93, We are going with a salt system. Why do PB discourage flagstone with salt?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 5:13PM
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zookeeper93

Hey drmarvell

Please forgive me as my mind is a bit rusty on what our PB said some months ago when we were in the discussion phase. But he commented that if we used flag around salt system, any natural stone would have to be sealed. I am sorry I do not recall the reasons.
There are other threads on this forum with salt and stone advice. I am not sure if salt erodes the stone, leeches metals out of it, causing stains, what have you. Those of some things I have "heard". I would definitely ask your PB when getting quotes.
Due to the coloring of the moss rock my pb offers and the coloring of the flagstone, I did not think they were good matches. You have me thinking, I think I will go and revisit this.

Do you have pics to post of moss rock and arizona flagstone together?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 7:00AM
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liz2-2008

We had a pool built 2 yrs ago and also used buckskin for our coping and also have a lot of moss rock. It looked great for about a yr. Don't use it. It is very very sandy and it has lightned up so much that it just looks tan. We always have sand in the pool and it chips all the time. And when I say always it is everywhere in a lot of it. We have a dark plaster and you can really see the tan sand on the tanning shelf and steps.

Just wanted to give you a heads up...
I would stick to the Oklahoma- I know everyone has it but it looks different on each pool and no sand in the pool.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 9:55AM
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tresw

I wanted to do flagstone around our pool originally, but my wife nixed it because she had taken the kids over to a friend's pool to swim a bunch of times and their pool had flagstone. The kids hands were always raw after an hour or two of swimming. Being in the water softens their skin of course and they tended to "walk" along the edges of the pool with their hands on the coping and that would just tear their hands up. That said, I have another friend with flagstone coping that doesn't have kids and he loves it. We ended up going with precast concrete coping in an adobe color and we are very happy with it.

The chipping/ flaking problem that liz2 mentioned in the previous post should be your biggest concern. This is largely a local issue, some local stones are much softer and tend to flake more than others. See if you can get your PB to give you contact info on other pool owners that are using the same stone you want and check with them to see how the stone is performing.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 10:59AM
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localpoolguy

If you decide to go with a salt system, couple things to know:

- When the salt in the water gets onto any surface that is mortered in and dries out, it expands, then contracts when re-hydrated. This results in pitting, morter joints coming loose, and some softer stone actually eaten away inside a couple years. IF you do decide to go with a salt generator, just be diligent about sealing your investment before and after each swim season.

OTher than that, feels great on the skin/eyes

Regarding Stone - There is a wonderful array of color choices, most out of the Jarol pits, which I see quite a few listed here ( Arizona/Oaklahoma series). My advise, is go to your local rockyard that stocks a dozen or so varieties and look at the colors available in 2 1/2". Moss rock is usually used for waterfeatures, and does get slippery.

-LPG

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 11:28AM
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gracedunderpressure

We ended up going with precast concrete coping in an adobe color and we are very happy with it.

Is precast concrete designed to be smoother than regular concrete? Concrete is usually so rough on the hands. And does it not have problems with salt affecting its color?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 11:42AM
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barco

Its great for the coping. If your talking about the whole deck thats $$$$$ and uneven and a little rough on the feet. I am extending the flagstone coping around our pool to form a circular step up around the firepit I'm just now finishing up. I've still got to build some stone benches though...so it will be awhile. I'm slow.

Once that is done, we will deck cote our concrete deck.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 2:41PM
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tresw

"Is precast concrete designed to be smoother than regular concrete?"

Precast concrete is concrete that is poured into a mold and then removed after it has cured. In the case of coping, the bottom of the mold becomes the top of the coping. So the surface is quite smooth due to it having been formed. In fact it is a little slippery since we sealed it. Ours has a bullnose on the pool side. Most people think it's stone when they see it. I don't have a closeup photo of it, but below is a link to a pic from the top of the slide looking down.

"And does it not have problems with salt affecting its color?"

Sunlight affects the color more than anything, it has a tendency to bleach the color out over time. As I mentioned above we sealed ours and will continue to do so once a year, so hopefully the color will last.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 3:13PM
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gracedunderpressure

Is there a kind of coping that does not require (or recommend) sealing?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 7:13PM
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barco

We have not sealed our flagstone...too lazy.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 7:19PM
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gracedunderpressure

barco,
You're my kinda guy! We have too much to do already (not to mention a ton of things that we'd rather be doing). What kind of flagstone do you have? Any flaking, crumbling, metal stains, etc, at this point?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 8:08PM
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localpoolguy

graceunderpressure-

Actually, there are several choices that hold up under salt, such as brick. The problem is all materials used on coping have mortor joints that errode if not sealed. One way to go......cantilever or monolythic deck to the waterline.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 9:45AM
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zookeeper93

drmarvell: The Arizona flagstone I had previously was Rosa. I went by the showroom and compared it to the moss rock. Rosa is very pink & combined with the moss rock colors. It does not coordinate at all.

As Liz & tresw stated, I would talk to the PB's you get quotes from about what flagstone they carry. My PB only offers 3 choices standard. Arizona Rosa, Oklahoma, and Tennessee Blue. Liz's complaint seems to be a valid one and tresw hit it on the head. There are some flagstones that are more soft and tend to slough off.

If my kids younger, I would be hesitant with using flagstone coping. My in-laws had it at a previous house when my kids were younger and it was hard to grip and their little finger tips were raw.
Now that they are older they don't cling to the sides as much.

Grace: I do not plan to seal my flagstone coping (I think it is a salt thing) or my moss rock. Plan is the key word here. We have a tumbled travertine top on our outdoor grill island (left over from the kitchen backsplash) that we seal once a year. It has bleached out a lot but there is no stain the power washer can't get off (we have no pecan trees!).

My Rosa got pretty dirty but it was just a pathway from house to shed in an area where my two bird dogs were. The dogs loved the areas that were shaded, as the stone was cooler. But it got grimy.

You do not have to seal the concrete or brick type coping. But you can. Just depends on your needs. A friend seals her white safety coping (made of concrete) but she has TONS of pecan trees (hulls stain terribly). I have sealed my paver patio before but I let years get away from me. It just makes the colors pop out more.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 11:04AM
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tresw

Quote: "You do not have to seal the concrete or brick type coping. But you can. Just depends on your needs."

Exactly, we only sealed ours to enhance the color. We liked the color a lot more when the coping was wet, when it dried out it was a lot lighter. We sealed it so that it would have that "wet color" all the time.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 2:04PM
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drmarvell

zookeeper: My kids ARE young...6, 3 and 1 years, so thanks for all the info. I guess my husband will be getting his wish and flagstone is out. O'well, I'm sure there are more choices that are just as natural-looking and beautiful, right?

The main thing is that I don't want a huge span of blinding white decking. Our house is a red brick and the contrast would be too much. Any ideas out there? My husband really wants the aggregate, but I'm hesitant on that as well. Hey! At least we agree on the shape of the pool and we both want a hot tub. :)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 2:24PM
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gracedunderpressure

Hmm, so we will either have to get something without mortar joints or seal the mortar joints to avoid degradation. Fading would be tolerable, I think, as long as we keep that in mind when we make our color selection. What about the expansion joints on cantilever decks? Will I need to replace that caulking-type stuff they put in there regularly or does that at least last for a while? (I'm not familiar with monolythic decking - is that similar to cantilever?)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 3:17PM
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zookeeper93

Well, I made a post that didn;t show up so I'll condense:
With such bold color of a red brick house, your coping should go well with the other materials you choose: decking, tile, rock, etc rather than match the house. Pools are like the artwork and the decking, coping, tile, etc are the matting and frame. In our art shop, we tell customers to always frame the piece to compliment the art not the colors in your house. Sooooo many times, folks wanted to put burgundy and green matting on everything, wheather it looked good with the picture, cuz that is what colors the fabrics were!
Here are a few ideas using concrete and brick coping.
White coping really pops on formal pool with dark decking

White coping on formal pool

White coping

Grey coping blending with grey decking

Brick coping blending with paver/brick decking

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 4:42PM
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tresw

Quote: "The main thing is that I don't want a huge span of blinding white decking. Our house is a red brick and the contrast would be too much. Any ideas out there? My husband really wants the aggregate, but I'm hesitant on that as well."

Why are you hesitant on exposed aggregate decking? We have it and really like it. It ended up being the cheapest option, but it was the one I liked the most. Actually I liked stamped & stained more, but after hearing how hot it gets that was ruled out.

Quote: "Hmm, so we will either have to get something without mortar joints or seal the mortar joints to avoid degradation."

Lots of people don't seal their mortar joints, but for the best longevity it is a good idea to seal them.

Quote: "Will I need to replace that caulking-type stuff they put in there regularly or does that at least last for a while?"

It'll last very long, probably at least 10 years assuming nothing odd happens (like kids picking it out of the joints).

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 5:07PM
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barco

I have cracked mortar joints and the flagstone is flaking off...not much ontop but inside where it meets the pool water especially near the Baja shelf that has a fountain head.

It adds character.
I can replace a piece of flagstone in the coping with new piece and new mortar in about 45 minutes for less than $10.00 so its not that big of a deal for me.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 10:06AM
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kgolby

Is flagstone slippery when wet? We're in the planning stages too I love the look of flagstone coping but wondered if it's slippery.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 5:59PM
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zookeeper93

Flagstone coping by itself is not slippery. In fact, it is quite rough. Gripping from inside the pook is usually not a problem. Littler hands do better with coping that has the upturned edge (Safety coping. It is precast concrete and has texture and a lip.

Any rough surface can be hard on the fingertips. Slicker coping surfaces (and bullnosed) ones may be more finger friendly, but harder to grip for littler hands.

When swimming at pools with flag coping, I did not find it slippery to walk around either.

Of coarse when wet, one can always find a slippery spot in which to fall or pull a muscle

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 8:41AM
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