Forty year facelift: OKC pool renovation

MiaOKCDecember 23, 2013

Hi everyone! I've been chronicling our pool renovation over on TFP but I also use this forum and find it so helpful and wanted to document here, too, for future users.

Long story short, we've lived in our house for two years and it came with a 1975 era pool. We knew the pool would need some work when we bought the house, but thought we had five years or so to save up and live with the pool to see what we wanted to do. Over the two summers we lived here, it seems the pool had other plans for us, though! The coping would disintegrate underfoot as we were sweeping the pool, the tiles fell off by the dozen, and a crack appeared that was very concerning to us. The concrete decking was heaved in a lot of places, and made it trip-hazardous to walk around the pool area (I almost took a swim several times). Ultimately, we decided to collect a few bids to see what we would be getting into, and decided to dive in this winter so we will be ready for swim season next year.

We'd thought about trying to reshape the pool to a simple rectangle, add an auto-cover, add a tanning ledge, etc, but all have proven beyond the constraints of our budget. Instead, we will be giving a facelift to the entire pool area, with new plaster, tile, coping, decking and retaining wall. Here are some of the specs for our project:
144 perimeter feet, 850 square feet
approx 35,000 gallons (from 3.5-8 feet deep)
medium gray plaster
tile (TBD)
poured in place coping with ogee edge
stamped concrete deck (approx 1400sf) with ashlar overlay, hand tinted to look like slate or bluestone
78 foot concrete block retaining wall faced with New York bluestone and cap. Multiple heights, stepping down from seat height to 1 foot to follow slope of yard.
new lights with LED bulbs (non-colored)
new gray skimmers, fittings, umbrella sleeves

I'm really excited about the retaining wall. One design change that was within our budget is pushing the wall back from the edge of the pool about three feet, so we can walk all the way around the pool - will be much easier to clean and we could possibly add a safety cover/leaf cover much easier in the future. Also correcting the drainage back there, as the pool has flooded several times from rain running over the retaining wall washing in a ton of dirt and debris and messing up our water chemistry.

We also elected to fill in our leaking hot tub (it would not hold water) to create more usable deck area, and we will build a pergola along the wrought iron fence to help separate the pool area from the adjacent driveway. Our PB will set the pergola posts for us when they do the deck, and we will build the top ourselves.

Icy weather is delaying us right now, hoping for some sunshine and dry weather soon. Now, on to the pics!


We let the pool chemicals go once we decided to remodel this fall, so the pool went green before it was drained:

Goodbye hottub:

Wall is moving back:



Sandblasting plaster:

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Awesome, will enjoy seeing your remodel. You will love it. We just had our pool remodeled too. We got new medium grey plaster too (we love it). New tile and some cute mosaics. In fact we are still sweeping the pool 3x a day.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 11:58PM
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Very interesting! Where are you located?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 12:17AM
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Jersey, we are in OKC. Thanks for the encouragement, lilsophie! We've had lots of weather delays here, so we actually have not made a ton of visible progress. There has been some behind-the-scenes work on electrical, bond beam repaired and leveled, and we finally got our new tile (NPT Aquarius line Moorea Lapis Blue) and gray skimmer bodies set. Tomorrow should be coping pour, and if weather cooperates, Tues & Wed drainage lines added to take water away from retaining walls and house when we get tons of rain, deck pour on Thursday.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 9:58AM
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It's looking great so far, keep us updated :)

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 9:28PM
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Delay of game! Weather is being uncooperative. I blame the polar vortex. Have been told by family that three days over 40 degrees preferred for best concrete cure. PB says 35 degrees. Either way, it was forecast 25 last night so didn't pour. Good thing, it was 21 when I got up this a.m. Maybe next week!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 8:22PM
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Coping is poured! Stegmeier OG profile, poured concrete, with DCI Weathered Tin colorant and slate stamp (deck will be Ashlar slate).

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 10:40PM
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Wow! That looks great! I love that texture on the coping. Funny how the 'new' pool looks significantly larger than the original. Can't wait to see comparison photos when all is said and done. I hope the rest of your build goes smoothly.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 10:33AM
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Mia, I was looking for pool renovation contractors and came across your post. I am curious to know what company you used in the OKC area. It looks like they did a fantastic job and I am starting to get estimates for my own. Would you mind emailing me your contractor info and let me know how they did? My pool is in roughly the same condition as yours was and needing the same work done. You can email me at



    Bookmark   February 25, 2015 at 2:39AM
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