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Build the Perfect Pool Deck, Part 3 of 3: Finishing the Deck

Saltwater pools are rapidly becoming popular. According to the Wall Street Journal, in 2011, saltwater pools comprised more than 13 percent of all commercial pools. Homeowners are increasingly opting for this type of swimming pool as an alternative to a traditional chlorine pool. Saltwater pools are not filled with seawater. Instead, they use purified salt to create a concentration about 8 to 9 percent of seawater levels of salt. This salt reacts with electricity to create highly concentrated pure chlorine, which evenly disperses throughout the pool. The way the chlorine is delivered in a saltwater pool creates fewer of the negative effects of traditional chlorine pools. The eyes do not burn when open under water. There is less chlorine smell in hair and clothes, and the water feels softer.

Saltwater pools create additional requirements for a concrete contractor working with decorative concrete or stamped concrete to make a pool deck. The pool deck needs extra protection to avoid deterioration from the caustic effects of water containing salt constantly splashing across its surface.

Preparation of Swimming Pool Decks for Salt Water Pools
Special sealers are used that make the deck more attractive and protect it. There are three types of sealers. These are:

  • Topical - Topical sealers enhance the color of the deck concrete and make the deck shiny but do little to protect the deck from saltwater damage.
  • Penetrating - Penetrating sealers do not change the concrete’s color, but they seal the deck from the inside out, reducing the need for maintenance by protecting the deck from saltwater damage.
  • Hybrid - Hybrid sealers were created by clever manufacturers that realized they needed to come up with a combination sealer, which enhances color, makes the deck shine, and protects the deck from saltwater damage.

Slip and Fall Mitigation
When constantly covered by water, stamped concrete is slippery. To reduce this problem, anti-slip additives are used. An example of a good one is 40-mesh aluminum oxide. This product does not suspend in sealers. To apply this anti-slip additive evenly requires one worker spraying the sealer while another worker follows by spraying the anti-slip material from a hopper gun. The result is a surface that feels like fine sandpaper when walked on barefoot. It is also a good idea to use a sufficient number of deck drains with the proper placement to make sure there are no pools of water that collect on the deck.

For detailed information and tips on how to finish a swimming pool deck, please see How to Build the Perfect Pool Deck - Finishing the Deck.