LESLIE: Next up to The Money Pit, we have Lisa from Washington who’s enjoying her summer around her pool.
Lisa, how are you doing?
LISA: I’m doing great. Thanks for taking my call.
LESLIE: You are so welcome. So tell us about your fantastic pool and make us all jealous.
LISA: (chuckles) Well, especially since it’s like 100 degrees out here today.
LESLIE: (chuckles) Exactly.
LISA: We purchased a house here a couple of months ago and it’s got a half-acre lot. And in that lot it has a beautiful 20’x40’ gunite, inground pool. And around it, the pool area is just plain concrete.
LISA: And we would like to do something to make that more inviting; attractive; a little less warm on the feet, perhaps. And we know there are things out there but I thought I’d start with you guys on some suggestions on that.
TOM: Hmm. What about some concrete stain? What do you think about that, Leslie?
LESLIE: Concrete stain is good. You can get exterior paint. There are special paints that are made for concrete and you can create some sort of decorative detail. You can even go so far – there’s something called acid staining which you would have a professional come in and do. But you can make that concrete look like anything you want; even terracotta stone tiles.
LISA: Exactly. Now the acid staining, that’s the kind of thing that we had just been hearing a little bit about that. Can you tell me more?
LESLIE: Well, there’s different chemicals that they use which react differently to the concrete which cause it to have a different color. And they know how to mix all of these different concentrates to make the concrete look any way you like and it can be done to look like aged stone; it can be done to look like a variety of things. I think your best bet is to just do a web search on concrete acid staining.
TOM: And that’s definitely a situation where you want to start small. Because I think it’s somewhat unpredictable, depending on the specific content of your concrete. So it might be the kind of thing that you, as they say, start in an inconspicuous area and work out.
LISA: OK. And another suggestion had been to do – just go in and put flagstone around it. And I’m thinking, “You know, there’s got to be an easier way.”
TOM: Well, you certainly could use the concrete apron as a base for some sort of a paver brick or flagstone or something of that nature. But if you do that, it’s going to be difficult for you to get – anything with flagstone that has a mortar joint is not going to work because that will crack and break and you’ll be very disappointed. If you use something that was modular, like a paver brick – and paver bricks come anywhere from a standard brick size to a 12x12 to even bigger – but that’s going to raise the height of this thing, yeah, two, two-and-a-half inches.
LESLIE: But you will be – if you do something – we have slate around our family house’s pool and as the weather changes seasonally, the mortar tends to crack, it starts to look really crappy every couple of years and it needs to totally be repointed, which when it’s done it looks gorgeous but it gets to a point where it needs that level of maintenance. So if you’re committed to doing that, it’s a great option.
LISA: I’m into low maintenance. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) Low maintenance is my way. Now somebody also mentioned some of this spreadable – I’m not sure exactly. It’s almost like a textured paint that is made for concrete. Is that what you referred to at the beginning, Leslie?
LESLIE: Well, you can get any paint mixed into a concrete mixture; like a concrete paint, which will withstand weather and will really adhere to the concrete well. You can add a texture to it to so it has some sort of like a sand and gritty texture to it, which will help you from not slipping, which is a good feature to have around the pool as well.
LISA: Well, excellent. Excellent ideas. Thank you both.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Enjoy that pool. Lisa, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.