Fiberglass Pool Patio Materials - Stamped Concrete Vs Pavers, Which is Best?

by Pool Builders on 02-05-2010 in Articles

One of the biggest decisions in planning a pool project is choosing the right patio material. Without question, the most popular patio material used around fiberglass pools is broom finished concrete because it is cost effective, low maintenance, and durable. It is also the patio material included in most pool companies standard packages. However, many customers prefer a more distinctive look and opt for an upgraded patio material such as stamped concrete or concrete pavers. These are the two predominant upgraded patio options around a fiberglass pool, so let's compare the advantages and disadvantages of each so you can decide which is best for you.

Stamped Concrete:

Advantages:
o Wide variety of stamp patterns available
There are literally dozens of stamped concrete patterns to choose from. Some of the most popular patterns around inground pools are slate, flagstone, and a seamless stone pattern.

o Wide variety of color options available
Stamped concrete is primarily composed of two colors, a base color that is added to the concrete mix or troweled into surface, and an accent color, also known as a release agent, that allows the stamp to release from the concrete an provides the antiqued look to the finish. There are literally hundreds of color combinations available to work with any setting.

o Relatively low maintenance
Other than re-sealing the concrete every two to three years, stamped concrete requires no routine maintenance.

Disadvantages:
o Hairline Cracks
There are three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and concrete will crack. The good news is that most of the cracks happen within a control joint that is strategically placed to force the concrete to crack in a clean line. However, despite a contractors best efforts, concrete will crack outside of a control joint a small percentage of the time.

o Needs to be Re-sealed
As I stated earlier, stamped concrete does require resealing every 2-3 years. The average pool deck costs $250-$450 to reseal.

o Color Inconsistencies
Because most stamped concrete is poured using color that is added to the concrete truck, anytime you have a concrete pour that requires more than one load there is a chance the color of the two truckloads will not match.

Concrete Pavers:

Advantages:
o They do not crack
You may have minimal settlement over time, in which case they can be re-set.

o They are replaceable
If you have a leak in your pool or there is damage to the patio you can remove and replace sections of pavers with relative ease.

o It's possible to Expand Patio in Future
With pavers it is possible to add on to an existing patio with the same material and have a relatively seamless match.

Disadvantages:
o Limited color and pattern selection
Unlike stamped concrete that is colored on site, pavers are produced in a factory then shipped to a yard and kept in inventory. This places limitations on the size and color options that manufacturers can offer.

o Need to re-sand every 1-3 years
The sand between the pavers will wash away over time and need to be replaced to insure the pavers are tightly interlocked and to reduce weed growth in joints.

o Sand in the pool
Some of the sand installed between the pavers does find its way into the pool which will require a little more time vacuuming the pool.

So there you have it! The advantages and disadvantages of the two most popular upgraded patio options used around fiberglass pools.

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