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Robert Lamoureux: Go with cool deck system for pool

Your Home Improvements

Posted: January 21, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 21, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Hello Robert,

I’ve got a pool with decorative stone around it. The deck is looking really tattered. There is a lot of staining that I have washed but can’t get clean. What can I do? I’m thinking I might have to replace the concrete and maybe go with something stamped. I’d really rather find a way to improve what I have instead of replacing the concrete. Are there alternatives or any cheap methods?

Manny M.


Hi Manny,

There’s an overlay application called a cool deck system. If you are interested, write me privately and I’ll send you the name of one of the manufacturers we use. 

For the application, you would first make sure the surface is scorified. That is, depending on the type of system you have in place now, you would grind off the existing texture coat and/or top coat, and/or scuff the concrete. You’ll want to give it enough of a bite for the overlay system to bind to. You would then apply a thinly trowled cementitious material. Then put down the primer, texture and top coat. 

This system will give you years of use and is available through most of the supply houses. If you’re handy, this is something that you can do as a homeowner. Or, there are decking companies that will come out and do it for you. 

These systems are gorgeous and will keep your feet cool in the summer as opposed to bare concrete.  Depending on the amount of wear and tear from the chlorine, plan on rolling on a new top coat every two or three years to keep it looking brand new. 


Mr. Lamoureux,

I’m an old man with an old house that’s got an old pool. I have a pool man that takes care of the upkeep.

He showed me a caulk which is pulling away between the concrete and the stone around the pool. He says he needs to get that fixed or the rain will start washing away the dirt underneath the pool and jacuzzi.

What he is saying makes sense, but it seems like he is always recommending procedures to give himself more work.

I just want to be sure. If this is important, is it something I can do myself? How should I deal with this? Also, my jacuzzi sits higher than my pool. Once the system turns itself off at night, the jacuzzi drains down to the level of the pool. Do you know what’s going on with this?   

Tom C.


Hi Tom,

It’s called Deck-O-Seal and once it fails, you are exposing yourself to many problems, including erosion. 

What you would use is a little grinder with a diamond wheel. Grind out whatever Deck-O-Seal is left in those joints between the coping and the decking. Go all the way around the pool and pull that Deck-O-Seal out. 

Depending on the amount of dirt that has already eroded, you’ll want to set all new backer rod and set it down about 3/4” below the surface. Backer rod is a round, styrofoam filler and is what we use to create a bottom for the application of Deck-O-Seal.

You’ll buy Deck-O-Seal by the gallon as needed. It’s a two-part epoxy system that you mix together.  Generally, they supply you with an applicator and it’s just like squeezing ketchup from a bottle. 

You’ll slowly start injecting this compound in the joint, on top of the backer rod, so that it is flush with the deck. 

One option is to come in with a silica sand which will take the sheen away and give it a flatter look. Pool supply or hardware stores all carry bags of silica sand. For every three feet of Deck-O-Seal you put down, broadcast a little silica sand over the seal and let that dry overnight.   The next day use a broom or shop-vac to vacuum the excess sand.

Be as neat as possible because if you put down too much, the Deck-O-Seal will run onto your deck or coping. If this happens, clean it up with a razor knife. 

Regarding your jacuzzi, you generally have chardonnay or jandy valves. Sometimes the seals on the covers or faceplates, the paddle, will leak. This could be as simple as the paddle is not turning a full 90 degrees. It could be that it’s stripped out. You’ll have to look at all of the things that control the water level in the jacuzzi, but I would look at these valves first.

Next step would be to replace the “O” rings. If it’s an older pump, even if the rings look good, replace them. They’re not that expensive. 

Make sure all of the screws, there are usually eight screws on the lids, are tight. If any of them are stripped, then you will need to replace the whole valve body. Any air getting in is a leak causing the jacuzzi level to drop down. Eventually you get staining on the wall. If night after night the water is permitted to drop to that level, you will get a ring on the plaster. 

So it’s one of those “O” rings or one of those valves that is causing the jacuzzi to drain down to the level of the pool. Disassemble those valves and buy all new rings from the pool supply house.   Make sure all of the paddles are seated. When they are closed, you want them to be a perfect 90 degrees facing the inlet they’re on. This will be a project in itself.


Hi Robert,

I live in Santa Clarita. My neighbors and I have decided to take down all of our wooden fencing and put up block walls. Is this something that will require permits? They say yes, I’m saying no because we’re simply replacing what’s there with something else. We want to do it right.

Thank you,

Erik T.


Hi Erik,

You will need permits. A wooden fence coming down and hitting someone is totally different than a block wall hitting somebody. Especially if kids are climbing on them, which happens everywhere. 

If the wall is put in properly and it comes down during an earthquake or for whatever reason, it could seriously hurt someone. 

The footing needs to be brought up to code. The pinning, the steel rebar, needs to be in place.  These are the things the inspector is looking for. If all is done to code, or she will sign you off for that step. 

When you call him back he’ll check if the horizontal steel is put in halfway up the wall. Once that’s in, he’ll sign you off at that point. When you fill the cells as required you’ll have to call the city again.

It’ll verify that all of the cells are filled with concrete according to their specs. Then it will permit you to put the caps on.

These are the three inspections involved for putting up a block wall. It’s all done for safety, hence its name -- Department of Building and Safety. They and the Fire Department are the most powerful entities in the city. When they speak, trust me, we all listen. 

I say it all of the time, but I’m an advocate of the Building and Safety Department. Especially in Santa Clarita. They are just an unbelievable department to deal with. 

We have designed a custom, full-color The Signal/Your Home Improvements T-shirt we will give you if we answer your question. The T-shirt is available to be picked up at our office.

Robert Lamoureux has 25 years experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contacting. He owns IMS Construction Inc.   Valencia. His opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor, after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Send your questions to


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