"Thank you to Jimmy & the Decorative Concrete Expert team. We were looking for a solution for our patio that was both classy and functional. I can't thank you enough!" -Teresa N.
2015-08-24T14:30:24+00:00
“Thank you to Jimmy & the Decorative Concrete Expert team. We were looking for a solution for our patio that was both classy and functional. I can’t thank you enough!” -Teresa N.
"Thank you ever so much for doing such a beautiful, professional job. Our patio acrylic floor covering and slab is exactly what we were hoping it would be! We are thrilled!" -Lois & Den
2015-08-24T14:39:25+00:00
“Thank you ever so much for doing such a beautiful, professional job. Our patio acrylic floor covering and slab is exactly what we were hoping it would be! We are thrilled!” -Lois & Den

The dark side of pool deck remodeling.

Back in January 2010 I was contacted by a customer about doing a full remodel on a pool deck.  It was a large job, almost 1300 square feet.  I priced out replacing the whole surface with our spray texture product and as with all of our projects gave a written warranty with the proposal that would cover any defective materials or workmanship (bond failure).   After leaving a couple of voicemails to follow up with no response I filed the proposal away.

Last week I received a phone call about pool deck work in that area and when I showed up to look at the job I recognized both the house and the pool deck.  The homeowner didn’t remember me at all and started showing me problems throughout the deck area.  Most of these problems were related to bond failure where the new surface was literally just flaking off.  There were two other areas that held a lot of water causing slipping issues that should have been addressed.  She let me know that a complete remodel was done in February of 2010 and that she had another contractor repaint the surface about a year ago to try to “save” the surface.  I wrote up a quote for removing and replacing the entire surface so that she wouldn’t have to be bothered with anymore deck work for another 10 years.  The quote that I gave her last week was $5700.00.  When I got back to the office I couldn’t wait to start looking for the original proposal that I gave on that job.  The original proposal was for $4200.00.  My pricing hasn’t gone up in the last two years, the difference is simply the cost of removing all of the work that was poorly done so we can start fresh with a solid surface.

This is a sad situation.  She probably “saved” $1000.00 on the original job by going with a small timer with no licensing, warranty, or plans to be around long term.  Then a year later spent that $1000.00 to try to cover up a job poorly done.  Now before year three rolls around I quote her almost $6k to clean up everybody’s mess and to finally do the job right so that the pool deck isn’t a constant eyesore.  A couple bad hiring decisions turned a $4200.00 problem into a $10,000.00 problem and a lot of headaches along the way.  I’m not sure if I’ll get the job this time around because there’s always that cheaper guy out there, and some people just never learn.  If you want your job done right and want a company that will stand behind their work, give us a call at 407-342-8552.  Click here to go to our pool deck gallery

 

 

Fire Pits – the newest addition to the Decorative Concrete Experts product line in Orlando

I’m excited to announce that we have started producing an extremely high quality fire pit for the Orlando market that is unlike any other product available.  Our fire pit is cast as one piece with a high strength, fiber reinforced concrete mix design and utilizes an insulated liner that will allow it to last for decades.  The exterior is hand stained to reproduce the look of natural stone without the cost and complexity to build.  Our standard fire pit will be set up for a traditional wood burning fire and there will be an option to burn natural gas.  These firepits will be available as cast in place on your existing concrete slab, pool deck, or paver patio or built at our facility to be delivered and installed in as little as a few hours.  The cost is very competitive with similar mason built units that are held together with mortar and use stone veneers.  Check out our site OrlandoFirePits.com to find out more and contact us to get information on pricing and availability.

Pool Deck patch and repaint in Orlando’s Metrowest

On an almost daily basis I take calls from customers that are looking to hide cracks, patch problem areas and freshen up their pool decks.  This pool deck in Orlando needed some patching done on the patio area.  The customers were also looking to update the deck with a softer white that would give the deck a “warmer” feel.  Below is the pool deck shortly after beginning work.

I commonly find where the deck texture is flaking away due to poor preparation when the product was originally applied.  This particular pool deck had about a one square foot area on the patio where the texture was flaking up.  During the initial visit I found almost ten square feet of hollow spots by dragging a hammer along the surface and listening for sound variations.  In the area that was flaking, it was clear that the original installer went directly over an existing carpet glue that is commonly seen on patios after removing outdoor carpet.  The best course of action in this scenario is to scarify the entire affected area and re-texture it, but the homeowner chose to just target the problem areas and handle the project on a budget.  We started by removing the areas where texture was hollow as you can see below.

As I mentioned above, there is no guarantee that the surrounding areas that are adhered now will still be adhered three to five years from now.  The customers were made aware of this and chose to just address the current problem areas.  These jobs are where it pays to have an experienced deck crew handle the job.  We were able to match the texture to where our patch blends seamlessly into the deck area.

This project is an excellent example of a job with some serious issues that can be made to look like new in one working day.

Contact us today at 407-342-8552 to see how we can bring new life to your older deck!  Click here to see our A rated listing with the Better Business Bureau or ask for some references.

Decorative Concrete Experts are Increte certified installers

We are proud to have completed Increte’s two day training course covering their full product line.  Increte is an industry leader in decorative concrete and their products are specified by architects and designers for commercial projects from restaurants to shopping centers.  Click here to visit Increte.com and see what is possible with concrete.

Increte also can create concrete stamps with your company logo or custom design.  Here are a few Examples:

 

Visit our stamped concrete page for service in Orlando Florida.

Contact us today here.

 

 

Hire the right company to paint your pool deck

So you’ve decided that it’s time to have your deck repainted, where do you start?  A good place to start is to develop a list of questions to ask when you’re interviewing a prospective contractor.

Some questions that a knowledgeable contractor will ask are:

1.  What is the age of the surface and when is the last time (if ever) that it has been painted?

This question is generally asked to establish whether the pool is an older kool deck surface that has never had a sealant applied or if it’s a newer acrylic texture.  This is important because a kool deck that has never been sealed will need a lot more product applied to seal the surface.  The newer texture will need to be examined to determine what type of coating it has been sealed with.  In addition it may be necessary to add a skid resistant admixture to ensure that the deck remains non-slip with the addition of layers of sealant that tend to fill the traction adding voids in the surface.

2.  Do you have an idea of the square footage that needs to be repainted?

Here at the Decorative Concrete Experts, we do a lot of pool deck repaints.  This question is used to get an idea of the scope of the job so that we can give an approximate cost figure over the phone.  This allows us to see if the job is within the customer’s budget over the phone.  This figure doesn’t need to be exact, it’s just to get a good idea.  The easiest way to figure square footage is to sketch out the area on a piece of paper and divide the areas into rectangles that you can multiply length x width.  You can subtract out obstacles such as the pool and planter beds.

3.  Are the cracks mostly smaller hairlines, or do you have some noticeable height difference where slabs have shifted?

When there is a height difference, it may be necessary to mill down the high side and texture it to match to remove a trip hazard on the surface.  This is especially important on commercial pools where liability is a larger issue.  We inject a sealant into the cracks that seals out water, prevents insects from entering, and keeps weeds from growing.  The sealant is carefully placed so that the crack blends into the deck and is actually less noticeable than before.  Beware of “contractors” that apply a crack filler with a putty knife that actually makes the crack stand out and look more obvious.

4.  Is the surface in sound condition or are there areas that have flaking paint and/or texture?

Occasionally we come across decks that have had the wrong sealant applied at some point.  Generally when this occurs, it’s necessary to see the job in person to determine the most cost effective way to remedy the problem.  Also, many customers call us because the textured surface is delaminating.  This problem can be limited to small areas that we can patch and blend into the rest of the deck.  Sometimes it is an extensive issue that can only be fixed by removing and replacing the entire surface.

When it is time to have your pool deck repainted, trust the Decorative Concrete Experts to do the job right the first time for a fair price.  Call us today at 407-342-8552.  Visit our Orlando pool deck paint page here.

 

 

Don’t put off getting your pool deck redone!

At the Decorative Concrete Experts, we get very busy this time of year and are often asked if we can complete a job before a major holiday.  The call volume goes up a week before Spring Break, Easter, and Memorial Day.  The problem is that we are generally scheduled out for two to three weeks. Additionally, some pool decks take almost a week to complete.  With just about every service that we offer excluding a simple repaint, the deck needs to cure for as much as five to seven days before heavy use.  We stay very busy because we do great work at a fair price.  If you do have a tight deadline, we will do our best to complete the pool deck in the time alotted, but we can do a better job and work with less stress by scheduling the work well in advance.  Don’t get stuck with a contractor that isn’t busy for good reasons.  With that said, we have a crew out today on a pool deck repaint that was signed yesterday so that the customer has the area ready for an Easter party next weekend.

Making your Pool Deck stand out with design

As a decorative concrete contractor, I have the opportunity to look at a vast number of pool decks both in plans and in person for remodeling consultations.  It is a rare occasion for me to see a pool deck that grabs my attention and makes me want to take a picture so that I can borrow an idea or design.  For the most part, pool decks in Orlando, Gainesville, and Ocala are extremely similar in layout and deck surfacing.  I would say that most of the pool decks are rectangular in shape and have either a plain acrylic texture coating or pavers installed.  There are some features that builders add to make the design visually appealing.  Some of these features are landscape beds integrated into the deck and free form pools that take a custom shape.  There are a lot of options that can give you a one of a kind pool deck and a back yard oasis that will make people notice.

The first step is finding a concrete contractor and/or pool builder that welcomes custom work.  Many pool builders are caught in the trap of selling the same set of plans over and over.  If you are building a high end home and are having the pool done a the same time, it can be extremely beneficial to involve your architect in your pool planning.  Having a one of a kind pool deck doesn’t have to be extremely expensive.  Find a pool contractor that is open to working with a decorative concrete contractor that specializes in more than just basic textures.

At the Decorative Concrete Experts we offer a range of products including acrylic textures, stamped concrete, and a hand troweled StoneCrete surface.  The acrylic texture is the most popular type of pool deck surface currently used in central Florida.  Many people still call these acrylic textures Kool Deck.  Today there are many patterns available to give the deck a unique look.  You can visit our decorative acrylic texture page to view some examples of my work.

Stamped concrete is almost non-existent in the Orlando residential pool deck market.  This surface has become hugely popular in California, Texas, and Las Vegas, yet it is rarely used on residential properties in central Florida.  Simply installing a stamped concrete surface that coordinates with your home will give you the most unique pool deck in your neighborhood.  Stamped concrete is a hard product to install and many builders stay away from it because they’ve had a bad experience with someone that didn’t know what they were doing.  Click here to see some pictures of our stamped concrete installations.  We have the experience and take the time necessary to ensure that you have the best looking stamped concrete available on your pool deck.

Our hand troweled StoneCrete overlay is another surface that isn’t commonly seen on new pool deck construction.  This product has the look of natural stone at an affordable price point between acrylic texture and stamped concrete.  In addition, this is a great product for remodel work on your older surface.  StoneCrete is much easier to work around obstacles than stamped concrete overlays.

If you’re not sure what you are looking for and would like some professional help, contact the Decorative Concrete Experts of Orlando at 407-342-8552.  By simply printing out a few pictures that you come across and collecting some color samples that you like, we can work with you to conceive a design that will be truly one of a kind.

Designing Stamped Concrete for your project in Orlando

The Decorative Concrete Experts of Orlando are your source for professional installation of stamped concrete.  When you are looking to add Stamped Concrete to your home or business, it is best to start by looking at the basic construction of the building that the concrete will be accenting.  The key to this process is by choosing a surface that will complement the structure, not try to match it.  For instance, on a brick home it may be a good choice to implement a brick border on your driveway or walkway but not necessarily install a solid stamped brick pattern.  With stamped concrete, incorporating the right color is just as important as choosing the right pattern.  Again, the key is not to match but to use hues from the building or complementary tones into the stamping work.

Looking at stamped concrete patterns can be overwhelming.  This is where in can be beneficial to talk to a stamped concrete installer.  A quality installer will own as many as five or ten popular patterns and will know which ones will work with your project.  An installer that owns many sets of stamp mats is serious about this business because these sets are very expensive to purchase.  Ask a stamped concrete contractor that you’re meeting with to bring by some common mats that they own to see if any will suit your needs.  If the contractor rents his/her stamping mats, it may be best to steer clear.

When the stamped concrete is part of a building remodel or larger landscape project, it can be helpful to get input from the architect or landscape designer.  There are lots of online sources for stamped concrete ideas if you are lost.  We are a certified installer for Increte Systems and can help you implement any of their products in your project.  Increte recommends us for project inquiries in Orlando and surrounding areas.  Click here to see Increte’s site for stamped concrete and other decorative finishes.  Doing an internet search can be a very valuable source of ideas for your stamped concrete project.  The best part is that you can easily print out a copy to show a stamped concrete installer.  Now that you are interested in decorative concrete you will probably start to recognize a lot more of it when you least expect it.  If you come across some stamped concrete that you really like, take a picture or take note color and pattern.  Replicating decorative concrete is made much easier when you have lots of details and pictures available.

There are many great examples of stamped concrete in our theme parks here in Orlando.  Stamped concrete is widely used in theme parks for its durability, relative low cost, and ease of maintenance.  While visiting the parks keep an eye out for design ideas and which patterns that would work well on your particular project.  Contact the Decorative Concrete Experts in Orlando for all of your stamped concrete needs at 407-342-8552.

Now is the time to paint that ugly pool deck

The off season is the best time to get your pool deck into shape.  I offer an affordable package to update your pool area that covers most of the common problems that we see with older surfaces.

Your deck will be a great candidate for an inexpensive update as long as there are no hollow spots or multiple areas where the surface is flaking up.  Identifying hollow spots can be easily done with a hammer by simply dragging the smooth face along the deck and listening for sound variations.  If hollow areas are present, they will always get worse over time and I don’t recommend spending the money to clean and repaint a surface with these issues.  You can contact me to discuss courses of action if your experiencing hollow spots and/or flaking.  Click here for our spray texture page regarding pool deck resurfacing.

Pool deck repaints are very routine for us and customers can almost always be given an accurate estimate over the phone.  For this type of work we generally only do in person price quotations for very large residential pools and commercial projects.  To get the most accurate estimate you will need to provide the size of the area in square feet, details about the condition of the surface, and job site conditions such as steps, screen enclosures, and prevalence of cracks in the deck.  With this information I can give a very accurate estimate on the cost of the job.  Click here for more information on painting your pool deck.  The Orlando Sentinel also has an informative article on painting your pool deck.

If you decide that the estimate for the proposed work sounds fair, I will schedule a date for the job to get completed.  On that date I will personally meet with you to walk over the deck and take note of any imperfections and issues that need to be addressed.  I will also confirm measurements on the deck and write up a detailed contract before any work takes place.  The crew starts by thoroughly cleaning the surface with a commercial duty pressure washer to ensure that any contaminants that may affect how the new coating adheres are removed.  Next, any areas that are chipped or damaged can be repaired and blended into the deck.  Cracks are filled with a high quality sealant that prevents insect damage and erosion from water.  The sealant also helps blend the cracks into the deck so that they are not as noticeable.  Depending on weather and job site conditions, the pool deck paint may be either sprayed or rolled onto the surface.  Multiple coats are applied to ensure durability and even coverage.  The normal length of time to complete this process on an average residential pool deck is one day.  Our schedule tends to fill up quickly as the weather warms, so call me today at 407-342-8552 to schedule your pool deck project.

 

Cracks in concrete

Cracks are unfortunately a common but preventable occurrence in most concrete surfaces.  The vast majority of cracks are due to the lack of planning for expansion joints when the concrete is initially installed.  A qualified concrete contractor should have a plan in place before any concrete is poured to control any possible cracking issues with expansion joints.  There are plastic joints that are commonly used on pool deck surfaces, but a simple saw cut is just as effective and isn’t sensitive to UV rays over time.  To be effective, the saw cuts must be made systematically in weak areas where the concrete is most likely to experience a stress crack.  The number of joints necessary depends on a number of factors including the thickness of the slab, specific mix of concrete used, the type of reinforcement used, and the layout of the slab.  For a saw cut to be effective, it needs to be at least 1/3 through the thickness of the slab.

Based on my experience in Orlando, it is rare to come across a pool deck that was poured with a sufficient number of expansion joints.  The plastic joints are most common and usually their placement isn’t ideal for preventing cracks from forming.  The common result is a pool deck with lots of unsightly cracks.  For the most part these cracks are harmless and are merely a cosmetic issue.  There should only be concern if the slabs are shifting (one slab  is lower than the other).  How we treat the cracks depends on what we are planning to do to the surface.  For a simple repaint on an acrylic pool deck, the best course of action is to seal the cracks before painting the surface.  This makes the crack less noticeable, prevents erosion, and keeps insects out while allowing the concrete to naturally expand and contract with temperature fluctuations.  When we are applying an overlay, the best course of action is to open the crack up and inject a high strength epoxy that works to prevent the crack from appearing in the new surface.  Unfortunately, in some situations the natural forces of expansion and contraction are too much and the structural epoxy cannot hold.

It is a common misconception that most concrete cracks due to settling.  Regardless of how long the concrete has had to settle, there will be movement along a crack due to the natural expansion and contraction of the concrete that occurs with temperature change.  It’s also a common misconception that cracks form because wire mesh or rebar wasn’t used.  In many situations, the reinforcement actually causes the initial cracking.  This happens because of the concrete trying to contract as it cures while being constrained.

Contact the Decorative Concrete Experts in Orlando today for concrete forming/finishing and advice on how to handle cracks in your concrete surface at 407-342-8552.  Click here for our page on Orlando concrete repair and replacement.

Decorative Concrete Experts
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