Pool Patio and Coping Options
How Much Patio Do I Need?
Typically speaking, most folks need between 600 and 900 square feet of patio around a pool…enough room for a table and chair set, some chaise lounges, and enough to comfortably walk around the perimeter of the pool. If you’re planning to install the pool next to an existing patio or deck, you can probably get by with less. If you’re planning to accommodate large groups of people, or incorporate other elements such as an outdoor kitchen or fire pit you’ll likely need more.
Patios, Budgets, and the Principle of Consolidation
When trying to adhere to a budget like everyone does, it's important to follow the principle of consolidation. We simply mean that you want to put as much patio as possible in your congregating areas, and only enough everywhere else to be functional and aesthetically pleasing.
For example, let's say your budget allows for 800 square feet of patio around the pool. The very worst use of that space would be to evenly distribute 8' of patio around the entire pool. Why? Because you would be without any single place to congregate and have more area than you need around much of the pool.
The best use of that space would be to consolidate as much of that 800' into one or two areas as possible. You may have 12' of patio along one side of the pool and have 8' on the shallow end, and three or four feet on the other two sides. Or you could have 16' on one end and 4' or 5' around the rest of the pool....you get the idea.
We developed this method and coined the term ourselves so it's not a universally known finish by any stretch. If you mention "textured concrete" to another pool builder they will most likely give you a strange look. Notwithstanding, it's a concrete finish that gives you the texture of stamped concrete without the need to add color to the concrete or seal the surface of the patio.
Basically, when you look at a patio you see two things: color and texture. Often times when folks don't particularly care for the look of broom-finished concrete, it's the monotonous texture that turns them off as much as the color. When we do textured concrete, we basically add a stamped concrete surface to regular gray concrete as a texture solution.
There are many advantages to textured concrete, here are four predominant ones:
1. It looks great
2. It eliminates the problems associated with concrete color (discussed later)
3. It eliminates the maintenance burden of re-sealing the concrete every 2-3 years
4. It is very budget-friendly, around 25% less than stamped concrete
We have found this to be a great patio option for those who want a look other than broom-finished concrete without the budget-busting expense of stamped concrete.
Coping Made Easy!
Fiberglass Pool Coping Options
Once again, the coping is the transition from the pool to the pool deck. The traditional method with fiberglass pools is to pour the concrete flush with the top of the pool, leaving the top of the fiberglass pool shell exposed. Frankly, that's an easy installation method...but it's hideous looking!
Today the most popular coping around fiberglass pools is what's known as cantilevered concrete coping.
Cantilevered concrete is poured all the way to the water's edge of the pool, covering the top of the shell, and forming a bull-nosed coping. Although this is a difficult procedure and should be done by experienced craftsmen, it is a beautiful and budget-friendly option. Consequently, this is what we typically include in our base package unless the client requests otherwise.
We call this paver coping because the product is manufactured by the same companies that manufacture concrete patio pavers. These are made of concrete and have a bull-nosed edge. They can be laid on a mortar bed or bonded to the pool shell and concrete collar around the pool with specialized construction adhesive. Paver coping usually costs between $35 and $40 per linear foot which equates to an average upgrade of $3,500 and $4,500.
Travertine coping is a great alternative because it stays cool to the touch and does not become slippery when wet. In the picture to the right, the same travertine was used in the coping as the patio. Travertine coping typically costs between $45 and $55 per linear foot at an average total cost of $4,500 to $5,500.
Another alternative is Bluestone, when used as pool coping, is usually 2" thick and 12" wide, although other sizes are available. It is typically mortared in place and laid on a mortar bed, and is about the same price as Travertine coping.