Topic: Blog

3 Pool Deck Options Perfect for Autumn Weather

pool decking PhiladelphiaThe Fall season is one of the preferable seasons of all because of the rich Autumn colors on the trees and the cooler climate. Unfortunately, it is not really the best season for using the pool, unless you have a hot tub, then it is the perfect time of the year for a soak. So, what else can be done to make the pool decking an equally enjoyable space even during Fall? Here are some ideas:

Integrate Fall Colors

If you have trees around the pool deck that feature the colors of Fall, then you are lucky. However, you can further enhance it with flowers in similar colors or other autumn hues like pink, magenta, purple, and blue. You may also want to opt for resurfacing pool deck area with concrete overlays in Fall-like colors. It could be a red brick surface or a travertine patterned overlay hand-stained with the colors of the season. If you have deck chairs or beds, add some orange or yellow pillows or throws. Not only will these create a trending look, it also provides the necessary stuff to keep warm while outdoors.

Heat Up the Deck

The deck may seem like a colder area, thanks to the drop in temperature as the season slowly shifts to a winter. So, why not add heat to the cool decking? Adding fire pits or outdoor fireplaces provide a means for warmth and illumination in this time of the year. You can hang out all you want at night time, watching the stars, and not freeze to death. A working fire not only provides heat and light, it also allows you to roast some barbecue or some plain marshmallows. That and the throws and pillows you have prepared will definitely guarantee a warm and cozy outdoor experience.

Enhance Outdoor Lighting

Lights are always essential, regardless of the season. However, during these cool months, it would be nice to have enhanced lighting to make the surroundings look warmer and brighter. Lighting fixtures can also be a decorative solution to make the pool deck area more Autumn-like. Hanging a string of Christmas lights or small lanterns around and across the trees will bring a bohemian vibe to the pool deck. It provides subtle lights that seem to twinkle like stars where they are. Intricately designed lamps can be hung on posts or branches or simply placed on the deck beside some chairs or by the pool. Using tea lights is also a great way of adding drama while keeping the area warm and cozy.


Top 3 Driveway Resurfacing Options for Autumn

brick stamped pattern PhillyThe myth is that you can only resurface a concrete driveway during summer and spring because of their favorable weather. However, autumn is also a great time of the year for a concrete resurfacing project. Aside from the fact that it is easier to book a concrete contractor at this time, most resurfacing coatings and overlays can be installed in this climate and temperature, such as:

Stamped Concrete Overlay

A stamped overlay is not at all temperature-sensitive. It is also an ideal overlay because it promotes better traction and grip, all thanks to the stamped patterns involved. The grooves from the stamping process make the driveway safer to tread on even when rain falls hard. The great thing about this overlay is that it requires minimal cleaning and maintenance, which is a huge blessing for homeowners especially when the time comes to winterize the entire property in preparation of fall and the winter season that comes after.

Spray Knockdown Texture

This is a spray-on coating system that can be used on any outdoor surface, concrete driveways included. Instead of being poured, this coating is sprayed onto the surface before being knocked down with a trowel. The effect creates a texture that is highly slip-resistant. This coating is also not sensitive to temperature so it can be installed despite the cooler temperature associated with autumn. This comes in a wide range of colors and it can also be stained with custom shades.

Concrete Staining

If you prefer a more subtle update to the concrete driveway, staining can do the job. Acid stains can bring out unique effects that can never be replicated on any other concrete surface. It creates a look similar to leather or natural stone. Water-based stains come in a wide selection of hues from earthy tones to pastels. Both can be installed in autumn and the change in weather will not affect the results it yields. If you need more traction on a stained concrete driveway, it is highly recommended to integrate it with another overlay, like a stamped one, or to add fine abrasives to the sealer. The sealer will enhance the color, add a bit of shine, and help enhance grip if added with abrasives.

Driveways vary in size, length, and slope angle. If you are unsure if any of these would work on yours, consult an expert contractor so they could recommend the best option for you at this time of the year.


Top Free Design Software for Pool Deck Plans

Designing pool decks nowadays, be it a new install or a remodel, is a lot easier to plan with all the innovative tools available today. Aside from making it easier for designers or architects to create pool deck plans and present them to customers, it also gave property owners the opportunity to be able to create the plans themselves. Here are the top software for designing pool decks:

  • Azek Deck Designerazek designer

This is one of the best for use both on desktops and tablets. It is fast and very easy to use and navigate. It presents many options and the details are definitely impressive. These are great for designing above-ground pool decks. You can choose the height, number of tiers, and even other things like a hot tub or furniture.

  • Decks.com Deck Designerdecks dot com deck designer

This is a fairly good software that allows you to look at the design in 3D view, aerial view, or side view. This, however, is a bit slow and the design does not look as real as the Aztec software. Images can be cartoonish.

  • Lowe’s Deck Designerlowes deck designer

This is one of the most highly recommended options by designers but it is quite difficult to access and too complicated to get it to work. First, it only works with Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. It also requires a hard-to-find plugin to make it work.

  • SketchUpsketchup

This is one big player in the world of design software. It can be used to design almost anything and the options are many, even with the free version. You can view your design from the top, side, or at a certain angle. You can also move the decks or tiers you have designed to help you work out a layout.

If you are really interested in designing a pool deck, try to look up paid software that do just that. It is important that you should know now that these are not cheap. However, if provides you all the tools and options you need to efficiently create a pool deck plan that you can apply on your property, then it would be a worthwhile investment. But do not rely on the software to guarantee the results you yield. It is always best to consult a pro and to hire a reliable contractor who can help you out every step of the way.


4 Creative Projects to Use Decorative Concrete Applications

When it comes to versatility, nothing has it more than concrete. It can be molded to almost any shape and it can be designed to your heart’s desire. While decorative concrete is mainly used on concrete surfaces and floors, there are fun ways you could use coatings and overlays. You can use stamps, stains, and epoxy to make cool stuff you could use in or around the house.

  • Acid-stained Countertops

You know how luxurious homes have those marble or granite countertops? You can achieve the same look using acid stains on concrete counters. The great thing about acid stains is that it produces unpredictable effects, designs, and colors similar to natural stone. You can use more than one color to give it more variety and to make the natural stone look more believable.

  • Stamped Concrete Planters

Concrete is an ideal material for creating planters on outdoor spaces. However, if you are not satisfied with the way plain concrete looks, you can add stamped patterns to make them look more decorative. If you prefer something more customized, scoring or engraving on the sides of the planters would also be a good idea. This must be done carefully, though, so as not to break it.

  • Stamped Concrete Wood Stepping Stones

The look of wood on a pathway is amazing but wood is not really the easiest material to clean and maintain. Also, left on a pathway with all moisture on the soil would make the wood rot and soften easily. So, why not stamp wooden patterns on a concrete stepping stone? Staining it with earthy colors will make it look like real wood all the more. The great thing about this project is that you get the wooden look you wanted without having to deal with the tedious maintenance that wood requires.

  • Epoxy Indoor Dining Tables

A concrete tabletop isn’t the prettiest thing unless you are a huge fan of the utilitarian concept. You can make it more attractive with a coating of epoxy. Not only will it turn the tabletop into a seamless and sleek surface, it will also make it resistant to any damage that dropped utensils, dishes, and spilled food and drinks could cause. Just make sure to use an epoxy coating on indoor tables only as this material is not very fond of UV rays. The material may discolor in the most unpleasant way when exposed to the sun.


Patio Resurfacing vs Replacement: Cost Guide

concrete patio contractor PhiladelphiaThe patio has become more than just a paved outdoor area. Nowadays, it is an instrument in bringing family and friends together. It is quite enjoyable to make use of the concrete patio for family events, relaxation, bonding with friends, or as a child activity center. However, all these can wear out the patio sooner or later. When the time comes to address concrete issues, you have the option to resurface or replace. Which is the more economical choice?

Patio Resurfacing

This type of concrete repair involves the use of a coating or overlay, giving the old patio a new lease on life. An overlay system, like a stamped concrete patio, often costs $3 to $10 per square foot. This range is greatly influenced by several factors, such as:

  • Material – There are different types of resurfacing coatings or overlays. The type you choose and how many layers of it will be used will affect the overall costs.
  • Patio Size – Since rates are calculated by square foot, bigger patios cost more. There are rare instances when smaller ones incur more costs, like when access to the small patio is difficult.
  • Additional Services – Customization costs extra, of course. This may include hand-staining, intricate patterns, and the like.
  • Other repairs – If certain issues need to be addressed before an overlay can be applied, such as sealing cracks and holes, then it could add to the total costs.

Patio Replacement

Replacing the entire concrete patio will cost more, of course. Demolition of the old one alone may already cost somewhere between $800 to $1000. Installing a new one after the old one has been removed also depends on the material used:

  • Concrete – Pouring new concrete may cost around $11.50 per square foot. A concrete contractor recommends sealing the concrete because it is a very porous material.
  • Stone – Installing stone units, like flagstone, can cost about $20 per square foot. This would require a concrete slab and some mortar to support the stone pieces.
  • Gravel – This only costs around $5.66 per square foot but it can be difficult to maintain because the rocks move around. It is also vulnerable to weed growth.
  • Pavers – Concrete pavers cost around $15 per square foot. The soil underneath needs to be compacted well enough for it not to shift. The pavers also need to be sealed and held down with polymeric sand.