Can we do our own concrete decking for our fiberglass pool?
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
We get asked this question often and the answer is absolutely. As long as you know what you are up against. The pool deck is what makes or breaks the entire project so you have to ask yourself are you skilled enough to do this? If not it is a big gamble and it can be difficult or expensive to fix. Pouring a cantilevered concrete pool deck is not the same as pouring a driveway or sidewalk.
Pouring a concrete deck around a fiberglass pool is the most difficult of any type of pool. The main reason is that a fiberglass pool is full of water when you pour the concrete. A vinyl pool or concrete pool is empty when you pour the pool deck which allows you to freely walk in the empty pool and strip forms, vibrate edges and work ununcumbered. With a fiberglass pool the best way to pour the pool deck is to have 1 person in the pool to help vibrate the forms and then strip the forms before the concrete sets up so you can repair any imperfections in the face of the concrete. This isnt bad in the middle of summer but can be miserable when it is early in the season or late in the season as well.
Secondly if you are not familiar with Stegmeier style concrete forms this can make things tricky. For the Stegmeier forms you need to use 2 times more ties wires than the manufacturer requires. If you dont your forms will bow out and can potentially blow off the pool spilling you concrete right in the pool. Which is a mess no one wants. Also the forms are made of styrofoam so they are fairly fragile. You have to be gentle when placing the concrete against the forms. If you dump a wheelbarrow full right up to the form you will likely blow it right off. Patience and gentleness is the key with these forms. You will also need to secure the joints of the forms together as tightly as possible. We use vinyl tape to cover the top and backside of these joints as well as pushing a tie wire through it. If you dont secure them together they will move as the concrete is placed against them and it will leave a mark on the face of the concrete that will need to be fixed.
As the concrete is poured you will need to use a vibrator along the inside of the form to consolidate the fines at the face of the form. This helps remove any pock marks and air pockets. You need to be gentle again and not let the vibrator touch the form but stay about 2" away from it.
Fiberglass Pool concrete is more techinical and requires more patience than pouring a driveway were you can dump concrete right on your form boards with no worry. The take away from this article is that you can do the concrete yourself but be cautious as the pool deck will make or break your entire project.