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Stamped vs. Brushed/Broomed Concrete for Swimming Pools: Which is Better?

  
  
  

stamped concrete around a swimming poolOne of the biggest debates that pool shoppers have during the process of building their swimming pool is which type of concrete to use for their patio. And although there are many, many types of patios that can go around a swimming pool (like brushed concrete, stamped concrete, pavers, stone, brick, overlays, etc), this article will solely focus on helping you to understand the pros and cons to brushed (aka broomed) vs. stamped. By so doing, you will be able to make the best choice for you and your family.

Brushed Concrete vs. Stamped Concrete: A Comparison

Maintenance

                Broomed concrete is definitely less maintenance than stamped. The main reason for this is because stamped concrete must be sealed every 2-3 years. The process of sealing it is relatively simple and done with a roller, but the sealer is a little bit expensive, likely costing the homeowner a few hundred dollars each time. But keep in mind  the sealer is critical to the stamped concrete because otherwise its appearance will be dull, therefore causing it to not nearly have the same aesthetic impact it should normally have.

Aesthetics:

                Without question, stamped concrete, especially when done the right way, is absolutely beautiful. With so many colors and patterns now available, stamped concrete can almost match any appearance the homeowner is looking for and completely alter the look and feel of a backyard. Brushed concrete, for all of its functional benefits, simply doesn't stand up aesthetically to stamp. This does not mean that it's ugly; it just isn't quite as pleasing to the eye as is stamped. Personally, when it comes down to it, I feel both options can look very nice when designed with some character and surrounded by nice landscaping.

Cost

                Of all the types of patios that one can put around a swimming pool, regular concrete is certainly the most inexpensive. In most cases, it costs 40-70% less than stamped concrete (This typically equates to a 2-6k difference on most pools). Also, because there is no serious maintenance required down the road (like sealing), the residual expenses are very low as well.

Safety

                Because regular concrete does not require any type of sealer, its rougher surface lends itself nicely to wet, bare-feet. I have heard of customers fearful that broomed concrete will be too rough, but such is rarely ever the case. In fact, I've never once heard a pool owner complain of this once they've owned their swimming pool. On the other hand, stamped concrete is well known for its slippery nature. Because the product is sealed, no question it can have this issue. This is why it is a must that pool installers and homeowners add some type of substance to counteract the slippery nature of the sealer. For example, when our company seals a patio we add a polymeric substance called Sharkgrip, which adds a fine texture to the sealer and lessens the potential of any slipping hazards.

Which should I choose?

This is a good question, and frankly, I can't answer it for you. I've known many customers that have loved both products. My suggestion is that you look at the list above and base your decision on that. If aesthetics are your #1 concern and goal, then you likely should consider stamped. If you're looking to have the absolute least amount of maintenance possible, then broomed might be your answer. Either way, I do understand that it can be a tough call at times and wish you the best of luck with your decision.

Marcus Sheridan

Questions involving concrete? If you already own a pool, what are your thoughts on this debate? As always, we appreciate your comments and promise to answer any questions that are left in the comments section below.

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Comments

How and where do you find a person to repair a gel-coat fiberglass pool that has a crack in the bottom of the pool. Thanks!
Posted @ Monday, April 26, 2010 7:13 PM by Curious
How and where do you find a person to repair a crack in a gel-coat fiberglass pool. The crack is on the bottom where the slope to the deep end is? Thanks!
Posted @ Monday, April 26, 2010 7:15 PM by curious
The first thing i would do is check with the dealer that you bought the pool from. If you can't do that or don't know who they were, the next step would be to contact a fiberglass pool installer in your area and if that doesn't put you in the right direction you could contact a marina and see if they can recommend someone. Make sure they understand the issues of hydrostatic pressure and the ramifications if the pool is drained and proper procedures haven't been taken
Posted @ Friday, April 30, 2010 9:20 PM by murray willitts
John lives in Indiana, but he'll travel just about anywhere as far as I'm aware.
Posted @ Sunday, May 02, 2010 9:40 AM by Marcus Sheridan
Don't know how this got on to a blog regarding stamped concrete but it is good information for anyone that has a problem with their pool and don't know where to turn to get it fixed. Maybe this info should get posted elsewhere for readers to have.
Posted @ Sunday, May 02, 2010 10:33 AM by murray willitts
Hi Guys, 
 
I have a big problem and need some advice. 
 
I had a stamped concrete patio and pool surround installed last October, by my certified Leisure Pools pool installer. 
 
The concrete contractor convinced me on using Fiber-glass reinforced concrete instead of using standard wire mesh. He said it was 10X stronger then traditional wire reinforced concrete. 
 
Well recently I had my building inspector come to do final approvals and he discovered that my concrete does not contain the fiberglass material that was applied for in the permit.  
 
I verified this with the concrete supplier. They said that they do not add the fiberglass to the concrete, but that the mason or concrete contractor adds the appropriate amount of fiberglass to the concrete mix on-site when the truck arrives (they pour it in then mix, then pour). 
 
They looked up my order and said there was no additional clean-out fee (which they charge if fiberglass is added).  
 
This unfortunately and positively establishes that no fiberglass was added to my mix. 
 
So basically I have a patio and pool surround of non-reinforced concrete. 
 
Will this lack of reinforcement cause big problems? I live in NJ and we had a wicked winter this year 
 
I already see a 5 foot long V-shaped crack near the side perimeter. 
 
I dread the thought of making my Leisure Pools pool installer break up and remove the patio and pool surround and re-do the whole thing with wire or rebar.  
 
My pool installer included the concrete service as part of my pool package, but he sub-contracted the patio portion of the work out to a third party mason contractor. 
 
I had to get special electrical approval from my building department (as most pools achieve proper grounding by grounding the filter pump copper grounding wire to the wire mesh). 
 
Since I was supposedly using fiberglass and no wire mesh, I was permitted to run the copper loop around the pool. 
 
Any advice would be appreciated,  
 
Thanks your site is great!!!! 
 
Phil 
 
Posted @ Thursday, April 07, 2011 11:05 PM by Phil B
Hi Phil and thanks for coming by. Here's is my honest assessment-- I think you'll be fine. Chances are, with or without the fg reinforcement in your patio, it may or may not have done the exact same thing. So try not to stress over it. There are many, many concrete decks out there that have lasted a long, long time without fg reinforcement. 
 
Best! 
 
Marcus
Posted @ Friday, April 08, 2011 10:07 AM by Marcus Sheridan
Hi, 
 
First I want to say that your site is great. I have a question for you. We are considering putting a stamped concrete around a pool. How do you keep the release agent out of the pool?
Posted @ Wednesday, October 05, 2011 8:37 AM by Laura
My guy is telling me that I can't have the appearance of the stone edge (like in the picture above) simply stamped on to my cantilevered edge, but that it has to be done in two pours. (Equals more costly by far) is this true? Can't they just stamp/carve in this 12inch perimeter design differently than the rest of the stamping, and then rub in more colour? Thanks for any advice. Also, btw, he tells me exposed aggregate is too rough underfoot? Confused in Canada
Posted @ Wednesday, February 19, 2014 6:28 AM by Holly Curtis
Hello Holly and thank you for the question. We do the 18" border in two pours and it does cost quite a bit more. The problem is that it is two trips and we up charge a couple of thousand dollars to do the border. I wish I could give you a better answer, but that is how it is done. Good luck and sorry for the slow response.
Posted @ Wednesday, March 05, 2014 12:54 PM by Jim Spiess
Holly exposed aggregate is not recommended around a pool that is true. 
Posted @ Wednesday, March 05, 2014 12:55 PM by Jim Spiess
John Park has been extradited back to Louisiana and will be facing charges in multiple parishes. Mine being Ouachita Parish! If you want him served with something or need to notify your local law enforcement of his whereabouts contact the Ouachita Parish Sheriff Department in Louisiana. You can view his complete booking at their website.
Posted @ Sunday, September 21, 2014 12:36 PM by Lori McDonald
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