Photo courtesy Betz Pools
Step 2: Making a plan
After consulting with a neighbour who had just installed a beautiful pool and raved about the contractor, the family called for a consultation. It was a good move, as the professional advice they received pointed out options they hadn't considered. In addition, the contractor offered to take the owners to view existing pools, which included the features they were considering. If you are considering a pool renovation, ask your potential contractor about seeing his or her past projects. You can't beat seeing the real thing if you want to know what you're getting.
The Toronto project started with simple things like updating the diving board, adding more return jets for improved circulation and skimming, updating the automatic pool cleaner and installing a new skimmer housing and pool light. Then, additional steps were taken, including the installation of a water feature, cutting down the pool wall to allow for natural flagstone coping and re-coating the interior with a premium white Armourcoat.
Then, the old concrete deck was removed and new concrete was poured and made ready for colouring and stamping. A wide variety of shades and patterns are available, but the 'skin pattern' with brown/beige base and black/grey accents was chosen to complement the flagstone. At the far end of the pool, the deck was extended by a few feet to create more room for entertaining, and the diving board was replaced with a new one which was colour-matched to the deck.
Since the deck was also being replaced, it made sense to install new underground plumbing lines from the pool to the equipment pad. At this point, it was also a good time to update the filter, pump and heater―it would cost less than having the contractor come back later.
One of the things that gave the pool a dated look was its coping, which was made from 6-mm (0.25-in.) quarry tile. The solution was to cut a 63.5-mm (2.5-in.) strip off the top of the pool wall to accommodate a modern 50-mm (2-in.) flagstone coping. Wiarton pebble-top flagstone was selected because it would provide a striking contrast to the pool's white interior. Matching 152 x 304-mm (6 x 12-in.) porcelain slate-look tiles were installed along the waterline.
When it comes to choosing your own renovations or additions, take advantage of recent developments in pool technology. For example, if you need to replace the liner in your vinyl-liner pool, there are now alterations available that will mimic the appearance of a concrete pool. The process involves removing the deck so the integral aluminum or plastic coping can be replaced with a universal side-mount coping. This allows for the installation of natural flagstone coping, which overhangs the pool by about 38 mm (1.5 in.), creating the appearance of concrete.
Another common renovation option is the elimination of the deep end, making a pool a uniform depth, which is ideal for family activities such as water sports. Other options could include the addition of a diving rock to replace a diving board, walk-in steps, a water feature or even a whirlpool spa. If you decide to add landscaping to the mix, the possibilities are nearly endless. Many spectacular backyard environments have been born out of a simple pool renovation.