Printed concrete for swimming pools: why it is an excellent solution
Printed concrete is the favourite material of many users and construction companies to cover the area around the swimming pool. It is both decorative and functional, as it offers excellent resistance to UV rays and abrasion, among many others.
A highly recommended option due to its low cost compared to the benefits it offers. Its ability to imitate all types of finishes and textures of much more expensive materials, such as marble, stone or wood, is one of the main reasons for its overwhelming success.
Why use printed concrete to decorate the pool
The choice of printed concrete as a decorative coating for the area around the pool is more than right. First of all because it is an anti-slip surface, which makes it safe from unwanted slips and falls. Not all materials can guarantee this finish.
Stamped concrete also has the quality of being adaptable to the ground and having an extraordinary hardness. It is a pavement that adapts perfectly to all types of surfaces, regardless of their irregularities. The final finish will be completely homogeneous and resistant to erosion, temperature changes, wear and tear, high traffic, etc.
Likewise, the low maintenance and investment required by this coating encourages its use to decorate the space around the pool to the detriment of other materials such as wood, for example. An option that is very worthwhile due to the many advantages it provides.
Advantages of printed concrete for the swimming pool
There are many advantages to using printed concrete around the swimming pool. Here are the most important ones.
It provides protection against slips and falls
The molds used, as well as the resins applied to seal the substrate, give this type of concrete an anti-slip character. The result is a very safe surface with much better grip on which slips and falls have no place.
Prevents water puddling and weed growth
Related to the previous advantage, printed concrete for swimming pools is highly resistant to water erosion and excess humidity. Thanks to its porosity, it prevents puddles of water from forming and thus prevents the pavement from remaining wet for a prolonged period of time. Hence, it is an ideal material for the area around the pool.
Resistant to hot-cold cycles
Stamped concrete tolerates the sun's rays as well as rain and wind. It is therefore perfect for cladding outdoor spaces. It is also a material that is highly resistant to wear and tear due to abrasion.
It provides significant economic savings
Price is one of the most important factors in the choice of one exterior paving or another. In the case of printed concrete even more so, since it is very affordable compared to other materials. You save on installation, maintenance and assembly while getting the same finish as brick, wood, ceramic or any other noble material.
Available in a wide range of finishes
Not everything is going to be functionality. Aesthetics are also important when it comes to pool decoration. This liner meets both requirements without exception. Thanks to the wide variety of molds and colors available, the finishes are endless. Finishes that fit perfectly with any design and style that you want to give to the garden in which the printed concrete pool is framed.
High durability and low maintenance pavement
Compared to other pavements, it is a very easy material to clean and preserve in optimal condition. By preventing the accumulation of dirt and the growth of weeds, it is only necessary to wash from time to time with a little soap and water.
Most common problems of applying printed concrete around the pool
Printed concrete around the pool has more than enough benefits to justify its popularity. But that does not take away, that there are also a number of related drawbacks. We develop the most common ones.
Salt water accumulation
One of the disadvantages is the formation of scale. The accumulation of saline water causes the erosion of the surface, also affecting the sealants or resins and causing scaling. A type of water that in the event that there is a crack or small fissure in the pavement due to misuse or misapplication of the printed concrete, upon contact would cause damage to the resin layer.
An effect that can also be caused by wet-dry cycles and vice versa. When the water evaporates, the crystals that form can break the bonds of the pavement and lift the concrete. It is very important to monitor salt levels at all times, so that the pH is not too acidic.
Bad choice of the printed mold for the swimming pool
The relief and texture matter. And in the case of the pool even more so. Not all printed molds offer the same degree of anti-slip, some can even be very slippery and generate unpleasant falls on the crown and edges of the pool. Therefore, it is necessary to take care of the stamping that is going to be executed and not to focus only on the aesthetics.
Creating printed concrete pools in extreme climates
Extreme temperatures, high and low, can damage the printed concrete around the pool. Excessive heat or cold that can negatively affect the coating for several reasons:
- Premature dehydration that causes cracks.
- Too rapid hydration that causes less dense structures and, therefore, a decrease in the strength of the pavement.
- Loss of consistency.
For all these reasons, it is essential to cure the concrete properly and increase the dosage of polyfunctional additive.
Phases of the application of printed concrete for swimming pools
The application is quite simple and easy to execute. It does not involve more complication than doing it on other types of pavement. Below, we explain the different steps and phases to implement the printed concrete around the pool .
1. Condition and treat the area around the pool
Before pouring the concrete, it is important to prepare the ground. The surface must be homogeneous so that no unevenness or cracks are generated in the pavement. In the case of the area around the pool, the perimeter must be leveled so that it is slightly higher than the pool itself.
2. Place the mesh and make expansion joints
The mesh is very important to give size and consistency to the printed concrete pool. Ideally, it should be about 2 cm from the pavement. Once the printed concrete system is finished, we would proceed to execute the expansion joints to obtain a decorative finish of higher quality. Since what the joints do is to prevent the pavement from cracking.
3. Apply, spread and level the printed concrete for swimming pool
When the surface is perfectly conditioned it is time to pour and spread the concrete around the pool. If the height of the pour exceeds 1.20 meters, we recommend using troughs. Once distributed, level and smooth the concrete to flatten the surface.
4. Pigmenting printed swimming pool concrete
One of the most important steps in the application of printed swimming pool concrete: giving it personality with the use of a color hardener. Check that the concrete has set a little before sprinkling the hardener for a better finish. In this regard, we have developed Stonecem Floor®, a printed mortar that comes pigmented.
Another option, just as valid although a little less traditional and well-known, is to pigment the printed concrete for the swimming pool by mass coloring. A method for which we have developed Arcocem Fast®.
5. Use release agent
After coloring the concrete, a release agent must be added, which can be in powder or liquid form. The purpose of this product is to prevent the concrete from entering the molds that give the pavement the final texture and pattern.
6. Stamp the printed molds around the pool
The printed molds are then stamped in the area around the pool. Moulds that can have the most varied forms: tiles, stone, wood, etc. Let the printed concrete for the swimming pool finish setting and hardening. When it is completely dry, remove the molds.
7. Wash and protect the printed concrete of the swimming pool
When the pavement is completely dry, it will be necessary to clean the surface to eliminate the excess of aggregates that have been impregnated. This cleaning is usually done with pressurized water. Then apply the resin to protect the area around the pool.
Printed concrete swimming pool finishes: molds and colors.
Los printed molds are in charge of giving texture and shape to this pavement. In the market there is a great variety to satisfy the tastes and needs of each client. Among the most demanded molds for the printed concrete for swimming pool are the wooden ones (for its relief and aesthetics), the stone ones (especially the English stone ones for its enormous resemblance to the ceramic) and the blanket type molds (although its relief is smaller, it is more comfortable to step on).
Combined with the vast array of colors available, the finishes are endless. As a general rule, light colors such as white, gray, ocher or earth tones are most commonly used for the area surrounding the printed concrete pool.
Printed concrete pool price per square meter
The price of this pavement is subject to several factors that can generate oscillations in the cost per square meter. The type of mold or design chosen, the particular rates of each applicator, the quality of the materials supplied, the dimensions of the pool, the complexity of the work and the geographical area are just some of them.
On this last point, it should be noted that there are some countries that require by law to use a special varnish that provides a level 3 slipperiness to the pavement of the area around the pool. This is the case in our country. This requirement obviously increases the cost. Generally speaking, the price of printed concrete pool per m2 is between 40 and 100 euros approximately in Spain.
Application and maintenance tips for printed concrete in the swimming pool
Although printed concrete is a coating of excellent durability and resistance, there are a number of elements that should be taken into account to get the most out of this type of paving around the pool. Below, we detail the main application and maintenance tips that experts advise you to keep in mind.
Use printed molds with greater anti-slip
Unlike other materials, stamped concrete itself confers an anti-slip character. Mainly thanks to the texture and relief of the printed molds themselves. A benefit that validates, of course, its widespread use in the pool area. However, there are some printed molds that enjoy a higher degree of anti-slip and these are the ones that experts recommend to use if possible. It all depends on the drawing you want to make and your budget.
Opting for light colors for printed concrete in swimming pool
It has been proven that light colors better conceal stains caused by pool water deposits. So, dark shades should be avoided as much as possible.
Evitar dejar una capa gruesa de resina
En la medida que sea posible, hay que evitar aplicar una capa de resina gruesa. El exceso es uno de los problemas más reincidentes en la aplicación del hormigón impreso en la piscina. La abundancia puede desencadenar diferencias notables de color en el pavimento, una pérdida de brillo de la resina, que se generen manchas blancas o que aparezcan burbujas durante el tiempo de curado, entre otros.
Clean the surface from time to time
By creating a continuous coating, printed concrete for swimming pools prevents the growth of weeds as well as the accumulation of dirt in the joints. Even so, professionals recommend cleaning the pavement from time to time superficially with water and mild detergent.
Renew the resin of the printed concrete around the pool every 2-3 years
In the same way, it is convenient to restore the resin in a period of 2-3 years approximately. Why? Because with the passage of time the stamped concrete is losing brightness and color by the wear of the resin. Since we must not forget that it is a pavement constantly exposed to inclement weather.
Washing the printed concrete pool after each use
One of the most important tips. After each bathing in the pool, it is advisable to wash the surface with a hose. This prevents possible accumulations of saline water on the concrete liner.
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