By J.R. Crowell
May 12, 2020
With pool season upon us, pool owners have undoubtedly begun prepping for the summer. This prep work contains various forms of maintenance and upkeep and the call volume at Helms Polyfoam has increased with clients that have tripped over that settled concrete for the last time. One of our clients brought up a very valid question regarding their settled concrete pool deck and we would venture to say some of you may have the same question:
Why is the average price of a settled pool deck repair more than the average price of a driveway lift? Aren’t they both just lifting concrete?
Let’s unpack the questions.
First off, when you call the Helms Polyfoam office with a potential project, we want to make sure you get all the information on the front end that you need to feel comfortable moving forward. As with most any home improvement project, especially one that’s new to the homeowner, you want to know the price. It’s hard to establish a budget if you don’t have a starting point. We are more than happy to discuss pricing immediately. We too, need to make sure we are a good fit.
That said, if we haven’t seen your project, we must discuss pricing using the law of averages. We are fortunate to have a long history of successfully completed concrete lifting projects which has provided us with the data to give a very accurate average pricing structure. When the client above asked about pricing, the pool deck averages are in fact higher than a standard driveway lift. Thankfully, our experience in lifting settled concrete pool decks gives us the knowledge to walk you through the difference.
It would be easy to assume that all concrete lifting projects are comprised of the same elements. As such, they should be viewed and estimated the same way, right? It’s just a settled piece of concrete after all. That is often not the case. On the surface, projects may appear similar, but as with most construction projects and even life in general, it’s what you can not see that’s the real danger.
Typically, when estimating settled concrete, you find your square footage and the settled distance of the concrete. This is generally a good indicator as the soil has likely settled and the concrete settled with the soil. We would then compare this data with the expansion rate of your polyurethane resin to determine how much of that product is needed to adequately support the structure.
With pool decks, however, we have found that approximately 65% of the pool decks we repair have a larger void than is indicated by the settled distance visualized and measured on the surface. This can be due to several factors, with the primary factor being water. Water is the culprit on 75% of our concrete lifting projects. What is a pool deck directly adjacent to? Water. Years of climbing in and out of the pool combined all the seals and seams around the pool deck allow for multiple points of water intrusion.
As water persists, the concrete panels may settle and bind against each other (stop moving) but the water continues to undermine the concrete slabs and take soil with it. Thus, you may have a 3” settled pad, with an 18” void underneath. See, if we used the “standard estimate equation” for this, there would be 15” of void not filled meaning a change order is due or the contractor has to eat the cost.
Neither of those outcomes sound appealing to us. For that reason, when you ask for a verbal price on a pool deck before we evaluate the project, Helms Polyfoam will give you an average based on our historical data and extensive field knowledge. We want to make sure you have the information necessary to adequately assess your project. And hey, if you’re one of the 35% that doesn’t have a larger than indicated void, congratulations, you’re better than average!