Approximately 30 days after the concrete is poured, the expansion connection between the coping and the deck is caulked or filled with elastomeric sealant. This allows the concrete to settle and form its permanent structure. The copings should be flat on their upper surface so they will not cause damage to shoes or clothing when walking on them.
The thickness of the coping depends on how high you want the water to fall before it reaches the pool floor. Thicker copings mean more water falling from a higher height. This helps reduce erosion and maintain the quality of your pool's water. Thicknesses range from 3/8 inch to 1-1/4 inches thick.
Deck-O Seal or Mastic is the caulking that goes around the circumference of your pool between the pool decking and the coping (brick or stone). The sealant functions as an expansion joint, expanding and contracting in warm and cold conditions. Without this sealant, water could leak into the gap between the pool deck and the wall of the house.
There are two types of mastic: white and black. Both types can be used for sealing around pools, but black mastic is more resistant to heat and sunlight than white mastic. If you plan to leave your pool unattended for an extended period of time, it may need to be sealed with black mastic to prevent damage from occurring due to heat expansion and contraction.
Pool seals should always be applied by a professional contractor or pool service company. The last thing you want is to spend money on a new pool only to have poor workmanship cause further problems down the road.
If you are doing some DIY work on your pool, make sure not to get any of the mastic on your skin or on any other surface inside your home. Some of it will likely get on your hands even if you're careful, so take precautionary measures to keep yourself safe while working on your pool.
The best way to ensure good quality work from a professional contractor is to hire them through a referral from someone you trust.
Concrete pouring decks are usually done in large batches and then poured out into place. The type of concrete used will depend on how much wear-and-tear you expect the surface to receive. Concrete pours typically range from 2 to 4 feet deep by 8 to 10 feet wide. Poured surfaces should be sloped toward a central drain hole at a 1 to 2 percent grade. The height of the deck should be equal to the height of the surrounding pool wall.
If you want your pool deck to look good, but don't want to pour your own concrete, there are many options available for purchase. Some vendors sell pre-made concrete panels that can be installed over an existing slab or ground cover. These panels can be stained or left natural depending on your preference.
Other options include colored rubberized asphalt or plastic sheets. These products are easy to install and durable enough for recreational use. They come in a variety of colors and styles and can be cut to fit your needs.
The last option is wood. This is probably the most affordable choice and also the lowest maintenance.