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"Making a Splash" - Keeping concrete surfaces cool in Arlington, TX

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When the owners of this Arlington, TX home decided to take the plunge and remodel the area around their swimming pool, they wanted to make sure that the end result would not only be beautiful to behold, but also functional. Specifically, they were concerned about making sure the concrete surfaces around their pool would help control the blazing Texas summer heat. After all, who wants to step out of the pool after a refreshing swim only to burn their tender tootsies on hot concrete? The concrete around any pool should be as heat- and slip-resistant as possible.

The trowel-down method of decorating concrete surfaces addresses both issues perfectly. In this technique for decorating concrete, the first step is to apply a thin layer of concrete material over the existing surface in a process similar to frosting a cake with a knife. The only difference is that the knife is a trowel, the frosting is a concrete material, and the cake is a concrete slab.

The guys artfully overlaid the poolside concrete surfaces with the thin cement material, carefully "whipping" it up by hand to give the surfaces a light texture that not only looks decorative, but also adds an extra dimension of slip-resistance, a very important quality to have around a swimming pool. Finally, to complete their mission to make a pool patio with a stone-like look, the guys drew out a pattern of varying sizes over the concrete surfaces, and then hand-scored each stone. Voila – mission accomplished!

After the individual stones had been cut out, the guys then set out to stain them with a color palette that would complement and blend well with the rest of the home’s exterior while still keeping the second goal, getting the heat out, in mind. Color, as we all know, makes a big difference in how hot an object will get, especially when exposed to the searing Texas sun. Lighter colors will be cooler while darker ones will heat up quickly. We selected a series of colors that were generally light, with a few dark colors randomly distributed throughout to give it some character. This type of staining is labor intensive, each stone being individually stained by hand. The guys made sure to keep the “big picture” in mind, so that the end result would look amazing and include a variety of complementary colors. Using different hues and shades, and interspersing dark stones with light ones, they made sure that the patio would not absorb so much heat from the summer sun. Lastly, all of the stones were grouted using a rich gray-colored grout. The darker-colored grout helped to make each stone stand out. As you can see, the end result was a head-turner. Our homeowners were delighted and look forward to years of pool parties to come.

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