His work ranges from low dollar to high dollar homes. Ganos says half of his work is new construction and the other half is retrofitting existing pools. His work is seen at homes starting at $300,000.
Logsdon works exclusively on new custom, high-end design build projects, primarily homes priced at $750,000 and up. He says demand is huge and growing, although there are too few skilled contractors. The increase in construction costs is helping steer clients toward decorative concrete pool decks.
"The pricing of everything has gone up," Logsdon says. "We've had huge inflation in construction. Many of my high budget clients are looking to value engineer." By saving on one aspect of their project, like using decorative concrete around their pool instead of stone, they have money they can spend elsewhere.
Indoor water parks are a fast-growing market in Northern states. These are either free-standing or part of a hotel. The work is done indoors, which extends the Northern season for decorative concrete work because sprayed-on concrete cannot be applied if it's below 50 degrees F overnight, Coy explains. Although most of their pool work is residential, her company just finished its third commercial pool job in two months and did a 25,000-sq.-ft. water park last winter.
Working with clients
While there are a few micromanaging clients who come with overly specific plans, most people have little idea of what they want in a decorative concrete pool deck. That means they rely heavily on the decorative concrete contractor for input. An educational process is required.
"You give them a brochure and have them look at the website," Coy says. "Since we've gotten our showroom, it's much better since they can see samples and touch and feel them. Then they get it. You have to explain everything."
Logsdon, who is a designer, enjoys brainstorming with his clients and likes passing on credit to them for their input when the job is done, although some still want him to pick everything. "We're about building a lifestyle for their living," he points out.
"Early on, people were not willing to experiment with color," says Speach. "They used to stay with the beiges and the whites, but when you start doing pool decks in pinks, blues and greens, they're beautiful." He sees more clients accepting a broader color palette now.
"I try to give them ideas that work from my experience, but they also have to have their own ideas and feel the ownership," says Ganos. "A lot of times I recommend a landscape architect to design the area so they use the space as wisely as possible. The landscape architect can suggest appropriate colors to go with the house and other buildings, as well as things that go well with the pool liner and any tile around the edge."
Concrete contractors looking for a new market might consider decorative concrete pool decks. Logsdon recommends getting good training and starting with small projects. "People get into this business and think it's easy," he says. "You need to stick with it and get good at it, be enthusiastic and believe in what you are doing. And if you screw up, take it out and fix it."
Properly done, the pool area can be one of the focal points of a home or resort. Decorative concrete is a big part of creating that perfect environment. "Any kind of dream can be reality with concrete because we can do anything with it," Ganos says.
Jean Feingold is a Gainesville, Fla.-based writer who frequently covers concrete and other construction-related topics.