HOW TO TRANSFORM OLD CONCRETE ON A BUDGET

Do you have old concrete that looks horrible? Maybe it has an old coating or paint that has seen better days? We did, too! The cost of having it replaced or even resurfaced with concrete or another popular coating material was astronomical and well beyond our budget. But after some research and a week of DIYing, here’s what we did and how you can transform old concrete on a budget.

If you have concrete that's seen better days, but replacing or resurfacing is too expensive, here's how to transform old concrete on a budget. 

#concretecoating #fixconcreteonabudget #paintconcrete #paintpoolconcrete #encorecoatings #coolpooldeckcoating

**This post may contain affiliate links that may result in me making a commission from your purchase at no extra cost to you.

WHY AM I SHARING THIS WITH YOU?

I know we don’t all have a massive budget for home renovations, and hiring contractors for every upgrade or fix can be cost-prohibitive. But, I want to encourage you, if you’re willing and healthy enough to put some effort in, even at our age (57 & 61 when we did this project), it can be done.

However, in this post, I want to give you a few tips on what we used to transform old concrete around our pool and what I’d do differently if we did it again.

AND WHY NOW?

Yes, yes, I know, it’s the end of summer, and the pool season has ended in lots of areas around the country. So why am I just now sharing this with you? Well, the pool isn’t being used as much, but even if you’re not doing pool concrete, the temperatures are dropping. This is the perfect time to fix up that old concrete and get it ready for the next spring and summer seasons.

LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING

Resurfacing concrete is expensive no matter what material you use. But we did it ourselves and save a lot of money. Here's how we resurfaced our concrete for less. #poolconcrete #coolpooldeckcoating #concreteresurfacing #paintingconcrete #pooldecor #beforeandafterpooldecor
Resurfacing concrete is expensive no matter what material you use. But we did it ourselves and save a lot of money. Here's how we resurfaced our concrete for less. #poolconcrete #coolpooldeckcoating #concreteresurfacing #paintingconcrete #pooldecor
These two photos are from the house listing photos.

We bought a house in the fall of 2016. Since it was more of a dream location than a dream home, the old 1950s bungalow-style house underwent an extensive remodel, and we moved into our fixer-upper, which I call The Cedar Palace, in May of 2017.

If you love to look at house transformations, I’ve previously shared the kitchen, the master bath, and the basement bathroom.

The house was now lovely, but the old 40-year-old swimming pool area still needed lots of help. Surprisingly, the pool itself was quite nice, but we set out to improve upon the overall outdoor space.

It was immediately improved simply by removing the previous owner’s “bling,” but the old, dilapidated fencing, which had become a condominium for chipmunks and bees, was the first change. We extended the sunning area along the far side, and instead of connecting more concrete, we added an artificial turf area. By the way… turf gets crazy hot! I don’t know if I’d do it again.

Resurfacing concrete is expensive no matter what material you use. But we did it ourselves and save a lot of money. Here's how we resurfaced our concrete for less. #poolconcrete #coolpooldeckcoating #concreteresurfacing #paintingconcrete #pooldecor #pool housedecor

Things came along nicely, and the pool house gussied up well with canvas dropcloth curtains, rugs, a small RV-sized refrigerator, and plenty of outdoor cushions. Have I told you how much I love throw pillows, indoors and out?

But over the next couple of years, the previous concrete coating began to look worse and worse. The Hub’s efforts to power wash and grind away the grime and peeling surfaces only exacerbated the issues. Take a look at the “before” photos.

BEFORE CONCRETE REPAIR

Resurfacing concrete is expensive no matter what material you use. But we did it ourselves and save a lot of money. Here's how we resurfaced our concrete for less. #poolconcrete #coolpooldeckcoating #concreteresurfacing #paintingconcrete #pooldecor
Resurfacing concrete is expensive no matter what material you use. But we did it ourselves and save a lot of money. Here's how we resurfaced our concrete for less. #poolconcrete #coolpooldeckcoating #concreteresurfacing #paintingconcrete #pooldecor
Resurfacing concrete is expensive no matter what material you use. But we did it ourselves and save a lot of money. Here's how we resurfaced our concrete for less. #poolconcrete #coolpooldeckcoating #concreteresurfacing #paintingconcrete #pooldecor

WHAT TO USE TO TRANSFORM YOUR OLD POOL CONCRETE ON A BUDGET

By this time, I was thoroughly embarrassed by the state of the concrete, plus it got so hot we played the “floor is lava” just to get in the pool. After a few estimates from local contractors and lots of online research and YouTube tutorials, we decided to use Cool Pool Deck Coating by Encore Coatings to spiffy up the nasty concrete and to cool the surface down in the hot sun.

Here’s why we chose Cool Pool Deck Coating over other concrete paint:

BENEFITS OF COOL POOL DECK COATING

  • You can do it yourself.
  • Cost-effective. It’s a fraction of the price of other coatings.
  • You can choose any color you want by adding semi-gloss paint to the coating mixture.
  • It reduces heat buildup by as much as 38%.
  • Creates a more slip-resistant surface. (I don’t remember any of our Littles falling this year.)
  • It is used in commercial settings like water parks.
  • It can repair small cracks and concrete imperfections. (See my review on this in the questions section below.)

THE FINAL RESULT

Resurfacing concrete is expensive no matter what material you use. But we did it ourselves and save a lot of money. Here's how we resurfaced our concrete for less. #poolconcrete #coolpooldeckcoating #concreteresurfacing #paintingconcrete #pooldecor
Resurfacing concrete is expensive no matter what material you use. But we did it ourselves and save a lot of money. Here's how we resurfaced our concrete for less. #poolconcrete #coolpooldeckcoating #concreteresurfacing #paintingconcrete #pooldecor
My favorite pool boy – Mister Dimples, not Shamu. 😉

Let’s all say WOW together! WOW!”

Is it perfect? Noo. But honestly, we were putting lipstick on a pig, an old pig with a ruddy, pitted complexion. 😉

However, the transformation is like night and day. And even in the pitted areas, where dirt likes to collect, it cleans up very well with little effort.

It makes me happy to sit out there and watch my Littles cannonball and dive, and devour ice cream all day long.

HOW TO USE COOL POOL DECK COATING

The Encore Coatings website and YouTube Channel have a lot of good tutorials (they call it Cool School) on how to use the Cool Pool Deck Coating. However, here’s the basic process:

  • After determining if your existing concrete will accept Cool Pool, measure the area and order the appropriate amount of Cool Pool Deck coating kits. Each complete kit covers 200 square feet with two coats, including the prewash and topcoat. You’d need five kits if you have 1000 square feet.
  • Prepare concrete by patching large cracks or chips and scrapping the previous coating, if necessary. Remove any furniture or rugs.
  • Clean the entire surface with the Triple Crown cleaner as directed (included if you buy the Cool Pool kit.)
  • Tape off around the pool coping, structures, and any other areas you want to be protected. Our artificial turf was quite the challenge!
  • Apply two coats of the coating using rollers, waiting the recommended time between coats. The product is very thick, and brushing proved difficult. (We switched out paint rollers often and threw away any brush or roller we used.)

Now, you might have a few more questions, and I want to give you my honest opinion.

HOW MUCH DID IT COST?

Let’s get right to the nitty-gritty. We purchased seven Cool Pool Kits plus seven gallons of latex paint to cover approximately 1,300 square feet of old concrete (2 coats). The hubs gets a military discount at Lowes, so we saved 10%. By my estimates, we spent around $2,400 when you factor in all the extra supplies like concrete repair, rollers, tape, etc.

Yes, that’s still a lot of money, but, it comes out to around $1.85 a square foot! Compared to estimates of approximately $8,000 to well over $10,000 for other solutions, this is the best way to transform your old pool concrete on a budget.

WHAT COLOR DID I USE?

I have honestly forgotten, but by my best estimate and paint swatch test, we had Valspar Season Flex Semigloss Paint tinted to the color Sandbar (7547) by Sherwin Williams or Pavillion Beige (7512)- I’m leaning toward the Pavillion. It went on quite a bit lighter than the paint swatch, as we did not consider that one gallon of paint was mixed into the white Cool Pool Deck product.

DOES COOL POOL DECK COATING REALLY COOL DOWN THE CONCRETE?

YES! The concrete still gets warm, but even on really hot days this first summer of use, we could stand still in an area without hopping around.

DOES IT REALLY REPAIR CONCRETE?

Resurfacing concrete is expensive no matter what material you use. But we did it ourselves and save a lot of money. Here's how we resurfaced our concrete for less. #poolconcrete #coolpooldeckcoating #concreteresurfacing #paintingconcrete #pooldecor

Not exactly. Notice the etched areas in the lower left corner of the photos; they’re covered but still noticeable. It may fill in hairline cracks and minor imperfections, but you’ll have to do more preliminary concrete repair if you want to create a better-finished result. We did some repairs, but we were working with 40-year-old concrete with large areas of deep etching, old repairs, larger crackers, and uneven areas left by the peeling of the previous coating. Like I said, lipstick on a pig. But she sure looks a ton better!

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TRANSFORM YOUR OLD POOL CONCRETE?

The best time to apply the Cool Pool Deck is when temps are mild, not too hot or cold. We should have waited for cooler temperatures, but we did this last August, and while we started application during a short cool down, it was still pretty warm. The temperature makes a difference in how you feel while you’re working and how much working time you have with the product.

WHAT WOULD I DO DIFFERENTLY?

First, I would have chosen a darker color. They say darker colors get warmer, and since we wanted to take advantage of the cooling benefits of this product, I didn’t want to go too dark. But even though it has cleaned up well so far, this light color shows every leaf stain (and we have a lot of surrounding trees that drop leaves, seeds, pine needles, and green pollen), and, of course, ice cream drips. 😉 Somehow, I would have hoped we could have split the difference between aesthetics and temperatures.

Second, we should have waited until we were both healthy. Yes, this is a DIY-friendly project, but since we had so much concrete to cover and lots of “edging,” it was helpful to have the two of us working together on this project. However, I was working with a torn meniscus, which made it excruciating for me at times. Which brings me to my last idea…

Lastly, if you live closer to the Encore Coatings manufacturing area, in Georgia, you can find Cool Pool Deck Coating Contractors. There are none in Northern Indiana. 😑 However, I should have gotten some estimates from painting contractors to see if they would have applied the product for us. I have no idea what that would have cost, but let’s say we could have gotten it done for around $1,000, bringing our total up to $ 3,500; that’s still a fraction of the price of other estimates.

All said and done, I love the transformation. I will definitely use it again on some old concrete steps leading down to our basement. I hope this has shown you that crusty old concrete doesn’t have to stay crusty. Because now you know how to transform old concrete on a budget, too!

Have an amazing day.

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12 Comments

  1. Regina P
    /

    Oh my goodness! What a transformation! I’m so glad you posted this! We have a front porch that we added an extra 6’ of concrete to in order to make it wider. But the contractor made the new section smoother than the old 6’ and now it looks really mismatched. I’ve been talking for a few years now about getting it resurfaced to make it all look like one slab. So much great information. My husband was really impressed with the results of your hard work! He said since he’s 75, he’ll probably hire the painting out though! Good to hear from you Paula!

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Thanks so much Regina. I have to say, the keep work is the hardest thing and if we didn’t have so much artificial turf, it would have been nearly as tedious. We taped off around the coping then used one of those short roller heads to get close. And of course had my knee not have been so bad and if my husband and I worked together more like Chip and Jo do… 🤣 Yeah, just hire it out. 😉

      Hugs,
      Paula

  2. I think the transformation is amazing, Paula! All my life, I wanted an inground pool. I never got one…le sigh! I would probably look like a walnut now, though, so that’s a win, right? The husband and I almost always do our own home repairs. I can’t imagine paying anyone to paint my walls! But, there is a time to call in the professionals (like when someone says 60 inches is 6 feet…and she teaches math). My husband is an electrical engineer so we’ve always got the electricity down. He refuses to mess with plumbing, though!

    Your Cedar Palace is, indeed, a palace fit for a queen!

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Thanks so much Marsha! We do a lot of home projects on our own too. I leave the measuring to The Mister because I stink at reading tape measures. It’s my handicap. 🤪 “We” (mostly Mister) are currently building our son & daughter in law a farmhouse table from framing lumber. I hold a lot of wood pieces being put together and generally make him mad with suggestions. Then I will be in charge of the table’s finish and he’ll give me suggestions. 🙂 Then we’ll kiss and make up as people ooo & aah over it. It’s our process.

      Hugs to you!

      Paula

  3. Dana
    /

    Got my suit 🩱 and towel and I’m on my way! 😆
    That is beautiful! I was wondering how your knee was. It seems like a big project but the only way through it is straight through.
    I didn’t know you were a manicurist. That’s a profession that I think our 14 year old would love. She loves to do her own gel nails. She wanted to be an art teacher for awhile but then she found out she must follow a curriculum, not just think up projects herself. She’s very artsy. She’s in band and plays trumpet, which consumes so much time (and money! Wowzers..)
    Is it a career you would recommend? Thanks and great job, you two!

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Thanks Dana. I loved doing nails. I went to school when my boys were in late elementary school, after having a job as an office manager for a small social work practice that included collection of outstanding bills. I decided I wanted to do something that made people feel good. I enjoyed (and I most miss) the relationships I built with women. It’s a good career as supplemental income or if you owned the salon. Unlike doing hair, it’s a one at a time, one-on-one time slot, no double booking. I booked an hour for each gel nail “fill” and charged $30. Since it was my own place, in my home, if I estimated $5 of product per customer, i made about $25 an hour. But to do the exact same thing for 8 hours a day is hard. I started have some repetitive motion issues so I closed up shop. For many years I have said if I went back, I’d like to start a natural nail care salon… non-toxic polishes etc… no gels, acrylics, etc. The Asian salons love to tell you they’re good for your nails… they’re not. 😉

      Thanks for thinking about my knee. Other than arthritis pain, confirmed by the surgeon who do my meniscus repair, it’s good.

      Hugs,
      Paula

  4. Gayle M
    /

    Not pool related, but…. At 66 and 67 most people are downsizing their gardens. But nooo, back in ’17 we dug out 560 cu ft of quackgrass laden dirt and built retaining walls and raised beds to expand out veggie garden. Lol So, I can relate to your pool rehab work. Wow–looks fantastic!! BTW, recently noticed you’re in Middlebury. It’s our fav day trip destination (sometimes an overnight @ Essenhaus) with a side trip to Shipshewanna. Love the Quilt Gardens tour– Elkhart to Shipshewanna and beyond–almost an annual event for us. Your post gave us new places to go/see in Elkhart and LaGrange Counties, too. As for interior design/décor, it’s just another way to express our personal style–so go for it! You’re my kind of stylist.

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Oh wow, that’s a lot. I love a beautiful landscape and garden, but I’m so phobic of snakes, I can’t do it. So I’m envious of you!

      The quilt gardens ARE lovely. If you’ve been to the one at Krider Gardens, you’re only a short distance from my house. Next time you’re going to come, reach out.

      Hugs,
      Paula

  5. Julia Mullins
    /

    It looks great ! You did a fantastic job. 👏

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Thanks, Mom. And you’ve seen it in person! 😘

      Love ya!
      Paula

  6. Margie Brewster
    /

    Great job looks really good. Jim and I did something similar to our two porches in MS.

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Thanks Margie! Then you know, it’s a lot of work. 🙃

      Have a great weekend.
      Paula

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