Do you know what a cool deck is? Most commonly it is used around outdoor swimming pools, this type of decking is made from a specially treated concrete. Traditional concrete decks heat up under the sun, turning the deck surface into a searing, foot-scalding slab that can cause serious discomfort and, in some cases, can even result in severe burns.
Modern technology, however, has provided amateur deck builders with a less dangerous, more comfortable alternative. By treating a slab of regular concrete with the special cool coating, they can now build decks that stay cool to the touch, even after a full day under the hot summer sun. While untreated concrete absorbs light, causing it to heat up, the special coating reflects the light before it enters the concrete, ensuring that the entire deck remains a cool temperature that is gentle on bare feet.
Choosing the Right Cool Deck Treatment
Cool deck treatment is made by a number of manufacturers and can be applied to both new and existing decks. While new decks may be made from pre-treated concrete, it is easy to apply the treatment after a traditional concrete deck has already been installed. Treatments come in a liquid form, similar to paint and are either painted or sprayed on as an overlay.
They come in a number of different colors that can be incorporated into the design motif of your outdoor decor and some are even specially formulated to add texture to your deck. In spite of the range of colors offered by most manufacturers, it is usually a good idea to go with a lighter color. Light colors naturally reflect light, while dark colors absorb it. This means that while a dark colored treatment will help keep your deck cool, it will not be as efficient as a light colored treatment.
Keystone Kool Deck is one of the most popular types of cool deck treatment on the market. First manufactured by Mortex in the early 1960′s, this is one of the most trusted overlay products available and is the one most often recommended by deck installation experts. Keystone Kool Deck comes in the form of an easily-applied spray and is comprised of a combination of natural substances and synthetic pigments made from iron oxide. Once dry, it hardens into a cement surface that is as hard as the concrete underneath. Unlike regular concrete, however, it is far better at withstanding thermal contraction and expansion. This means that not only will it stay cool, but it will resist cracking and heat damage and protect the concrete base of your deck.
Benefits of Keystone Kool Deck:
- keeps your deck cool
- protects the concrete base of your deck
- withstands thermal contraction and expansion better than concrete
- environmentally friendly
- attractively textured non-slip finish
Spray-Deck, manufactured by Increte Systems, is another cool deck option for those who are more interested in the appearance of their outdoor space. Spray-Deck comes in a wide variety of textures, patterns and colors and can be used to perk up the appearance of your poolside area as well as to keep the deck at a comfortable temperature. Made from an epoxy-resin mix, Spray-Deck is durable and strong.
While it is commonly used around outdoor swimming pools, it can work equally well as a textured coating for concrete driveways, entrances and patios. Its textured surface is non-slip and durable. While it is not made to withstand the same extremes of thermal contraction and expansion that Keystone Kool Deck is, it is suitable for even the hottest climates in the United States.
Benefits of Spray-Deck
- keeps your deck cool
- wide range of attractive colors and patterns
- waterproof and skid proof
- twice the surface strength of regular concrete
- stain and mildew resistant
Regardless of the cool deck treatment you use, proper maintenance is important to keep your deck looking its best. Most treatment manufacturers recommend that decks be washed periodically with a simple combination of soap and water. Depending on your location and climate, however, soap and water may not always be enough to completely clean your deck. Fallen leaves, for example, can be both slippery and dirty, and it is important to clear them, even if your pool is closed off for the winter. Use a broom, rake or leaf blower to completely clear debris from the deck before you wash it. If you leave too much dirt on the deck, it will mix with the mop water and you will only spread it around instead of removing it.
The easiest way to wash the cool deck itself is to use a mop and bucket, as you would when cleaning an indoor floor. Mopping with regular soap and water is gentle on the deck, but it may not kill all of the various types of mold and mildew that are attracted to the damp environment. While you should never use harsh, industrial strength cleaners on your deck surface, it is okay to add a bit of bleach to the mop water or to use a gentle, antibacterial soap. Once you have mopped your entire cool deck, you should rinse it clean with a hose. This will ensure that all of the soap and bleach is removed from the surface and that once your deck is dry, it will be safe to walk on with bare feet.