How to Make Rough Concrete Smooth on a Pool Deck

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Concrete is a common material used to create the decks around swimming pools. To function well as a deck coating, the concrete needs a certain level of smoothness while still retaining anti-skid characteristics. If your pool deck is too rough, swimmers will shy away from the pool, feeling uncomfortable walking around the pool with bare feet. Smoothing out the deck isn’t a difficult task, with most rough decks requiring little more than a few coats of sealant. Fortunately, you can smooth out even the roughest concrete with a bit of labor and the proper equipment.

Things You'll Need

  • Low-solids acrylic sealer
  • Anti-skid additive
  • Stir stick
  • Floor buffer
  • Black rough-bristle sanding pad
  • Broom

Mix up a cup or two of sealant with an anti-skid additive, using a wooden stirring stick. Add the no-skid additive to the sealer at the manufacturer's suggested mixing ratios. The additive will keep the sealant from becoming glass-smooth when wet, risking slipping.

Apply the sealant to the concrete in a small, unobtrusive test area, using the paintbrush. Apply two coatings--the first, a moderate layer just short of pooling the sealant, and the second, a light layer to cover any missed spots. Allow the first layer to dry for about 30 minutes before applying the second.

Wait 48 hours after applying the sealant, then examine the test area for roughness. If it's smooth enough to walk on with bare feet, apply the sealant to the rest of the pool deck. If the concrete is so rough it transfers through the sealant and still feels uncomfortable, you’ll need to grind it smooth before sealing.

Attach the sanding pad to the base of the floor buffer. Sand the surface of the deck with the buffer, running it in rows across the deck. Overlap each row by about 3 inches. The pad will remove the roughness from the concrete deck without stripping away any stamped design that may be present. Sweep up any residue from the sanding process with the broom.

Repeat the sealant test on the sanded deck. If the deck remains rough, sand it a second time before sealing. If it's smooth, brush the entire deck with the two layers of sealant and allow to cure completely for a week before using the deck.

Tips & Warnings

  • Speed up the sealant application by using a hand sprayer to spray on the sealant/additive mix.

References

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