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Pool Makeovers: Before & After

Whether it was decades of wear and tear, outdated materials and equipment, or the need for a complete style makeover, these pools had lost their youthful charm and allure. Find out how some much-needed renovations made them go from depressing—to refreshing!

By Debra Maurer

New Deck Design

This pool, located in Wilmington, Del., was originally built in the 1960s. It was in working condition at the time we began the renovation, but certainly in need of modernization. In fact, almost everything but the shell structure was updated. The interior finish was redone with our Ansylbrite finish in Granite color, which gives a nice deep blue tint to the water. New tile was added to the waterline and also used as accents on the steps. The coping was replaced with gray paver coping by EP Henry, and the old wood decking was replaced with slate pattern concrete to complement the coping. We installed a full equipment package that included a Jandy filter and pump, as well as a Raypak heater to extend the swim season.

We spent about eight weeks working with the client during the planning phase, and the actual construction took approximately four weeks. The client is very pleased with the end result.

—Bill Lee, Northeast Regional Manager of Renovations, Anthony & Sylvan Pools, Doylestown, Pa.

Downsized & Customized

This pool was originally 13 feet deep and 66 feet across (about 3,400 square feet); it was a huge pool! Built in the 1920s, a filtering system was never installed, and it would have cost a fortune to heat. To make the pool both functional and modern, we reduced the size and depth considerably. A lot of prep work was involved to fill in the hole and create a foundation that would support the new pool we dropped in, which is two feet lower than the original. We kept the old stone coping as part of the landscape design; its perimeter goes around the entire outdoor living space. We also kept some of the irregular stone from the original patio.

The new pool has a cantilevered concrete edge. It’s still a large pool (1,100 square feet) but is only 3 – 6 feet deep. We installed a heater, filter, and updated maintenance equipment so that it’s fully functional and affordable to run.

At the far edge of the pool, we built a large exposed aggregate deck, a full outdoor kitchen, bar, and storage area. Because the pool is quite a far distance from the house (as was the norm in the 1920s), the homeowners wanted to have everything they needed without having to make trips back to the main house. The entire project took about three months to complete.

—Jeff Ciarrochi, President, Armond Aquatech Pools, Bridgeport, Pa.

Vanishing-Edge Transformation

The existing 25-year-old pool was isolated from the main house by columns and a fence with only a walkway to the pool area. It was in need of replastering and had only a single main drain, two returns, and inadequate plumbing.  

Aside from the necessary repairs, we had the opportunity to update the design as well. Because the terrain fell off the back of the pool area, I suggested we remove the diving board, tear off the far rear pool wall and rear deck, lower that area by 2 feet, and convert the pool into a vanishing-edge pool. The homeowners loved the idea as they had always wanted to open up the vista in the distance. 

We removed all of the existing concrete deck and the columns/fence that separated the pool from the house. We doweled in new rebar to the existing pool shell and shot a new vanishing-edge wall with a recirculating catch trough. We then laid ashlar-pattern Pennsylvania bluestone decking around the pool and cut bluestone coping; this created a comfortable, seamless living area from the house to the pool. 

Pennsylvania bluestone treads were also included on the steps to either side of the pool; these go down to the lower pool terrace at the vanishing-edge trough level. The view from this patio back to the house is as impressive as the view across the edge out to the yard. 

The pool’s old marcite plaster finish was replaced with Black Pearl Pebble Tec,® which allows for beautiful reflections from the house and any tall landscaping. We also added two new skimmers, four returns, three floor returns, and all new plumbing. This renovation took approximately five months. 

—Ron Coker Jr., President & CEO, Artistic Pools, Inc., Atlanta, Ga. 

Grecian Getaway

This remodel project in Norfolk, Mass., focused on reinvigorating a 25-year-old pool and adding several other elements to the setting. First off, the original brick deck and coping, crumbling pool interior, and existing plumbing were completely removed. A new exposed aggregate deck with a cantilevered edge, new return lines, skimmers, VGB-compliant main drains, and a completely updated mechanical system were installed. In keeping with the classical styling of the Grecian pool, the homeowner opted for the traditional white marcite interior.  

The homeowner was interested in adding entertaining areas, including an outdoor bar, a firepit, and a pool house/cabana. After fully analyzing the yard and discussing how the space would be used, we made suggestions regarding the placement and size of each element. To complement existing stone walls around the terrace behind the house, the homeowner chose New England fieldstone for the bar area. A small cabana was constructed at the end of the pool to provide a shaded gathering space.  

—Tim Nickerson, Director of Operations, Environmental Pools, Inc., Chelmsford, Mass.

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