Stonework & Masonry
Why are our natural stone patios the best in the business?
Although we are more than capable of installing any type of masonry product, natural stone patios are our specialty. Our goal is to be better than our competition at every step during the building process. This insures a rock solid patio that will look great for a lifetime.
My favorite part of building pools is working with natural stone. Let me share my love of natural stone with you and create you a beautiful stone living area in your back yard. Patrick Kenney, founder of Patricks Pools Inc.
Soil preparation: This is one of the most important and most over-looked steps in patio construction. If the soil beneath your patio settles, your concrete base will sink and crack and the final layer of bluestone will shift and crack within a few short years. We pay close attention to this step and compact our patio site soil to 2200 lbs/sq inch. With our new pool site patio construction where the area has been excavated, we compact our soil to 2200 lbs/sq inch at every six-inch depth intervals during the backfill. This gives us a nearly rock hard surface before we even lay our underbase layer.
RCA: Our second step is a 8-inch layer of RCA or recycled cement, sand, brick, and asphalt. This layer is again compacted to 2200 lbs/sq inch while being soaked with water and mixed with Portland cement dust. The finished product is literally as hard as a rock and will only break with the use of a jackhammer.
Re-mesh reinforcement sheets: We use a ¼” thick steel reinforcement mesh layed in 6 inch squares inside our concrete base. This steel is over twice as thick as the standard and many contractors skip this step altogether. This step ties all of the concrete together making it extremely strong and very unlikely to crack.
Concrete slab: Our concrete slab is poured a full 4” thick using an 8000 lb/sq inch Portland cement and 3/4” stone mixture. A standard slab is poured 3” thick using a 3000 lb/sq inch cement and pea gravel stone mixture. With all of these factors our slabs are over three times as strong as a standard slab and can easily support the weight of a tractor-trailer without cracking.
Mortar mix: Between our slab and the actual stone we install a second layer of concrete that bonds the stones to the slab. This layer is another 1 ½” thick and is a blend of Portland cement, mortar mix, and filtered fine sand. Each stone is coated with a pure Portland mix then hammered into this second layer of concrete while its still wet.
Layout: Our pattern and irregular stone layouts are both constructed with an artistic touch resulting in a very flowing natural looking layout. Unlike many of our competitor’s patios our random pattern layouts will never have four joints coming together at one intersection and very rarely will two stones of the same size be next to each other.
Joints: This is where Patricks Pools really shines. Our joints on our pattern patios are each exactly 3/8” inch thick. We spend an entire day after all the stones have been laid, checking each joint and re-cutting where necessary. This is a step unique to Patricks Pools and is an area where we far outshine our competition. Typically we will use a gray dye for our joint mortar. This makes the joints match the stones better than the white joints most contractors will install. This is a more up-to-date look and is optional at no additional cost. After each joint is installed we go back and clean the face of each stone with a wet sponge and tooth brush. Again a step that is often skipped by others, this makes the finished joint as clean as if we were installing tile.
Perfect pitch: This is another category of patio construction that is often neglected by contractors. Having the perfect pitch is actually one of the most important aspects to patio construction. Without a good pitch puddles and eventually sheets of ice will form on the patio. This ice is not only dangerous for pedestrians but is also detrimental to the lifespan of your patio joints. All pitches should be away from the house and also away from the pool. Sometimes this takes more engineering than one would expect which is the main reason that it is often overlooked. All of our pitch strategies are decided before we even lay one stone.
Mild acid wash and power wash: After all the construction is finished we go back and do one last acid-wash then power-wash which leaves your patio looking its best.
Overall: Our stone patios end up measuring 14 ¾” thick and are constructed using extremely high-strength concretes. This great attention to detail during the construction process insures that your patio will never sink and crack as most bluestone patios end up doing, and will look great for a lifetime. Since these patios are our specialty we have become very efficient at constructing them. This allows us to put out a far superior product at the same price others are charging for much less.