Patrick Kenney of Southampton, NY, Pool installation:
Vinyl pool and bluestone patio installation – Gunite pool look-a-like
Working with natural stone is my favorite part of pool construction. I enjoy knowing that the material I am using to create a beautiful pool landscape, is something that has been created over millions of years and was cut from a mountain side somewhere. Almost like it had a peaceful creation, it isn’t synthetic in any way. Much of the natural stone we use in our pool construction comes from right here in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. A lot of it also comes from the side of a mountain in Turkey or India. Funny enough, even the sand that is mixed with the portland cement to make the concrete we use comes from a sand quarry right in my backyard in Manorville.
For this project we use a natural stone called Pennsylvania Bluestone which is a layered sandstone found only in the northeastern tier of Pennsylvania, parts of northern New Jersey and the southern tier of New York. This stone was created about 360,000,000 years ago when the sea deposited sand in the Catskill delta region.
Bluestone is my stone of choice for any project when the Homeowner lets me choose the finishes. There are many reasons for Pennsylvania Bluestone to be my top choice. Bluestone looks great, is relatively inexpensive, especially considering people in California are paying three times what we pay for it, and it is a very hard, durable stone. Since Bluestone comes from right here in our own back yards it is a stone that blends well with our natural surroundings and doesn’t look out of place at all.
The bluestone used in this particular project has been thermally cut. This means instead of the stones natural layers being visible it has been run under a torch to give it a uniform look and feel to its top. Thermal cut bleustone is great around a pool because its top is nearly completely flat yet its finish has tiny little dimples making it a non slippery material. It also looks great and is extremely durable.
Our first step in this project is to excavate a hole where the pool will be built and set up our custom aluminum form kit which allows us to build concrete walls on our pools. We worked with Frank Wall enterprises to custom design this wall kit specifically for our pool building needs. Notice that the skimmers will be completely encapsulated and protected by concrete. Also notice our full size 4 step staircase. Even though this will be a vinyl pool, our staircase is built with 4 treads just like a gunite pool. Typically vinyl pools have 3 steps to keep costs down.
After setting up our aluminum custom pool wall forms our next step is to have a delivery of concrete and fill up the forms.
After removing our forms and installing a pool liner in the pool structure our next step is making a footing 30″ down from the frost line for our patio steps. We then install two rows of cinder blocks starting from 30″ below ground surface. These cinder blocks will act as our step risers. Then we install our tamped RCA base and rebar cage for added concrete slab strength. Most patio installers would be using a much smaller steel mesh or even nothing at all to reinforce there patio slabs but since we are concrete pool builders and believe in going the extra mile we use a full steel rebar cage. This slab, when fully cured, will be easily strong enough to drive trucks on.
After our slab has cured, we install our thermal bluestone. Here we have created a mesmerizing herringbone pattern with the stone. We can install our stone in many different patterns.
Next we install a Colonial Blue Wall Stone to veneer our step risers. This is the same stone as our Pennsylvania Bluestone but in its raw unaltered form.
Here is our finished product. This is a custom created bluestone patio by Patrick’s Pools. The stone used within this project is 360 million years old. Between the combination of the natural stone finishes and the black granite pool liner selected, this vinyl pool looks nearly identical to a gunite pool.