Faux Limestone Overlay Matches Existing Pool Deck

Project submitted by Ryan Connors, Modern Concrete Surfaces, Signal Hill, Calif.
By Anne Balogh, ConcreteNetwork.com columnist

The challenge

The balcony overlooking the Worden family’s swimming pool in Santa Ana, Calif., was falling apart. Covered by stone that was too heavy, it was experiencing structural damage and waterproofing failure. The homeowners wanted to replace the stone with something that would match the limestone pool deck below, but needed a lighter weight material that the wood deck could safely support.

“The goal was to have a high-quality finish that resembled limestone,” says Ryan Connors of Modern Concrete Surfaces, a company that specializes in interior and exterior concrete resurfacing. “When the owners were shown how we could match the pool deck with a coating material that was sufficient for deck application, they were very excited. They had not seen a coating that looked just like stone before.”

Secrets to success

The project involved 1,400 square feet, including a landing and stairs. First, the MCS crew had to remove all the existing stone as well as a 2-inch layer of mortar underneath it. Then they installed a new waterproofing coating over the wood deck and topped it with a 2-inch thickness of leveling cement to raise the area back up so it would meet with the door.

For the overlay itself, MCS used ArcusStone, a cement-based mixture that includes crushed limestone and other natural minerals along with bonding agents. It weighs much less than solid stone, yet has a high compressive, flexural and tensile strength. MCS applied the product by trowel at a 5/8-inch thickness and then polished it to achieve a slight sheen. The overlay mixture was integrally colored with a light cream shade to look like natural limestone. Diamond tools were then used to hand cut a linear pattern in the overlay to mimic cut stone. The surface was than sealed with an exterior-grade epoxy sealer.

“We have been using ArcusStone for years. The application is very highly skilled, and takes expert troweling, color knowledge, and understanding of polishing concrete surfaces,” says Connors. “Also, cutting the pattern by hand takes a lot of experience and a very steady hand.”

As the photos show, all this attention to detail was worth the effort. “Our ability to match the existing limestone fooled even the stone installers, who thought it was actual limestone,” says Connors. One of his goals is to demonstrate to more people what can be done with decorative concrete overlays. “Only a small percentage of our potential customers are aware of their options with decorative concrete. We would like to continue to introduce more people to the many options and design freedom our company can offer.”

Materials used

Waterproofing system: Life Deck Coating Installations
Overlay: ArcusStone Products
Epoxy sealer: BD Classic Enterprises


Ryan Connors
Modern Concrete Surfaces
Signal Hill, Calif.

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