To ensure visual harmony and reduce “mental burden,” we redid everything in composite
The perfectly bilingual columnist and blogger who is behind JeSuisUneMaman.com, Jaime Damak is rapidly earning the trust of her collaborators and the broader public. She is genuine, vibrant and generous. You will love her style and hands-on practicality just as much as we do. We had the opportunity to help her with a makeover of the pool deck at her family home during the pandemic.
This is the story with all its twists and turns.
Jaime Damak, professional content creator
Challenge – Having to redo practically everything thanks to a different pool format
When Jaime and her beloved Pierre decided to buy back Pierre’s parents’ house, they took on a big, wonderful project: to put a personal stamp on the place that had seen all of Pierre’s family grow up. It also opened the door to Jaime’s worst nightmare: renovations.
“When it comes to renovation, I find it difficult to visualize the whole thing. More than anything I see the different parts that do not align yet. That stresses me out, even if I am surrounded by experts.”
No sooner had Jaime finished work on her former abode, than she threw herself into renovating her new one. The thirty-year-old pool really needed to be replaced; it was broken. The hiccup? Its 27-foot format was not industry standard. So Jaime had to remake the pool deck so that it would properly frame the swimming area. Since she wanted to preserve visual harmony by avoiding patchy additions in different materials, the work took on a larger than anticipated scope.
1 wooden pool deck / 30 years old / 15 repaints
Decision – Take the plunge and remodel it, with an eye on the long term.
The pool makeover project cast a light on other pressing needs: to change the pool surround, preserve the visual harmony of the deck, update the deck layout, enclose the pergola, fence off the swimming area, etc.
Jaime came to a decision:
- The pool must be replaced with one in an available standard size: 24 feet.
- The resurfacing of the pool deck must be done entirely in wood composite.
- The pool deck’s planking must match the pergola’s, using the same composite wood.
- The deck’s frame must be redone to hold up as long as composite would.
“The result would keep looking good for at least 25 years.”
Why choose composite wood?
The columnist already had experience with composite wood and had come to embrace it as a building material. So, the question was, why stick with composite wood: for longevity, to put a limit on the renovation work, and to avoid the “mental burden” of ongoing maintenance (we loved Jaime’s way of putting this).
Could she have seen it work with a material other than composite? Her grimace spoke louder than the pause in her reply: “The price of wood is going up. We would have had to see, but…”
Is wood expensive? Yes, it’s starting to be.
[Free translation] The construction materials sector, more specifically wood, has never been so unstable. Consumers have seen a dramatic price explosion since the first months of the pandemic.
– Benoit Sabourin, Le Droit, 14 January 2022
Believe it or not, it was Sarah Couture’s project that inspired Jaime. The columnist ordered samples to decide on a brand and colour. NewTechWood’s Canadian subsidiary caught her attention because of the quality of its products and because it is truly Canadian-owned and operated, like a local company.
In this image, Jaime and her partner are looking at our composite wood boards. They chose the colour Roman Antique.
“I was impressed with its feel. Yann was also a big part of my decision. He’s experienced with NewTechWood’s products. That gave me confidence.”
“Boards are finished on both sides, making them perfect for two-stories high decks and partition walls. NewTechWood is THE ONLY ONE that offers this.”
– Yann Gagnon, building contractor
First, Jaime wanted to hire a contractor with experience in composite wood. Using the search engine on the NewTechWood Canada website, she found the perfect contractor for her area (Sherbrooke): Yann Gagnon, from Gagnon du Temps (in French).
Next, laying a new pool deck involved levelling the ground to create an even surface. The deck’s frame was redone to provide as much durability, in terms of lifespan, as the NewTechWood composite. In fact, we offer a 25-year warranty on residential projects.
The solution was to rethink the scope of the work.
The NewTechWood composite boards make up the pool surround and the flooring of the entire deck, including the pergola.
Finally, the deck had to feel comfortable in bare feet and be naturally puddle-resistant. UltraShield technology, a hallmark of NewTechWood products, makes the boards water and mildew resistant. You could even use our wood composite on a floating dock.
Wood composite won’t scorch your skin. That said, like any other material, it will surely get hot if exposed to direct sunlight during peak hours. Consider a shading solution, such as a screen, and wear light sandals if necessary. Most importantly, choose a lighter colour if your setup is likely to warm up during heat waves, no matter which material you choose. How concerned are you about keeping the temperature under control? Read on, we’ve addressed your concerns about how hot composite actually gets.
“Hollow perforated boards are less hot than solid composite boards.”
– Yann Gagnon, building contractor
Getting the job done
There were many twists and turns in the works. The pandemic caused delays in all aspects of the project: material supplies, availability of experts, and execution of the work.
- The project began in the summer of 2020.
- The new pool was in place by June 2021.
- The deck was finished by Christmas 2021.
- The project was completed on 23 June 2022.
The pool deck consists entirely of UltraShield Naturale composite wood boards. It tightly frames the above-ground pool and even slightly overhangs it. This crisp outline has a very modern feel to it. Jaime chose the colour Roman Antique, a light shade that matches the pool’s edge.
1 pool deck in composite wood/ 25-year guarantee / 0 repainting required
The pergola’s flooring
The on-deck pergola is a shelter where Jaime and her family can enjoy being outdoors in all circumstances. In fact, the columnist made use of the opportunity offered by the renovation to enclose the space. The UltraShield Naturale hollow composite boards maintain visual continuity with the pool deck. Our products caught Jaime’s eye because of their natural resistance to water and moisture, and their ease of maintenance.
The result? “We can’t wait to invite the family.”
At the time of writing this case study, Jaime was returning from a Disney cruise and had not yet the chance to enjoy the latest addition to her home. Yann had committed to delivering the project, come what may, before St. Jean Baptiste Day. We have already learnt that Jaime finds a poolside deck not that difficult to manage in terms of heat since it is always being splashed with water.
A satisfied client? Yes.
- Quality product
- Ease of installation
- Working with a composite wood expert
- Durability of the material
- Minimal maintenance
The columnist also learned a lot: “I wish I could have assessed the thing so I could have made my decisions with all the information in hand before I started work.” We also learnt from Jaime… Safety rules for pool areas vary from one municipality to another. In Sherbrooke, Jaime chose to install a solid 48-inch glass panel pool fence. This material enhances the elegance of the deck. It is also a nice windbreak feature.
If, when it comes time to replace the regular wood, Jaime and her partner want to use composite wood, they can do so. Our Australian Red Cedar boards would even let them keep within the current colour range.
For now, Jaime is focused on landscaping her backyard and decorating her deck. Composite wood boards offer a sturdy yet hollow base that allows plenty of room for creativity. The columnist is also considering her options for a pool ladder or maybe a submerged staircase. We invite you to reach out to her to share your best ideas.
NewTechWood Canada, a proud partner of Jaime Damak’s renovations. Thank you, Jaime, for choosing us. We wish you everything we created our products for – lots of time to spend on things other than renovations or deck maintenance.
Photos: Stéphanie Guertin