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How RenuKrete Renewed a Customer's Concrete Pool Deck: A Story of Love and Hope

The following story is based on real events by real people, as told to and written down by RenuKrete sales people. All names have been changed to protect the individuals' privacy.

Bob and Nancy have lived in their home for 35 years. They are the second home owners, and they moved in when their kids were 4 and 5. Right after they moved in, they decided to build a swimming pool. As so often, the pool deck was built with concrete. Right around 1,200sft of it. It looked great. Their kids learned how to swim in the pool, and every year the family would spend three months in the summer just hanging out in the backyard. Neighbors would come over, family would visit. The grill would be on. Then they rescued Maverick, the golden retriever puppy that loved the pool so much, the kids would not be able to go into the pool without Maverick jumping in too.

Typical "before" images, similar to what Nancy and Bob had

As the kids got older, their graduation parties, their engagement parties, and even Justin's wedding rehearsal were celebrated in the backyard. So many memories happened here. The little tree they planted on Cathy's eight birthday is now almost as tall as the house! The kitchen has been remodeled once, the downstairs bathroom twice. The house has a new roof. Some of the neighbors have moved in and out again. Justin and Cathy have since moved out and they have started their own families. Justin lives in the city with his wife and toddler, and Cathy lives in town, just about 20 minutes away. Bob and Nancy have retired, and they spend most of their spare time taking care of the backyard. It is gorgeous and it shows their attention to detail: the flowers are just the right color, the grass is trimmed, and the fence is always freshly painted. Everything is just right. Except the pool deck. You know, during those 35 years, the weather and the cleaning have made the concrete so rough, it now feels like sandpaper. The backside of the deck has sunk a bit, so that two of the slabs have cracks in them. Five years ago, one of the pipes froze in the winter, and the pool company had to put a new one in. Now, they have a new concrete slab that sticks out like a sore thumb. The whole deck makes you want to cringe when you look at it. Each time they have a party, when the grill is going, the balloons are up, the music is playing and they are excited to see their kids and their grand kids again, they are a bit embarrassed because they feel like everyone is sitting on an old and dingy parking lot. In fact, they feel every time fewer and fewer of them show up. Justin's in-laws have a great pool too. Its much bigger, they have all of the toys, and somehow the grand kids end up going to the in-laws more than to Bob and Nancy's. Bob sometimes hears Nancy cry at night in the living room, when she thinks he can't hear. He knows she feels like her life is slipping away from her, just a bit every day, a little bit at a time.

Then, one day, Jerry the mailman brings his usual stack of mail. In it, hidden behind the bills and coupons is a postcard. The postcard shows a gorgeous backyard with a wonderful stone pool deck. The entire thing looks like a resort, and the "before" picture looks just like their pool deck does right now: in pretty bad shape. Bob takes the card into the basement office, and he starts googling: R-E-N-U-K-R-E-T-E, he types. "Never heard of it," he thinks. Bob finds a number of links to articles about pool decks, about the pros and cons of different technologies, and he starts to get drawn into the company's website. He browses through dozens and dozens of pictures of pool decks that look like real flagstone, but they are made from concrete? Part of Bob's routine is checking out the online reviews of companies before he hires them, and the RenuKrete reviews are really impressive. That night, he brings it up in his conversation with Nancy over dinner. They both decide to fill out the contact form on the website.

Within minutes, Bob received an email from RenuKrete with a link, asking him to upload photos of his pool deck from his cell phone. "Great," he thinks! "It's so efficient! Why waste anyone's time with a meeting if maybe they can't even help us?" It takes him ten minutes to upload his photos the next morning, and thirty minutes later he has his first answer. The Renukrete people think his deck could be a good candidate for what they do. "Nice!"

Before they got married, Bob had known Nancy for almost ten years already. They were not exactly high-school sweethearts, but pretty soon after graduation Nancy had broken up with Jimmy who was on the football team. That's when she gave Bob "that look" for the first time. It always seemed Bob understood Nancy from just looking into her eyes. And from looking into her eyes this day in May of 2022, he knew he could not risk giving her false hope to restore their old pool deck, only to then crush her with another disappointment.

In fact, Bob had been looking for a solution for the pool deck for a few years. Every time, he involved Nancy and together they made plans on how it would all look like after they would be done.

At first, they had talked to the mason from the other part of town. In 1998 he had built for them a small paver patio around their fire pit in the backyard. Vito said "sure I can help you. I will remove the old concrete, and pour new concrete for around $20,000. I have not done it before, but it should be ok. If there is any damage to any piping, though, I can't be responsible for it. Also, the pool wall may crack, in which case I will also not be responsible." Bob and Nancy decided to pass. "Why would we take the risk of the pool damage, when the benefit is so little? Think about it: its new concrete. In five years time, it will look like our concrete does now," Nancy said.

A year later, they decided to talk to their landscaper. Besides the same risk that he mentioned when removing the old concrete, he offered a better solution: pavers. There would be a large selection of pavers to choose from, and it would cost around $35,000, all in. Yikes!

Bob and Nancy both spend countless hours pulling weeds from the pavers in the front walkway. They also had to re-set a few, so they thought that pavers are not a great solution for them either.

"I got it," Nancy jumped through the house one day with a big smile on her face. "Why don't we talk to our pool company," and off they went the next day to visit Frank on Route 1, right next to the BMW dealer.

Frank owned "Blue Pools for You" in the third generation. Frank's grandfather built most of the pools in the neighborhood with his crew in the 70's and 80's, but then decided to start a retail store as his knees started to hurt. Now, besides servicing pools in the season, they also sell hot tubs, pool cleaner robots, and chemicals. If you have a problem with your pool in this part of the state, you go to Frank. His company can be trusted, and they know what works, and what doesn't work. Despite having over fifty employees, Nancy knew she would always be greeted with a genuine smile from a person who knew who she was. Real personal service was always an important aspect of doing business for Frank. And so, when Nancy walked in, followed by Bob and Maverick, Frank came out of his office with a dog treat in his hand. After exchanging a few pleasantries Nancy brough up why they had come: to get advice on what to do with their concrete deck. "Surely, Frank is going to know what to do!," Nancy thought. What she heard, though, made her heart sink. Frank said that they had tried everything over the years, even overlays. They had worked with a company that would put a thin layer of special material over the concrete. Sure, it looked great at first, if you like a somewhat artificial cookie-cutter look. The problem, though, as Frank explained was that these overlays would crack, peel and chip over time. Any crack in the existing, underlying concrete would telegraph through the overlay, so that any deck with a crack would not even be a candidate for it. The same was true for decks with sinking slabs, and with plastic control joints. And worst of all, Frank had found out, overlays can't be repaired. If there is one problem, you would basically have to remove everything, and start from scratch. "Stay away from overlays as far as you can. As a matter of fact, the best advice I can give you for your pool deck is to just leave it alone. Don't remove it, don't paint it, don't put an overlay over it. Just leave it alone, and power wash it every few years."

Nancy was crushed, and Bob knew it. She didn't say anything on the way back home, and just held Maverick in her arms. Bob felt like he had let her down, and it broke his heart. If only he could figure out something! He decided to set up a phone call with RenuKrete for Tuesday afternoon. That is when Nancy goes to her spin class with her friends, and he could speak with someone about the pool deck for a while.

The call started well. Karen, the RenuKrete salesperson made a few comments about his backyard and about the new volleyball set she saw in one of his photos. Bob felt like she was genuinely interested in his backyard and his plans while she was asking questions about the concrete. Karen said she, too, had an old concrete deck behind her house when she grew up, and she recalls how it hurt under her feet every time she walked barefoot over it as a child. "Exactly! Just what my grandson keeps saying," Bob thought to himself. Bob spoke about the age of the concrete, about some of the cracks, and about the slab next to the diving board that had sunk. They spoke about the pebbles surrounding the deck, and Bob mentioned how important the deck was to him and Nancy, about so many of the memories. He felt he had a like-minded person on the other end of the line. Karen explained to Bob a bit about the technology that makes RenuKrete so different, about it being an artform and a sculpture. She told him that most customers stay away from demolition of concrete these days (just like Frank said!), and that - whatever they choose - they should stay away from overlays. Karen really sounded like she knew what she was talking about! With every minute, he got a little bit more excited about the prospect of finally updating their old pool deck. Then, he asked: "Karen, tell me honestly, can you turn this pool deck into one of those you show on your website?" and held his breath. Karen explained that based on everything she knew, she felt the company could definitely help, and she was even ready to give him a "ballpark" price as she called it. She could send a contract via email, or send a sales consultant for a visit. Bob thought about the price tag: It was what they could afford, that was for sure. Not cheap, but considering the alternatives, it would be worth it to him. He considered having Karen send an electronic contract, but then decided to ask for a sales visit to be scheduled. After all, his biggest job was still ahead of him: Convincing Nancy.

Of all the contractors Bob and Nancy had worked with over the years, most of them had one thing in common: they were pretty unreliable. A contractor who was supposed to be there at 10am would not show up until 2pm, or call out of the blue to announce they wanted to stop by without notice. They always found it very confusing and inefficient. So, when the RenuKrete sales person pulled up in front of the home at 11:00 am for the 11:00 am meeting, they both felt like it was a good start.

Overall, the conversation took about an hour. Together, they went through the backyard and inspected the entire pool, each slab at a time. Bob led the conversation, while Nancy just listened in. It was important for Bob to have her around the whole time, so that she could hear first hand what the pros and cons would be. In fact, that is what Karen had suggested over the phone, Bob just realized. Tom asked a lot of questions about the deck. How old the deck was, if there were any slab sinking issues, what the most important thing was for them, when a certain crack had started to develop, and more.

Typical "after" images, similar to what Nancy and Bob now have

Step by step, Tom helped them understand more and more about the technology: just enough to allow them to embrace it, but not too much to bore them with every detail. He even helped the both visualize the result in their mind: "When we are done with our work, and you have your first pool party, people will say 'Where did you get the flagstones?'"

As Bob was doing much of the talking, he did check in with Nancy from the corner of his eyes to see if she was coming on board, too. Still, Nancy had not spoken a word. But, she was also not walking away, which Bob took to be a good sign. Bob wanted to drill in further: "Tom, what are you going to do about this sunken slab? I was told it can't be lifted?" "Tom, what about this long crack, and how about this piece of chipped concrete over here, and how about the new section of concrete where they had to replace the pipe?" "Tom, how long does this last?"

Carefully, Tom answered every question. Sometimes, Tom responded by showing images and videos on his tablet. He had stored hundreds of images of pool decks the company had worked on, and he would typically find a "before" picture that looked similar to what he saw in the backyard he was standing in. The "after" images were so stunning that Nancy couldn't hold back any longer. "Wow," she said. That's so beautiful." Bob couldn't believe his ears. Was that his Nancy? Buying into the idea of doing the pool deck with Renukrete?

Tom, while gently petting Maverick who had cozied up next to his leg, explained the various color options to Nancy. Tom would never forget how Bob and Nancy looked at each other. It was a look that only soul mates can give each other, through eyes that understand each other without one spoken word. Thoughts were racing through Bob's and Nancy's minds about all of the memories in their backyard: when their kids were little, when Maverick was little, and when their life was so full of joy. They both knew that they couldn't turn back the constantly turning wheel of time, but that maybe - just maybe - they had a chance to nudge it a little bit. Maybe they could - together - re-create a bit of the magic of those years and it would all start today with their pool deck. "You good?" Bob just wanted to make sure of this one final step of buy-in from Nancy before he signed the contract. With just the slightest of twinkles in her eye, Nancy nodded.

The work started a few weeks later. The crew showed up on time, and everything went as it has been explained before by Tom and Karen. Karen checked in with Nancy on the last day, a few hours before the crew was wrapping up, just to make sure that everything was going ok. The crew had worked tirelessly, always involving Bob to make sure he knew what they were doing. The job was about to be done at the end of the third day, and Nancy was thrilled. She complimented the crew and said she could almost not believe how different it looked. "Karen," she said, "I am not sure you understand what you guys have done for us." "What do you mean?" Karen asked.

"You guys have given us a bit of our life back," Karen could hear Bob over the speaker phone. "We used to go out for our backyard parties and over the last few years I would just hate it. We always felt like we were sitting on a sidewalk. Now, it seems like we will be sitting in our own little resort! And maybe we will even see our grand kids a bit more again," he added, laughing.

"I am so happy for you. That's so great to hear. Enjoy, and please send us some photos when you have your furniture up, so we can show others," Karen said.

"I will," Nancy said, as she walked outside, holding Bob's hand.


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