Help: Which Contractor is right about Flagstone Pool deck?

I have a 20 year old in-ground pool which actually is in extremely good condition with virtually no cracks. I am in the process of rennovating the entire pool area, and one of the possible changes will be to place flagstone around the pool. Currently it has Cool Deck (sp?) coating over concrete around the pool There are perhaps 3 significant cracks around the pool deck area (perhaps 1/8" cracks) with the Cool Deck having come off those areas a bit (perhaps 1" on either side of the cracks) . One contractor (pool work only) told me that the entire deck must be jack-hammered up before placing the flagstone with an estimated cost of between 16K-25K for construction of the deck. The higher end price would place the project out of my budget, and 16K certainly is more than I would like to spend. The other contractor (landscaper who says that he has done multiple flagstone pool decks) tells me that is absolutely not necessary to jack hammer the deck prior to placing flagstone. He said that you can place the flagstone directly on the Cool Deck, or alternatively scrape off the Cool Deck and then place the Flagstone onto the concrete base. Of course there will be some extra work required regarding the pool coping to make it look appropriate with the higher flagstone level. I have yet to receive a bit from him.
Who is right?
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donno, but I would ask to see work he has done comparable to what he is proposing.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I install ornamental aluminum and pavers in Kentucky and most of my work is around pools. I've noticed a trend in pool construction here that might lend some thought to your situation. Lately, I've noticed that the concrete is being poured above the coping of the pool. They are making a real smooth bull nose on the concrete that looks very nice. I'm guessing, but I'd say the concrete is a good 3-3 1/2 inches higher than the pool coping.
I'd definitely ask to see some of his work and ask for references of those he did this type work for. You could also check with stone suppliers in your area and see what they think about the idea of laying flagstone over the concrete. Around here several of my competitors install pavers on concrete pads. I think this adds too much expense and is unnecessary, my stone supplier agrees. You can find many knowledgable individuals at the stone supplier and they might know of a contractor who can provide you with the bid you have been waiting for. If you don't know who supplies stone in your town, I've always found that the gentlemen (and ladies) who work at the commercial sales desk at Lowes to be quite knowledgable and helpful. Other contractors can be as well.
JD
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I'm thinking the second guy is right. Maybe the first guy has a bad opinion about the looks. You will need to raise the coping by the thickness of the stone and mortar. This may require all new coping which might end up costing what the concrete removal would have.
Consider remving a band of concrete close to the pool so the flagstone can be sloped into the pool to make the right height. Might be funny with that much slope close to the pool though.
Depends on how he proposes to match the height.
Are you in good shape, have some sons. Do it yourself. All you really need is a good sledge hammer, a wrecking bar, a wheelbarrow and a rental dumpster. 400SF, 2-4" thick (varied from spot to spot) took me about 4 days by myself. That was poor quality stuff though with no rebar, to be fair. Some day laborers at $10/hr would likely still be cheaper than the contractor.
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