Concrete pool decks may seem like a fairly standard job for the layperson, but during the course of his career, Bill Stegmeier transformed the pool deck industry through his innovations.
In the early 1950s, Bill owned a south Florida concrete construction firm that poured pool decks, as well as a chemical manufacturing company that supplied concrete additives.
At the time, many patios and pool decks in the region were constructed of coral stone. This material was taken from the ocean and cut into slabs and used much like flagstone is today. The work was beautiful, but because of the high humidity it would turn black with mold.
To solve this problem, Bill developed an alternative to the coral stone. First was a mixture of sand and cement on freshly poured concrete that duplicated the texture of the coral stone, as well as a chemical additive to make this material more workable. Most importantly, the product didn’t mold. In addition, it resulted in a nonskid surface, so it was perfect for pool decks. This solution became Bill’s first major contribution to the decorative industry.
Today, this invention is generally known as Cool Deck, as it has properties that cause it to be cooler than gray concrete in warmer climates.
A few years later, Bill left Florida and headed west to Tucson, Ariz. He brought with him the formulas for his concrete additives and founded Mortex Manufacturing. He also continued with his construction interests by installing swimming pool decks using his installation technique and additives.
Shortly thereafter, he taught others to install this system and hung up his trowel to focus on manufacturing.
After nearly a decade, Bill left Mortex Manufacturing and headed even further west, this time to northern California. It was there he founded Stegmeier Corp. in 1968, for which he is best known in the industry.
At about this time, Bill introduced the very first cantilever deck form made of expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam). His industry-changing forming product replaced precast coping stones, and this type of forming method is still used in the majority of in-ground swimming pool installations today.
“Bill’s creative solutions have always been rooted in solving challenges in construction applications. Unlike with many inventors, the profitability or marketability of an idea was always at the end of his process,” says Bill’s son, Bud.
In fact, many products in the industry today date back to one of Bill’s nearly 60 patents, including the removable top and other deck drains, a variety of deck forms, installation tools, and many more.
After nearly half a century in the industry, Bill passed the leadership of Stegmeier Corp. on to the team of partners, including his son Bud, who own and operate the company now known as Stegmeier LLC.
Even though Bill is enjoying retirement, he maintains an office at the company, regularly contributes to the development of new products and remains a valuable member of the Stegmeier team.
“Bill has always been the classic example of the American entrepreneur, but more importantly to me, my father has always shown me through example what true work ethics and integrity should be,” Bud says.