Contracting your pool deck could be one of the most important phases of your backyard pool project. Over the years, I have built many, many pools and when I go back after the yard is complete and see a pool deck that doesn't look quite right, it really ruins it for me.
But then again, choosing a pool deck type is harder than it seems. If you thought the options for our inground pool kits were confusing, wait until you see all of the pool deck options available to you. To narrow your choices, set a budget or a range that you want to spend, and that makes the choice much easier.
Selecting a Pool Deck Finish
The least expensive pool deck type is just the standard concrete deck with either a broom finish or a smooth finish surface to it. Exposed aggregate is a more expensive finish with a very nice look to it, showing the pebble finish on the surface. it is a little harder on bare feet though. Stampcrete has become very popular, also more expensive but with a lot of different patterns and textures to choose from. Any of the concrete types can have color added to the mix to match or contrast against other backyard colors.
Some pool owners choose brick or block or even natural stone as the coping edge around the pool, and then do an outer layer or adjoining area of a contrasting color or material. A coping edge must be mounted first before the rest of the deck is laid.
For my pool, we eventually put in a Cantilever deck with an 18” border around the perimeter of the pool. This really makes the pool stand out, with a different stamped finish and color than the rest of my pool deck. The cost to do a 'two-toned' pool deck was higher because it required 2 separate pours of colored concrete. Because my deck was done 6 months after my pool was installed, they had to float in an inflatable boat to remove the foam cantilever forms that were used, and to hand finish the area beneath the forms.
When to Pour your Pool Deck
There are different schools of thought on when to pour your pool deck. Some installers will tell you to let the backfill around the pool walls settle for at least 30 days before laying several tons of concrete. This is important, because you do not want concrete slabs to settle or tilt in relation to the pool. There are ways to accelerate the process, however.
My usual method was to backfill pools in layers about a foot thick, compacting each layer thoroughly with a tamper before laying on the next foot. Then, I would have the homeowner run a sprinkler for a few days, to turn the entire area into a soupy, muddy mess. After a few more days, the soil will have dried, and we could tamp it again, top with gravel, and water it once more before pouring the concrete. In my experience, most homeowners want the pool deck done immediately, so they could get their yard back in shape with landscaping and fencing.
Contracting a Concrete Company
If you have a good amount of experience with pouring and finishing concrete, you can probably handle a DIY broom finished pool deck, however, if you want your pool deck to have color and textures, you should leave these techniques to the pros.
For most of our inground pool kit customers, I would advise to get quotes from 3 or 4 concrete contractors for a similar scope of work. Most companies contacted will send a salesman to your house, with pictures of completed jobs, who will share their ideas with you on concrete deck options for your pool. In addition to bare concrete, you may be offered colors and textures, and different types of pool coping or deck runners. It's best to share your budget with them upfront, so they can give you a few affordable options.
Ask if they have any local references of people in your area that you can contact. You can also search online, to see how they rate with consumers, checking review sites or the BBB.
How much does a Pool Deck Cost?
Pricing will also vary a lot depending on what you choose to do. Regular, broom finished concrete generally runs between $4 to $6 a square ft and stampcrete designs run from $12 to $18 a square ft. If you are adding something different around the pool or deck edges, such as brick, stone or pavers that will add additional costs. Larger decks will need to have drains or channels installed in certain locations.
Pool deck pricing is almost always calculated by the square footage of the deck. A swimming pool deck of 400 square feet - should cost between $1500-6500, depending on your location, but more on the level of customization you add to the plain ol' concrete starting point.
Remember that price shouldn't be the only determining factor in choosing a concrete contractor. Ask around your neighborhood or office, of others who have inground pools for their experience with their concrete contractor.
Start Pool Deck Planning Early
We planned out our stamped deck even before we started construction on the pool installation itself, then finalized it once the pool was complete. I would strongly recommend planning your pool deck at the same time that you plan your pool kit, and have it locked down before buying an inground pool kit.
SPP Pool Expert