There are many different types of pavers for pool deck use. Concrete, brick or natural stone pavers can be used. Using pavers for your pool deck gives the area around the pool a completely different look than a traditional concrete deck.
You can lay thin pavers over top of existing decks, but this blog post will focus on installing a paver deck around your new inground pool kit, which has no pool deck installed yet. This is the situation I am in, with my new pool built last summer. This coming spring we will install the pool deck. If you are building your own inground pool, here's how to install a paver pool deck.
8 Steps to Install a Paver Pool Deck
Plan & Design: Start with a detailed diagram, showing the pool and adjacent structures. Draw in your planter beds, grass areas and existing patios that will remain in place. It's a good idea to set up a string line or use chalk, lime or paint to delineate the outer edge of your paver pool deck. Once you have the overall shape and design of the deck, record accurate measurements on your diagram. Your paver dealer can assist you with selecting your pattern and style and determining how much material you will need to buy.
Excavate: To prevent an uneven pool deck, your pavers need to sit on a well-compacted bed of stone dust, also known as crush-n-run in some areas. The bed of stone dust needs to be 4-6 inches thick, and on top of that, we need 1-2" of sand on which to place the pavers. Your excavation should be 5-8 inches below the top of the pool wall. do not forget to slope the deck away from the pool. Pitch the deck 1/4 inch for every foot, to allow water to run off the deck and not towards the pool. Excavate a few inches outside of the area that you plan to use pavers on.
Prepare the Sub-Base: Apply 2" of your stone dust at a time and then spray it down with a hose to help with cohesion. After wetting, use a power tamper, a "Jumping Jack", to really tamp it down well - to the point that walking over it doesn't leave footprints. Hose it down again, and then add another layer, wet the new layer, and then use the power tamper again. Use a level string across the deck, to help you maintain a consistent slope away from the pool. do not skimp on the sub-base, it keeps your pavers level by allowing for good drainage.
Install your Edge Restraints: An outer edge barrier that will hold it all in place is important, since these pavers are not mortared in place. You can use 4x4 pressure treated wood, held in place by 24" rebar pieces, or you can also find thin and strong steel borders, with stakes to hold them in place. A flexible edge restraint will be necessary if your paver pool deck has curved edges. There are many types of edge restraints, talk to your paver dealer about choosing the one best for your application. If your deck has 90 degree angles, be sure that your corner edges are square.
Screed your Sand-Base: Over top of your compacted stone dust bed, you will place 1-2 inches of sharp angled sand. do not use play sand, or pool filter sand - use only "bedding sand" made specifically for this purpose. After laying down the sand evenly (remember your slope!), you can screed it level using a 2x4. To keep the screed level, some deck guys like to create rails, set at 6 or 8 ft. apart. You can use 3/4" conduit or pipe, or use other 8 ft. long 2x4's, as a guide to keep your screed board level on each end as you pull it across the sand.
Install your Coping Pavers: As mentioned earlier, a specific stone is used for the edge of the pool, usually a bullnose (rounded) stone - sometimes in a contrasting color or texture. The pavers used as coping stones can also be the same as the ones used on the deck, but it's safer to have a rounded edge, or a thinner paver that one can grab onto. These pavers are held in place with mortar or a heavy-duty adhesive. You may consider placing your coping pavers on the pool before installing the pool liner, to avoid any mess in the pool.
Lay your Pavers: Spray a little water on the sand to firm up the surface slightly, and then lay down some boards to avoid disrupting the sand bed while you work. Take the time to re-screed any areas that do become disrupted. Then you can start to lay your pavers, one section at a time, working from the inside to the outside. That is, start with your first row directly behind the coping pavers. Push each stone laid up against the others tightly, using a rubber mallet to help them set in snugly. For those stones that need to be cut to fit up against the edge, mark them with a sharpie pen, and cut them with a wet saw.
Finish Up: Spread masonry sand over the surface of your pavers and use a hand brush to work it into the spaces in between. Afterwards, use a garden hose to spray the down the deck - the water will help the sand work it's way into the spaces between the pavers. Repeat the process a few times over the next several days, and then every year or two, as needed, to replace any lost to wind or heavy rains. All of your pavers should be level and even. If not, you can fix it! If needed, tamp high pavers or add extra masonry sand to restore level or pitch.
Ladder Sockets: These should be set in concrete beneath the pavers, and then the paver(s) cut to accommodate the ladder rail or hand rail. Same thing with diving board stands or slide legs, they must be installed in concrete, beneath the pavers. This will have the effect of lowering your ladder, slide or diving board. if that is undesired, you can pour a dedicated pad at the same level of the pavers, for the purpose of installing your anchor sockets or lag bolts.
Safety Covers: If you use a safety cover on your pool for winter, the best method is to use the anchor-in-pipe method. These are available from SPP, or any safety cover manufacturer. Drill a hole in between two or three pavers (never through a paver), and pound in the 15" long aluminum tube, until the top of it is flush with your pavers. If you do not use the anchor in pipe, and just try to insert the anchors in between or directly into the pavers - your cover won't have the support it needs.
Well, I hope you learned something here today! A paver pool deck is the perfect DIY project. Probably more than a day, but if you have the time to spend on it, you can install your own paver pool deck in just a few weekends. If you have questions on how to interface your pavers with our inground pool kits, give us a call - deck experts are standing by!
SPP Pool Expert