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    Swimming Pool Decks: Inground Pool Options

    October 18, 2012

    With so many swimming pool deck options these days, the pool deck and patio areas surrounding your swimming pool involve some careful planning. I myself, still don't have the pool deck installed around my new pool we built this summer.

    We like the cost savings of stamped concrete, but appreciate the beauty of deck tile. We may end up doing both, using tile coping and stamp concrete for the deck.

    Maybe this blog post will help my wife and I decide which type of swimming pool deck to install around our new pool. Sure, we could've made this decision earlier, but if you ask my wife, she'll tell you that it's not just a pool deck - you have to re-think the entire backyard:

    Swimming Pool Deck Design Considerations

    • Coordinating Colors, Textures, Patterns
    • Landscaping - within and around the deck
    • Sunscaping - areas of sun and shady spots
    • Lightscaping - lighting around the pool deck
    • Integration with existing patio and walkways

    Pool Deck Prices

    If you ask me, the price of your pool deck is also an important consideration. Pool deck materials come in all price ranges. On the low end is a basic gray, broom finished concrete pool deck. On the upper end are custom milled stones and imported deck tiles. Here's a quick comparison of pricing for pool decks:

    Swimming Pool Decking Ideas

    Poured Concrete Pool Decks:

    swimming pool decks broom-finished concreteBroom finished concrete, similar to a sidewalk - is the simplest pool deck. Many builders assume a 3' apron around the pool, and offer upgrades from this starting point. Concrete decks can be stamped, colored or stained. By using chemicals to retard surface set-up, concrete finishers can create exposed aggregate decks or use rock salt to create travertine patterns.

    Our inground pool kits don't include the pool deck, but do have a curved "bullnose" coping that acts as a form to pour a concrete pool deck up against. Using a special set of pool deck forms, a cantilevered pool deck can overhang the wall of the pool.

    Concrete pool decks are fairly inexpensive, quick to install and do well in nearly any weather environment. Here's some of the beautiful ways that concrete contractors are able to beautify concrete pool decks.

    Options for concrete pool deck finishes

    Wood Pool Decks:

    Nothing has quite the warmth of natural wood decking. Redwood, Cedar, Mahogany and Ipe' top the list of premium hardwoods, although most outdoor decks are simply built with pressure treated pine or fir wood. Preservatives help them to resist weather, insects and rot.

    Wood pool decks look great, but they will require some maintenance to keep them splinter-free and good looking. Regular staining or water-proofing is needed to protect the wood and prevent it from turning a grayish color.

    Composite wood, or engineered wood is a fast growing alternative pool deck material. Long life, low maintenance and eco-friendly deck material. On the flip side, they tend to be hotter than wood in the full sun, and cheap brands can be slippery and look very "manufactured".

    Wood decking, wood tiles or composite decking allows for some very interesting textures and design possibilities, as shown below.Varied deck levels, benches and planters are easy to integrate into a pool wood deck design.

    Paver Pool Decks:

    Pavers can be either made of brick or concrete, and are available in several colors and thicknesses. Interlocking pavers connect to each other, while other paver types are pushed tightly together, and held in place by an outer edge.

    Pavers can either be installed on a bed of sand over top of a slab of concrete, or they can be set over a deep bed of gravel covered in a layer of sand or stone dust. As a final step, fine paver dust is swept over the paver pool deck to fill voids.

    Pavers are fairly low maintenance, but can weather over time. Every 2-3 years the may need cleaning and sealing to restore any lost luster. With the use of pavers, a matching bullnose paver is used as your coping stone, over the edge of the pool. Pavers come in many colors, shapes and styles, and are fairly easy to install over a prepared surface. Here's some great examples of paver pool decks.

    swimming pool deck designs - pavers

    Pool Deck Tile:

    Tiles for swimming pool decksGlazed tile is much too slippery to be used on pool decks, but the unglazed deck tiles can produce a dramatic pool deck design. Outdoor floor tiles are typically square, but other shapes can be found, such as octagonal or freeform. Pool tile decks can also be installed which resemble brick or stone.

    Most pool deck tiles are installed over top of an existing concrete base, and because of this, thin deck tiles can be a good option for covering over an existing pool deck and coping. Bullnose tiles can be used over the edge of the pool, or it can be wrapped square, as shown left.

    Waterproof outdoor grout is used in between the tiles, and sealing is recommended to prevent staining and water penetration. Here's some fine examples of using outdoor floor tile around your swimming pool.


    Stone Pool Decking:

    flagstone and slate pool deck ideas Flagstone, Slate and Bluestone or Field stone are some of the more popular natural stones to be used around swimming pools. There is nothing more durable or more natural.

    Stone pool decks also prove to be naturally slip proof, they don't need sealing and they always look great. Milled stones can be found in several thicknesses, colors and varieties. Contrasting stones can be used as coping, or a stone deck can be cantilevered, over the edge of the pool.

    To install a stone pool deck, the preferred method is to mortar the stones on top of a bed of concrete. This could be the existing pool deck if it is level. Mortar is also used to fill the joints in between the stones. This mortar grout usually needs repointing every 10 years or so.

    stone pool decking

    Now that you see how many beautiful options are available for swimming pool decking, you can understand why my wife and I still have not yet decided on what to do with our inground pool deck. I'm sure we'll have it figured out soon.

    'Til Next Time;

    Larry Weinberg
    SPP Pool Expert

    Blog Author
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