What is a pool deck? A pool deck is the area around the outside of your in ground pool. It can be wood, concrete, natural stone, paver, or composite material. A pool deck in some applications is not necessary. There are many historical pools that have nothing but a stone coping with grass right up to that. Believe it or not they look pretty amazing too. In reality or modern times most pool owners want some area for chairs, tables etc around their pool. To accommodate that most pool builders are including typically anywhere from 500 to 1000 square feet of some type of pool deck with a modern in ground pool.
The Pool Deck is arguably the most important part of your pool project other than the installation of the pool. This is the make or break part of your entire pool project. So it is critical that you have this thought out well before you sign a contract with a pool builder. In this article we will break down the different types of pool decking and the pros and cons so that you can make the best decision for yourself and your pool project.
CONCRETE POOL DECKS
Going for a more simplistic look? Concrete might be the choice for you then. It is the lowest cost option when it comes to pool decks–so you can expect to spend around $14-35 per square foot depending on if you prefer standard broom finished or a higher end stamped concrete finish.
From shape to texture, concrete is very customizable. It's very simple to install, so it can be tailored to your unique vision. You can go for a simple brushed finish, or you may choose a stamped finish. Stamping is done by quite literally stamping a mold onto the malleable concrete. Even paver-like stamps can be used if you prefer the look of pavers but the cost of concrete.
Concrete is also the easiest to install. It is simply formed up to the desired shape you wish to have, reinforced with re-rod, poured, brushed/stamped, and then sealed. This process can be done in 1-2 days depending on the size of your project.
Like with any material outside, concrete is exposed to the elements and can be prone to cracking and wear over time. Preventative measures can be taken to prolong its lifespan such as reinforcing with re-rod, making control joints, sealing, and keeping it clean.
Most cost effective pool deck type 2 guarantees: Concrete will get hard and it will crack
Very easy to upgrade to custom finish Concrete will crack
Relatively quick installation process Repairing Concrete is difficult
Easily customizable design Saltwater Pools will deteriorate concrete
Can be dressed up with outdoor rugs
PAVER POOL DECKS
Interlocking pavers are the second most common option when it comes to pool decks. Pavers can range anywhere from $30-$60 per square foot). Pavers are nice if you are trying to achieve a mesmerizing, uniform look. A plethora of patterns, shapes, sizes, and colors are available for pavers to fit your individual needs. If installed properly and maintained well, a paver pool deck can be enjoyed for decades to come with minimal maintenance required. Setting a slight pitch to help keep water from pooling on your patio will help prolong its lifespan. A range of different sealants is another protective measure that can be taken that not only protects the surface of your pavers, but can be used to achieve a permanent “wet look” that sharpens the color of them as well. Although pavers are all tied together with a solid foundation underneath and polymeric locking sand in the joints, they are still individual blocks that can be removed and replaced/reset if damage or settling occurs.
Easy to repair More expensive than concrete
Will last a lifetime if installed correctly Takes longer to install
Has higher end finish than concrete
NATURAL STONE POOL DECK
Natural Stone Pool Decks are the cream of the crop. This is the highest of the high end pool decks. A Natural stone pool deck can be Blue Stone, Natural Flagstone, Marble, Limestone,etc. A natural Blue Stone of Flagstone Pool deck while beautiful is naturally slightly uneven in finish unless it is a polished or factory milled and cut stone. The natural stone gives a more ideal level of traction for use as apool deckign option. A milled and cut stone pool deck will look great and be as flat as possible but will also be slippery when wet. So that should be factored in when designing your pool deck. Natural Stone Pool Decks are also the most expensive type of pool deck available. Prices can vary widely but are averaging $70-120.00 per square foot. Take a look at the pros and cons below to see if this makes sense for your pool project.
PROS CONS High End Look The most expensive type of pool deck material
High end value Takes a skilled craftsman to properly install East to repair/replace
WOOD & COMPOSITE POOL DECKS
Finally, we have wood and composite pool decks. As the lower cost option, a wood deck can typically cost between $45 - $65 dollars per square foot, whereas a composite deck can range higher at $55 - $75 dollars per square foot. Like with natural stone, wood decks have that more natural look and feel. They do however require more maintenance to prevent rot and fading. It is recommended to resand, paint or stain, and seal every couple years to protect from moisture and maintain its appearance . While not commonly found paired with in ground pools a finely built wood deck can definitely be a statement piece when looking for something out of the ordinary.
Composite decks, on the other hand, although the more expensive option, do not require the same maintenance listed above for wood pool decks. They can be maintained with a simple cleaning annually or whenever deemed necessary. Composite pool decks also come in a variety of colors, hues, and grains, so no staining or painting is required. Composite looks wood-like, and might even mimic that grainy feel, but it can never fully replicate the natural look and feel real wood has.
Beautiful Natural Appeal Dont last as long as other types of decking
Smooth and soft underfoot Will require maintenance
MORAL OF THE STORY:
Be prepared to answer the question of what type of pool deck and how much pool deck will you need when shopping for pools. You don't need a super high end pool deck to make your pool area inviting either. While the elaborate natural stone pool decks are amazingly beautiful you can make a simple broom finished pool deck look just as inviting by the addition of outdoor rugs, potted plants, flowers and strategically placed outdoor accessories. So don't get overwhelmed by the costs of some pool decking options and think outside the box to get the pool of your dreams.