Choosing Decking for Your Pool
Your pool patio is the area surrounding your pool. The decking typically accommodates lounge chairs and whatever else you can imagine. And the coping is the lip around your pool’s edge.
For ideas on customizing the area around your pool, check out some of the fantastic backyards we’ve built.
Choosing pool decking materials is one of the many decisions you will make as a new swimming pool owner. If you’ve selected a fiberglass pool, you may also consider the addition of coping, which creates a transition between the pool and pool deck.
Let’s go over the pros and cons of different pool decking options.
Concrete Pool Decking
Concrete is a versatile material that is the backbone behind many of our best-looking backyard transformations. A concrete surface is very versatile in how you can shape and design it.
Stamped or Brush
You can choose a broom finish, which creates the standard concrete look. Broom finished concrete decking is made by pouring concrete, then brushing it with horse-hair brooms to create a slightly textured surface. This texturing also creates traction to help prevent slips and falls.
Or you can choose a stamped concrete patio, which can resemble tile, brick, or stone. Stamping is a little more expensive, but it truly gives your pool patio an artisan’s touch.
Using pattern molds, your builder can stamp impressions into wet concrete to make its surface visually mimic the shape of different materials, such as tile, brick, or stone, in a variety of patterns.
Stenciling takes things one step further by allowing builders to create custom-made designs. The sky’s the limit on colors and motif.
Stenciling is a delicate process using time and labor, so it costs more to implement.
Exposed Aggregate Concrete
With this option, tiny stones or pebbles are introduced into the concrete mix. The aggregate comes in a variety of colors and sizes and adds texture to the surface. You can add raw or machine-polished concrete aggregate. Machine polished aggregate is easier on your bare feet.
While concrete’s benefits and low cost make it an attractive option, concrete does not come without a few disadvantages. Concrete decking can crack over time, especially if it isn’t cured correctly.
Concrete is also easy to clean and has a lengthy lifespan. Concrete is available in a wide array of colors and can be textured to create a unique appearance.
Pool pavers are precast sections of stone, clay, or concrete. They’re created by mixing in aggregate and color, then creating individual, brick-like pieces, which are laid out in patterns around your patio.
One of the many benefits of pavers is that you don’t have to wait for them to dry, as you would with poured concrete.
Pool pavers can be arranged to complement many design schemes because of their large variety of shapes, colors, and sizes.
They’re also easily replaced. You can remove and replace single pavers without much effort. However, pavers require a strong base, and many contractors who do not specialize in installing pavers fail to provide the strong base pavers need. Some contractors lay a low amount of sand under the pavers, which can cause the pavers to sink.
You won’t have to worry about this with a Premier pool builder.
Natural Stone/Travertine Decking
Travertine is one of the most commonly used natural stones used in homes today.
But travertine decking isn’t just about visual charm; it’s also slip-proof and stays cooler than other decking materials. You can also match the edge of your pool with the rest of the patio by coping it with the same travertine blend.
One downside of travertine is its porous nature, which makes it easier to absorb water. While this offers a benefit in hot weather, dirt can become trapped in the pores if your pool decking is near loose soil.
If you’re planning on a fiberglass pool, you’ll need to decide whether or not to leave the edge of the fiberglass exposed or use coping. Leaving the edge exposed should be your last choice. An exposed fiberglass pool edge is subject to fading from the sun, and if you pour concrete decking up to the edge of the fiberglass pool, you risk cracking and chipping.
Coping also adds that special finishing touch to the edge of your pool. It creates definition between your pool and pool decking.
A frequent choice for coping around fiberglass pools is cantilevered concrete coping.
Similar to concrete decking, cantilevered concrete coping is manufactured with one continuous pour. It also adds a beautiful finish to your fiberglass pool. Much like concrete decking, it comes in a variety of colors and textures.
Cantilevered concrete coping is affordable, and due to its single-piece construction, it’s less likely to move or shift over time. However, it can be susceptible to cracks if not managed correctly.
Precast Paver Coping
Paver coping is precast into shapes, then installed on-site. Just like decking pavers, they are simple to replace if damaged. Pavers can be laid on a mortar bed or bonded to the pool shell and concrete collar around the pool with specialized construction adhesive.
Pavers are a little more expensive than poured and precast concrete, but many find the value outweighs the expense.
When selecting a coping material, note that you can choose a different substance than the decking itself. For example, if you choose concrete decking for your pool, you may complement the concrete with travertine coping.
Consider these criteria when choosing decking for your pool: durability, safety, comfort, and esthetics. Remember that the material should work harmoniously with your backyard and pool design.