Lyon Financial

Your Guide to Pool Decking

Your Guide to Pool Decking

Like the perfect frame for a piece of art, your pool decking will elevate the look and feel of your aquatic paradise. There are so many elements that combine to create your unique aesthetic — from fire bowls to swim-up bars, to landscaping, lighting, and sound design. Everything is a factor that adds to the visual experience.

(Just a note… if you are still in the pool construction planning process, you might want to check out our suggestions in a recent post: What to Ask Yourself Before You Build a Pool.)

Legalities First

Make 100% certain you are 100% confident you are observing all local laws and ordinances. There could be any number of restrictions on collateral structures, not to mention that it is illegal to infringe on right of ways or easements. You may have the grandest vision of an expanded deck that includes a sunning surface and a changing cabana, but if it means an ordinance infraction, you must go back to the proverbial drawing board.

So, before you even conceive of a design, make sure you are within the legal range of dimension and expanse. Doing it the other way could be heartbreaking if you wind up not having sufficient area so you need to reverse engineer your plans.

When you know what you have to work with first, you can proceed with confidence. Then you can move on to the permits phase!

Safety Second

Safety is generally first of course, but you’re not doing anything without the approval of the local authorities. Then you can turn your attention to the comfort and safety factors of the decking material.

What do you need in pool decking? Your three biggest considerations are:

  • A non-slip surface that is hopefully low maintenance.
  • A comfort factor with a coating or finish that does not absorb the heat or burn the feet!
  • A design that showcases and highlights your pool’s features while being functional and beautiful.

Do You DIY?

Unless your home improvement budget is infinite, there’s not a homeowner alive who hasn’t given at least a glimmer of thought to buying all the raw materials and constructing everything from that built-in bookcase in the family room to erecting that brick pizza oven in the yard. There’s so much to be said about DIY Satisfaction that no doubt even those with limitless budgets have tried their hand at renovations.

And yes, there are kits for just about everything now as the home improvement centers have made a mint on the all-in-one-box concept. They are a great solution. The only real issue is that your options are limited as you may be confined to a smaller design selection. If you are spending the money to enhance your home’s outdoor space, then we recommend you subscribe to some “out of the box” thinking!

Concrete

According to home improvement guru Bob Vila, “Poured concrete has been the material of choice for pool decking for decades, because it’s durable and water-resistant. When finished with a brushed surface, poured concrete allows swimmers to walk barefooted without the risk of slipping.”

Unfortunately, the popular option of poured concrete is not necessarily DIY-able. According to Vila:

Pros: Poured concrete can be formed and poured in virtually any shape you like; curves and geometric patterns are doable.

Cons: Concrete is really only do-it-yourself-friendly if the pour is small — six foot by six foot or less — and you have some experience working with the material. Larger slabs should be left to the pros, because concrete can begin to set within minutes on a hot, dry day. If you don’t know how to smooth it quickly, you could end up having to break it out and start all over.

All in all, concrete is a versatile and literally solid solution. You can dress it up with some brush finishing or have it stamped with a variety of impressions to make it look like tile or something abstract.

Pavers

These are an extraordinary addition to your driveway or your patio. Although a more expensive solution, these stones come in a wide range of colors and shapes and can be made of either concrete or carved stone, allowing you to really make your pool deck your own.

Although more expensive, this is a DIY-friendly alternative because you needn’t worry about cracking across the expanse of a slab. Instead, you have the option to remove and repair as any tiles break over time. (You might want to consider rectangular bricks as well because you can fashion them in limitless ways!)

The only real caveat is that you need to be certain to lay an almost perfect foundation. For example, if you’ve ever painted a wall, you know it’s best if you prime first. The paint goes on more smoothly, endures better, and gives you the true shade you envisioned, because it is going over a clean, white canvas.

Same concept here. You want the pavers to sit on a bed of sand or gravel that is level and firm. That way certain stones or sections don’t eventually sink and cause tripping hazards.

Even if you decide to take the paver placement on yourself, you could always have a pro lay the foundation for you.

Other Pool Decking Options

Natural Wood

A sublime solution that integrates into your great outdoors. However, you’ll want an expert craftsman to install the joist system. You’ll also want a high-grade sealing solution and to be prepared for on-going maintenance to protect the surface.

Tile

A classic solution with a world of choices. You can mix and match shapes and/or create borders to accent the primary tile. You can make pictures out of mosaics to put your stamp on your outdoor entertainment room. Make certain the tile is unglazed to avoid creating a slippery surface.

Stone

Truly a beautiful option with the gamut running from travertine to granite to limestone. While it’s one of the more expensive pool decks, the caveat here is to go with a lighter color, so it doesn’t absorb the heat. Here you must also install unglazed stone for safety. And because your choice of stone should sit on a concrete slab, again, you’ll want to rely on a professional for the best laid foundation.

Composite Wood

Probably one of the finer solutions as you get the best of the “wood look” without all the maintenance, this is a deck type that should be professionally installed. Although a more expensive solution, you may be able to justify the cost, because you will have a “set it and forget it” pool deck that won’t succumb to the elements/insects and is available in a nice variety of colors and patterns.

Then comes the day when all decisions are behind you and the installation is done. Now it’s time to hit the deck and enjoy basking poolside!

Providing pool and home improvement loans since 1979, Lyon Financial loves backyard pools and the decks that introduce them. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.