Pool Deck Materials – A Comparison – Part I

Jul 20, 2015

Pool decks add personality to your home and therefore, selecting the right materials to build them is important. Your choice will be guided by a variety of considerations:

  • Whether your pool is above-ground or in-ground
  • Cost
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Durability
  • Local climate
  • Aesthetics
  • Lifestyle (Do you have an active social life? Children?)

It is important to keep in mind all these aspects to be able to make a wise decision regarding your private pool. Your pool contractor will typically help you with sound advice, but here is a list of materials you can consider, with their pros and cons.

Natural Stone

Natural stone is one of the most luxurious and expensive materials for building pool decks.  It has a uniqueness and splendor that simply can’t be replicated. But for the natural stone to retain its beauty, it is important to treat it to keep it protected from harsh chemicals and weather.  It has a long lifespan and a wide color variation to choose from. Natural stone comes in two styles, both offering a unique look.

For a rugged and traditional look, a flagstone pool deck is the answer. For a precise and neat look, you may prefer dimensional stone. Repairs can be easily made by replacing individual stones. However, installation is labor-intensive and stone decks require resealing every season. Grout maintenance is essential if temperature changes are extreme. Also remember that water from a salt-water pool will cause the stone to erode. That is why regular sealing of the stone is absolutely required to protect its appearance.

Concrete Pool Decks

These kinds of pool decks have been around forever. They are cost-effective and enable you to design a pool according to your personal preference while keeping the budget intact. To enhance its appearance, you can add color or a stamped design. The texture will help you create a slip-resistant surface. The good thing about concrete pool decks is that they can be customized in various designs and patterns, and are very easy to install and are more affordable than natural stone. On the downside, installation needs to be done altogether at a single go because it is difficult to find the same color match. Concrete eventually cracks and repairs are easily noticeable. And lastly, concrete gathers heat and become really hot for bare feet in summer (in Tucson, where summer temperatures can reach 110°F, concrete is not the very best option.)

Travertine

Travertine is extracted from natural quarries. It has a unique look that is very different from synthetic materials. Travertine is ideal for hot climates as it stays considerably cool under the feet. But discoloration is possible with travertine just like it is with concrete. It is a highly popular option among homeowners, owns a consolidated look, comes in a diverse range of color patterns, is skid-free, discoloration doesn’t come in quickly, and most importantly, has tolerance for extreme temperatures. Installation is again labor-intensive, so costs need to be kept in mind. At the time of writing, travertine costs $8 to $15 per square foot installed, depending on quality, contractor and State.

Artistic Pavers

These pavers are a good option because they imitate the look of natural stone. They are salt resistant, slip resistant and chlorine does not impact their color. They do not allow growth of algae and mildew especially when they are sealed. Pavers work well in all kinds of climate. The good things about them is that they are affordable to install and durable to use, and do not crack if installed properly. Repairing is simple and maintenance only includes sweeping and rinsing for dirt and leaves. Although you can expect weeds to sprout up in between the pavers, they can be avoided by using polymeric sand or a pre-emergent weed killer. The color and design patterns are many and the surface feels rough on hands and feet. Pavers range from $9.00 to $11.00 per square foot depending on type, contractor and State.

 

To be continued…