The deck around your pool has an extremely difficult but important job to do. Not only does it have to withstand the brutal harshness of being exposed to chlorinated water during pool usage, but it also has to bear the brunt of hours of sunlight, wildly-changing temperatures, and even the occasional rainfall. As such, a pool deck needs to be extremely durable and have numerous other qualities.
That means the material you choose to construct your pool deck from is an important choice that you shouldn’t take lightly. What material you choose should not only be able to stand up to the task of serving as a pool deck, but be able to last for a considerable amount of time (considering the investment it takes to install one of these decks) and much more. On this blog, we’ll discuss pool deck materials and talk briefly about some of the best pool deck choices for Southern California residents.
Qualities of a Good Deck Material
What makes an ideal pool deck material in Southern California? While a lot of deck materials are out there, few have the qualities needed to be an ideal choice. Here are five things to consider:
- Slip-resistant: A pool deck will get wet during pool use, and a wet, smooth surface is going to be slippery. Generally, a good pool deck material will naturally be slip-resistant, such as having a rougher texture that can still provide grip even when soaked with water.
- Non-abrasive: While a non-slip material is great, it also needs to be slip-resistant without being difficult or painful to walk on while barefoot. Some non-slip materials are exceptional at maintaining grip, but can be extremely painful for a barefoot person to walk on, and that doesn’t really work around a swimming pool.
- Water-resistant: Obviously a pool deck is going to get wet, so a pool deck material needs to be able to withstand a good water soaking without getting damaged. Porous or absorbent materials aren’t the best choice in this regard.
- Low-cost: Does this super-material sound like it would cost a fortune? It doesn’t have to, and that’s a good thing considering not everyone has tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on building a pool deck.
- Low-maintenance: A swimming pool is a pretty high-maintenance property feature to begin with. Even with automatic filtering, the latest in cleaning technology, and computer systems designed to encourage clear water, you’re going to need to spend time keeping it. Don’t make the deck around it also become a burden in this regard.
So now that we know what a good material should be capable of doing, let’s take a look at a few of the best materials we’ve found for building pool decks.
Concrete is arguably the most common pool deck material because it’s inexpensive, easy to install, extremely durable, requires very little maintenance, extremely waterproof, and can be textured to be slip resistant without destroying your feet. You can choose to either have concrete poured, which may require a little bit of added maintenance, or install concrete pavers, which looks a little more dated and adds a bit of complexity to the installation. In either case, this is the most common and usually the ideal pool deck material for most customers.
Wood is the “classic” deck material, and while most people think wood is easily damaged by water, there are waterproofing treatments that can help it last for decades under heavy use and exposure to moisture. A wooden pool deck both looks great and is easy on the feet, but requires more maintenance than other materials, notably an annual or bi-annual waterproofing and sealing treatment.
Stone, clay, or other durable tile materials are becoming extremely popular because they can come in all sorts of different shapes, colors, and patterns, giving you a truly unique and appealing look to your pool area. However, not all tiles are particularly water-resistant (such as sandstone) and over time they can wear smooth and lose their grip tendencies. Not to mention some tile options can get expensive and most require a maintenance regimen to ensure longevity.
Composite materials are a popular choice because they can be made to imitate many other materials, just with more flexibility in terms of coloration, and are often more durable and water-resistant than many others. Composite is also great as a lower-budget option, but doesn’t have the same hazards as natural wood, including lower expansion and growth rates on hot days and less likelihood of splintering. However, some people simply don’t like the look they offer.
Do you need your pool deck waterproofed or remodeled? Trust the Los Angeles deck waterproofing experts from Capital Deck & Stair Waterproofing! Call us today at (310) 912-7737 to request an estimate .
Most people don’t think twice before climbing up or down a set of stairs, but the truth is a lot of thought and careful consideration needs to go into how a set is designed in order to ensure they are safe. Stairs that are too steep or don’t give you enough space to place your feet (a surface known as “tread”) could potentially lead to slips or trips and falls, which often mean injury. The risk is even greater for outdoor stairs where water from rain could make stairs slippery and even more risky. On this blog, we’ll go over what need to be taken into consideration in order for a set of stairs to be safe so you can make good decisions when remodeling or resurfacing your stairs .
Anatomy of a Set of Stairs
A simple set of stairs isn’t too complicated. Think of stairs as the hypotenuse of a right triangle, with the horizontal length of the set of stairs being one side and how far up they climb being the other. Of course there are rounded or spiral stairs, but many of the principles are essentially the same.
Each step over the distance between the top and the bottom has two dimensions: rise (how far up each step climbs) and run (how far forward each step carries you). These measurements on each step are extremely important because going too large or too small on either one of them could lead to serious issues, both with construction and with injury risk.
If the rise between steps is too steep, climbing the stairs will not only be extra tiring, but the risk for serious injury also increases in the event of a trip and fall. Not to mention, those who already have trouble climbing an average set of stairs may not even be able to successfully get up a set of stairs with too steep of a rise. However, too small of a rise and you’ll have to stretch the staircase out horizontally to have enough stairs to get to the correct height, which adds a ton to your construction costs and may not even be possible.
If the run between steps is too small, those climbing the stairs won’t have enough space to get a proper foothold, and that means a significantly greater risk of tripping or slipping and falling, especially when going down that set of stairs (though up is also certainly dangerous). Too wide of a run presents a similar problem to having too low of a rise: your stairs will have to increase in number, which means the staircase will increase in horizontal length to the point where it’s more expensive and may not even be possible to construct given your location.
Building a Safe Set of Stairs
So you need to build a set of stairs, and you want to make sure it’s done properly. What should you do? The first step is to learn more about local building codes to learn what the minimums and maximums are for stair rise and run in order for your building to adhere to safety requirements. In California, the rise between stairs cannot be less than four inches and cannot be more than seven and a half inches. The run of each stair cannot be less than ten inches. As a result, California prefers that all staircases have an incline that measures between 30 and 37 degrees.
In addition, consistency between rises and is extremely important, as one step being significantly different from another is a huge trip-hazard for those going either up or down a set of stairs. California code says that the greatest rise cannot exceed the lowest rise and the largest run cannot exceed the shortest run by more than 3/8 of an inch.
The handrail that lines each set of stairs needs to be durable and capable of supporting a good amount of weight without buckling. The rail must be between 34 and 38 inches above the stair surface, measured from the furthest-forward point of each run, including any nosings. It’s strongly advised each rail have a minimum of four to six inches
Finally, there’s another parameter you need to consider, particularly on outdoor stairs: step surface. The surface of each step on a set of stairs should be constructed of a material that encourages grip, and when outdoors that means something that also needs to be durable and minimizes the impact that water can have on the surface. Many contractors will mix fine sand with the paint they coat the tops of these steps with and then use a durable sealant over this surface in order to prevent it from smoothing out or losing grip for as long as possible. Some people will even take things a step further and place a piece of high-visibility grip tape to make edges clearly visible.
Waterproofing a set of outdoor stairs also goes a long way to preserving them and preventing them from losing their structural integrity. Waterproofed stairs will last longer and be less prone to damage from the sun, rain, dew, and other elemental factors that are traditionally hard on anything left outside for long periods of time.
If you need your set of stairs waterproofed, call Capital Deck & Stair Waterproofing today at (310) 912-7737 to request a service estimate!