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.