You have a number of options for pool deck surfaces, including poured-in-place concrete, concrete pavers, stone, brick, tile and wood. Of these choices, concrete pool decks give you the most design flexibility in terms of color, texture and pattern. Depending on the surface treatment you choose, you can design your concrete pool deck to blend in with your home's exterior facade and surrounding landscaping or you can turn it into the focal point of your backyard. You can also stamp and texture concrete to mimic other pool deck materials such as stone, brick and even wood.

Keep in mind that pool decks have special performance requirements when compared with a typical patio. Pool decks need to resist constant exposure to water and harsh pool chemicals. They also need to be easy on bare feet, splinter-proof and slip resistant. All these criteria can be met with a concrete pool deck. To compare the various pool deck options, see Pool Deck Throwdown.

Stamped Concrete

To create pool decks that resemble natural slate, flagstone or brick, stamped concrete is the ideal choice. When colored with stains or dry-shake color hardeners, stamped concrete looks identical to real stone but is easier to install and maintain. Stamped concrete can also be used to complement other decorative surface treatments, such as exposed aggregate, broom finishes and borders. See Stamped Concrete Pool Decks.

Wood Decks

Wood decks are rarely practical for in-ground pools because they don’t stand up well to constant exposure to harsh pool chemicals and moisture. If you prefer the look of wood, you can stamp and color concrete to look identical to wood planking, plus the surface will last longer, be easier to maintain, and be less vulnerable to deterioration from exposure to harsh pool chemicals. (See Concrete Pool Deck Replicates Wood Planking.)

Colored Concrete

The most popular methods for coloring concrete pool decks and other exterior concrete are chemical stains, integral color and dry-shake hardeners. Coloring usually goes hand in hand with stamped concrete, allowing you to precisely replicate the colors of natural stone or any other material. For pool decks, lighter colors are especially popular because they reflect UV rays and keep the surface cooler. Learn more about your coloring options for concrete pool decks.

Concrete Pavers

Like poured-in-place concrete, precast concrete pavers are a great option for pool decks because they are durable, slip resistant and can provide the look of natural stone or brick. Concrete pavers also come in a wide array of colors, shapes and sizes, permitting you to create design schemes that complement your pool’s shape and style. Learn more about concrete paver benefits and installation.

Stenciled Concrete

Stenciling a concrete pool deck can be a great alternative to decorative stamping while permitting similar design flexibility. Instead of rubber stamps, stenciling uses disposable paper stencils to impart brick or stone patterns in fresh concrete. By applying a dry-shake color hardener or stain to the exposed concrete before stencil removal, you'll get the appearance of individual stones or bricks that have been mortared together. Stencils for concrete come in a wide array of patterns, ranging from running-bond brick to stone, slate and tile. For more information, see Concrete Stencils.

Rock-Salt Finished Concrete

A rock salt finish is a low-cost, easy method for adding subtle texture and slip resistance to plain or colored concrete pool decks. It’s created by pressing grains of rock salt into freshly placed concrete with a float or roller and then washing them away. The result is a beautiful speckled pattern on the concrete surface, similar to the appearance of slightly pitted, weathered rock. Read about the various decorative options for rock salt finishes.

Exposed Aggregate

Exposing the aggregate in concrete produces a pebble-like finish that is especially well-suited for pool deck surfaces because it's highly slip resistant. The finish can also be very attractive when youuse decorative aggregate in an assortment of colors and sizes. A popular technique is to combine exposed aggregate finishes with areas of smooth concrete to create interesting contrast. See Exposed Aggregate Pool Decks.

Brick and Tile

Brick and ceramic tile have been long been used for pool deck surfaces. Tile is popular for use along pool copings due to its longevity and finished appearance. Brick is also an attractive, durable material for use along pool borders and pool decks. The biggest problem with these materials is their steep cost and labor-intensive installation. Concrete can be stamped and colored to replicate traditional brick and tile, and often at a lower price. Concrete pavers are also a lower-cost alternative to real brick.