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Salinas Construction in Pasadena, TX

One of the most important considerations for any pool deck is the type of material to use, with choices including poured-in-place concrete, concrete pavers, stone, brick, tile, and wood. Of these options, concrete pool decks give you the most design flexibility in terms of color, texture, and pattern; as well as being affordable and low maintenance. The material you ultimately choose often depends on a number of factors including your surrounding landscape, space availability, how much traffic the pool deck will receive, your budget, and how much time and effort you want to devote to care and upkeep.

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.


DECORATIVE CONCRETE OPTIONS

Only decorative concrete gives you the ability to select any shape, size, color and surface treatment for your deck-from plain broom-finished concrete, to exposed aggregate, to imprinted patterns that mimic tile, brick, natural stone, and even wood. You can also mix and match decorative treatments, such as combining stained concrete with a stenciled or imprinted border or enhancing a colored overlay with sawcut or engraved patterns. You can design your concrete pool deck to blend in with your home's exterior facade and surrounding landscape, or make it the focal point of your backyard.

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.

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.

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.

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. See below to learn more about concrete paver benefits and installation.

OTHER SURFACE OPTIONS

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.)

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. However, in climates where freezing occurs, "antique" bricks are to be avoided as this material is known to absorb water and spall or crack during the frozen winter months. Brick can also be a slippery and hot surface. Another problem with these materials is their steep cost and labor-intensive installation.

Flagstone

Also known as "bluestone," flagstone offers a sleek and traditional look. However, very sunny sites will often heat flagstone to uncomfortable levels, particularly for young children.


Granite

Pool decks constructed with granite offer the rustic look of stone and great durability.


CONCRETE PAVERS FOR POOL DECKS: BENEFITS AND INSTALLATION

Benefits

Pavers are good for a pool deck because they are foot-friendly and provide good traction (NRC Landscape Construction, Vienna, Va.).

Concrete pavers are a great option for pool decks because they are durable; chlorine and salt resistant, and can provide the look of natural stone. Pavers also provide good traction and are comfortable underfoot, because the joints take on moisture that helps cool the surface.

Concrete pavers also come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, allowing you to create designs that complement your pool’s shape and style. You can also use the pavers to build raised seat walls, pillars, or planter boxes that will coordinate with the pool deck itself.

Another advantage of using pavers for pool decks is that they can be spot replaced, if necessary. They can also be removed and replaced for electrical or plumbing repairs under the surface. Also, if you want to add on to your pool deck at a later time, it’s easy to install matching pavers and create a seamless transition.

One drawback of pavers is the cost, which tends to be higher than stamped and colored concrete. However, they offer great long-term value because of their ease of maintenance and resistance to cracking and settling.

Maintenance

Concrete pavers will resist the growth of algae and mildew in wet pool deck environments (NRC Landscape Construction, Vienna, Va.).

Because factory-made concrete pavers are very dense and nonporous, they resist the growth of algae and mildew in wet pool deck environments, especially if they are protected with a sealer.

To prevent erosion of the joints, use a sand with a polymer additive that binds and hardens it, usually eliminating the need for refilling them in 2 to 3 years.

Typically, the only regular maintenance required for a paver pool deck is sweeping and occasional rinsing to remove dirt and leaves.

Concrete pavers may settle in spots over time if they aren’t installed properly over a stable subbase. However, they can easily be reset with no noticeable patchwork. Simply remove the affected pavers, regrade and recompact the subbase, and reinstall the pavers.

Buying and installation tips

  • To ensure the best performance, use a minimum of 6 to 8 inches of well-compacted base material and a 1-inch sand setting bed when installing paver pool decks.
  • Choose concrete pavers that are protected with a UV-resistant sealer to resist fading.
  • Keep your pool deck cooler by avoiding the use of dark-colored pavers, which will absorb more heat.
  • To prevent tripping hazards, be sure to use pavers with beveled edges.

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