Pool Deck Options - Best Material for Pool Deck In 2023 (with Photos)
A pool is a fabulous addition to any property. It’s a place to relax, exercise, and spend time with friends and family. And while a beautiful pool deck can significantly enhance the overall aesthetic of your swimming pool area, it should also provide a functional and safe surface, making the material you choose for your pool deck a critical decision.
There are several popular pool decking options, each with its unique pros and cons. In this article, we’ll explore the most popular materials for pool decks, including rubber, concrete, wood, pavers, stone, brick, tile, and composite, to help you choose the pool deck material best suited for your needs and preferences.
What Should You Consider When Choosing pool deck surfaces
When selecting the suitable surface for your above-ground or in-ground pool deck, there are several important factors to consider. From safety and durability to comfort and aesthetics, the surface you choose can have a major impact on the function and enjoyment of your pool. Here are the key factors to consider when selecting the pool decking material:
- Safety. The surface should be slip-resistant to minimize the risk of falls and injuries.
- Durability. Your decking surface should be sturdy enough to withstand direct sunlight, harsh weather conditions, pool chemicals, and heavy foot traffic.
- Comfort. The surface around a pool shouldn’t be too rough and absorb heat, as this can be uncomfortable for bare feet.
- Maintenance. The pool deck surface should be easy to clean and maintain.
- Aesthetics. When choosing the surface for your pool, make sure it fits into the design of the pool and the surrounding area.
- Cost. The cost of the material and installation should be within your budget.
- Environmental impact. Consider the environmental effects of the materials used, such as whether they are eco-friendly and can be recycled.
Top 8 swimming pool deck materials
Rubber is becoming an increasingly popular option for pool deck surfaces due to its comfortable texture and substantial slip resistance it provides. In addition, a rubber pool deck is typically made from recycled materials, meaning it’s an eco-friendly option. Rubber pool decks are highly versatile as they can be made in an incredible variety of colors and textures.
One of the main advantages of rubber surfaces is their safety factor, as they don’t get slippery when wet, reducing the risk of accidents. Moreover, rubber is an excellent shock absorber, providing a soft cushion for anyone who might slip and fall. Rubber surfaces are also easy to install and require very little maintenance. They are resistant to mildew, mold, and staining. Rubber pool decks remain flexible and crack-resistant even in sub-zero temperatures.
On the downside, rubber can be prone to fading and discoloration over time.
Although rubber decking surfaces can be expensive to install, they’re cost-efficient as they don’t require routine repairs and much maintenance. Given that, when opting for this type of material, you invest in your peace of mind for at least the next ten years.
Concrete has been the most popular pool deck material for decades due to its affordability, durability, and versatility. Concrete pool decks come in various finishes, colors, and patterns, effortlessly complementing any design style. You can choose the traditional poured concrete or go for stenciled, stained, or stamped concrete imitating stone or other finishes.
Concrete is relatively low-maintenance, and it can last for many years with proper care. Another advantage is that wet concrete remains slip-resistant when brushed or textured.
The major disadvantage of concrete is that it tends to get hot underfoot in direct sunlight. In addition, concrete can crack and become stained over time, calling for costly repairs.
The cost of a concrete pool deck can vary depending on the design and finish. Still, it’s generally one of the most affordable options.
Natural wood is a popular option for pool decks due to its beauty and versatility. A wood pool patio is a sure way to add a touch of elegance to any outdoor space. Moreover, wood pool deck surfaces can be customized to perfectly match any design style.
Beyond looking exceptionally beautiful, wood surfaces are relatively slip-resistant. They don’t get as hot as other materials like concrete or brick.
The biggest downside of wood is that it calls for a lot of maintenance to keep it looking its best. Regular sealing and staining are necessary to protect the wood from moisture, UV damage, and mildew. To top it off, wood is prone to splintering. It can be damaged by chemicals used to treat pool water, making it less durable than other pool deck materials.
Wood is one of the most expensive options, primarily if high-quality materials like cedar or redwood are used. In addition, be sure to plan for maintenance costs when choosing wood for your pool deck.
Pavers are another popular choice for pool decks. Fair enough, since they’re durable, versatile, and aesthetically appealing. You can choose stone, brick, or concrete pavers that come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, which translates into an exciting range of design options.
Pavers are slip-resistant and provide a safe surface for wet feet. In addition, they are easy to maintain and can be replaced individually when damaged.
This material requires thorough preparation of the base surface — it must be absolutely even. The installation process is complicated since the pavers must be cut to fit up against your pool coping. Lastly, you might be unhappy about stains, color changes, and weeds growing between the interlocking pavers.
While the material is quite affordable, the installation process is time-consuming and labor-intensive, driving up the cost.
Natural stone is an elegant option that can add a touch of sophistication to any pool area. Stone pool decks are available in various materials, including granite, slate, and sandstone, and can be customized to fit any design style.
Stone pool decks are slip-resistant, durable, and require minimal maintenance, making them a great choice for pool decks. Furthermore, stone stays cool to the touch in hot weather, providing a comfortable surface for your feet.
Certain types of stone require sealing to shield them against moisture, UV damage, and staining.
Stone is one of the most expensive options.
Brick is a sought-after option for pool decks due to its classic and timeless appeal. Brick pool decks are available in a variety of colors, sizes, and patterns, making them a versatile and stylish option. In addition, they are durable and long-lasting, with a lifespan of up to 25 years.
Brick surfaces are slip-resistant and do not retain heat, providing a comfortable and safe surface for wet feet. In terms of maintenance, a brick patio is relatively low-maintenance and easy to clean.
On the downside, brick can be rough and uncomfortable for bare feet. When wet, bricks get slippery, making regular maintenance a must-do. Plus, bricks make a favorable environment for moss and algae.
Compared to other options, brick pool decks have a moderate price.
Durable and versatile, tile pool decks are available in a variety of types — you can choose porcelain, stone, or ceramic tiles. They’re resistant to water damage, fading, and staining, making them a reasonably low-maintenance option for pool decks.
With virtually endless color and design options, tiles can help you achieve an ultimately appealing look.
The glazed tile can become extremely slippery when wet, so choosing tiles with a slip-resistant surface is crucial. Moreover, the grout can start looking grimy over time, meaning that this type of surface requires routine maintenance.
Tiles can be pretty expensive, especially if you choose high-end materials. Additionally, apart from their upfront price per square foot, they come with relatively high installation costs.
A popular choice for above-ground pools, composite pool decks are made of wood fibers and plastic, providing a solid and weather-resistant surface that doesn’t require painting or staining. Composite materials come in a variety of colors and patterns, so you have many design options to choose from.
When installed correctly, composite decking is slip-resistant. It’s also immune to mold, mildew, and insects, making it an excellent choice for humid and wet environments.
One of the main drawbacks of composite materials is that they can get hot in direct sunlight, which can be uncomfortable for bare feet.
Composite swimming pool decks are costlier than most other options, including natural wood.
So what patio material should you choose for your pool deck?
As you see, all patio materials have pros and cons, meaning there’s no one-size-fits-all option. Instead, you should carefully consider your individual preferences and budget to choose the surface that can best meet your needs.
Some materials provide an ultimate aesthetic appeal but are expensive and require frequent or seasonal maintenance. In contrast, others are durable but might fail to satisfy your design preferences. Given that, rubber looks like the best pool deck material — it’s aesthetically pleasing, safe, low-maintenance, eco-friendly, and cost-effective at the same time.