Swimming Pools - Swimming pools provides details of what types of pools are available, the materials used including fiberglass and vinyl, the use of stenciled concrete for pool decks, and offers advice on heaters, covers and filters as well as the positioning of swimming pools in your garden.
Information about pool decks - what they are, the types and designs available, important safety issues and hints on positioning them for best family use. Also some details on concrete stenciling, the use of bricks and tiling pool decks.
What are Pool Decks?
A swimming pool deck is the area around the swimming pool which serves to surround your pool and provide a leisure
area. Just as with the pools themselves, there are two main types of pool deck, "inground" and "above ground" decks.
"Inground" tend to be part of the pool design installation whilst "above ground" pool decks can be added to an existing
installation. Decking can be made from many different materials. Wood, tiles, stone or concrete are the most
commonly used for decks, each of these offering a wide range of textures, designs and styles.
Pool decks normally require footings that are crucial to the strength and safety of the deck or patio structure.
"Above ground" decks usually have stairs and railings and can either surround the entire pool or just
to access the pool. "Above ground" decks can be an attractive feature that can greatly enhance the appearance
of your pool. By their nature, "above ground" pool decks tend to be built from wood, often either natural cedar or redwood,
or from synthetic versions, often a combination of wood and plastic. Ideally, the wood is pressure-treated and can
be stained or painted. If building from metal, aluminium is a popular choice, primarily due to the number of
commercially available kits. Indeed, some "above ground" pools are sold with aluminium decking.
"Inground" pools tend to be made from concrete which is the most popular choice
for pool decks due to its strength, affordability and ease of installation. A concrete decking area need not be
as dull as it sounds. Many companies offer dyeing, stamping or stenciling to recreate stone effects such as bricks,
tiles or even cobbles. Whilst more expensive than basic concrete, this may still be a cheaper alternative to using
Stones and bricks are still very popular for pool decks as is epoxy stone, a porous stone that
provides a durable, slip free surface, since water runs through the stone and back into the ground below. The stone
is also much less heat absorbent than concrete and is easy to repair. Should the surface beneath the epoxy
stone expand and crack, they can be repaired by chipping them out and repouring them with epoxy stone.
No matter what design or material you opt for, it is critical that your swimming pool decks are safe. To avoid injury
the decking should never be slippery, either when wet or dry. It is also better that your decking does not get too
hot to walk on under the heat of a summer day. Health & safety are important issues for all pool areas.
Types and designs available
Swimming pool decks can have one or many levels and can be bold or unassuming, depending on your preferred design.
The deck's location is important as it will become a frequently used space and as such should be strategically
placed to enjoy the scenery whilst minimizing noise both to and from your neighbours.
Deck Orientation - where to position it
Pools & pool decks should be orientated as much as possible in regards to the sun and surrounding views.
This will depend on where you are in the world as to where the sunshine falls at various times
of the day and also on the position of your house, garden and views. Bear in mind that the sun angle swings widely
over the course of the year.
Provide ample deck space along with the use of furniture and tables in certain areas to encourage people
to congregate in that particular area. In other words, the area of pool decks used most will be the part that can
accommodate the most people where they can sit down, take a rest and sip their drinks. The barbecue
area, waterfall, hot tub, Jacuzzi, or any other feature that naturally draws people to it, should also be designed
to be placed in the area that is the best suited for them to congregate.
Pool decks are where people will spend most of the time in the swimming pool area. This
is where they will congregate during parties, lounging about and sunbathing. As such, keep in mind the surrounding
within the pool area, as well as "borrowed" visual elements outside of the pool decks area. If there are unsightly or
unwanted views outside of the pool area, think about how they can be screened or position the deck to minimize
these views. On the other hand, striking natural views, such as mountains, hills,
rivers, lakes and sunsets can be accentuated by good deck orientation.
Orientation for pool decks should have an eye on privacy to and from neighbours as much as possible. Views should be away from
neighbouring structures, which may require additional screening with fencing or landscaping. Congregation and
lounging areas should be as far removed from the neighbours as the property or pool environment allows. Sounds
coming from your pool decks as well as from neighbour's house, traffic and machinery can be at least partially
screened with the clever use of running water, such as a waterfall. Vegetative plant buffers and earthen mounds
built from soil excavated from the pool are helpful in maintaining privacy as well as for dampening sound
from around pool decks.
More on materials
Deck areas surrounding a pool can be made from a range of materials including poured in place concrete, broom finish
concrete, exposed aggregate, tiles, brick pavers or natural stone masonry. They all offer different colours, touch
and variation in price. Different materials possess different assets and limitations, not to mention cost
for pool decks.
Flagstone, sometimes known as "bluestone," offers a sleek and traditional look. However, very sunny sites
will often heat flagstone to uncomfortable levels, particularly for young children. While many different colors
and patterns are available with brick decks, brick too, can be a hot sometimes slippery surface for
Many design combinations, such as that of brick pavers, flagstone coping and border bands can be taken into
consideration. 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. Granite decks offer the rustic look of stone and
More on stenciling concrete.
Stamped and stenciled concrete pool decks clearly stand out from a plain broom finished pool deck.
Stenciled concrete is another way of adding color, pattern and texture to a plain concrete slab at the time of pouring.
The finished job has the attractive look of brick or stone with a contrasting grout line.
Edges of plain, matching or contrasting patterns can be added and even applied to steps. Decorative features such
as special designs, company logos, monograms, etc. can be incorporated into the paving pool decks.
The finished job is sealed with a protective coating which protects the product from dirt and stain and improves
the overall strength of the topping. The area can be rough-broomed or an anti-slip finish can be applied to give the
finished product traction in steeply graded areas of your pool decks.
The main advantage of stenciled concrete is that a high quality finish and image can be achieved at a very
reasonable price and in a relatively short period of time.
Poured as a new area of concrete, a stencil is laid on the wet concrete. A color hardener is spread and troweled
in, so that when the stencil is removed, a grouted paving pattern is achieved. The area is then washed down and
More on brick & ceramic tiles for pool decks
Natural brick and ceramic tiles have longtime been the mainstays in the swimming pool deck business.
Long before technology was used to pattern, color and otherwise beautify concrete, traditional brick and tile lent
an elegance and harmony to pool decks. Tile still retains its popularity at the water line and as patio trim
due to its longevity and finished appearance. Brick also offers a finished product with long life.
The biggest problem with these materials has not only been their higher cost, but their propensity for
retaining heat. Brick and tile pool decks can become extremely hot to the touch after a while in the sun, making
them less popular in the warmer climates. In other parts of the country, however, both materials are still often
used for their looks and durability.
More on overlays for pool decks
Textured and coloured overlays can now be applied over virtually any surface.
It must be kept in mind, however, that overlays in a pool deck resurfacing project are only as good as
the concrete beneath it. If the base isn't solid, then the overlay won't stick properly. The base can either
consist of a newly-poured 1" to 2" concrete deck, or the overlay can be applied over existing older pool decks.
If a slab already exists then it will be necessary to scour the surface area for adhesion purposes,
and fill any existing surface cracks.
The most relevant links we could find, placed here free
- Pool Decks - Information from the Concrete Network. www.concretenetwork.com
- Free basic deck plans, as well as above ground pool deck plans. www.deckplans.com