When you begin to plan your backyard project, you will find there are decisions you will have to make. Some of them are small decisions, like what type of plants you may want to landscape with. Some decisions are much more important, like choosing the shape of your pool. That is a permanent decision you'll want to get right the first time. Each decision offers you the opportunity to create a unique backyard oasis that is tailored to your family's needs. One of the decisions is choosing your swimming pool decking (patio around the pool). While this may not be as exciting as selecting pool features, it can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of your backyard project. Here are some of the most common pool decking options you will have to choose from.
The most basic decking is concrete with a “broom finish.” This is simply concrete that is finished by pulling a special broom across the troweled surface. This is the most economical of all decking options. If you want to take it a step further, you can have the concrete stained and sealed after the concrete has cured. Basic concrete can also be scored to give the impression of tiles or a diamond pattern.
Exposed aggregate is a variation of basic concrete. Little bits of crushed rock, or small river stones are pressed into the wet concrete to create a more durable, highly textured, slip resistant surface. This is much less popular today than it has been in the past, but some home owners still choose this type of decking.
Another option with concrete is to have it stamped. In this case the stain is usually added to the wet concrete instead of being applied after it cures. Rubber mats are used to stamp the texture into the concrete. After the concrete is cured, this concrete is also sealed to protect it from the elements and pool chemicals. There are many different stamp patterns to choose from and a variety of colors that are available. It can mimic brick, slate, and flagstone at a lower cost than the actual materials.
Because of the smooth texture of stamped concrete once the sealant is added, this can create a surface that is more slick than the “broom finished” concrete. An anti-skid agent can be mixed with the sealant to make it less slippery, but it will still be slicker than most other decking options.
The biggest downside to any concrete option is it’s tendency to crack. Contractors should place control joints to control where the concrete cracks, but it is still possible for it to crack elsewhere. If you have a stained concrete it may also need to be resealed periodically.
(Decking types left to right: aggregate, broom finish, stamped and stained.)
Pavers are a completely different type of decking option. These are brick like pieces that are made of concrete. Factories use a variety of coloring agents and molds to create pavers of different size, shapes, and colors. Most of the time, they are installed over a well-compacted base material topped with a 1-inch sand setting bed. After they are laid, the joints can be filled with polymer sand. Pavers offer a pool decking that is durable and slip resistant, with the look of natural stone. They can easily be added to or removed, and offer easy access to the ground underneath if any maintenance issues ever arise.
Pavers are somewhat more costly than poured concrete because of the extra labor cost. If the ground under them isn’t properly compacted, areas can settle over time leaving slightly sunken areas in the decking. This is the least option we do at Parrot Bay Pools.
Another option Parrot Bay offers is natural stone decking. There are many different types of stone that are used to create beautiful pool decks. Most of them are very durable, have a non-slip surface, and resist moisture and heat. Some types of stone vary greatly in size and shape while others are much more uniform. Stone is usually the most expensive decking option because the materials are much more costly, but stone can also create some of the most beautiful and organic looking pool decks.
Parrot Bay Pools concrete contractors are members of the American Society of Concrete Contractors
(ASCC) Improving concrete finishes through education, maintenance and repair of concrete structures.
Still have questions? Call us today at 501.664.6861 to discuss pool decking materials in detail, or to schedule a free consultation and yard evaluation.