In the backyard or indoors, no matter the location, a pool is sure to become the focal point of your home. How you choose to furnish it, however, will have a direct impact on how you and your guests experience it. There are many things to consider when building a pool deck. The safety of your family and friends should be at the forefront of your mind at all times. However, if you’re anything like most homeowners, you probably want it to look great, too! Whether you’re planning on building a new deck for an existing above ground or inground pool or adding one as an extension of your current outdoor space, there are some best practices that can help ensure your project goes smoothly from start to finish.
Plan Ahead and Hire a Contractor
The first step in constructing your pool deck is to determine what materials you want to use. You should develop a good understanding of each option and how they may impact the longevity of your deck. For example, natural stone or synthetic stone tiles, like the kind you might see indoors or out in a commercial setting, are incredibly durable and may need to be replaced less frequently than wood or synthetic decking materials. As with most projects, hiring a contractor to build your pool deck is highly recommended. Contractors have the resources and experience to help you navigate the vast array of decking materials and styles, as well as provide any design assistance that may be needed.
Install the Right Flooring
When it comes to decking materials, there are many options to choose from. For instance, if you’re building a new deck and are looking to extend the life of your structural support posts, you’ll want to use a wood species with a lower modulus of rupture (MR) rating. MR refers to the amount of stress or pressure necessary to break a board. For greater longevity, use a species with a lower MR. Additionally, if you’re building a floating deck, a low-MR species like cedar is a great option. Cedar has a lower MR than many other decking materials and is soft enough to be easily driven into the ground with a hammer. Alternatively, if you’re looking to build a floating deck over an existing structure and/or you’re limited in your framing options, a synthetic decking product is an excellent choice. Many synthetic deck products are water-resistant, making them ideal for floating deck applications.
Choose Safe Rails and Fencing
Your decking materials will largely determine the type of railing or fencing you can use. Ideally, you want to choose materials that will blend well with your deck’s aesthetic. However, determining the right choice of railing or fencing material is more than just aesthetics. You want to choose a material that is safe, easy to maintain, and meets your local building codes. For example, pressure-treated wood rails and posts are rigid and great at resisting rot and corrosion. However, they aren’t the most attractive choice. Alternatively, synthetic rails and posts come in a wide range of colors and styles to blend in with most any aesthetic. These materials, however, are generally more expensive and less durable.
Install a Slip-resistant Surface
For safety reasons, it’s best to construct your pool deck with a slip-resistant surface. In fact, most building codes in the U.S. require that any area surrounding a pool be built with a non-slip surface. While many people choose to lay down a rubber mat for this purpose, it’s not always the best option. Rubber mats are often easily damaged by foot traffic and pool equipment. Additionally, they can develop cracks and holes that lead to the growth of mold and mildew. Remember, your deck is an extension of your home. It should be functional and beautiful. For this reason, most experts recommend installing a synthetic tile or sheet style surface, like a vinyl or a fiber-cement sheet. Both of these materials are great at resisting damage and are easy to clean and maintain.
Add a Coated Steel Deck Drain
With all the foot traffic that will find its way onto your deck each year, it’s imperative that you install a deck drain. A deck drain helps to channel water away from your home’s foundation and ensures that your water lines don’t clog. For the best results, hire a contractor to install a steel deck drain with a coated finish. These types of deck drains are designed to withstand the harshest environments and are designed to last as long as your home. If you’re building a new deck and are unsure of where to install the deck drain, most experts recommend installing it directly under the water line for your filter pump.
Add Bumpers and Borders
Believe it or not, deck bumpers and borders are a great way to increase safety around your pool and improve the aesthetics of your deck. Many experts recommend installing deck bumpers every 2 to 3 feet on the outer edge of your deck. Deck bumpers act as a barrier between your deck and your pool, helping to prevent children and unsupervised adults from falling into the water. Borders are another great way to increase safety and improve the aesthetics of your pool deck. If you’re building a new deck and don’t want to install deck bumpers, consider installing a pool deck border instead.
The bottom line is that constructing your deck is a big project and it’s important to remember that good planning, research, and communication with your contractor will go a long way in ensuring a successful build. Remember, your deck is an extension of your home. It should be functional and beautiful, and it should blend seamlessly with the rest of your outdoor living space. If you’re in the market for a new pool deck, now is the time to start making plans. With the help of the insights outlined in this article, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect and how to get the most out of your investment.