As the warm summer months approach, you may be contemplating installing an above-ground pool in your backyard while you enjoy the great outdoors. A pool provides additional space for entertaining. When summer arrives, you can swim or lounge on your pool deck. What an exquisite treat! However, there is one thing to consider: which material is ideal for above-ground pool decks?
Decking made from pressure-treated wood was once one of the most popular construction materials. Not only was it frequently used for outdoor decks and exterior cladding, but also for pool decks. Obviously, a pool deck material must be waterproof and corrosion-resistant. After installation, wood decking requires routine maintenance, including painting and other tasks. Consequently, an increasing number of individuals prefer composite decking boards because it is strong, long-lasting, and low-maintenance. What is the difference between these two decking types?
Traditional Wood Decking
Different types of wood floors have different characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. The most common types of wood decking are described below.
Decking of Pressure-Treated Pine
Pressure-treated pine decking is one of the most popular types of decking material. It has the benefits of being the least expensive and easiest to acquire. This type of wood decking can be purchased at any nearby hardware store.
Pine, being a softwood, is susceptible to rot, mold, and insect infestation, necessitating routine maintenance, such as painting and sealing, to prolong its life. In regions with extreme seasonal temperature fluctuations, pressure-treated pine decks undergo repeated thermal expansion and contraction cycles. This may cause the outdoor deck to warp or crack.
On the pool deck, barefoot walking is the norm. A pine deck that is cracked or splintered is unfit for human use. Therefore, pressure-treated pine decking cannot be used for a pool deck.
Decking crafted from cedar
This is another softwood deck, but unlike pine, cedar naturally resists mold and decay. Decking made of cedar will eventually mold and rot when exposed to heat.
In addition to possessing superior rot resistance than pine decking, redwood decking is also more durable. When used as a pool deck, cedar decking has the same disadvantages as other materials. For instance, the deck surface is susceptible to cracking or crumbling and must be regularly sealed with a waterproof sealer. Regular maintenance is necessary to extend its life. In general, cedar decking is inappropriate for use as pool decking.
Decking Constructed of Hardwood
Commonly used as the raw material for hardwood decking are trees such as IPE. Typically, these hardwoods are resistant to rot, mold, splintering, and slipping. They are also durable, with a low-maintenance 25 to 30-year lifespan. With proper maintenance, pressure-treated pine or cedar decks can outlast hardwood decks by 15 to 20 years.
Decks made of hardwood must also be maintained routinely. Aside from routine cleaning of surface dirt and debris, they are relatively simple to maintain. Additionally, you should regularly oil the hardwood to prevent it from fading from UV light. Oiling a hardwood deck not only preserves the wood's appearance but also improves the surface's texture.
Using hardwood decking for a pool deck does come with a few disadvantages. For example, hardwood is difficult to transport and install due to its weight and size. Specifically, hardwood decks are three times more expensive to install than pine decks that have been pressure-treated.
Concrete Is Laid Down
Poured concrete is also a popular material for pool decks due to its durability and water resistance. The surface of the concrete can be brushed to increase its slip resistance. Even if the concrete is wet when the brushed surface is completed, barefoot swimmers will not be able to slip and fall.
Concrete pool decking has the benefit of being able to be poured into any desired shape, whether it be a curve or a geometric pattern, and it can be completed quickly. In addition, the cost of concrete pouring is low. The disadvantage is that it must be installed by a professional because concrete begins to set within minutes. If you do not handle it correctly, you may need to start over. The second disadvantage of concrete is that it can appear monotonous and unattractive.
Cement-Precast Paving Stones
Similar to poured concrete, precast cement pavers are a viable alternative to poured concrete. This material is prefabricated in numerous shapes, including squares, rectangles, and octagons. The variety of geometric shapes makes the surface pattern design more inventive. In addition to the single color of poured concrete, gray or earth-toned precast cement pavers can be ordered.
Although this material is more practical than poured concrete, it has some drawbacks. If not properly installed on a bed of excavated sand or gravel, the cement pavers may sink. This results in an uneven pool deck surface, preventing people from using their outdoor pools properly.
Materials for Composites
One of the primary advantages of composite decking is its low maintenance requirements. This is one of the primary reasons why composite deck boards are the most popular material for pool decks. Additionally, composite materials are crucially resistant to moisture, rot, and warping. Because pool decking is frequently exposed to water, this is the case. Moreover, composite wood decking is resistant to stains and fading. It is resistant to fading, even after prolonged exposure to UV rays, preserving the appearance of the pool deck.
While composite decking is more expensive than pressure-treated pine, it is more affordable than hardwood. However, they are less costly than hardwood decking. And because composite deck boards require minimal to no maintenance, you not only save money on post-maintenance expenses, but you also save money overall. Additionally, you will have more time to enjoy the outdoors. The strength and durability of the composite material allow it to last at least 25 to 30 years. If you use your pool deck correctly, you can even extend the time you spend enjoying it.
PVC decking is another popular option for pool decking. Like composite, it is resistant to rot, mold, and moisture. However, there are some differences between PVC and composite decking. PVC decking can become dangerously slippery when there is water on its surface, posing a hazard to people walking on it.
PVC does not require regular maintenance, but it can chip or crack in cold temperatures. It is not a good idea to use PVC decking as a pool deck if you live in a region with cooler seasonal temperatures.
Composite decking is optimal for pool decks because it combines affordability, performance, aesthetics, and durability. Obviously, you must choose the appropriate decking material based on your particular needs.
Get started on your outdoor pool deck project in preparation for summer so you can enjoy the outdoors.