As you’re designing your dream pool, one of the most important aspects of the design will be your decision what deck size and deck material will be used. There are many choices for decking, all of which are based on factors such as cost, appearance, size of area and typical use. The main rule when choosing pool decks is to purchase as much as you can afford once you make your final decision. The main reason for this being that it is more cost effective and easier to add square footage while you are building. Deciding to add more deck later will definitely cost you extra, not to mention having to give up your back yard again plus the potential of the decking you choose no longer being available. This is often easier said than done seeing as you have a budget to stick to and adding a few thousand dollars on additional decking isn’t in the cards. So you have to decide if you’re going to go for a larger deck using less expensive material, or a smaller deck using a more expensive option. It comes down to personal choice and is a decision you have to make for yourself. When exploring the pool decking options that are available to you here in Central Florida and the Orlando Metropolitan area, please keep in mind that we here at Pools By Bradley try to educate our clients that they should perhaps stay away from the stamped concrete, exposed aggregate, brushed concrete and wood decking options. The reason is that these decking options can get so very, very hot in Florida and actually can result in blister burns on people’s feet. Many find these decking options unacceptably uncomfortable during the extremely hot weather we experience during the Florida summers.
To help you get acquainted with the different deck materials that are available, here are the most common options available to choose from:
Pavers are typically made from stone, brick or concrete. They are usually on the more expensive side due to the amount of labor involved, but the price can also widely vary. The great thing about pavers is that design can be as intricate or as simple as you want and the pavers can be easily removed and replaced if you need work on the plumbing underneath or one cracks or breaks. Almost all paver materials are very durable, non-slip and weather resistant – perfect for the deck on your outdoor oasis.
Travertine is a natural stone paver that actually absorbs the cool from the ground underneath it and it reflects the heat from the suns rays. The other great thing about travertine is that the stone is slip-proof. The stonework is offered in a variety of styles and colors, and due to its porous nature, the water splashed around your pool will no longer create hazardous puddles, rather will be absorbed into the stone, increasing safety and preventing flooding around your patio.
Stamped concrete is concrete that is stamped or textured to look like pavers, patterned stone or pretty much any other material you can think of. Stamped concrete has become quite popular over the years and can match pretty much any house or setting. Much like pavers, the price will vary based on the intricacy of the design and labor required. You’ll also need to add a textured surface over the stamped concrete to prevent the surface from staining and becoming too slippery.
Exposed Aggregate Decking
Exposed aggregate decking is usually made by putting down a base of concrete and topping or seeding it with pea gravel or crushed stones. The pea gravel or stone is then washed to “expose” the various shapes and colors . Exposed aggregate can have a very natural look and be an excellent compliment to other natural materials. Exposed aggregate is among the most affordable and durable deck options. Aggregate can be hot on the feet when in direct sunlight and depending on the type of aggregate used, the surface can sometimes be a bit hard on the feet.
If you’re looking for a more natural look, flagstone is a very popular choice. It’s various natural colors will blend with almost any color scheme and it also prevents slipping with its rough texture by nature. Again, like pavers, laying flagstone is pretty labor intensive increasing the material’s cost. Also, since flagstone is a porous, soft stone, you may need to protect the stone from pool chemicals with an approved sealant. Darker variants of flagstone can also hold heat making them hot when fully exposed to sun and can also cause puddles to form on the surface due to it’s naturally variant surface.
Acrylic decking is typically a mixture of modified acrylic resin, sand and cement. A thin coat of polymer concrete or acrylic is applied over plain concrete to give it a texture. As with stamped concrete, acrylic can also be textured to take on the look of other decking materials such as tile, brick or even flagstone. It can also be custom textured or even acid stained to give it a distinctive look around your pool and can be applied over new or old concrete. After the thin coat is applied, it is typically finished with a solvent based sealant that makes it easy to clean and stain resistant.
Brushed concrete is….wait for it….concrete that is brushed! The brushing gives the concrete a better appearance as well as some texture. The final look would be similar to that of a driveway or sidewalk; however, if you have a skilled, artistic installer, they can take it to a whole different level making it more appealing. Unique finishes and patterns can be formed in the brushed concrete using various types of media including sponges, brushes, custom tools and trowels, all while staying a low cost deck option.
Last, but not least, is the oldest form of decking: wood. There are many advantages to wood decks – they can be customized to fit any yard and they can be built by relatively anyone with average carpentry knowledge. The disadvantage of wine is that it weathers over time. If inexpensive, untreated wood is used to build the deck, there may be nothing but headaches when it is used around a pool and its exposure to water can lead to rotting, cracking and warping. Luckily, there are ways to minimize these problems such as using pressure treated lumber and sealing the decks annually, both of which will help your wood deck last for many years and resist rotting and pests (like termites among others). Another option is to use a wood composite material which bind recycled plastic resins with wood fiber for a deck which can last for decades and there is no need to seal or maintain – just hose it off on occasion.
Pools by Bradley is Here for YOU
Whichever decking option you decide on, make sure the materials and options fit your budget as well as your needs. All of us here at Pools by Bradley live and breathe our mission of designing and building your ultimate outdoor pool atmosphere – and this includes your deck! We intend to inspire you to improve the recreational time you spend with your family and friends in your new outdoor environment. Our motto is “take care of the customer and everything else will take care of itself”. When you choose Pools by Bradley to help you build your dream pool, you can rest assured that you’re choosing the very best. As a local family owned and operated company founded in back 1996, we have received numerous design awards and honors. Pools by Bradley is rated as one of the top 50 pool builders in the U.S., plus recognized as the “Best Pool Company” in Orlando by Orlando Magazine several years in a row! We offer custom built pools and spas with additions ranging from water features and lighting effects to rain curtains and water slides…the sky’s the limit! Contact us online or call us today at 407-323-7496 to see how we can help you build the pool of your dreams!