There are many decks out there to put around your swimming pool from stamped concrete, concrete pavers, travertine pavers, kool, stone, wood, etc. How do you really decide? Here are some tips I have found over the years of building custom pools in Central Texas that can help you make that decision.
Know and Trust The Builder You Chose
An experienced pool builder is very familiar with the pros and cons of concrete and paver decking and what would be the best fit for your design. Ask the question “what would you do if it was your backyard and you were in my shoes?”. That usually demands their personal opinion. They would not put a problematic product in their backyard.
Stamped concrete became popular in the early 2000’s when builders were having issues with the wash and under-washed aggregate decking. Since then, it has become widely used and popular type of decking as an alternative to aggregate finishes.
Relatively inexpensive decking material that can be done quickly
Can be re-sealed every 2-6 years depending on which sealant product is used to change colors and highlights to give it that new car shine Stays relatively cool and easy to work on
Can be customized with unique designs like your family crest or last name
Must re-seal it every 2-6 years so there is long-term maintenance with this product
Each batch of concrete varies slightly which opens you up to potential issues in the future. If the batch has low PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) because it has been in the truck for hours before reaching your job site or for other reasons, it may be more prone to cracking and weakness and will need to be replaced. If the batch has high PSI, the result will be a stronger, more durable product.
Most builders do not offer a warranty against cracking, flaking, or fading of the decking material so once it’s installed, make sure it is how YOU want it!
Can be slippery when wet unless they use silica sand in the sealer to give it that “sandpaper grip” feel. This is important when you have kids running around the pool and are concerned with safety.
Until about 15 years ago, pavers were not used around pool decks unless it was the red brick coping. Recently, paver companies have hit the market strong with driveways, downtown roadways, and now residential patios.
Large selection of styles and designs that can create a very customized design
Most builders will put a lifetime warranty on product and 5 years on installation
Do not have to be sealed to look beautiful. Pavers can be sealed; however, this will require long-term maintenance similar to concrete
Much more durable because they arrive out of the factory at a specific PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) strength so it is very consistent
Flexible and moves with the soil. With the paver being generally independent of the one next to it, it can flex when the soil inflates or deflates
Can be replaced very easily be removing the original paver, rebuilding the base, and setting it back
Installation can be done in one day with the proper materials ready on site
Texture can be somewhat rougher on your feet depending on the type of edge you choose. Beveled/tumbled edge is a little smoother to walk over verses a ridged edge. Beveled edge or tumbled edge will cost more because it requires more processing to prepare.
It can be bit pricier to go with a paver deck because of the materials in base, geotextile, and the cost of pavers per square foot depending on the selection.
In the end, paver decking always will outweigh concrete in accessibility, beauty, maintenance, worry free and warranty.