An above-ground pool is a great luxury to have during the summer, especially in hotter climates. Having a pool in the backyard is a great way to have fun, relax, and enjoy some great weather. In order to maximize the opportunities around the pool, it also pays to have a pool decking.
However, building a pool deck is not always a straightforward task. Choosing the right pool decking materials can be tricky. You need something that will look visually appealing, stay cool in the sun, and that can withstand water. Because your pool deck should withstand water, you might think that wooden pool decking is not an option. But this is not necessarily the case. There are a few materials you can choose from for a pool deck, including certain types of tropical lumber. Here is everything you need to know about choosing the right pool decking material before summer begins.
Best Pool Decking Materials
When it comes to choosing the best pool deck materials, there are a few general categories to choose from. They are:
- Composite Deck Materials
- PVC Decking
When it comes to quality, hardwoods are the best option on the market, by far. Tropical hardwoods like Ipe and Cumaru are extremely durable and naturally resistant to water. Additionally, hardwoods are all-natural products that don’t require harmful chemicals for pressure treatment. The use of a quality hardwood for your pool decking can be a great way to add a natural look while maintaining the best quality.
The exact lifespan of a hardwood pool deck will vary depending on the wood you choose. Ipe is typically the longest-lasting hardwood, with a lifespan between 50 and 75 years. Most hardwood decking should last around 25 years if properly maintained. This is a big advantage over pressure-treated softwood pool decks, which typically only last between 10 to 15 years.
Hardwoods can also withstand more weight than softwoods, allowing you to do more on your pool deck with hardwood. Many hardwoods also offer a much more striking natural appearance than pressure-treated softwoods. This is considered a great bonus for most people. And, of course, hardwoods also have the advantage of staying cooler in the sun than composite materials.
The downside of using hardwoods rather than softwoods is that they are heavier and can be tougher to work with. However, in terms of final product quality, hardwood pool decks are almost always superior to other deck materials.
For those who want a different look than natural hardwoods, composite materials are a very good option. Composite materials are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. This gives homeowners more creative flexibility to design a deck that suits their aesthetic preferences. Composite pool decking options can also be extremely versatile, and are also very low maintenance.
Composite decking materials are made from wood fibers and plastic, and come in a variety of styles. This variety is one of the strengths of choosing to work with composite materials. Different products offer unique characteristics than homeowners can use to their advantage on their DIY products.
For example, the Paris Collection from Norx is a composite material that is designed to both resist moisture and prevent slips on its surface. This makes it an ideal pool deck material, as it is designed with both durability and safety in mind. Your pool deck is going to get wet no matter what you do. Having an anti-slip surface is a great benefit, especially when the material is also sturdy and aesthetically pleasing.
TimberTech, another brand specializing in composite materials, uses a specialized four-sided cap technology for their products. This makes TimberTech’s composite materials almost as resistant to mold and moisture as hardwoods. For many pool owners, moisture resistance is the most important quality to look for when choosing a deck material. Top quality composite materials like TimberTech’s Pro Terrain decking are perfectly suited for this purpose.
There are a few potential disadvantages of working with composite pool deck materials. First, many composite materials tend to get quite hot when exposed to sunlight for long periods of time. This can be a problem for pool decks, as composite materials are not always the best for bare feet. It is best to consider how much your deck will be exposed to direct sunlight or in the shade before choosing a composite material.
Second, if you prefer a natural look, wooden decking will always be more authentic than composite.
PVC stands for “Polyvinyl chloride”, which is a sturdy plastic material. PVC decking is somewhat similar to composite decking in look and feel, but is a different type of material. Composite deck materials use a mix of both natural and synthetic materials. PVC, however, is entirely synthetic, made from 100% plastic components.
The main benefits of PVC deck materials are that they are lightweight and extremely resistant to moisture. High quality PVC decking also has a longer lifespan than many composite materials, lasting up to 30 years in some conditions. PVC decking also requires little maintenance to maintain its structural integrity. Because it is made from synthetic materials, it does not need to be sealed or stained for protection from the elements. Some basic upkeep is always required to keep your deck looking nice, but PVC requires less work than other materials.
Brands like Azek, Wolf, Tiva, and Norx all offer exceptional PVC decking for home construction projects.
The downside of working with PVC for some homeowners is that it does not provide the “natural” look they prefer. Many homeowners prefer the aesthetics of natural hardwood or composite deck materials. Additionally, the color of some PVC decking may fade over time, even if the deck itself is undamaged.
Pool Decking Ideas: Tips for Building
Your choice of pool deck materials will ultimately come down to a matter of preference and budget. There are pros and cons to each type of material. If your top priority is to create an impressive natural look, a hardwood deck like Ipe may be your best bet. For low maintenance and durability, composite materials might be the best choice.
Other pool deck ideas to consider include the location of your pool and local building codes. If you think it will be difficult to shade your pool deck from the sun, composite materials might not be ideal. For most people, local building codes should be no issue. However, it always pays to make sure your design is fully approved before you begin working.
It is also important to consider space when determining the size of your pool deck. You want it to be easy (and safe) to enter the pool from the deck. Make sure your deck area is easily accessible, and that it grants easy access to the pool.
No matter what pool decking options you prefer, Lumber Plus has you covered. With a wide selection of both tropical hardwood and composite decking materials available, Lumber Plus can help with any project.