With so much more time being spent at home, many want to make their home a place that they can truly enjoy. That means taking on many home improvement projects, including building an above ground pool deck.
If you have an above ground pool, building a deck is a great way to get more use of the area. However, it can be overwhelming to decide what kind of deck to install and how to get the most out of it.
It’s not simply about function, although that is also important. It is also about the aesthetics – the right pool deck makes your backyard look better.
This article will go through why you should build a deck, what your choices are and other points to consider in how you build your above ground pool deck.
Why Choose an Above Ground Pool?
Before building your deck, you must build your pool first. There are many advantages to installing an above ground pool instead of an inground pool. These include:
- They cost less – up to 1/5th of the price of installing an inground pool.
- It is quicker to install an above ground pool. In most cases, installation takes about a day.
- They are easy to safeguard and more difficult for a child or pet to fall in.
- If you move, your above ground pool can move with you to the new house.
- They are easier to repair and maintain.
- Having an above ground pool will not increase your property taxes.
Why Install a Deck?
While it’s not absolutely essential to build a deck around your above ground pool, there are a lot of good reasons to do so. Let’s take a look at just some of those reasons.
Your yard looks nicer
Without a deck, some above ground pools look out of place. A deck helps integrate the pool into the rest of the landscaping and creates a flow to the space.
Your lawn looks nicer
Jumping in and out of the pool with nothing surrounding it means your yard quickly turns into a large mud puddle. A deck will catch all of that water, protecting the surrounding area.
Your pool stays cleaner
Since you are going onto a nice clean deck, instead of a muddy yard, when you go out of the pool, you are tracking less dirt into the pool. This keeps your pool cleaner and does not strain your pump and filter as much.
It makes it easier to get in and out of your pool
Without a deck, to get into your above ground pool means climbing up the outside ladder and then back down the inside ladder. With a deck, you can dip in or just climb down the inside ladder.
You can cool off without going in the pool
Sitting on the edge of your deck and dipping your legs in the water can help you cool off without committing to going for a full swim.
It is better for entertaining
With a deck around your pool, you can entertain friends and have some swimming and some socializing on the nearby deck. It makes for a much better pool party!
DIY or Hire a Contractor?
There are many pros and cons to each.
Of course, doing it yourself will cost significantly less than hiring a contractor. However, if your skillset is not there, fixing your own mistakes will cost a lot!
Building an above ground pool deck is also an investment of your time, so make sure you have time in your schedule to complete the work!
A contractor has the tools and experience needed to build your beautiful deck and will let you know what will work and what will not. Additionally, a contractor will know your local bylaws to make sure your deck is up to code.
Give an honest assessment of your abilities and the time you have to commit to building an above ground pool deck before deciding whether or not to hire a contractor.
Choosing Your Materials
There are many options for materials with which to build your deck. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is something that you will want to think about carefully.
Materials that will be used for a pool deck must be pool resistant. However, building codes do not define what that means.
Wood and composite wood can be textured to reduce slipping and aluminum decking can have a slip-resistant coating added to it.
As well, you do not want a material that will hold too much heat. Remember – the deck is mostly going to be walked on in bare feet!
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of different materials.
- It can be poured into any shape you want
- It is affordable – about $5 to $6 per square foot if a professional does it, or $2 to $3 if you do it yourself.
- Concrete is durable and will last a long time.
- If you finish with a brushed surface, it is slip-resistant.
- Unless it is a small pour or you have concrete experience, you need to hire someone.
Pre-Cast Cement Pavers
- These are available in a variety of tones
- They are also affordable – between $2 and $7 per square foot depending on who installs it
- If they are not installed correctly, your deck will be uneven.
- You can choose a variety of colors and installation patterns
- Bricks are durable
- Installation takes a long time because you have to set each brick individually.
- It is slightly more expensive at up to $5 per brick and up to $5 per square foot to install.
- Dark bricks absorb heat and will be hot to walk on.
- Wood can be added on top of existing concrete decks.
- You can stain or paint the wood any color you like.
- It has to be sealed every year to protect it.
- It has to be refinished every three to four years.
- Splinters (ouch!)
- Better than wood, as it is made from a blend of recycled wood (and sometimes recycled plastic for more durability)
- It lasts longer than regular wood.
- It is designed to resist fading, splintering and mold.
- Over time, they tend to sag and bend more than natural wood.
- Depending on the type you get, it can be slippery.
- It is soft to walk on.
- As a luxury decking material, it looks fantastic.
- It will be a big line item on your budget at up to $15 per square foot for materials and $18 per square foot to install.
Other Things to Consider
While building, there are a number of things to keep in mind. Of course, if you hire a contractor, speak to them about any concerns that you may have about building your above ground pool deck.
Sky is the limit for any home improvement project, so look at what your budget allows you to afford. On the low end, it will cost about $2,000 to build your deck, but the average is between $4,700 and $7,800.
When designing your above ground pool deck, think about your existing home and landscaping. Your above ground pool deck should match so that it looks like an extension of your home and does not stand out.
Think about how you want to use your above ground pool deck and that will dictate how it is designed.
You want your deck to be wide enough, at least 3 feet, to be able to walk around it. Above ground pool decks are usually 3 to 6 feet above grade.
You want to be able to shed water, so the slope should be 1/8 to 1/4 inches over 12 inches.
Freestanding or Attached
You can either have your deck be its own freestanding structure or have it attached to your home. There are fewer code restrictions for freestanding decks, and they can rest on concrete blocks, versus digging footings.
Keep It Separated
The deck should not attach to the pool and should be about 3/4″ away from the pool. If the deck is attached to your pool, it weakens the pool’s integrity.
An above ground pool deck higher than 30 inches above grade requires a railing. These railings should be at least 36 inches high.
To protect your children and prevent them from going in the pool unattended, you should also install a gate with a safety latch.
Don’t forget your equipment
Many pool owners put their pumps and filters underneath the ground pool deck to keep it out of sight and protect it from the elements. You can also put it at the side of your desk and use your leftover lumber to build a smaller structure to hold all of your equipment.
Building an above ground pool deck can be the finishing piece of your backyard oasis. It can take your pool area from “okay” to “WOW!”.
Impress your guests by designing a truly beautiful area. As well, design a place that can add to the function of your pool and be a place that the whole family gathers and enjoys.