What kind of pool deck do you want to surround your swimming pool with? While pool decks for above-ground swimming pools are generally made of wood, you have more options with their in-ground counterparts, including concrete, stone and pool pavers. Whatever material you choose, remember that the surface must be durable and slip-resistant, while costs and looks will also come into play, as always. In the interview that follows, I discuss such subjects as pool pavers and decking around spas with Ken O’Neill, VP of Belgard Hardscapes.
Q. Ken, what are the top three factors homeowners should consider when thinking of installing decking around spas or swimming areas?
A. Homeowners should think about the overall use of the space. Is it just a hard surface to get from the deck or patio to the swimming area, or will it encompass other uses such as an outdoor living space or entertainment area?. This question will affect the overall design, cost, and products to select. Once this is complete, homeowners will want to decide on the look and style they are trying to achieve: a natural stone look, pool pavers, or other material. The color scheme and texture along with pattern need to be taken into account as well.
Q. What is the number one thing homeowners struggle with when making decisions about installing new decking around spas or swimming areas? Are there any trade secrets or product knowledge you can share to shed light upon this type of struggle, helping simplify the process for homeowners?
A. The number one thing that is challenging for them is the number of materials, and within these materials, the number of styles the homeowner can select from. While other projects are or can be as difficult, the general population is not exposed to pool pavers and landscaping materials quite as much. Then, too, there is the question of maintenance and the longevity of the materials. Homeowners will want to consider the short-term and long-term uses and objectives for the specific space in mind before installing decking around spas or pool pavers, for example.
Q. How would adding custom pool decks or decking around spas affect real-estate value?
A. We have found that a well-designed outdoor living space can return its value to the homeowner when the property is sold. Also, custom decking around spas or custom work around a swimming area can improve interest on the parts of perspective buyers when the homes are on the market, drawing larger numbers of potential buyers.
Q. Would you consider installing custom pool decks or decking around spas to be a viable do-it-yourself project? Why or why not?
A. Yes and no. Decking around a spa could be small enough to merit status as a DIY project. However, a replacement around a swimming area may require the removal of existing concrete. This may require equipment to be brought in to assist. Also, considering the presence of underground utilities around any water feature, homeowners might be better off calling in a professional. Lastly, laying pool pavers, like all paver installations, requires the compaction of the sub base and base material. A professional can do this work better and with less potential damage to the surrounding area than a homeowner.
Q. What basic design principles should be implemented in the installation of features such as decking around spas?
A. We would recommend all installations of pool decks or decking around spas follow ICPI (Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute) guidelines. Designers and landscape architects are well versed on all the necessary components.
Q. Should the swimming area or spa be installed at the same time as the pool deck or spa decking? How difficult is it to add custom pool decks or decking around spas to an existing structure?
A. It really does not matter. I would say it is always easier to do construction in one shot. Less hassles. However, pool pavers are a terrific choice for any existing structure.
My interview with Ken O’Neill on pool decks and decking around spas continues on Page 2....