Choosing the right hardscaping for around your pool can be difficult. You have many factors to consider including price range, aesthetic, and overall durability. For many people, the first image a pool deck brings to mind is concrete. Concrete pool decks have been popular for decades, and for good reason.
However, while they are great for many families, concrete is not without its drawbacks. We discuss all of the pros and cons to choosing concrete when pouring your next backyard pool deck.
Pros of Concrete Pool Decks:
There are a long list of benefits to choosing concrete as your pool deck’s hardscape material. These benefits have led to it becoming one of the most popular and pervasive materials in pools for decades. Among the benefits include:
Those looking for a finished, simple look to their outdoor living space can be quickly confronted by mounting costs of items such as interlocking pavers or natural stone. Unlike these other materials, poured concrete remains a relatively affordable way to create a finished and cohesive look to your pool deck.
Still, the price of your concrete deck will vary on several factors. These factors include the size of the deck, the simplicity of the pour, and the amount of detail and customization you would like included. Smaller, simpler concrete pool decks may cost around $6-$10 per square feet. More detailed pours or larger spaces will cost up to $15 per square. However, when compared to materials such as stone, concrete comes out on top for affordability.
Some may imagine concrete as a gray, one size fits all hardscaping material. However, this is not true. Modern concrete offers a good deal of flexibility in both pattern in color. If you’ve been picturing a flat, boring concrete pool deck, don’t let this mental image talk you out of concrete altogether.
Modern concrete pool decks can be customized in a multitude of ways. Poured concrete can be adjusted for color to suit the palette of your space. From darker grays, to beiges and reds, there is a spectrum of possibilities on the market.
Additionally ,concrete can now be stamped to resemble something closer to interlocking pavers. This means that you do not have to settle for large swaths of flat concrete padding. Of course, adding color and texture will make concrete more expensive. But knowing the options available to you will help you to make a more informed choice.
One of the largest perks for homeowners considering concrete for the pool is the ease of installation. Unlike interlocking pavers or stone, concrete is quick, straightforward process. There are no complex seams to fit, and this simplicity is reflected in the price and speed of the project.
If you want your pool to be usable with a shorter turn around time, you have a better chance with concrete. Of course, not all concrete pool deck installations go flawlessly. Cracking, unevenness, and mistakes can all occur and set the project back. However, most of the time you can count on a relatively painless installation process.
Cons of Concrete Pool Decks
While concrete enjoys quite a few benefits, it has been losing popularity in recent years for many reasons. Many of the problems presented by concrete have been addressed and solved by the upgrade of materials such as composite wood, and interlocked pavers. Concrete, while modernized in many ways, still faces some of the following issues:
Using concrete around your pool can leave it open to the elements. Over time, this exposure to wind and water can lead to erosion of the material. This erosion may be especially present if you have stamped or textured concrete poured in your backyard space.
This erosion can not only disrupt the appearance of the hardscape, but can change how it feels underfoot. Those running across an eroded pool deck in bare feet may notice that a previously smooth surface now feels gritty. As the filter around the larger concrete particles wears away, larger sediment remains and creates a rough, unpleasant surface.
Concrete may be straightforward to pour, but it is hardly a “set it and forget it” choice for your pool deck. In order to prevent problems common to concrete pool decks, regular maintenance and upkeep should be performed.
This upkeep includes regular sealing of the concrete, as well as cleaning. This proactive maintenance will allow homeowners to get the most from their concrete for longer. Failure to reseal or keep clean contributes to issues such as premature cracking and erosion.
For a hardscaping material that is so simple to install, it is quite the pain to repair. This is due to the nature in which concrete is poured. Most slab concrete is poured in larger blocks. This means, when part of one block experiences damage or cracking, the entire piece must be removed.
This is a process that can even lead to further damage to the surrounding slabs. Over time, repairing concrete may contradict its initial affordability. This is especially true for those whose pool decks incur a lot of wear and tear. Overall, families should decide how open they are to the possibility that their initial investment may well not last more than five or ten years before needing significant work.
All this is to say, concrete can be great for a long time, but certainly will not last forever. In fact, poured concrete generally has a lifespan of a few decades. And this time is not free of repair and upkeep.
If you are looking for hardscaping options that are likely to last a generation, investing in a more expensive option such as pavers or even natural stone may be a good idea.
At the end of the day, you are the only one who knows both your budget, and the level of functionality and durability you are looking for from your pool deck. While other hardscaping may last a longer time or require less attention, it also may be unrealistic for your budget. Considering both the pros and cons of concrete pool decks before making a hardscaping decision is critical to preventing a finished product you don’t love.