To many homeowners, a backyard oasis is not complete without a pool. Pools provide the perfect place to relax during the spring and summer, where families can enjoy the sun and cool, refreshing water for days on end.
While a pool may seem like an oasis enough, to really take it to the next level, homeowners should install wooden decking around the pool area. It is a simple addition that can add a lot to any backyard space, especially when they use real wood instead of a composite material.
However, before rushing to install a wooden pool deck, there are some important things you need to know.
Benefits of Wooden Pool Decking
1. Create a Designated Space
For homeowners with larger backyards, a wooden pool deck is a great way to help create a designated pool space. By building a deck around the pool, it will let everyone know where the pool area begins and ends. This can help keep the rest of the backyard cleaner and drier while containing any mess from the pool in that one specific area.
2. Double as Furniture
Wooden decking can also double as furniture. Instead of having to spend more money to buy separate furniture, it is easy to build chairs and lounges directly into the decking, using the same hardwood material. Alternatively, homeowners can use a lighter wood than the actual decking to create a little contrast. But, by building with the same decking material, it is a chance to create a unique piece of furniture for their backyard.
3. Increase Property Value
Another worthwhile benefit of wooden pool decking is the increase in your property value. While decking, in general, can be an excellent investment, wood decking is especially worthwhile because it is such a beautiful, high-quality material. That means, should you ever decide to sell your home, you can expect a slightly higher resale value, thanks to the pool decking.
Preparing for a Pool Deck
Understanding the benefits of wooden pool decking and choosing to install one is only part of the equation. But, there are some things that homeowners should do before the actual installation of a wood pool deck.
Taking the proper steps to prepare for installation is critical because doing so will help to ensure that the deck is built well and meets all the decking requirements.
1. Measure the Space
First and foremost, it is important that homeowners carefully measure the desired deck space. They should measure more than once to ensure they have the proper measurements for the deck; otherwise, the deck may end up too big or too small. Careful measuring will also help ensure you get the right amount of material to work with.
2. Know the Height
The desired height of pool decking depends on the type of pool. For above-ground pools, the wooden pool decking can have a height of anywhere from 3- to 6-feet in height. This will keep it level with the edge of the pool, and create an elevated pool deck space.
Similarly, an in-ground pool deck should also be level with the edge of the pool, around an inch off the ground at most. Otherwise, people will struggle every time they climb out of the swimming pool.
3. Choose Your Wood Type
Wooden pool decks come with many different options in terms of the type of woods available for decking. Ideally, homeowners should choose hardwood for their wooden pool decking, because it is a much more durable option.
One of the most popular hardwood choices for pools is Ipe wood. Ipe is a beautiful wood with a Class A Fire Rating that ranks high up on the Janka Hardness Scale, making it very resistant to surface checking. It is also both rot and insect resistant, adding to its overall durability. But, most importantly, Ipe wood is also water-resistant, making it perfect for use as pool decking.
Another popular wood option that is also high up on the Janka Hardness Scale, and Class A Fire Resistant, is Batu. Like Ipe, it is also rot and insect resistant and is extremely durable. However, unlike Ipe wood, it is not naturally resistant to water, so it would require a stain to create a water-resistant decking.
Cumaru wood, like Ipe and Batu, is a highly durable, Class A Fire-Rated hardwood. It is also both rot and insect resistant, and also is naturally water-resistant like Ipe wood.
There are, of course, many other hardwood options; however, these are the top three to consider. Ipe, Batu and Cumaru hardwoods are all sustainably sourced and low maintenance, making them very easy to care for once installed.
Installing a Wooden Pool Deck
Use Proper Board Spacing
One crucial step to keep in mind when it comes to installing a wooden pool deck is to ensure proper board spacing. Even though some woods are kiln-dried to provide maximum stability, there is still some expanding and contracting as the weather and moisture levels change.
When that isn’t taken into account during installation, as boards expand, they can press against each other and overlap. This can cause the deck to become tight and damaged more quickly and require repairs over time.
Ideally, a deck’s boards should have between 3/16″ to 1/4″ in spacing, depending on the size of the boards. This will help to account for the expanding and contracting and ensure boards do not end up overlapping.
Protecting Your Decking
While hardwood decking materials like Ipe, Batu and Cumaru are highly durable and low-maintenance, for them to maintain their natural color, they require a stain. Wood stains also help to protect the wood from UV rays from the sun, which can age and damage the wood over time . Batu wood, in particular, requires a deck stain to be used as pool decking, since it does not have the same natural water-resistance as Ipe and Cumaru.
While a pool alone can be a statement, to make a backyard really memorable, a wooden pool decking can pull it all together. But, homeowners must take the time to know the facts about wood decking in general before choosing to install it around their pool. While it is beautiful and an excellent investment, it needs to be done correctly, otherwise, they will end up spending more money in the long run.