Pool-Friendly Patio Materials

Get a pool patio to match your style at a price that doesn’t leave you high and dry

Today’s advancements in pool patio materials have eliminated the plain concrete patios so many of us grew up with. Now, a pool patio can dramatically improve your home’s landscape design. The choices are endless, but I’ve covered some of my favorites here. Each has pros and cons, so talk with your contractor or pool designer beforehand so you know what works best for your backyard.

 

Patio Materials 1: Caviness Landscape Design, Inc., original photo on Houzz

Landscaping Guide: 10 Popular Paving Materials

Natural Stone

While natural stone is a very luxurious choice for patios, you can cut costs by choosing stone from a local quarry. The native Oklahoma flagstone here was hand cut to match the travertine in the home. This is labor intensive and adds to the total cost, but the result is magnificent.

 

Stone can be installed various ways, depending on the soil conditions. If the existing soil is clay based, it would be wise to lay stone on a 4-inch concrete slab with steel reinforcement for a sturdy base.

 

Stone color can vary dramatically, since it’s a natural product. Samples can give you an idea of what it will be like, but know that there will be color variations.

 

Flagstone patios can be installed with ground cover planted in between. This type of application complements the natural surroundings — but be sure to have the patio slant gently away from the pool to avoid runoff into the water.

 

Some stone can be installed on a base of compacted stone dust.

 

Cost: $18 to 22 square foot average installed, based on availability of the stone

 

Pros:

  • Long lasting
  • Individual stones can be replaced if cracked

 

Cons:

  • Needs to be sealed every season
  • Maintenance on grout is necessary if there are extreme seasonal temperature changes
  • If the pool is a salt-water system, water splashing onto the patio can cause the stone to deteriorate and crumble. Sealants applied on a regular basis can help.

 

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Stamped Concrete

Customizable in various patterns, stamped concrete can be a great choice for patios. Be careful when choosing your pattern — slippage may be a concern around the pool area if it is a smooth pattern. Stamped concrete also needs to be installed all at once, since it’s difficult to match the existing stain in a later addition.

 

Cost: $8 to $18 and up per square foot

 

Pros:

  • Many custom options for pattern and stain color
  • Easy and fast installation

Cons:

  • Smooth surfaces can be slippery around the pool, depending on the stain and sealer
  • Hard to match at a later date, making additions to the patio difficult
  • Concrete will crack, and repairs are noticeable

 

Travertine Mart, original photo on Houzz

 

Travertine

Travertine is a high-end custom choice for pool patios. This pool has ivory French-patterned travertine paving. Although some variation in color is to be expected, travertine overall is very consistent throughout.

 

Cost: $8 to $11 per square foot

 

Pros:

  • Stays cool underfoot
  • Matching bullnose coping gives a unified and groomed finish
  • Wide variety of color options
  • Nonskid surface
  • Color will not fade
  • Withstands freezing temperatures
  • Will not crack due to freezing ground or thawing

 

Cons:

  • This is a very soft stone and can chip
  • Labor-intensive installation

 

Keystone Kool Deck

Keystone Kool Deck comes at a slightly lower cost than other patio materials. It is installed over existing concrete. It comes in various colors, ranging from Aqua to Aztec Gold to Mauve, and the prices does not vary by color.

 

Cost: $10 to $12 per square foot installed; $3 to $4 per square foot for materials only

 

Pros:

  • Keeps patio cooler for bare feet
  • Can be fashioned to look like flagstone, tile or brick

 

Cons:

  • Higher cost
  • Can be damaged if pressure washed under high pressure

 

Metamorphysis Home Staging Services, original photo on Houzz

 

Pavers

Pavers are still a popular choice for homeowners. This pool patio is made with Belgard Mega Bergerac Squares and the Belgard Dublin Cobble.

 

Cost: $3.50 to $5.50 per square foot (materials only)

 

Pros:

  • Durable and affordable
  • Easy to repair — if a paver is damaged, you can pull it out and replace it

 

Con: Feels rougher on feet and hands

 

Kikuchi + Kankel Design Group, original photo on Houzz

 

Brick

The bricks pictured here are full-dimensioned bricks set on a concrete base for permanent stability.

 

Cost: $7 to $9 per square foot installed

 

Pros:

  • Individual bricks can be replaced if they become cracked or damaged
  • Long lasting and durable

 

Cons:

  • Needs to be resealed after power washing and other maintenance
  • Can feel hot on feet

Grass

Grass leading up to the pool area looks amazing, but pieces can fall into the pool (especially if children are around), creating more maintenance.

 

Cost: Varies depending on type of grass — usually about 20 to 30 cents per square foot for sod only

 

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to install
  • Comfortable and natural looking — instant landscaping

 

Cons:

  • Grass clippings can fall into the pool easily, creating more pool maintenance
  • Can quickly become a muddy pit if people are getting in and out of the pool a lot

 

Elad Gonen, original photo on Houzz

 

Wood

Wood decking is another choice to consider, especially on a beachfront pool. Sand can sift through the wood, which helps with maintenance. If you decide to use actual wood, sealing and seasonal maintenance are musts for longevity and protection from the elements.

 

Cost: Varies depending on type of wood and availability. A few common choices:

  • Ipe is becoming more popular because it is responsibly cultivated in forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and is an ecofriendly choice. Ipe costs $5 to $12 per linear foot.
  • Cedar is widely available from coast to coast. It costs $2 to $6 per linear foot.
  • Cypress, which is decay resistant and strong, is utilized mainly in the Southeastern part of the United States. It costs $1.50 and up per linear foot.

 

Pros: Warm, natural beauty

 

Cons: Can split or rot; regular sealant application is necessary

 

Composite Wood

Composite wood decking gives the look and feel of wood without the maintenance. This lumber alternative combines plastic and wood fibers for a durable but warm material.

 

Cost: $7 to $10 per square foot (materials only)

 

Pros:

  • Weather resistant
  • Stain resistant
  • Won’t splinter or rot

 

Cons:

  • Some brands can be slippery
  • Usually not resistant to mold or mildew, especially when installed in the shade
  • Tends to sag and bend more than wood does
  • Eventually shows signs of age and decay

 

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