CHOOSING THE RIGHT STONE FOR A POOL DECK
It’s important to embrace some practical and aesthetic considerations when selecting pool deck stone. Whether it’s an elegant light-colored limestone perfect for a hot summer day, a natural fieldstone emulating the feel of a deep woods swimming hole, or reclaimed granite with its timeless weathered beauty, the following points will help in selecting the best stone for a pool deck.
POOL DECK LOOK & FEEL
The overall appearance of a pool deck may vary dramatically depending on style. Think sophisticated vs. rustic—a sophisticated style generally has sleek, clean lines; a rustic style produces a straight-from-the-earth look with more natural, rougher lines.
Search for pool deck stone by color theme.
The texture of the stone will have a big impact on the look and feel of your pool patio surface. A split face surface, such as with reclaimed plank pavers, imparts a unique and rustic look. A natural cleft surface comes from stones that are split by man along a natural seam in the stone, which imparts an organic look with a flatter surface compared to a rough split surface. Some of the most refined surface textures come from sawn stones that are then manipulated with a texture, by machine or hand.
Weathered & Worn
Consider the importance of the size of the stones. Whether small, medium, or large, the stone size will affect the look and feel of a pool deck. If the deck space is large, consider using larger-sized pieces to give it a grand feeling. Smaller pieces may be used for more intricate patterns and may impart a more sophisticated look.
Shapes & Design Patterns
Square & Rectangular Pavers
GREAT DESIGN PATTERNS FOR POOL DECKS
The Right Stone for the Region & Conditions
If the pool will be located in a freeze-thaw weather zone, be sure to pick a stone with lower water absorption for the pool deck. Granites, basalts, and porphyry top the charts in this category and will hold up to all weather conditions. We have also hand-picked some freeze-thaw resistant limestones and sandstones that will work well.
Comfort underfoot is key when choosing a stone for a pool deck. Which type of stone will help to keep the pool deck surface cooler? Answer: stone with less heat absorption. In general, lighter colored stones have less heat absorption. Our favorite pool deck stones for New England climates are light-colored granites and bluestone, and some specific limestones and sandstones.
The last thing you want is slippery stone for a pool deck. Luckily, adjustments to surface texture and joints can make a huge difference when it comes to creating a slip-resistant deck.
In addition to considering the appearance of the texture, it’s also noteworthy to consider the effect it has on the actual perceived slipperiness of a stone. Man-made surfaces such as adze and bush hammered provide excellent grip and some split surfaces such as natural cleft tend to be less slippery. In general, stone surfaces with indentations and irregularities provide a better grip.
Wide joints between pavers or joints that have grass or other vegetation growing between them make the overall pool deck surface less slippery.
When there are many joints, your feet are always touching multiple joints which helps you naturally grip the surface and it is therefore more slip-resistant.
Sealing the Stone
Sealing stone helps to keep water from entering the stone and potentially causing damage. This is an important consideration for some of the softer stones, but is not a major concern for most stones.
Most sealers help to bring out the colors of a stone. If a bolder look is desired, sealers are recommended.
STAINS & WEATHERING
All stones will weather and wear and be affected by their environment—a good sealer can help delay this process. In addition, a sealer will help protect from stains. Imagine a big glass of red wine being spilled on a new stone deck! Best to have a sealed stone.
Sealers will need to be reapplied over time, so there is an ongoing cost and time factor to consider as well.
Interior pools present a new set of considerations. Needless to say, weather considerations are no longer an issue, which leaves more stones to choose from (i.e. those that are not freeze/thaw resistant). Heat from the sun is no longer an issue, but interior lighting and design are, as is climate control and water absorption/porosity.
MATERIALS WE LOVE
The luxurious feel and look of limestone makes it a great choice for a pool deck. And there is a whole new class of limestones that have become more popular in northern climates, as they can withstand freezing and thawing conditions.
A coarse-grained igneous rock, granite has a high content of quartz and feldspar giving it a speckled appearance. One of the most durable quarried stones from around the world, granite is nearly always massive, hard, and tough.
A sedimentary rock composed of sand-size grains of mineral, rock, or organic material. Many sandstone materials are great for pool decks as their split surfaces are naturally slip-resistant. Colors range from beige to brown to gray-blue.
Quarried in Pennsylvania and New York, bluestone is actually a sandstone with a deep blue color but also appears with other hues such as shades of gray and brown. Bluestone is known for its advantageous price point. Natural cleft bluestone is quite slip-resistant.
A metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. Marble can have beautiful pattern movement within the stone and comes in a wide variety of colors from white to salmon to gray, blue, green, and black.
A form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs. Travertine often has a fibrous or concentric appearance and exists in white, tan, cream-colored, and even rusty varieties.
POOL COPING & VAULT COVERS
The coping or stone that meets the edge of the pool is a very important detail to finish a pool deck. Consider how it looks, but perhaps more importantly, how will it feel while sitting at the edge of the pool, toes in the water, or when pulling yourself out of the pool.
Straight vs. Radius Coping
Two very different styles with completely different looks.
The thickness of the pool coping is usually a question of style versus function. We generally like to see coping a little chunkier, but many copings come less thick—around 2”—and they look great. There are some specialty copings that are very thick, 6” or more. These are often self-capping stones, meaning stones that come right to the pool’s edge, as opposed to thinner coping stones that end before meeting the water.
To help reduce wear on the pool cover, it can be located in a vault below the pool deck surface. The vault slopes slightly up and is usually 2” lower than the underside of the pool coping.
Picture how it feels to pull yourself out of a pool. Keep this in mind when selecting a coping edge profile. There are extensive options for coping edge profiles, here are some of our favorites:
Standard Sawn & Flamed
Stone is sawn straight and then flamed by exposing the sawn surface to a high-temperature flame. The edge profile would be a 90-degree corner.
Bullnose trim is used to provide a large smooth, rounded corner on the edge of the coping.
This edge rounds the sharp edge slightly so it is smooth to the touch.
Natural (Live) Edge
A rustic finish with a split or chiseled face, producing a rough natural looking surface similar to natural cleft or split-face surfaces.
As the name implies, this surface is simply the way the stone looks when it is excavated or harvested. No significant additional hand-work or machine-work is involved.
Weathered is a natural alteration of stone due to climate, weather, soil contact, surface waters, or groundwater. Weathered stone has a natural grooved or textured look.
SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT POOL DECK STONE
Ready to explore pool deck stone options for your project?
All-in-all, if you make sure to carefully consider the above points before selecting your stone, you’ll end up with a pool deck that meets all of your criteria, is beautiful in style and color, comfortable and safe to walk on, and within your budget.