A quality American made above ground pool can last 10 – 20 years if not more depending on the conditions.
You want to make sure your deck will last just as long without all the common issues associated with some decking options.
In this article we’ll discuss all your decking options for your above ground pools and highlight the pros and cons of each.
The first most affordable and most common decking option is:
Pressure Treated Pine Decking
Many above ground pool decks are built using pressure treated pine because it’s readily available and its the most affordable option.
This is a real wood option that requires consistent maintenance to ensure the longest lifespan possible.
Pine is a softwood that is susceptible to rot, decay, mold, mildew and insect attack.
In addition pressure treated pine also typically experiences repeated cycles of thermal expansion and contraction (especially if you live in the north and get harsh winters).
Softwoods require the yearly application of water sealers that help keep the water out of the wood grain which can accelerate rot.
Treated pine commonly gives off splinters and slivers in your feet.
Most of the time you’ll be using your above ground pool deck with bare feet. So be prepared for annoyed guests and crying kids with splinters in their feet.
The average life expectancy for a pressure treated pine pool deck is 15 – 20 years. Many will see something more like 10 – 15 years. It really depends on how good you kept up with the maintenance each year.
Pools decks are constantly getting saturated with pool water especially if you have little kids who like keep getting out and jumping in the pool doing cannonballs.
The next real wood option is:
Cedar Wood Decking
This is another softwood option however cedar does offer some natural resistance to rot and decay but will eventually rot and decay as time goes on.
Above you can see deck boards being replaced and others have splinters as well as checking that can cause splinters and slivers in your feet.
Cedar requires a waterproofing sealer to help ensure a longer lifespan especially around pool decks with the constant exposure to water.
If maintained yearly you could expect a life expectancy of 20 – 25 years. Again this all depends on the wear and tear the deck sees as well as the annual maintenance.
The third option that most home owners think will be the best is:
Plastic Decking (Fake Wood)
Many homeowners think that composite decking will be “maintenance free”. In the early years when composite decking was first made, many manufacturers spent millions of dollars on advertising bragging that their products were “maintenance free”.
Unfortunately many people found out the hard way there really is no such thing as maintenance free. As a result there was several class action lawsuits for false advertising and other issues.
Composite decking has many issues including severe fading as shown in first picture as well as deteriorating and crumbling as shown in the second picture.
Many homeowners also complain about composites being extremely hot to walk on in your bare feet which is not good around pools. Another common problem is that it can be very slippery when wet which would not be good around a pool.
Homeowners should do a Google search for “composite decking complaints” and “composite decking problems”. We get calls from homeowners each week that need to replace their composite decking after only a year or two of having their deck installed.
We have yet to find a composite decking product that will meet or exceed our customers expectations so we do not sell any composite or plastic decking materials for now.
Last but not least your other option is:
When we say hardwood we are talking about some of the hardest most durable woods on earth. In fact they are harder and more durable than Teak and cheaper too.
The decking species we recommend for above ground pool decks are:
These South American hardwoods are sustainably harvested and have proven to last up to 75 years with very low maintenance.
They are also naturally resistant to rot, decay, mold, mildew, splinter, class A rating against flame spread, resistant to wood boring insects, naturally slip resistant and not hot to walk on bare foot.
All of these qualities make them excellent around pools!
The only maintenance that’s required is cleaning the dirt and debris off the surface which is required by all decking manufacturers (especially composites).
Pollen, dirt, leaves, rain and other debris will land on all decks so a light power washing is a good idea when needed.
The only other maintenance that many homeowners choose to do is oiling the wood usually once a year. UV rays from the sun will bleach the color out of the wood and turn it grey.
Some homeowners like they grey look so they don’t have to do anything other than an occasional cleaning.
Oiling the wood will keep the beautiful color of the woods and enhance the beautiful grain. Once you see the beauty of these woods most homeowners want to maintain that look.
Do not be confused oiling hardwoods is incredibly easy and it’s not a top coat like water sealers for soft woods that will eventually peel off and leave you with a lot of maintenance.
The oil you simply roll on with a paint roller after that you wipe up any that did not soak into the wood. These woods are so dense they will only absorb so much oil. It will eventually fade away (usually spring time the following year). Then you just apply more oil.