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Slip No More: Top 8 Non-Slip Surfaces for Pool Decks

A pool deck is both an aesthetic and practical feature of any swimming pool area. Whether designing or renovating one, one of the most important considerations is safety. Slipping on a wet deck could have tragic repercussions for young children as well as adults. It’s vital to choose a non-slip surface that provides excellent traction, even when wet. So, what are the best non-slip pool deck surfaces?

Non-slip pool deck surfaces can be applied as a coating, or one can use a slip-resistant material when installing a new deck or resurfacing an existing one. These materials range from textured concrete and natural stone to composites and rubber, each with pros and cons.

Safety is a prime consideration when designing your pool deck, but it’s not the only one. With a wide variety of non-slip surfaces to choose from, you need to also consider the cost of installation, the durability of the surface, and of course, how the aesthetics fit into your garden landscape. This article is intended to detail the pros and cons of the seven most popular non-slip surfaces so that you can make an educated choice.

Want a pool deck that is both non-slip and stays cool? Discover cool pool deck materials too.

8 Of The Best Non-Slip Pool Deck Surfaces

I’ve picked out what I consider the best non-slip pool deck surfaces – each has pros and cons, but from a non-slip point of view, they’re winners.

1. Concrete

Concrete is a classic and widely used material for pool decks. While standard concrete is slippery when wet, the problem is easily solved as it can be textured to provide enhanced slip resistance by adding aggregates like pebbles, stones, or coarse sand. Aggregates come in a wide range of colors and sizes, so you can customize the finish according to your personal décor taste.

Pros:

  • Concrete is exceptionally cost-effective, being inexpensive to install, and very durable.
  • While smooth concrete is slippery, it can be textured for improved slip resistance.
  • Concrete offers various decorative finishes and design options.

Cons:

  • Requires regular maintenance, including pressure washing and sealing.
  • Concrete tends to absorb heat, although this is less so when it has been textured. As a result, it is susceptible to cracking.

2. Rubber

Rubber pool deck surfaces are gaining popularity due to their excellent slip resistance and cushioning properties. However, while cooler than concrete, they can become hot under direct sunlight. Rubber pool decking may be applied as a coating over an existing concrete deck or as rubber tiles.

Pros:

  • Excellent slip resistance and cushioning properties, so rubber prevents poolside injuries.
  • Many rubber decking products are made from recycled materials, so it’s a very eco-friendly option.
  • Comfortable to walk on and provides shock absorption.
  • Rubber is extremely durable – you can expect a lifespan of 10 to 12 years.

Cons:

  • Rubber products can become hot under direct sunlight.
  • Rubber can granulate or get damaged by rough treatment.

3. Wood

Wood can be an excellent choice as a non-slip pool decking due to its natural beauty, versatility, and durability. Several types of wood are commonly used for pool decking, three popular options being cedar, redwood, and teak.

Pros:

  • Wood provides a warm, inviting aesthetic that complements outdoor surroundings.
  • It can be customized to fit various pool designs and shapes.
  • Wood stays cooler underfoot compared to other materials like concrete or stone.
  • Wood is a renewable resource and has a lower carbon footprint compared to synthetic materials.
  • Wood generally has excellent non-slip characteristics

Cons:

  • Wood requires regular upkeep, such as staining, sealing, and refinishing, to maintain its appearance and protect it from moisture damage.
  • Some types of wood, such as teak, can be more expensive than alternative decking materials.
  • If not adequately maintained, it can be susceptible to warping, fading, splintering, and insect infestations.

4. Composite Decking

Composite decking, as a great alternative to wood, is made from a combination of wood fibers and recycled plastic.

Pros:

  • Composite decking is resistant to moisture, mold, and mildew.
  • It does not splinter or crack like natural wood.
  • Versatile, available in various patterns and colors and with textured surfaces.

Cons:

  • Some composites get hot under prolonged exposure to the sun.
  • More expensive than wood and most other decking materials

5. Pavers

Pavers are a versatile option for pool decks, available in various materials such as concrete, natural stone, brick, or even rubber. Pavers with textured surfaces provide good traction, reducing the risk of slips and falls.

Pros:

  • Using pavers allows for customized pool decking with unique non-slip textures and patterns.
  • Pavers can be repaired individually should they be damaged.
  • While pavers are more expensive to lay than some other decking products, the installation is simple and quick.

Cons:

Sections of paving can settle and result in an uneven surface

  • Weeds may grow between the pavers, so maintenance is required
  • Pavers are more costly than a poured concrete surface
  • While it can be done as a DIY project, it’s not easy to do a perfect job.
A non-slip deck is a great safety measure. But did you know pool covers can also pose risks? Learn more here.

6. Natural Stone

Natural stone, of which travertine is my favorite and one I recommend, adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to pool decks.

Pros:

  • These natural materials, and in particular travertine, are inherently slip resistant.
  • The lighter stone is also heat resistant and doesn’t discolor or fade.
  • Natural stone decking provides a very elegant look to your pool area and is very durable.

Cons:

  • Natural stone, including travertine, can be expensive and requires professional installation.
  • Being porous, travertine and sandstone must be sealed and treated regularly to prevent staining.

7. Textured Acrylic Coating

A wide range of textured acrylic coatings are designed explicitly for pool deck surfaces, and they are a very popular alternative to other decking materials.

Pros:

  • Acrylic coatings, which are specifically designed for pool decking, provide excellent slip resistance.
  • They can be applied directly over existing concrete and, in fact, strengthen the underlying base.
  • The coatings come in various colors and textures, allowing for the customization of your deck.
  • Acrylic coatings are durable and resistant to chemicals and UV rays.

Cons:

  • Acrylic coatings may require periodic reapplication, and the texture can wear down over time, necessitating maintenance.
  • Quality acrylic coatings are expensive and require professionals to do the application.
Besides a non-slip deck, pool maintenance is key. Learn about the importance of a pool zinc anode.

8. Porcelain Tiles

Outdoor porcelain tiles are an excellent choice as a pool decking material and are amongst the most highly rated for their non-slip properties.

Pros:

  • Porcelain tiles manufactured for outdoor use are naturally non-slip, requiring no additional treatment.
  • They are aesthetically pleasing and add elegance to your pool area.
  • They are exceptionally durable and impact resistant.
  • They are stain resistant and won’t discolor over time.
  • Light-colored porcelain is cooler underfoot than most pool deck surfaces.

Cons:

  • Porcelain is extremely hard, so it is difficult to cut and drill through.
  • Being brittle, they need to be laid carefully on a well-prepared base, although once laid, they are unlikely to crack or break.
  • Porcelain is more expensive than concrete pavers and needs professional installation.

Conclusion

When it comes to non-slip pool deck surfaces, there are several options, each with its own pros and cons. The eight I’ve recommended all offer different advantages and considerations in terms of durability, slip resistance, maintenance, and cost. The information I’ve shared will help you make an informed decision about which is the non-slip surface that best suits your particular needs.

Read more Resurfacing Your Pool Deck: 7 Best Material Choices