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Cool Pool Decks: Top 6 Materials for Your Summer Comfort

A pool deck is vital to any swimming pool area, serving as a functional and aesthetic space for relaxation, sunbathing, and socializing. However, one common challenge with pool decks is their tendency to absorb and retain heat, making them uncomfortably hot to walk on, especially during hot summer days. But there are exceptions – so which pool deck materials stay cool?

Pool deck materials that stay cool include concrete pavers, natural stone, and cool deck coating, also known as an acrylic overlay. The color of the material used will have a major effect on the temperature of the pool deck, as will the texture of the material, with smooth surfaces being hotter.

When selecting pool deck materials that stay cool, it's also essential to consider how to cool pool water for the most comfortable and refreshing swim experience.

If your pool deck is exposed to direct sun for most of the day, it can get uncomfortably hot, particularly for kids’ feet. To combat this issue, homeowners and pool designers are constantly seeking materials that can maintain a cooler surface temperature. In this guide, I’ll explore a range of materials that excel in staying cool, allowing you to enjoy your poolside experience comfortably.

The Best Pool Deck Materials That Stay Cool

All decks will heat up when exposed to the hot summer sun, but some materials remain relatively cool so that they remain comfortable to use for relaxing on and socializing around the pool.

1. Concrete Pavers

Concrete pavers offer a durable and versatile option for pool decks.

Pros:

  • They come in various shapes and sizes, as well as textures, allowing for creative designs and customization.
  • Compared to solid concrete, pavers have a lower heat absorption rate, resulting in a cooler surface. Their interlocking nature allows for air movement and heat dissipation and also facilitates better water drainage, reducing the risk of puddles and slipping.
Got a cool pool deck but worried about slipping? Discover materials that ensure a non-slip pool experience.
  • In case of damage, individual pavers can be easily replaced without disrupting the entire pool deck.

Cons:

  • Weeds or grass can grow in the gaps between pavers, requiring regular maintenance.
  • Over time, pavers may shift or sink, leading to an uneven surface.

2. Cool Deck Coatings

Cool deck coatings, also known as acrylic overlays, are applied over existing concrete surfaces to create a cooler and slip-resistant pool deck.

Pros:

  • These coatings are specifically designed to reflect heat and provide a comfortable walking surface.
  • They come in a variety of colors and finishes, allowing for customization and the ability to match the overall aesthetic of your pool area.
  • Textured acrylic coatings also make the surface feel cooler because when walking on it, bare feet are exposed to less surface area.

Cons:

  • Durability can be a problem, depending on the quality of the product, and resurfacing may be necessary every two or three years.

3. Composite Decking

Composite decking combines plastic and wood fibers to create a cool deck material with a natural wood look without the drawbacks of traditional wood, such as splintering and warping.

Pros:

  • Composite decking materials are designed to have low heat absorption, resulting in a cooler surface.
  • Composite decking is resistant to rot, insects, and fading, providing a durable option.
  • It doesn’t require staining, sealing, or painting like natural wood decking, reducing maintenance needs.
  • It comes in a range of colors and finishes, allowing customization to suit personal preferences.

Cons:

  • Composite decking may be initially more expensive compared to some other materials.
  • Some composite decking products may experience slight fading over time, especially in areas with intense sunlight.

4. Travertine

Travertine is a natural stone commonly used as a pool deck material. It’s also durable and elegant-looking. From my experience, this material provides the coolest pool deck and one I can recommend.

Pros:

  • Travertine has excellent heat-reflecting properties, helping to keep the pool deck surface cool.
  • It offers a luxurious and timeless look, enhancing the overall aesthetic of the pool area.
  • Travertine is a durable material that can withstand heavy use, weathering, and pool chemicals.
  • The natural texture of travertine provides good slip resistance even when wet.

Cons:

  • Travertine can be more expensive than other materials, depending on the grade and quality chosen.
  • Travertine is a porous material and requires proper sealing to prevent staining and water absorption.
  • Regular sealing and cleaning are necessary to maintain the appearance and longevity of travertine.

5. Rubber Pool Tiles

Rubber pool tiles, made from recycled materials, are an innovative choice that provides both comfort and cooling benefits.

Pros:

  • These tiles are slip-resistant, shock-absorbent, and remain cooler under the sun.
  • They offer a cushioned surface, making them ideal for pool areas where children play, or people frequently walk barefoot.
  • Rubber tiles are available in different colors and patterns, giving you the flexibility to create a unique pool deck design.
  • Rubber tiles are highly durable and can withstand heavy foot traffic, UV exposure, and pool chemicals. They are resistant to cracking, fading, and weathering, making them a durable option.
  • Rubber tiles are relatively easy to install and can be done as a DIY project or by professionals. They often come in interlocking designs, allowing for a hassle-free installation process.
  • Rubber tiles are simple to keep clean and maintain. They can be swept, hosed down, or cleaned with mild soap and water. They do not require staining, sealing, or painting like some other materials.

Cons:

  • Rubber tiles can absorb heat when exposed to direct sunlight. While they are generally cooler than materials like concrete or stone, they may still become warm in extremely hot conditions.
  • Rubber tiles can be more expensive than other materials used for pool decks, especially if you opt for higher-quality or specialized designs.

Rubber surfacing is an alternative to using rubber tiles and involves applying a rubberized coating over the pool deck surface. The pros and cons are very much the same as using rubber tiles, but applying the rubber requires a professional and is a more expensive option.

6. Porcelain Tiles:

Porcelain tiles are an attractive, durable option for pool decks, making them an excellent long-term investment for your pool deck.

Pros:

  • Porcelain tiles are naturally cool, making them comfortable to walk on barefoot, even in hot weather.
  • Many porcelain tiles have a textured surface, providing excellent traction and reducing the risk of slips and falls.
  • Porcelain tiles are highly durable and resistant to cracking, fading, and staining, making them ideal for high-traffic areas like pool decks.
  • Porcelain tiles are easy to clean and require minimal maintenance, as they are water, chemical, and mold resistant.
  • Porcelain tiles come in a range of colors, patterns, and finishes, allowing for a customized and visually appealing pool deck design.

Cons:

  • Porcelain tiles can be more expensive than concrete or natural stone options.
  • Proper porcelain tiles installation requires expertise, as it involves precise leveling and grouting. Porcelain tiles are heavier than other materials, so the pool deck’s foundation should support their weight adequately.
  • Although durable, porcelain tiles may chip or crack if heavy objects are dropped on them.

Conclusion

When designing a pool or resurfacing a deck, selecting suitable pool deck materials that stay cool is essential for creating a comfortable and enjoyable outdoor space. I’ve listed six excellent options, each with its own set of advantages and considerations. Considering factors such as heat absorption, durability, aesthetics, maintenance needs, and budget will help you make an informed decision that suits your specific requirements and preferences.

Identifying cool deck materials is one thing, but knowing what's best for resurfacing your pool deck is another. Discover the best resurfacing materials here.