Concrete vs. Pavers for Pool Deck????

poolfanMarch 15, 2011

We are remodeling our pool. We intend to use River Rok interior and are debating with our PB on the decking. I love the look of travertine pavers, however he is expressing serious concern about the durability of pavers given the climate (we are in NJ). He has indicated that the pavers will all shift after the first winter. Also has expressed concern over the safety cover pulling up the pavers.

Any thoughts on pavers vs. concrete? Am I making a mistake ignoring his advise and going with pavers?

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I am in MD (very similar climate) and almost all of the PB's that I met with pushed pavers. We both love the look of pavers but we felt our money would be better spent elsewhere. Their argument for pavers was that IF there was a problem they could be pulled up individually and not jacked out like concrete (which when replaced would look different). We are going with exposed aggregate. We are getting 1300 sq ft of decking and that would cost a fortune if I did it in pavers. We also figured if there is a problem all of the pipes will be running under the back part of the pool which will have the least amount of concrete. There should be no pipes under where the furniture/entertainment area will be located. There is a pool builder on here from NJ so I am sure he will be able to give you an honest opinion. Is your PB trying to get you to stick with brushed concrete or some other surface? BTW-I am paying $7 sq ft for aggregate vs. $13+ (depending on what I selected) for pavers. Concrete does hold heat but I am hoping that the aggregate deters the kids from running around the pool.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 3:10PM
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Thanks for the comments. Funny how we are hearing opposite advise from our PBs and both have similar climates. My PB is pushing stamped concrete. He is unwilling to do pavers and would expect us to contract with the mason/paver directly. He feels that strongly.

Good luck with you pool!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 8:34PM
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Pavers in our area need a proper base, one that allows drainage by percolation, at least 18" deep. Once the water is gone that deep, it's below the frost line and won't cause heaving. This can be somewhat expensive and many contractors skimp on this creating the conditions that the PB is concerned with.

Some pour a 3" slab five inches or so from the top of the bond beam. This allows a 1" sand bed under the paver. I see this practice more on Long Island than anywhere and am not a big fan of it.

Properly installed with pipes holding the anchors, the pavers stay put. I use 24" pieces of #5 rebar to provide added insurance for holding the pipe and drill between 2 pavers, never through them except for travertine (core drill).

I don't use the above practice when the earlier mentioned slab is present under the pavers.

I also put masonry collars/beauty rings on to keep the notched pipe used to attach/remove the springs from either scraping the paver or getting hung on an edge.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 9:27PM
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I think one of the reasons most of the PB's pushed pavers is the fact that they cost more. That is the one of the things I liked about our PB. He had no problem with concrete around a pool. One PB pushed them so hard and insisted that we had to have them in the event that something goes wrong. We wondered why he was so sure something would go wrong?????

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 9:36PM
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We chose Pavers over concrete for two reasons.

1) Look
2) Concrete cracks

In an area where there are deep freezers, concrete cracks. When I was looking into pools, I started noticing how EVERY SINGLE flat slab of concrete I have seen in my area has some sort of crack or another. In fact, when talking with the pool builder that was pushing concrete (aggregate, to be exact), they said the only guarantee they can make is that it will crack at some point...

I couldn't imagine having this pool that costs more then a car and see cracks every day.

At least with pavers I can put them back into place (after I spend all day weeding them:-)).

I am no expert and I know that they use expansion joints to prevent this, but it wasn't worth this for us (so yes, we spent 2x for pavers over concrete deck).

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 9:50AM
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I live on the water in Virginia. I am having a trilogy pool (Fiber Glass) installed with a salt water filter. I have heard so many things about the salt water getting on concrete and need some good advice in reference to Concrete, pavers, aggregate around the pool. I hear weeds for pavers, cracks for concrete. Good advice would be appreciated. Thank you. Deborah

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 7:11PM
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A fiberglass shell MUST have at least a two foot and preferably a 3 foot concrete collar. This provides added weight and rigidity, especially if the pool needs to be emptied for service needs.

Concrete crack formation can be minimized by using certain techniques that may add to the up front cost. Some masons cut these corners to come in on a job at a lower cost.

Cut corners may include improper soil prep, fewer expansion joints, cheap mix, thin spots, and a litany of other potential variables. While it's true that even with the extra steps taken, concrete may still form a crack, it creates a surface that will last decades and will be unaffected by a salt cell's use.

A swimming pool salt water chlorine generator won't create cracks or make them worse. Someone is swinging the FUD bat.

FWIW, pavers are usually made of concrete, just in smaller pieces. Some regions actually pour a concrete bed first.

Sea water is a different animal than water in a pool. It's a different salt and in a different concentration plus there are a lot of other factors that are different. What the ocean does to concrete and steel vs. what pool water does is comparing apple to oranges.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 8:33AM
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Most of our clients pick travertine pavers over concrete. I think comparing the two is, like Scott said, comparing apples to oranges. One is a beautiful natural stone and the other is, well, concrete.
In regards to megankheaps post...$13 for pavers?! I understand why they weren't an option for you. Fortunately, most pool builders are willing to give you the go ahead to find that material yourself. Buying pavers out of south Florida, you can save about $10 per square foot and the shipping costs are very reasonable as well. You still come in around $4-$5 sqft.
Check out Travertine mart's website online, they won't be anywhere near $13 a square foot.
Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Travertine Mart

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 6:14PM
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We have exposed aggregate for our pool deck. We chose it mostly because we already have an existing patio nearby in plum creek aggregate, and although they aren't adjacent we thought having similar surfaces would look best.

As it turns out, we absolutely love it. The surface coordinates nicely with the pebblesheen finish inside the pool (we don't have a contrasting coping, so the plum creek runs right up to the pool edge). It's very comfortable under bare feet, and doesn't get as hot as the pavers in another part of the yard. It does not discourage the kids from running, unfortunately, but the surface is very slip resistent so I'm happy about that.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 7:52PM
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I agree with Inkholder. We love our exposed aggregate pool deck. It came through the harsh Michigan winter beautifully and cracks have not been a problem.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 9:19PM
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