A deck beside a pool is a wonderful combination. Providing a platform to climb out of the pool or sun on between dips in the water. But not any old decking will be best for around a pool or hot tub.
The best composite decking around a pool or hot tub is barefoot friendly, slip-resistant, has a low water absorption rate, resistant to damage from pool chemicals and will not grow mould or alga.
That may sound simple enough. Isn’t all composite decking durable, water-resistant and lasting a lifetime?
I used to think that all composite decking is an improvement over wood decking and performs the same in all situations. But now, after reviewing over 30 different brands of composite and PVC decking to find the best composite decking. I have changed my mind.
Not all composite decking is made the same. And for that reason, not all composite decking performs best on a pool deck.
Which Composite Decking is Best for Around a Pool or Hot Tub?
Here is a shortlist of some of the best performing composite decking for around a pool, but if you want to see the much more extensive list of decking reviews that I started from. Click the link for the ever-growing list of composite decking.
• MoistureShield (Best Overall)• Clubhouse (Best Traction)• Deckorators (Lowest Water Absorption)• Tivadok MARINE SERIES DOCK BOARD (Fade Warranty)
Any one of these 4 boards will work well by your pool. They all have a low water absorption level, decent traction and will not be damaged by the sun or water from the pool.
But let’s look into that claim a little more.
Showing how each one performs compared to each other, along with other composite decking.
Most Barefoot Friendly Composite Decking Around a Pool.
This is one big advantage of composite decking over traditional wood decking. Composite decking does not splinter or chip saving your feet from injury.
Another factor to consider, especially if your deck beside your pool gets a lot of sun (and I hope it does), is heat. Composite decking is notorious for getting hot in the sun.
Some brands like MoistureShield with CoolDeck Technology and Azek PVC decking are designed to stay cooler, making them more comfortable to walk on. Something to consider for around your pool.
Another way to reduce heat on the decking, which is often more important than the brand of decking, is colour. The lighter the colour, the cooler the decking will be. Azek’s Whitewash Cedar®, a light colour collecting less heat in the sun.
Most Slip Resistant Composite Decking When Wet
Slipping on the deck can cause injuries. Decking with superior traction is essential around a pool. Both when dry, before the splashing from the pool begins, especially after you get out of the pool and your feet and decking are wet.
|Slip Resistance (Dry)||Slip Resistance (Wet)|
The top 2 for traction on this list is Clubhouse and Azek. Two fantastic performing PVC decking.
I have often found that PVC decking will generally be more slip-resistant than most composite decking. With most composite decking like Trex rating being lower than 0.5. Making them less than ideal for around water.
MoistureShield is one of the exceptions for traction. Despite being a composite board, Vision and Vantage have a good traction score.
Lowest Water Absorption Rates of Composite Decking Around a Pool
The lower the absorption rate, the less damage that can occur to the decking when it gets wet. Decking around a pool will constantly being drip and splashed on. With the potential of swelling or warping the boards.
To top it off, it’s not consistent. The decking closer to the pool will be hit with water more than the other boards. Causing the boards by the pool to swell when they absorb water.
|Composite Decking||%mass Water Absorption after 24 hours|
|Deckorators(MPC) Voyage, Vault, Frontier||<0.05%|
Deckorators, Fortress and TimberTech all do an excellent job of staying dry even when soaked in water. Another decking that doesn’t absorb a lot of water is MoistureShield. But they tested for a slightly different scenario.
|MoistureShield||% weight gain after 168 hours|
MoistureShield has similar percentages of water after soaking in the water for 7 days compared to TimberTech’s single day.
Another advantage of MoistureShield compared to many composite decking’s is their core. MoistureShield wraps each individual wood fibre. Ensuring water will not get into the decking regardless of whether the boards are cut, ripped, or installed right in the pool.
A few other decking to consider for durability around water are Bearboard Lumber, Lumberock, and WearDeck.
Decking Resistant to Fungi, Mould and Mildew for Around Pools
Fungi, Mould, and Mildew all need one thing to grow on your deck, food. Remove the food, and your decking will not rot or become covered with mildew.
The first line of defence is keeping your decking clean. Regular cleaning of the decking will go a long way to stop all three.
But going a step further is using decking that isn’t made from organic material. Mineral-based composite decking like Decorators contains now wood, so there is nothing for the mould to feed on. Reducing the chance of mould growing on the decking and making it easier to get rid of, if it does. Because it will only be on the surface.
Decking that Won’t Fade Around the Pool
Check the fine print, but most quality composite decking will not fade more than 5 Delta-E. Ensuring that your decking will look as good and have the same colour years from now.
Two that have a longer fade warranty are
- MoistureShield Vision – 50-year fade warranty
- TivaDok – 50-year fade warranty
Both have a fade warranty lasting a lifetime, or at least 50 years. Twice as long as most composite decking fade warranties.
Best Plastic (PVC) Decking for Around a Pool or Hot Tub
Most PVC decking will perform well around a pool or hot tub. Not containing any organic material, with high levels of traction and being bare feet friendly.
One that stands out for me is Clubhouse, with its high level of traction.
Two other good PVC options for around a pool are Zuri, if you like the look of hardwood around your pool. Excellent traction but a higher price tag.
Wolf Serenity doesn’t have the same beauty but has a more affordable price tag with a similar traction rating.
Quick recap of best composite decking for around a pool.
MoistureShield is designed for both water and sun. Two things that you will be enjoying in and around your pool.
Traction is a must around a pool. Clubhouse excels in this department.
Deckorators will be impacted by water the least by not absorbing any. Okay, very, very little amount. But it also has the advantage of no organic material for mould to feed off.
But for not keeping the colour alive for years to come, MoistureShield’s Vision and TivaDock have some of the longest warranties against fading.
Frequently Asked Questions About Decks Around Pools and Hot Tubs
Decking is only one part of a pool deck. Here are a few quick answers resources for building your deck around your pool.
How large should a deck be around an above-ground pool?
Often you will want the deck to be as large as the pool for a minimum. If your pool is 16’x20′, your dec should be at least the same.
Pool Haven has some excellent questions to guide you threw deciding your pool deck size.
How much space should be between pool and deck?
You need a minimum of 30″ of the deck for getting in and out of your pool.
What should also be considered is patio furniture. You want the patio chair close to the pool but give yourself at least 30″ between the water and the chair. If your lounger is 5′ long, you will need a deck at least 8′ deep. Enough room for the chair and getting in and out of the pool.
Do you need a permit to build a deck around a pool?
In most jurisdictions, yes. This is especially true for above-ground pools. Above-ground pools require a building permit. Most pools are deeper than 30″ thus, a deck around them will require a permit.
How much does it cost to build a deck around a pool?
The cost to build a deck around a pool will vary by size and material.
A composite deck around a pool can cost between $11 and $24 a square foot. Many of the better-performing decking on our list will be on the higher end.
For a PVC deck around a pool, expect between $13 and $26 a square foot.
Don’t forget to include handrails around a raised deck above 30″ from the ground. Railing can be expensive but is required to prevent falls off the edge of the deck.