Stoned To Depth: Three Natural Stones Suitable For Your Inground Pool Deck
A well-built pool deck can provide a real air of class and luxury to even the most modest of inground pools, and they are made from a wide variety of materials ranging from rich hardwoods to durable plastic polymers. For a really distinctive and sophisticated deck, however, its hard to beat the monolithic splendour of natural stone.
However, not just any old rock will do for deck building. Choosing a good natural stone deck means choosing the right stone to make it from, and an ideal stone for deck making should be durable, weather-resistant and perhaps most importantly, non-slip. Luckily, there are a wide array of natural stones that are thoroughly suited to these purposes.
A rigid metamorphic stone, state comes in a variety of colours and shades, and is non-reactive when coming into contact with either pool cleaning compounds or the salt in saltwater pools. It is also very durable, and does not wear out easily under even intense foot traffic. Slate is also relatively easy to install, especially when using large slate tiles or flagstones.
However, slate is not a low maintenance material, and will require frequently cleaning to remove deposits of dirt and grime that build up in the rough, textured surface of a slate deck. Sanding your tiles smooth to prevent this problem is inadvisable, as smooth slate becomes abominably slippery when wet. Slate is also prone to scratching, particularly in darker shades, and while the stone is tough it is also somewhat brittle and may crack under heavy impacts.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock frequently used for pool decks because of its excellent non-slip properties -- unglazed limestone tiles and flagstones have a finely textured surface providing excellent traction, and the porous nature of limestone eliminates problems with standing water. Limestone is also valued for its versatilty, and is available in a wide variety of colours and patterns. Limestone is also very easy to cut and work, allowing for a huge range of tile shapes and designs. Specific types of limestone are particularly valued, such as travertine, a textured and decoratively patterned form of limestone created by hot springs.
However, limestone is not as inert as some other stone options, and is particularly vulnerable to acid rain which can corrode the surface of a limestone deck and cause unsightly pitting. Similar corrosion can be caused by salt or chlorine, so your limestone will need to be sealed to protect it. This seal must be renewed periodically, and can slightly increase slipperiness.
The lard word in durability, granite pool decks are immensely tough and will probably last longer than the pool does. As granite is a porous volcanic rock it also has a high-traction surface that does not become slippery when wet, and a wide variety of granite shades can be found to match almost any design palette. Granite is also superbly resistant to weather damage and erosion.
However, granite is a difficult material that required professional skill to work, and has natural seams that can make complex shape cutting extremely difficult. As a result, granite that is not cut into standard quadrilateral tiles and flagstones can be difficult to find. Granite is also extremely heavy, making installation difficult and often expensive.