It’s not only the water but the ability to lounge with friends around the water that makes Florida pools so attractive. As important as the size, shape and finish of the actual pool are, the choice of decking material is equally critical not only for visual effect but to enjoyment. A pool’s surrounding deck and landscaping, after all, represent the “frosting on the cake” of any pool installation.
Numerous options exist for serviceable pool decking: Natural stone, wood deck, poured concrete or concrete pavers, brick, tile, composite materials, and even synthetic grass. Among the many options available for pool decking, stone and brick both enjoy a reputation for high value and lasting durability. Before making a final choice, however, you’ll want to become familiar with the merits of each material.
Pool Deck Paver Options
Function and durability, lasting good looks, safety, upkeep and maintenance requirements, and cost are all vital considerations that influence the choice of pool decking material. In addition, the site, the landscaping plans, and overall aesthetics should play into the decision-making process. Whether it’s a backyard family pool or part of a larger private or commercial complex, the choice of pool decking will impact not only construction plans and price, but also set the tone for future use and enjoyment, and, hopefully, enhance property value and add beauty.
Not all decking is equally user-friendly. Let’s consider the benefits and drawbacks of two popular choices: Travertine and Brick. Travertine is a specific type of natural stone that is popular for pool decks for good reason. Even though travertine is typically imported, it is readily available, cost-effective, versatile and adaptable. Brick also is used for distinctive pools because of its ready availability and reasonable cost. Beyond those factors, though, each material has specific advantages, as well as a couple of drawbacks.
Here’s how they compare:
Travertine vs Brick Pavers
Travertine is a natural stone, while brick is a manufactured product, but each is an inherently natural material well-suited for outdoor use. Sun and water are not a concern with either one, and both are relatively easy to maintain. Each is available in thick or thin versions. Brick pavers, while typically the same surface dimensions as standard bricks, vary between 1.25 and 2 inches in thickness. Travertine pavers are generally a similar thickness, and they can be smooth with square edges or tumbled to appear more “natural” and rustic. Travertine tiles, on the other hand, are typically only about 1/2 inch thick, and are available in multiple sizes, including mosaics and large squares or rectangles.
Both travertine and brick allow for great creativity of installation. Colors and sizes are often mixed to create unique designs patterns, and both may be installed on sand or over a concrete slab.
Relative Advantages of Travertine Pavers
Travertine, like marble and granite, is deemed a luxury material and adds style and flair in unique ways. The stone is easy to handle, relatively easy to install, available in multiple sizes, and easy to cut as needed for custom installations. Even though it has an overall grain, or pattern, it appears relatively uniform in hue over a large area.
Travertine is typically installed with ungrouted joints, allowing for easy repair or replacement of individual tiles as necessary. Other great qualities include:
- Long-term durability.
- Porosity, allowing for good drainage and quick drying.
- Resistance to damage from temperature variations.
- Eco-friendly qualities.
- Smooth and cool to walk on, even in high temperatures.
- No efflorescence.
- Travertine will not harbor pests or attract insects.
- Resistant to freeze-thaw cycles.
Benefits of Brick Pavers
Brick pavers of different hues are easily combined for interesting effects, and the wide variety of brick colors allows owners to play light against dark, or to complement and contrast decking with architectural elements, pool design and landscaping. An overall herringbone or Flemish bond pattern is classic and visually interesting. Custom designs are easy for a professional installer. Finally, because brick is such a common landscape element, brick paver pool decks blend nicely with surrounding architecture and landscape elements. Savvy homeowners will repeat the theme with outdoor fireplaces, retaining walls, garden paths and planting bed borders. Reasons to choose brick include:
- Stain resistance and ease of maintenance.
- Ready availability.
- Permanent color in a wide variety of hues.
- Quality consistency.
- Textured slip resistance.
- Design flexibility.
Some Disadvantages of Travertine
- A travertine deck must be sealed initially, and periodically thereafter,
- Some liquids may etch or stain the surface,
- Weight may be a problem unless the deck area is thoroughly stabilized,
- Available in limited colors other than neutral tones.
- Travertine can crack and chip with hard use.
Negatives of Brick
- Settling and uneven surfaces can be a problem,
- If installed on the sand, weeds can grow between the brick,
- Moss, mold, fungus and efflorescence can be problematic in wet, humid areas,
- Brick gets hot, and brick surfaces can be rough.
Travertine vs Brick Pavers: Which is The Right Choice
No matter what your pool design entails or how generous your budget, the choice of decking remains an individual one. There are no rights or wrongs. The best way to ensure that your pool will be attractive and usable for many years to come is to weigh the pros and cons of every element and judge the effect of each material in the overall design.
GPS Pools has been in the business of serving pool owners in western Florida for more than two decades. We are proud of our record of service to pool owners in Tampa, Lutz, Land O’ Lakes, Mango, Elfers, Odessa, Zephyrhills, Wesley Chapel and other nearby communities. Gathering around a pool is a unique way of life for us all, and we rely on our expertise to help our clients enjoy that life to the fullest.
If your pool or your pool deck need a “design intervention,” we invite you to contact us for information about exciting news products and possibilities. Our experienced design and service staff will help you with pool remodeling, new decking materials, landscaping ideas or efficient new equipment and supplies to make your leisure time and activities better.
We have two locations to serve you. Call us at (813) 948-9091 in Lutz, or in Land O’ Lakes at (813) 345-8596 for more information, or complete our online form and we’ll get back to you promptly. You have our word on it!