If you’re in the market for a new pool, or renovating an existing pool, you have a couple of options when it comes to your dive platform. While diving boards are a popular choice, diving rocks are a popular alternative and rapidly trend right now in pool design.
Today I wanted to take a minute to share my experiences with each, explain the difference between a diving board and a diving rock, and add in some pros and cons of each.
Diving rock vs diving board: what to consider
In general, a diving rock is a great choice if you have a custom, natural-looking pool; dive rocks are most natural when they blend into the stone pool surround (the area around the pool).
Some natural rocks that hang over pools are considered jumping rocks; jumping rocks are different than diving rocks and when placed in the shallow end of a pool will require no diving signs. Ask your local pool installer about which is ideal for your pool design.
Aside from your main dive rock, you obviously need other stones or rocks in the vicinity of the pool to achieve a natural look.
A diving board is ideal if you have a standard symmetrical, fiberglass pool; and typically doesn’t pose the same slip and fall risk if they have a textured non-slip surface.
Safety is a must!
Diving can be dangerous, especially if you don’t obey proper safety protocols. Most accidents are from improper use or improper installation of diving equipment, so make sure everything is up to code before purchasing anything.
Deep water is mandatory for any dive platform
The deep end needs to be at least 8 feet to install a diving board or dive rock (although some recommend 12 ft). Also, realize that there can not be a dramatic fall off to the deep end that would create a “shelf” that might be dangerous for divers.
This means you need a reasonably large pool to accommodate them. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) sets the standard, and any good pool installer should be familiar with these regulations.
Diving rocks and diving boards can both become slick when wet
There are arguments about which is more slippery, a diving board or a diving rock, but ultimately the answer is that they both can become slick.
If safety is your top priority, consider a diving surface has some sort of non-skid covering or coating. Any pool dealer can advise you on the best options for your particular situation.
Most traditional diving boards are textured, and they even make non-slip paint for these as well.
When a diving board may be a good choice for your pool
Diving boards are a classic addition to any swimming pool. They come in two basic styles, springboard and platform, with the main difference being that springboard diving boards allow you more height when jumping into the water.
While springboards may sound like a fun thing to add to your pool, they are also a bigger liability and have fallen out of fashion in recent years because springboards have been the root of many injuries. Many of these now are reserved for large public pools that are very deep and wide.
How much diving boards cost
Diving boards, not including installation, start at around $300 USD and go up to about $1,000 USD depending on the specific board you choose.
S.R. Smith is a leading manufacturer of diving boards (in various colors and non-slip materials). You can check out their product line in their Amazon store here.
How to install a diving board
Installing a diving board is not a lengthy project but will require a professional. The jig, or metal base to which the board is anchored, must be installed beneath the pool’s concrete slab surround or deck. After that, the board is bolted into place.
● Easier to replace and install
● Board juts further out over the water
● Less expensive than a diving rock
● Springboards can be dangerous
● Takes away from water surface area
● Hurts the aesthetics of a natural landscape unless a brown color is selected
When to consider a diving rock
A diving rock is ideal if you have a custom pool surround made of stone and desire a natural-looking entry point that replicates a diving board; Diving rocks should jut out 2-3 feet into the deep end of the pool, making it very clear that it is to be used for diving.
Many pool owners will haul in more rocks around the main dive rock for aesthetics, or even to build a waterfall.
How to install a diving rock for your pool
To start, you want to make sure your dive rock is installed professionally by a pool installer. Dive rocks are usually set in mortar, surrounded by concrete or stone.
From personal experience, dive rocks are a bit intimidating and may not be ideal if you have younger children who love jumping off the deep end. These rocks can get slippery when wet, and are obviously much harder than a fiberglass diving board.
I personally prefer diving rocks aesthetically; for adults, dive rocks are a great entry point into the pool after a long day at work, not something to be used to perform any kind of acrobatics.
Common diving rock materials to consider
Manhattan granite and white limestone are common dive rock materials due to their size and durability; Manhattan granite rocks are beautiful natural-looking rocks that are also commonly used to build pool waterfalls.
Some pool owners have mentioned that flagstone, a type of sandstone, tends to disintegrate or flake over time.
Quartz is another option you may want to consider, that may flake a little less. It’s probably not too much of an issue or concern, but worth discussing with your installer or vendor.
How much do diving rocks cost?
Diving rocks, not including installation, start at around $300 and up depending on the type of rock and where it is sourced.
Some rocks are more expensive than others, depending on how exotic or rare the rock, and its size and shape; Elongated dive rocks are a bit harder to find in nature. All rocks will require a forklift or heavy equipment to move which can add to installation costs.
● Beautiful diving rocks can add value to your home
● Great with natural landscapes
● Fun and trendy
● Provide a diving function without taking up the water surface area
● Can be expensive
● Size can cause difficulties in transportation and placement
● Not suitable for all landscapes
When deciding between a diving board or diving rock, it really comes down to a couple of main factors: aesthetics and whether or not you prefer a platform that allows you to perform different types of dives that require altitude.
If swimming is really your thing, a dive rock may be all that you need.
Will installing a diving board or rock increase your insurance rate?
Sometimes. Adding a diving board or diving rock will sometimes cause an increase in your homeowner’s insurance depending on the insurer, so it’s best to review your policy with an agent. Generally adding this type of feature will be minimal when compared to the overall increase as a result of installing a pool in general.
Both dive rocks and diving boards can increase your insurance premiums, but it depends. Some companies will increase your rate for installing diving boards or slides (for example), so it’s always best to run everything by your agent before you begin this process.
To learn more about rocks used around pools, check out my post Pool Landscaping: Rocks, Boulders, and Stones 101. Let me know how your project goes in the comments!
This post was updated on May 21, 2022.