We’ve all experienced a hot pool deck on a summer day, but is there anything you can do about it? The short answer is yes. There are several ways to reduce heat around your pool deck or surround depending on the surface.
In this post, I’ll break down some common methods to cool down your pool deck for both inground and above-ground pools, no matter if your deck is made of concrete, stone, or wood.
How to reduce heat on a concrete pool deck
Concrete is not a bad material to use for a pool surround, but to keep it cool you will need to either shade it or apply a product over the concrete.
Prep and apply a coating to the concrete
To cool a concrete pool deck, consider a concrete-specific designed to reduce heat absorption like Cool. This product claims to absorb heat by 38 percent and is slip-resistant. You can learn more about and purchase this product here.
I recommend you hire a professional to apply any pool deck coating, because it does involve multiple steps. For Cool, you’ll need to first etch and prepare the surface with something called Triple Crown and rinse with a pressure washer.
This video by Encore Coatings covers the entire process.
For concrete, a coating is the most effective way to cool down your entire pool deck. In cities like Phoenix and Los Angeles, ‘cool pavement’ coatings have recently been piloted, because they can reduce heat anywhere from 12 to 20 percent.
Shade your pool area
Shade can reduce the temperature of concrete by over 20 degrees, and is one of the least expensive ways to shade parts of your pool deck.
If you have a smaller pool deck, shade may be the easiest way to reduce heat if you don’t want to apply a product to the entire deck.
Trees and bushes
While some trees offer more shade than others, large palms, bushes, and other large trees can help shade large parts of your pool area throughout the day.
If you don’t have any trees planted near your pool, check out this post where a cover a few good palm varieties to go with.
A relatively new device called a shade sail many people now use to shade their pool area. While they’re not for everyone, you can keep your pool and pool deck a bit cooler if you have a good way to install one of these.
This one I found on Amazon comes in a variety of sizes and colors. You can install these over your patio furniture set, pergolas, your pool, or pool deck depending on your preference.
Most shade sails I’ve seen are made of polyethylene cloth and can withstand the elements.
Cantilever umbrellas are among the largest umbrellas you can purchase, perfect for shading large areas around a pool. Most of these have a foot pedal and hand crank adjustment; you can align these to shade a large majority of your deck.
Switch to travertine over concrete or asphalt
Travertine is a type of porous limestone that stays over 20 percent cooler than concrete. If you are tired of hot concrete or wood, ask your local pool supplier about travertine; they come in a variety of colors to match your surround.
Travertine is commonly cut into square pavers for use around pools, and at around $10-15 per square foot, is about twice as expensive as concrete pavers.
However, travertine pavers stay cooler than concrete, and also are less slippery due to their porous nature.
How cool off a wooden pool deck
One way to cool off a wood pool deck is to use a light color paint or stain to reduce heat absorption. Sherwin Williams has a deck stain called Super Deck which contains their Cool Feel™ technology that can reduce heat up to 20 percent.
Aesthetically, dark brown pool decks might look elegant, just know it will be more uncomfortable to walk around on in bare feet unless you apply a coating designed to keep these surfaces cooler.
Consider cedar to minimize pool deck heat
Unlike pressure-treated wood commonly made from pine, cedar is a porous and soft wood which tends to stay cooler. It’s a good idea to apply a waterproof sealer to cedar since it too will eventually age over time.
If you don’t want to worry about coatings, the added expensive of stone like travertine is a great choice for inground pools. For above-ground pools that require wood, you can choose cedar or a composite for the surface of the deck, and a cheaper wood for your posts.
While you’re at it, check out my post on pool landscaping ideas for more ideas to create a backyard paradise.