Rubber Flooring and Composite Pavers
Learn how alternative pool decking options such as rubber flooring and composite pavers can offer benefits to a pool area.
When you think of rubber flooring you probably think of rubber mulch chips in the neighborhood playground or poured rubber bond. Rubber flooring is actually a great alternative option for pool decking. Like playground mulch, rubber flooring for pool decks is usually made out of recycled rubber tires, resulting in a product that is eco-friendly and responsibly manufactured. There are two common forms of rubber flooring: poured-in-place rubber bond and interlocking rubber tiles. Poured-in-place rubber flooring must be professionally installed, as opposed to interlocking rubber tiles which can easily be installed by the homeowner; however, poured-in-place rubber bond flooring is thought to be more durable and offers more customization because an array of colors can be mixed and matched to create a unique look.
Rubber flooring provides a permeable, porous, non-skid surface that doesn’t get too hot. It also drains quickly (drains are distributed in strategic areas) and is easy to maintain. Using rubber flooring for pool decking does not have to mean giving up on sophisticated design; there are numerous color options available, as well as patterns that mimic slate, stone, brick, and custom designs. The rubber can be installed over most solid deck surfaces such as concrete, asphalt, or wood, with the option of extra cushioning added in areas of high impact. After installation, rubber flooring usually needs between 24 hours and four days to cure, based on the temperature and humidity.
One of the biggest pros of rubber flooring is it’s low maintenance. Rubber pool decking can easily be cleaned with a leaf blower or garden hose; mild soap and water may also be used. The rubber is known to be very durable, but in the case of damage, a professional installer can cut out the damaged area and pour new rubber bond.
Photos courtesy of No Fault Sport Group, LLC
Composite pavers are the up-and-coming alternative to concrete pavers for pool decking. Like concrete, composite pavers are slip-free and extremely durable. A major advantage is that they are approximately one-third of the weight of concrete, and the grid system makes them three times easier to install. They eliminate the frustration of manually setting and aligning heavy concrete pavers.
Like rubber flooring, composite pavers are eco-friendly because they are made from up to 95% recycled materials. Composite pavers are placed in the same compacted sand bases that are used for conventional concrete pavers, but the system allows for easy installation and unique custom designs. The pavers also come in various colors for endless design options, including herringbone, brick stack, pinwheel, and many other paver patterns.
While concrete and composite pavers are both slip-free and extremely durable, installation varies. When dealing with concrete, a base of processed gravel must be laid, after which the base and restraints are installed. Then a layer of bedding sand must be screened before the pavers can be laid, with careful effort put into ensuring that they are even. With composite pavers, installers use a grid system that works as a template for the pavers, which fit into the grid like puzzle pieces. Less base preparation is required, and laying even, neat lines of pavers is foolproof.
Composite pavers should be installed by professionals, but with the right installation guides they can be installed by knowledgeable DIYers. They should be installed over an even surface. The pavers require very little maintenance, aside for an occasional replenishment of joint sand.
Photos courtesy of Vast Enterprises, LLC
It is important to take into account the specifics of your pool and environment, and consult with pool experts in order to choose outdoor flooring that is right for you and will achieve your desired look.
View our Decks Buyers' Guide for a list manufacturers and suppliers of deck products and materials.
This guest post was written by Fay Friedman.