We are often asked about the pros and cons of paver installations around pool decks. The truth is, many home owners who decided to install pavers around their swimming pools ended up regretting the choice. Weeds growing through the gaps, pavers becoming rough and porous, mold accumulating in the paver pores (that can only be power washed out with mold and dirt flying all over the backyard), fading colors, and wobbling pavers are all reasons why home owners end up hating their pavers. Oh, and did we mention that many pavers get super hot as well?
If you want to know the truth about pavers, don't go to the stone yard or landscape supply store. Why? Because all they want to do is sell you their pavers - they have nothing else to sell to you!
If you want to know the truth about pavers, don't go to your landscaper. Why? Because your landscaper has nothing else to offer, other than to install pavers!
If you want to know the truth about pavers as decks around swimming pools, you need to understand a bit about whats underneath your pavers, and how pavers react after a few years of installation.
Truth #1: The ground surrounding your pool is not stable.
When your pool is excavated, a large hole is dug in your backyard, into which the base and walls of the pool are installed. Once the pool form is set, the empty void around the pool is then back-filled with dirt, gravel and whatever else might have been in the pile of dirt removed for the pool. Pool installers will then tamp this backfill down, being careful not to disturb the walls of the pool and cause damage or uneven surfaces along the sides.
This can be a problem around liner pools, in particular. The wall of a liner pool is made of very thin sheet metal that holds the entire pool together, which is not much support when you consider the weight of the water pressing out against the side walls. When the pool is built, the installer backfills the area around the pool wall with dirt, sand, and gravel. This base is then compacted to make the ground sturdier.
If the contractor compacts too much, excessive pressure can damage the pool wall. To prevent this, most contractors don’t compact the base as much as they should. As a result, the base is too loose, it may collapse, and it may move around over time, causing the pavers to shift along with it.
The result is an unsightly, uneven deck with wobbly pavers that will need to be reset not just once, but year after year.
Truth #2: Concrete deck demolition.
If you’re demolishing an old concrete pool deck and replacing it with pavers, you could run into the same problem. First, there is a tremendous risk to the pool wall due to the demolition of the concrete deck (we talked more in depth about this topic in our blog here). Second, the base under the concrete deck is not strong enough for a paver installation, and has to be compacted in the same fashion as a new pool installation.
Once pavers are uneven, a professional has to reset them. This is done by removing the affected pavers, rebuilding the base and resetting the pavers. This is a costly undertaking and can get super frustrating if pavers frequently need to be reset.
Truth #3: Landscapers recommend pavers because they are not experts with pool decks.
The likelihood that your landscaper will recommend pavers for your pool deck might simply be a function of their having no experience updating existing concrete. A concrete deck is your best choice for a smooth surface that will maintain its original character far longer than pavers ever will, especially around in-ground swimming pools. Just ask your pool store or pool builder:
Concrete slabs can bridge minor ground movements underneath the deck much better than pavers. Concrete is still the number one choice for pool decks of new swimming pool installations. If your landscaper suggests pavers beside your pool, they may be suggesting an unsuitable option solely based on their inability to suggest anything else. Unfortunately, you will have to pay the price of high maintenance later.
Truth #4: Moss will grow in between pavers.
Just like weeds, moss growth in between pavers is a common problem. Moss likes to grow in wet, shady areas. If it gets out of hand it can be an even bigger pain in the neck than weeds. That’s because not only is it unsightly, but it can be very slippery when wet, which is the last thing you want beside a pool.
If you have pavers beside your pool, there are a number of ways to get rid of moss, some natural and some chemical. Power washing is another option. But, again, it can send dirt and sand sailing along with the moss into your pool.
If you already have pavers, here are some other options for removing moss from pavers:
Reduce shady areas: Moss won’t grow in direct sunlight. Trim back tree limbs to reduce shady areas.
Boiling water: Pour on the moss and scrub with a deck brush.
Vinegar and water: Mix evenly and saturate the area. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, then scrub with a deck brush.
Adjust sprinklers: If your sprinklers are spraying water onto your pavers, re-direct them so they don’t.
Commercial moss killers: Commercial moss killers will keep the moss at bay but you have to decide if you’re comfortable spraying these chemicals next to your pool. Look for less toxic products if this is a concern.
Truth #5: Weeds will grow in between pavers.
In between each of the pavers is a layer of sand that acts as a grout line. Over time, the sand will wash out and will need to be refilled periodically to maintain proper spacing. Homeowners can either do this on their own, which can be a big hassle, or hire a contractor to do it for them, which can cost a lot of money. If restoring sand is neglected, chances increase that weeds will grow in between each paver.
Once the weeds start growing, it can be very difficult to get rid of them. Many contactors suggest manually pulling out the weeds, which is back-breaking work that takes a lot of time and won’t permanently solve the problem.
Other contractors recommend blasting the weeds out using a power washer, which seems like a pretty good solution. However, power washing is very bad for pavers. First, it loosens all the sand in between the pavers which makes it even easier for weeds to grow. And second, power washing damages the surface of the pavers, making them more coarse, rough and welcoming to dirt and moss that gets in the pores. Power washing can also create a mess in the pool when dirt and weeds begin flying all over the place.
Truth #6: Pavers will wobble
Pavers always need a strong base, and many contractors who do not specialize in installing pavers fail to provide the strong base pavers need. Some contractors lay a scarce amount of sand under the pavers which can cause the pavers to sink.
Other contractors add too much sand under the pavers which can cause the pavers to become uneven and wobbly, leading to expensive repairs.
Truth #7: Pavers that are properly installed can be expensive.
Some installers will give you a price estimate that seems too good to be true. Besides the fact that these don't usually include the cost of the demolition of the pool deck (which is hugely significant), low bidders will often skimp on the base, leading to wobbly, uneven paver decks. As is often the case with low bidders who seem out of step with other estimates, it can be a real challenge to get these companies to stand behind their work and return to make necessary repairs.
Proper paver installation can in fact be costly. The cost is high because of the necessary sub base construction, its compacting, the professional setting of the sand base, and the higher cost of attractive pavers. Typically, a professional paver installation costs as much as stamped concrete, which is quite expensive.
RenuKrete Concrete Deck Resurfacing
If you currently have a concrete pool deck, you should call RenuKrete and discuss your options to install an Engineered Concrete Flooring pool deck. At RenuKrete, we sculpt your existing concrete pool deck into a work of art, working with the imperfections that exist and creating a deck that is ready to take on the challenges of buckling and cracking in the future. Here is what we do: Before we start our work, our experts assess the overall condition of your deck, reasons for existing cracks and the likelihood of future cracks developing.
Together with you, we develop a plan to address any underlying issues in the soil underneath the deck, if possible. Then, our craftsmen and artisans go to work, sculpting the deck that you have. Instead of adding layers of material on top of your concrete surface (which can and will crack and peel off), we work with your existing concrete, using and enhancing its natural beauty. Concrete is one of the toughest and longest-lasting building materials on Earth. Let's beautify it and prolong its lifetime!
Take a look at some of our completed projects and customer testimonials - then give us a call at 800-406-5010 to discuss your project and if RenuKrete is a good fit for you.
Engineer, Punam NarCivil. “Did You Know the Disadvantages of Interlocking Paver Block?” Gharpedia, 12 Dec. 2018, gharpedia.com/disadvantages-of-interlocking-paver-block/.
Kloter, Jen. “The Pros and Cons of Paver Patios.” Bahler Brothers, 30 June 2017, www.bahlerbrothers.com/blog/pros-and-cons-paver-patios.
“The Pros and Cons of Paver Patios That You Must Know.” World of Stones USA Blog | Natural Stone & Rock Articles, 31 May 2019, worldofstonesusa.com/blog/pros-and-cons-of-paver-patios/.