What Is The Best Material For My Swimming Pool Surround?
Compare Costs of Different Pool Surround Material Choices
You’re finally buying that pool. You’ve spent countless hours deciding on the type and size of pool, the accessories and the design, among many other important choices. Now it’s time to think about the surround, a crucial finishing touch.
A pool surround should be a smooth surface so that people don’t trip and fall, but you also don’t want a slippery surface. Popular options for pool surrounds include regular concrete, stamped concrete, patio pavers, natural stone and decking. The best option for you depends on your budget and personal preferences.
Cost of a Swimming Pool Surround
Here are prices ranges for popular swimming pool surrounds mentioned above, along with some basic information about the pros and cons of each.
- Regular concrete is inexpensive at $2 to $5 per square foot, although some people consider it boring or less attractive than other options. Over time, concrete is prone to cracking and will require repairs.
- Stamped concrete is designed to mimic the look of natural stone, brick or slate at a much lower price point - anywhere from $6 to $15 per square foot. Stamped concrete is made by coloring regular concrete and then stamping it with a pattern. Done professionally, it can be mistaken for the real thing.
- Natural stone patios are beautiful, durable and low maintenance, yet expensive. They usually cost about $15 to $30 per square foot. Popular types include slate, limestone, bluestone, sandstone and travertine.
- Decking is another popular option because it creates an instant entertainment area. Decking is attractive and durable, too, but it requires far more maintenance. Prices range from $15 per square foot for a lower-grade wood like Southern yellow pine to about $30 per square foot for redwood. Composite decking is slightly more expensive at $30 to $35 per square foot.
Labor costs vary depending on the material, the size of your surround and local labor rates. On average, budget about $2,000 to $5,000.
Choosing a Material
Your budget should play a significant role in choosing a material - you don’t want to break the bank on a pool surround - but it shouldn’t be the only consideration. Give some thought to how much time and energy you have for maintenance. Decks are beautiful, but they require annual cleanings and re-staining or repainting every few years. Natural stone is attractive, too, but it requires far less maintenance.
In most cases, the decision comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer the look of a deck, while others prefer concrete or stone. Some people prefer the flat surface of concrete to the uneven surface of natural stone. And so on.
Choosing a Contractor
- Shop around. Seek quotes from at least three local contractors to compare prices. Eliminate any bids that come in suspiciously high or low. Ask for each quote in writing with a detailed breakdown of material and labor expenses.
- Do your homework to make sure any company you’re considering is reputable. Ask for references - and actually check them. Do a quick Google search. Check the company’s record with the Better Business Bureau.
- When you decide on a company, ask for a signed contract that outlines the project expenses. Never assume your quote is binding. Make sure to get the project timeline in writing, too.
- Double check that the company is licensed and insured. Ask for proof. If the company is not insured and an accident occurs on your property, you could be liable for medical bills and damages.
- Most pool builders are also capable of building concrete or stone surrounds, but keep in mind that you don’t have to hire the pool builder for that job. If you find a better deal with another reputable company, go for it.