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What can we use to make our pool deck not burn feet?

Picking the right pool deck surface can make a world of different


By Paige Cerulli

There's nothing better than spending a hot summer day by the side of your pool. It's the perfect place to lounge, keep an eye on the kids, and just soak in the sun. But homeowners and pool facility owners alike face a common issue: How to keep pool decks from getting hot.

If you've ever made your way across the pool deck in the middle of a sunny summer day, you've likely encountered the problem. Bare feet and hot pool decking don't make a great match. At best, the experience is an uncomfortable one. At worst, you or your kids can end up with burnt feet.

Luckily there are a few ways to avoid this situation, and it all comes down to pool decking choice.

How to Choose Temperature Stable Pool Decking
Temperature stable pool decking is one excellent solution to a surface that gets too hot in the summer sun. Temperature stable flooring is specifically made so that it doesn't get uncomfortably hot (or cold) underfoot. These products are a great investment for any home or commercial pool space.

Life Floor tiles are ideal for pool surrounds, since they're temperature stable, highly durable, and suitable for use in wet areas. These tiles are made of a rubber foam blend, making them comfortable and forgiving, yet also durable. The tiles actually cool maintain a stable temperature no matter the weather, whereas concrete and asphalt becomes hot and uncomfortable. In hot temperatures and direct sunlight, the rubber/foam tiles feel cooler to the touch than the surrounding areas.

Not only are these tiles ideal for areas where heat buildup is a concern, but they also offer many other features that you would want to see in any quality pool deck surface. The ripple texture maximizes traction even when the surface is wet, helping to prevent falls. If falls do occur, many of these tiles have a 1-foot or greater ASTM fall height rating, depending on the thickness, to help minimize potential injury.

Designed for use in very hot and cold climates, Life Floor tiles are highly durable and make a great investment. They are backed by a 5-year warranty, and are UV stable to keep the tiles looking great. They're also both non-toxic and anti-microbial, making for a safer, healthier flooring choice. The tiles are available in a variety of stylish, attractive finishes, so you can create a pool surround that is truly stunning.

At Greatmats, we offer a number of different Life Floor products perfect for pool surrounds, spas, bathrooms, locker rooms, and patios.

How to Cope With Hot Pool Decking
If you can't change the pool decking product that's already been installed, that's okay - we have some solutions for you, too.

Add New Flooring
Start by identifying the problematic areas of your pool surround - are there particular spaces that are frequently hot, or areas that see high traffic and need the most attention? Investing in a product to cover those areas can help to keep them more comfortable and safer, while saving you the expense of needing to remove the existing flooring to replace it with another flooring.

We offer a number of products that can be installed directly on top of a hard, flat surface, like your existing pool surround. Consider purchasing flooring tiles in a light color, like a white or a light grey, to install on top of your existing flooring. The lighter color won't absorb as much of the sun's heat as a darker colored product will, so the flooring will stay cooler.

You may want to consider artificial turf as an option, too. The turf can make for a natural looking area, while also doubling as a surface that is comfortable to walk on. It's not always an ideal solution for the entire surround of your pool, but when paired with some plants and stone work, artificial turf may look great poolside.

Keep in mind that you'll want any product you choose to have particular qualities if it will be used around a pool:
- Comfortable: Choose a flooring that is comfortable under bare feet. Look for something that is forgiving, and ideally a product that offers fall height protection to help minimize injury in the event of a fall.
- Waterproof: If you'll be using flooring around a pool, you need it to be waterproof. If water repeatedly is absorbed into a product, it will damage the flooring and shorten its life. This can also lead to mold and mildew issues.
- Designed for drainage: Standing water will happen almost immediately if you choose a flooring product that isn't designed to provide plenty of drainage. Look for a perforated tile or a tile that is designed to help channel water away from the surface, maximizing safety.
- Traction: Any product you consider must be designed to maximize traction. Look for a product with a textured surface that will provide grip, even when it gets wet.
- UV stable: When choosing flooring to be used outdoors, look for a UV stable option. The sun's rays can fade and degrade the quality of flooring, but products with UV protection are made specifically to withstand the demands of outdoor use.

At Greatmats, we offer many tiles that can be temporarily installed without the use of any adhesive. These tiles can help to make your pool surround more comfortable, making for a cool pool deck rather than the uncomfortably hot surface that you're currently dealing with.

If budget is a problem, keep in mind that you don't necessarily need to cover your entire pool deck with a new product. Instead, you can create a path around the pool and leading from the pool to popular areas, like the pool shed or the stairs to your yard or home.

If you're not crazy about the idea of a path but are still working within a tight budget, remember that you can always add on to your path later on if you choose a tile product. This is one of the major advantages of using tiles; your flooring doesn't have to be permanent, and you can reconfigure and add to the flooring later on simply by purchasing additional tiles.

Provide Shade
When dealing with hot pool decking, a low-cost alternative is to create a way to shade part or all of the deck area. There are plenty of cost-effective, simple ways to do this.

The most basic way to create a shaded area to prevent hot pool decking is to invest in large patio umbrellas. You might also find that an awning or small tent works for your needs.

If you're looking for something more permanent, then you'll need to identify the areas that receive the most sun and need the most shade. Planting a line of tall, dense shrubs or trees can create a natural, attractive barrier to the sun, so your deck stays cool for most of the day. Keep in mind, though, that the sun will move, so a shade barrier that's adjustable may be the best.

If you shop around a bit, you'll find that there are all sorts of alternatives, including shade sails that stretch across your pool and the deck. Some pool owners opt to build covered outdoor spaces for lounging that lead directly into the pool. A small cabana may be the perfect in-between option to create a cool pool deck, depending on your space and your budget.

Want the ability to adjust your shade as the sun moves throughout the day? Retractable shade canopies or retractable enclosures may be the perfect solution. These adjustable options allow you to shade the surface during the hottest times of the day, but you can then retract the shade so you can soak up the sun as the day cools down. You can also retract these barriers on cooler days when you want more sun and warmth.

Finding Happiness With Your Pool Decking
Want a cool pool deck that's comfortable underfoot? There are many ways to achieve that, even if you already have a deck installed. From the simple, low-cost options of installing a new temperature stable pool decking directly on top of your existing deck, to the more elaborate options of retractable canopies, you'll have plenty of choices.

If you would like to discuss decking options for your pool surround, please give our excellent customer service team a call. We would be happy to discuss the different products with you and can help you decide which product is right for your needs so you can start enjoying your pool again.

For more on this topic please review our Swimming Pool Decks Flooring Tiles product page.