Swimming pool surrounds, the part immediately surrounding the pool, need not only to have a great look, but also be made of quality material as they have to withstand damaging weather and water influences. Take these 6 decisive factors into account when choosing swimming pool surrounds.
1. Slip-resistance – while most outdoor materials like wood decking and stone pavers are non-slip, slipping hazard is still much present in indoor swimming pools. Tiles used there are easy to clean but, when wet, quite slippery. The easiest and cheapest solution is to cover the surface with rubber anti-slippery strips. Make sure to fix them securely to the floor. Rubber floor tiles, which are slip-resistant in all conditions, can be used both indoors and outdoors; cover the whole area with them to prevent tripping.
2. Fall protection – taking into account the increased risk of falling, swimming pool surrounds should be fall-attenuating, soft and children-friendly. Neither stone nor brick or conrete pavers provide fall protection. To create safe swimming pool surrounds, they should be paved with rubber safety surfacing of at least 30 mm.
3. Resistance to chlorine water – most swimming pool materials need to be first sealed in order to be chlorine-resistant. When installing rubber floor tiles, choose flooring made of EPDM rubber granulate, which – contrary to tyre rubber tiles used on playgrounds – is resistant to chlorine and salt water.
4. Resistance to strong sunshine – sun’s heat can affect stone pavers. Brick and concrete pavers need to be sealed to make sure they won’t fade due to the heavy sunshine. EPDM rubber granulate tiles are UV-resistant, and therefore colour-fast. When exposed to direct, continuous sunshine, all materials heat up to some extent. Rubber granulate provides better insulation against the heat than natural stones, though.
5. Low-maintenance – generally, all man-made materials are easier to maintain than natural ones, which need to be periodically cleaned and sealed to protect them against stains and algae. The material which requires practically no care is rubber flooring. In most variants it is water-permeable, which means it gets cleaned with rain water; it can also be washed with high pressure cleaner or waterhose and house detergents. Most importantly, the tiles are replacable and can be taken out without damaging the surface.
6. Installation costs – if you opt for high quality paving materials with modern design around your swimming pool, the cost of pavers or tiles will be considerable. Where you can save a lot, though, is the installation. If you have basic technical skills, tools and somebody to help you out, go for DIY installation. Most manufacturers give tips how to carry out the installation successfully. The least problematic are rubber terrace tiles, which can be laid on any even, load-bearing subfloor. They do not need compacting, sanding or fixing; rubber tiles are joined by their profiled edges (which form an interlocking zip or a tongue-and-groove system). Another interesting option for swimming pool surrounds are rubber interlocking pavers.
To sum up, the most popular swimming pool surrounds do not differ much when it comes to their slip-resistance, maintenance, installation costs and resistance to chlorine water and UV rays. Obviously, the essential factor is the quality of the material as well as the proper use of sealants.
However, the traditional surfacing doesn’t provide fall protection, which is of crucial importance when a swimming pool can be accessed by children. Given that other qualities of rubber granulate tiles often excel those found in stone, wood or concrete, rubber flooring is an excellent and affordable choice for a family-friendly public and private swimming pool.