How to Build an Above Ground Pool Deck
Author: Richard Vande Sompel
Combining a deck with an above ground pool can bring out the best of both. A deck not only provides easy access to the pool but also helps it to blend into the landscape of a backyard. The above ground pool deck can be built away from the house or it could easily be connected to the house to make it even more accessible.
A typical above ground pool has a flat bottom and is generally 42 to 48 inches deep. Its sides rise up anywhere from 2 to 4 feet above ground level depending on whether there is a slope where it is installed.
A circular above ground pool poses the greatest building challenge. The above ground pool deck would break down into 3 main parts: the curved 4 foot walkway surrounding the pool, the rectangular adjoining sunning deck and the railing system.
For the best results in constructing the curved walkway, it’s necessary to incorporate quite a number of 4×4 posts so that the decking is supported right up to the edge of the pool. In this way the framing and eventuallly the decking will closely border the sides of the pool. Local building codes vary and may demand other safety features such as protective fences, latches and barriers. It is wise to talk to local building department personnel during the deck planning stage and make sure to obtain the necessary building permits for both the deck and the pool.
To layout the post locations for the circular walkway, first find the pool’s center. One way is to lay a long 2×6 across the middle of the pool (nail together two 2×6′s if necessary). From a nail driven into the center of the 2×6 extend a tape measure 4 feet beyond the edge of the pool. This will be the position of an outside post location which will also be in line with a second post location closer to the side edge of the pool. Repeat this process until you have pairs of post locations encircling the pool’s perimeter. These post pairs would be equidistant from the other pairs around the pool.
Then it’s simply a matter of digging the postholes and setting the 4×4 posts in concrete. Double 2×6 beams can be fastened to sandwich the pairs of 4×4 support posts. Next, 2×6 joists can be used to connect the inside and outside edges of adjoining beams. Additional 2×6 joists can be spaced on 16 inch centers within each walkway section to provide support for the decking.
Each walkway section will require that the 5/4×6 inch decking be angle cut to meet up with the decking boards from the next walkway section. A power miter saw is the ideal tool for this purpose because it provides the precision cutting nedded for this phase. (Rent one if necessary.)
The sunning area of the above ground deck can be constructed in the same way as any rectangular deck. However, the railing around the deck and pool require special attention. Typically, an above ground pool deck railing should be at least 42 inches high with baluster openings no wider than 4 inches. The 4×4 vertical support posts can be fastened to the outside deck frame with pairs of 3/8 inch carriage bolts, washers and nuts. Pairs of horizontal 2×4′s can be used to link posts together. A 2×4 or 2×6 top plate can be added to provide greater stability to the railing system. 2×2 balusters can be screwed to the 2×4 horizontals to complete the railing system.
All that has to be done then is grab your bathing suit and start enjoying the sunning deck and walkway that now surround your swimming pool.
So dive in!
About the Author
Richard Vande Sompel is a professional deck builder of 35 years and over 850
decks built and is the author of “How to Plan, Design and Build a Deck from
Start to Finish”. To Discover More About An
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