How to build a deck around an above ground pool

How to build a deck around an above ground pool

An above-ground pool deck is a great way to transform your backyard pool into a place your friends and family can enjoy. A deck makes your pool more accessible and can add extra space for dining, grilling, or just relaxing poolside.

Building an above-ground pool deck can be a challenging task and is recommended for people with some framing and carpentry experience. If you feel up to the challenge, you can create your own deck using the materials and steps below.

Step 1 – Install the Support Posts

The first step in building an above-ground pool deck is to mark and install your support posts based on the deck design. It is important to remember when cutting posts to size that each one should be set at least two feet below grade. Depending on the number of posts you have to set it might be a wise idea to rent a power auger to handle the digging. The average worker can hand-dig and set about six to eight posts a day. Once you’ve dug all the holes you can begin mixing the concrete and set each of the posts. Use the four foot level to make sure that each post is plumb. Let them set overnight before you install the framework.

Step 2 – Build the Frame

How to build a deck around an above ground pool

The frame will consist of two equally-sized squares made up of two 2×10 pieces of lumber nailed together. If you’ve spaced your support posts correctly each square should rest firmly on the support posts. Be sure to use post caps to properly secure the framing to the top of the support post. The two sides of each square should meet at the center of the deck supported by 4×4 posts. This will make up the center support beam of the deck. You can than fill in the boxes with 2×10 floor joists cut to length and spaced 16 inches on center. Use the galvanized nails and Strong-Ties on each end of the joist to ensure a long lasting installation.

Step 3 – Install the Decking

To install the planking you’ll need the screw gun, circular saw, and deck screws. Cut each piece of 1×6 taking care to make a square cut so that when two pieces butt together it forms a tight joint. Install the planking using (2) deck screws for every joist. Take care to space the screws evenly apart and use a deck screw as a “spacer” between each 1×6 to ensure a uniform look.

Step 4 – Install the Railing

Installing the railing for an above-ground pool deck can be relatively easy if you use pre-assembled railing sections. These can be found at most home improvement suppliers. Space the posts out according to the length of a full section of railing. For example, if the rail section is six feet long and the run is 14 feet long than the railing will consist of two full sections plus a one-foot section on each side. You can cut the railing to length using a circular saw and mount them to the post using specialized hardware.

How to build a deck around an above ground pool

How to Build a Deck Next to an Above Ground Pool

Well, this isn’t exactly a blog post on how to build a deck next to an above ground swimming pool. Such a post would involve descriptions on setting 4×4 posts and then attaching 2×6 runners followed by 1×6 decking. This is instead a guideline on the best way to build a wooden deck directly next to a pool so that you still keep in mind its future needs.

Every year I replace quite a few liners in existing pools. Some of these pools have wooden decks adjacent to them. Wooden decks can really make a pool nice. Some are beautiful with multiple levels, fancy railings, built-in seating, and walls of latticework for privacy. Others are very basic, but are just fine for getting in and out of the pool or basking in the sun. Though, when it comes to replacing the pool’s liner, some decks pose a problem. So, with this post I’m going to give some guidelines on how to build a deck next to an above ground pool so that you will still be able to change the liner when the time comes.

I Can Change Your Pool Liner, but First I Have to Cut Your Deck

There is nothing worse in the world of changing liners than arriving to do a changeout and discovering that the deck is in the way and needs to be cut. Some will spend thousands of dollars building a beautiful deck. They’ll do a great job of getting the deck to align perfectly with the pool’s top rails only to have me have to pull out a circular saw and cut it when it is time to change the liner. This can be prevented though with a little forward-thinking and so here’s a few suggestions.

Study How the Top Rails of Your Pool Come Off

For most above ground pools the top railing has to come off completely during a liner change. The top rails themselves all attach pretty much in the same manner. The real variable from model to model is how the top connectors come off. The top connectors are situated at the top of the pool. These top connectors cover the ends of where the long top rails meet. These top connectors are all different. They vary from the simple one-piece “snap cap” that easily snaps in place to the more complex three-piece cap that has five screws.

How to build a deck around an above ground pool

Most top connectors are attached with screws to each upright of the pool’s frame. These screws are secured below the top railing. Confused yet? These screws are the ones that you specifically need to keep into consideration when you are planning where the deck is going to be placed. The reason is that these screws will have to be unscrewed when it is time to change your liner. It sucks to have to crawl under a deck to get to these screws, but with some models you may not have a choice.

In most cases you’ll be able to position the deck just below where these bottom screws are so that you can access them via the top of the deck. If you can do that, you’re How to build a deck around an above ground poolgolden when it is time to change your liner. You may not want to though, if those screws are too low in reference to the very top of the pool. I’d say build the deck below these screws regardless of how far down they are from the top, but some people won’t want to do that. Some want the deck to be as close to the top of the pool as possible. They might think their kids are going to trip over the pool’s top rails if the deck is too low or they don’t want to see any of the pool wall from the deck. I get that and it’s cool. If you must build the deck higher than these screws, then allow enough room below the deck to get to the screws for later removal.

If You Can Help Yourself DO NOT Run the Decking Boards over the Pool’s Top Rails

Probably the biggest mistake people make when building a deck for their above ground pool is they run the decking boards over the pool’s top rails. I get it. They want to have the look of wood running right to the water and completely hide the pool’s frame. That’s a nice look, but not that nice for three reasons.

The first is the reason for this blog post. The deck will be in the way when you need to take the pool apart to change the liner. Some who know this but do it anyway do so with the plan of taking the deck boards off, because they used screws instead of nails for the deck. Just so you know, this plan very often doesn’t work. Sometimes you can get lucky and all the deck screws will unscrew and you can easily take the boards out of the way. Most of the time though it’s no bueno as at least a couple of the screw heads break off making it really hard to pry off the boards. Too many screw heads break off and it’s sawdust time!

The second reason is that it doesn’t look as stylish later. Wood is a natural product so over time it’ll warp or bend from being exposed to the elements. When you build a deck over the top rails, there has to be a straight edge along the waterline. You can be a true master woodworker and get that edge perfect, but over time it won’t stay that way.

The third reason you may not want to run the deck boards over the pool’s top railing is it may make the deck sit too high in reference to the pool’s water level. The water level for an above ground swimming pool is about six inches below the top rail. Adding a deck over the top rail can now make the water level more than eight inches below the deck. This may be OK for you, but you also may not like being too far from the water.How to build a deck around an above ground pool

Run the Deck Boards Under the Top Rails

This is my favorite method and is the way to do it. It makes it at least easier to replace the liner later. It creates a nice height for the deck in reference to the water level. Most importantly, it looks better. It looks more uniform and the boards don’t have to end perfectly straight. You also don’t have to worry about them warping later as their ends are hidden from sight.

Building Your Deck over the Pump and Filter

Yea, don’t do that! I know some of you have the idea that the deck will keep the pool equipment out of the sun and that way it’ll last longer. That’s cool and all, but it’s not worth it. It’s a pain to service your pool equipment when it’s located under a deck. There are lids to take off, valves to turn, filters to pull out, and O-rings to lube. These things are a pain when you are crawling underneath and there are spiders and bees to deal with overhead. If you are convinced that the pool equipment must be covered, then have the pump/filter away from the deck and build a doghouse that is easy to remove for it. Trust me, your lower back will thank you.

Consider the investment—both time and cost—when deciding who will build this add-on to your pool.

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How to build a deck around an above ground pool

Above-ground pools have plenty of advantages: They’re less expensive to build than in-ground pools, less permanent, and they generally require less work than their in-ground counterparts (if anything, because they’re usually smaller in volume).

But they have their downsides, too, one being that they’re slightly difficult to get in and out of since you have to climb a ladder—it’s just not as simple as jumping in, or as relaxing as sitting along the side and dangling your legs in the water. Plus, if you don’t have a deck, that means your guests are walking straight from the yard, up the ladder, and right into the pool, bringing with them whatever muddy mess they just walked through (and between splashing and weather, it can get very muddy around an above-ground pool).

There’s a simple way to upgrade your above-ground pool: build a pool deck. Installing a deck around your above-ground pool is a fairly straightforward way to make your pool more accessible and more enjoyable. Whether you build a deck all the way around your above-ground pool or just along one side, the extra space will give you and your guests a place to sunbathe and hang out at water level. Plus, guests who enter via a deck don’t have to walk right in from the (possibly muddy) lawn, which means your pool will stay cleaner and your sanitizer and filtration system won’t have to work as hard.

Hire a Contractor to Build the Deck

Unless you’re a pretty adept carpenter who happens to have a lot of free time, it’s often best to hire a professional to build a deck around your above-ground pool. Most pool decks can’t be completed in just a weekend, and they also involve a good amount of structural engineering and designing (and cement pouring), so unless you’re positive you’re ready for that sort of undertaking, it’s worth the money to hire a professional.

The right contractor will work with you to understand how you’ll want to use the deck (A luxurious oasis where you can set up a patio table and grill for pool-side dining, perhaps? Or just a simple splash ledge with some stairs that’s easier to use than the ladder?). They can design a few options that meet your needs and any local building codes. That’s right—while above-ground pools on their own usually don’t require any sort of permits because they’re not permanent structures, building a deck may be a different story; you’ll want to make sure you do things by the book. Decks are subject to very specific construction guidelines about guardrail and railing heights (they’re two different things; railings run along a set of stairs, guardrails run around the edges of the deck itself).

Building code guidelines will also govern baluster placement, stair tread sizing, grade of the ground below the deck, how the deck is constructed, and more. A good contractor will know the local deck building codes and be able to save you from having to research those yourself. Additionally, a professional contractor with experience in these sorts of projects should be well-versed in the specific requirements of a pool deck and will know to account for those long-term requirements, like making sure it’s still possible to change the pool liner without damaging the deck (it’s a common mistake that many DIYers make).

Cost of Building a Deck Around Your Pool

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building your above-ground pool deck. There are a variety of factors to consider that will affect the price tag of the final project, both regarding your property and the style and size of the deck you decide to build. For instance, the slope of your yard and surrounding landscaping will play a factor in construction.

Then of course, there’s style. How big is your deck? Are you going to build-up a privacy wall—say with wood lattice?—on one or many sides? Are you going to add built-in benches or maybe an area for a grill? All these decisions add to the price tag (though sometimes, they’ll also save elsewhere; money invested in benches is money saved on patio furniture).

Best Materials to Use for this Project

The most common option is wood. Building your above-ground pool deck out of wood offers plenty of opportunities to customize the look, from the type of wood you choose, to stain or paint color, to the pattern in which you decide to lay the planks. Just know that wood requires upkeep. You’ll have to protect it with a weatherproofing, sealant, and reseal it every few years, too, depending on the weather in your region and how you use your deck—the same goes for repainting or restraining as the color starts to fade.

Another material that’s gaining popularity is engineered composite wood. Composite is a manufactured material made from a blend of organic fibers, like wood (or sometimes straw) and synthetic materials, like recycled plastics. The resulting material often has the look of wood, but it’s stronger, hardier, and often more weather resistant.

Your contractor can help you pick the best material for your new above-ground pool deck, based on your budget and entertaining needs.

How to build a deck around an above ground pool

How a weekend diy’er installed six deck footings for an above ground pool deck – in 45 minutes

Every above ground pool needs a deck. And that usually means lots of deck footings simply because the deck typically wraps around half the pool.

All of this means tons of work – digging and mixing cement, as well as tons of money.

Built to take a beating and still perform

This deck was built in 2013 and has endured many cold snowy winters and hot sticky, wet summers. But to this day, it still looks fantastic, and the footings have not budged an inch.

Brian is from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada where the weather goes from extreme cold during the winter months ( 33 В° F) to extreme hot humidity during the summer months (77.5 В° F).

So, even if you have big seasonal temperature swings do not worry. If your soil is stable or consists of decent clay you can have confidence with the Deck Foot Anchorв„ў system .

about the builder

Brain, built a beautiful above ground pool deck with six Titan Deck Foot Anchors which he installed in less than an hour – forty-five minutes to be exact!

He’s a talented race car builder and mechanic

Brain is quite the accomplished mechanic. He has been building race cars from the ground up since he was fifteen years old!

Needless to say, h e is quite comfortable managing any kind of building project. We do not doubt for a second that it only took him forty-five minutes to install the Deck Foot Anchors.

but decided to build his own above ground pool deck

Even though carpentry is not something Brain has spent much time doing we are thrilled he decided to give the Deck Foot Anchorв„ў system a try. Given the success he had when building his pool deck and his willingness to participate in this case study we are confident he feels the same way.

brian is probably no different then you.

Brian just wanted to have a nice attractive, solid deck to compliment their above ground pool and he wanted to do it on his own in order to save a few dollars.

But just as importantly, Brain wanted to know that the deck would stand the test of time and be stable around the pool. And, that is exactly what he got.

A big bonus was that Brian didn’t need to break his back digging holes and he avoided the cost and mess of using cement. And best of all it took less than an hour to have all six footings in the ground and he was ready to build.

How to build a deck around an above ground pool

How many footings will you need for your deck?

How to build a deck around an above ground pool

To determine the number of footings you will require for your project we recommend using the manufacturer’s ‘Rule of Thumb’ and plan for one footing for every six feet. This deck was sixteen feet wide and about ten feet deep. Brian decided to space the footings a bit further apart and used six Deck Foot Anchorsв„ў.

Floor decks are supposed to support 50 psf. So a 6’x6′ tributary area above each footing times 50 psf equals 1800 psf per footing. That matches up nicely with the average soil bearing capacity of 1800 psf.

prepare the job site properly for the deck foot anchorв„ў

Brian did a really nice job of preparing his job site. He removed the sod and two inches of loose soil and made sure that there was no organic debris that would eventually rot.

He laid out landscaping fabric, put down three inches of ВЅ” or smaller crushed stone to protect against erosion caused by heavy rain, and he also installed a concrete block perimeter. Which made for a really clean look.

This last step is a bit more important for an above ground pool deck because the support structure is almost always visible unless you plan to install a lattice skirt around the deck.

How to build a deck around an above ground pool

Bracing between posts and beams

How to build a deck around an above ground pool

Free standing decks will require bracing between posts and from posts to beams. This eliminates any sway and creates a finished structure that is rock solid.

You can see from this photo showing the underside of the deck framing how the beam is braced to opposing support posts and then each post along adjacent beams is braced in the alternating direction. This deck will never move and that is critically important given that an above ground pool is in close proximity to the decking.

Framing Technique Near Pool Edge

Notice the technique used to frame the deck around the pool. This pool had a 24′ diameter and so the deck had to follow it closely but still be about an inch away so that any movement of the deck over the course of the seasons would never cause damage to the pool.

The framing solution involved extending the lengths of the perimeter beams longer than the middle beam. Then 2×8 joists were framed in at a slight angle that closely followed the radius of the pool. Deck boards extended beyond the joists and were cut to the final length using a jig-saw.

Description: Above ground pool deck ideas use lumbers, fences, and other features to spice up a regular swimming pool at home.

Installing a pool deck high above the ground sounds like a hassle, but who doesn’t want the result? Above ground pool deck ideas flaunt your pool and give it a resort-like touch.

The deck provides extra space for sunbathing or BBQ party. An above ground pool deck also reduces the risk of small animals or children plunging into the water.

You can build a high deck regardless of the pool size. Here are five great design ideas you can try for an above ground pool.

1. Pool Deck with Full Fences

Pool deck with full fences offer extra safety. You can build grill fences that surround the deck completely.

For an extra safety measure, install the same fences around the stairs. Make a “gate” at the bottom of the stair, to be locked when the pool is unused.

It prevents children from sneaking into the pool unsupervised. Afraid that the pool with a look “scary” and uninviting? Add flower beds around the deck.

Attach a cute sign on the stair gate, which softens the appearance. Place several terrace chairs near the pool, with a table and lounge seat.

2. Pool Deck with Segmented Patio Areas

Create a nice entertainment area by connecting your pool deck with a patio. Create area segments to place a table and armchairs, benches, and BBQ grill.

If you have an extra budget, install a small Jacuzzi tub near the pool. The wooden deck makes this area look like a private villa.

The pool deck can be lower than the pool, to prevent anyone from falling into the pool accidentally. Connect the patio to the ground with wide steps instead of stairs.

3. Above Ground Pool with Spacious Sunbathing Area

If you have a large space in the backyard, create a sunbathing area near the pool. Make one side of the deck larger than the other and place several sunbathing seats in a neat row.

Add a parasol that you can close and store away when unused. You can also add a small table to place drinks, snacks, and books.

How to build a deck around an above ground poolsource:

4. Higher Deck with a Sunken Pool

Build a higher above ground deck with table and chairs on the higher spot. This seating area gives you a view of the sunken pool below.

You can use rustic wood for the planks and fences. Add several planters, sunbathing chairs, and parasol to create a perfect resort-like retreat at home.

5. Decorative Above Ground Pool Deck

Few people think of decorating the side panels of an above ground pool. You can build a deck with exterior panels and personalize the look by ordering decorative decals or engravings.

Surround the panels with gravel or flower beds (with low plants) to make the deck more appealing.

Tips to Build an Above Ground Pool Deck

The typical cost of building an above ground deck at home is around US$2,700. The numbers cover basic materials, such as pier blocks, lumbers, and screws.

This cost usually doesn’t cover optional features, such as segmented patio areas, fences, and decorative elements.

If you have a large swimming pool instead of a small dipping pool, the material costs improve significantly.

There are three main steps in building an above ground deck for a swimming pool, which are:

1. Constructing the floor framing

This step creates a symmetrical frame by arranging exterior panels. They are attached with strong metal brackets on the corners.

You can start by installing four main perimeter boards for an easier job.

2. Attaching piers and posts

You need to start by attaching the main piers, which form the base for the posts. The piers and posts should match the swimming pool frames.

You may need to adjust the final piers and posts to fit with the remaining space.

3. Laying the deck lumbers

When inserting the deck lumbers, you need to adjust the sizes and measurements constantly. Make sure the lumbers are slipped fittingly between the joist frames.

Use wood deck screws to secure the lumbers and the joists.

When choosing lumbers for the deck, make sure they get special treatments to face natural elements. Rain, dust, and heat can damage lumbers that are not treated properly.

The lumbers must also have a waterproof quality, which reduces the risk of mold and water damages.

These above ground pool deck ideas turn a regular dipping pool into a resort-worthy house feature. Spend nice summer days relaxing on your secure private spot.

Choose two straight boards and cut one end of each at a 45-degree angle. A 10-inch power miter saw will not cut all the way across the board. Complete the cut with a handsaw. If you are experienced using a power miter saw, lift up on the forward edge of the board to finish the cut.

Furthermore, how do you finish decking edges? Rip a 1-1/2- by-1-1/2-inch piece, and then use a router to round the top and bottom edges of the finish piece. Cut rounds on each end and fasten over the steps. To further finish off, you can countersink the screw holes, add matching wooden plugs fitted in place, then sand smooth.

Also to know is, how much does it cost to build a deck around a pool?

On average, building a pool deck costs around $5,000. Most homeowners pay between $3,000 and $12,000 for this project. Where you fall on that range depends on the materials you choose, the size of the patio, and the difficulty of the terrain. A simple wood deck for an above-ground pool may only need a $3,000 budget.

Can I put a pool on my deck?

You can place a pool on a wooden deck if the construction takes into account several factors. Of course, pools are very heavy. Finally, water moving around in your pool creates a lot of swaying and stress on a wood deck. Construct a deck that can hold up to the weight and stress of supporting a pool.

The information in this article applies to:


My clients need a deck built around their existing above-ground pool. How can I design it for them in Chief Architect?

How to build a deck around an above ground pool


You can easily drop a pool or spa into a deck by specifying part of the deck room as “Open Below”.

To drop a pool into a deck platform

  1. Openthe plan in which you would like to position a pool or spa in a deck platform.

If you have not done so already, select View> Library Browserfrom the menu, then select an above ground pool to place in your plan. Move your cursor into the drawing area and click to place the pool at that location.

How to build a deck around an above ground pool

    A selection of pools and related objects can be found by navigating to Chief Architect Core Catalogs> Exteriors> Recreation> Pools, Spas, & Waterfront> Pools.

  • In this example, we are using the Oval Above Ground Pool – Large.
  • Using the Select Objectstool, click on the pool to select it, then click the Open Objectedit button.

    On the General panel of the Fixture Specification dialog that opens:

    How to build a deck around an above ground pool

      Specify the size of the actual pool used in your project.

    Make a note of the pool’s Height value

  • Make any other desired changes, then click OK.
  • Select Build> Railing and Deck> Straight Deck Railingfrom the menu, then click and drag to draw deck railings around the pool, creating a Deck room.

    How to build a deck around an above ground pool

    Using the Select Objectstool, click on the deck railings and move them as needed to create a deck of the desired size and position.

    Select Build> Wall> Room Divider from the menu, then click and drag to draw a second enclosed room following the pools perimeter as demonstrated below.

    How to build a deck around an above ground pool

      If your pool is round or has rounded edges, you can instead use the Curved Deck Edgetool and then make your railing walls invisible.

  • To learn how to create a perfectly round room, see the Related Articles section at the bottom of this article.
  • Using the edit handles, position the room divider walls or deck edges to align with the outside edge of the pool.

    How to build a deck around an above ground pool

    Using the Select Objectstool, click in an empty space in the larger rectangular deck room to select it, then click the Open Objectedit button.

    On the Structure panel of the Room Specification dialog that opens, specify the Floor as the same or slightly less than the pool’s Height value, then click OK.

    How to build a deck around an above ground pool

    In this example, the pool’s Height is 55 7/8″, and the Floor height for the deck is specified as 50″.

    With the Select Objectstool still selected, click in the smaller room that encompasses the pool to select it, then click the Open Objectedit button.

    It is likely that you will select the pool instead of the room first. Click the Select Next Objectedit button or press the Tab key until the room is selected.

    In the Room Specification dialog that opens:

      On the General panel , select Open Below from the Room Type drop-down list.

    On the Structure panel, uncheck Roof Over This Room .

  • Click OK to close the dialog and apply your changes.
    • Forums
    • Equipment – Build, Use, and Repair
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    How to build a deck around an above ground pool


    • May 19, 2013
  • #1
  • This is our 3rd year for our above ground Summer Escapes pool. Finally my husband sees we need a better walkway around the pool.

    Would like some ideas and pics if available best way to surround the pool with an economical walk way.

    Thanks for your ideas.

    How to build a deck around an above ground pool


    Well-known member
    • May 19, 2013
  • #2
  • Jeepfreak81

    • May 19, 2013
  • #3
  • How to build a deck around an above ground pool


    • May 19, 2013
  • #4
  • Stepping stones with the river rock would look nice also.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk.

    How to build a deck around an above ground pool


    • May 19, 2013
  • #5
  • mommabeans

    Active member
    • May 19, 2013
  • #6
  • How to build a deck around an above ground pool


    • May 20, 2013
  • #7
  • OK –so here’s a lame out of focus pic of the pool. DH INSISTED on placing garden plots right beside the pool but I cropped them out.

    Basically the pool has a very narrow walk way around it. maybe 2.5 feet of space. This pic shows the pool with no water in it. but we’ve since filled it and straightened the supports and all is well. Now just need the walkway. Last year, I begged for a walkway but he didn’t want the expense. FINALLY he agreed this year we need walkway around the pool, only because it was hard for HIM to walk around the pool when I needed his help to add a outlet to the bottom of the pool liner (No he never helps with pool upkeep and doesn’t want to learn how to either! Just me. ugh!)

    So now, don’t laugh. but, this is all I have to show at this time. Still could wring his neck for digging up the yard so close to the pool, but can’t change that. THIS YEAR anyway.