Zara Mansfield writes: We have a small pool and would like to add some decking around it, which raises two questions: Would the decking go over the paving and slightly raised, and what type of wood will be best to use that can obviously withstand the elements?
Grier Fisher, owner of Town and Country Projects replies: It is a relatively simple process to install decking over pavers, but there are a few things to consider, such as whether there are any height issues with doorsills where the deck and house connects.
The condition of the pavers should also be taken into consideration, as they need to be thick enough to fix a batten into them; battens are generally laid and fixed into the tiles with nail plugs. You can either use SA treated pine battens (H4 preferably) or a hardwood like balau, which will last a lot longer. It’s best to have a small wedge under the batten so it doesn’t sit in water and allows for water to run off the tiles. The battens will then run right over the edge of the coping that is around the pool.
The straightness of the tiles or coping on the edge of the pool will depend on how far the battens will have to overhang: I usually try to work with a 5-10 mm overhang, which also allows for a deckboard tube, used as a fascia on the inside of the pool.
With regard to the second question, hardwoods would be the best option around a pool. There’s a range of hardwoods, including Massarunduba, Teak, Garapa, Balau and Iroko – all of which respond well to our weather conditions – readily available at very competitive prices. Massaranduba is my first choice due to its density and stability; Balau has had a mixed reception and if you choose this wood you need to make sure that the installer fixes the deck boards down securely to eliminate as much future movement as possible.
All these woods vary in colour from a deep red to a golden yellow; should you leave them untreated, they’ll fade to a natural grey/silver colour. If you want to preserve the colour, apply three coats of clear wood sealer once the deck is installed and reapply at least one coat annually.