Swimming Pool Surround Options – A New Generation of Safety
Health and safety are of paramount importance in this day and age, especially in commercial environments such as leisure centres and community pools. One way in which injuries and accidents can be prevented in this type of environment is by using appropriate swimming pool surrounds.
There are a variety of materials that can be used for your swimming pool surround, can make the choice difficult. This guide will talk you through the advantages and disadvantages of each type of pool surround.
What types of swimming pool surrounds are available?
Resin bound 1-3mm (Stone carpet)
A resin bound flooring solution provides a decorative, aesthetically pleasing and safe surface which can be installed with a permeable or impermeable finish. Resin bound flooring systems are very hard wearing making them ideal for swimming pool surrounds where it is an inconvenience to change or mend the surround frequently.
Aesthetically pleasing – Resin bound surfaces are aesthetically pleasing to the eye because they’re modern, seamless and boast an array of colours and decorative patterns if desired. In addition to this, you can also camouflage unsightly drains and filters using resin bound paving, making your swimming pool and the surrounding area even more attractive.
Quick Installation – Installation of a resin-bound pool surround is relatively quick, requiring approximately two days to install. What’s more, resin bound paving can be installed over many existing surfaces meaning your sub base may suffice in it’s present form, as long as it is stable.
Slip resistance – A resin bound surface provides a textured finished, which will improve the slip resistance. However, if this is of particular concern, the slip resistance can be improved further by the addition of sand or polymer to the mix, giving the surface a gritty texture.
Maintenance – The system can be jet washed and/or scrubbed to remove dirt. These surfaces are a lot more resilient and will hold less dirt than say a rubber surround. But remember all surfaces require a degree of maintenance.
A reputable installer is key – There are many ‘paving companies’ who will gladly install for you, but a pool environment is very different to a front driveway and it is likely they won’t have this experience. We recommend conducting market and company research before deciding who to install your swimming pool surround. Alternatively, get in touch with the office at Flexflooring. We have over a decade of swimming pool surround experience, having installed for schools, leisure clubs, public pools, and many domestic installations.
The potential for cracking – Resin bound surfaces are very tough, but they won’t tolerate ground movement too much extent. If the surface is laid over concrete or slabs and if these are subject to movement there is a chance that the surface could fracture.
Tiles have historically been very popular around pools. Over the years good non-slip tiles have been developed, but we would recommend enquiring about the slip resistance rating of any tile.
Installation – Tiles can be installed over an existing concrete or screed base, meaning installation can be relatively quick.
Slip-resistant – As previously mentioned, if you’re opting for tiles, always ensure they’re slip-resistant, this way you can create a safe but fun environment for everyone. Where slips, trips and falls are common around swimming pools to reduce the chance of accidents, anti-slip surrounds are key.
Drainage is required – Drainage is often required with a tiled swimming pool surround. This will need to be factored into the design and installation of your flooring system. Drainage is required to eliminate excess water, create a cleaner environment as well as improved water quality and prevent accidents from occurring.
Maintenance – Frequent maintenance of tiled swimming pools will be required to ensure the area is hygienic and safe for swimming pool users. Because there will be many grout lines in the surface, dirt can often lodge in these crevices, making maintenance a bit of a challenge.
3. Paving Slabs
There are a variety of different paving slabs which can be used for your swimming pool surround depending on the cost and the finish you’re looking to achieve. From concrete to marble – there are an abundance of looks you can achieve with paving slabs.
Aesthetically pleasing – Paving slabs can be extremely pleasing on the eye, especially if you’ve opted for more expensive slabs. They create a modern and sleek environment, enhancing the appeal of your outdoor area.
Cost effective – Depending on the quality and type of paving slab you opt for, a paving slab swimming pool can be a cost-effective alternative compared to other surround systems. We advise researching into the different types of slab available and a variety of suppliers to find the best cost.
Maintenance – Maintenance of paving is often quite low and repairing any damaged slabs is easy to find and replace. Depending on the look you want to achieve, you can sweep or jet wash your paving slab surround to maintain its attractive finish.
Hardness – Like concrete, paving slabs are harder than other materials which can cause the impact of trips or falls to be more serious.
Damage – Paving slabs can easily become damaged if they are exposed to chlorinated water in freeze thaw environment (outdoor pools). However, slabs are easily replaced without impacting on the overall look of the surround.
Rubbaflex fg is a very fine blend of synthetic rubber (EPDM) imported from Switzerland, combined with a UV stable polyurethane resin and usually installed at around 6mm. Rubbaflex fg can be used to create a very colourful, yet highly slip-resistant environment.
Diverse – Rubber flooring solutions are highly diverse in that you can choose from a variety of colours and mixes, as well as add patterns to your design. This is ideal if you’re looking to add vibrancy to a children’s swimming pool.
Slip-resistant – Safety is one of the most important elements of swimming pools and their environments. Synthetic rubber provides an extremely slip resistance surface that is also soft under foot and has a degree of impact absorption, similar to a school playground.
Permeable – Rubbaflex fg is a permeable flooring solution. As it is a fine grade rubber it only needs to be installed at 6mm and hence less dirty water will sit in the surface compared to a typical wet pour surface of around 20mm.
Softness – Compared to concrete or paving slab swimming pool surrounds, Rubbaflex fg is a softer surface. Therefore, if accidents do happen, the impact to the ground is likely to be less harsh. What’s more, standing or sitting on the surface for longer periods of time offer greater comfort than concrete surrounds.
Maintenance – The structure of a wet pour surface is not too dissimilar to a rigid sponge. As such bacteria, dirt, body fats, calcium or other salts can take a hold if the surface is not maintained. With outdoor pools winter debris, such as rotting leaves can also affect the surface unless regularly removed or protected against. We would normally recommend this product in a commercial environment where footfall is high as the maintenance can get onerous.
Cost – Depending on the design you’re looking for, a bespoke flooring solution can be more costly than other swimming pool surrounds. However, the additional costs come hand in hand with the added benefits and uniqueness of your design.
Stonex sand (Epoxy Mortar or quartz screed (Indoor pools only)
An epoxy mortar floor or sometimes called a quartz screed consists of very fine coloured quartz mixed with epoxy to give a very hard seamless surface. This is then pore filled with another epoxy before a final matt polyurethane seal coat is applied.
Diverse – There are literally thousands of colour combinations that can be used to provide a unique surround.
Slip-resistant – Although the surface is smooth in appearance, a polymer can be added to the final seal coat to give a gritty feel (by hand) enhancing the slip resistance of the surface.
Porosity – These surfaces are pore filled and hence are non-porous in nature. This mean they act like a tile yet are seamless not having metres of grout lines. Depending on how the sub base is designed, you may get standing water in areas.
Maintenance – These surfaces are very tough and arguably require the least amount of maintenance and can be scrubbed quite vigorously. Calcium can still be a problem, depending on your water supply, but as long as any calcium stains are removed as they appear, this can be controlled.
Cost – Due to the process, i.e. it is a minimum of a 4-day installation, these surfaces are one of the more expensive options.
Hardness – These surfaces are very hard, often also used in industrial environments because of this property and as such are not very forgiving when it comes to trips and falls.
Potential for cracking – These surfaces are made of epoxy, which is a very tough but brittle resin, As such if there is any movement in say the concrete slab it is installed upon, cracks in the surface may develop.
Note on cleaning and maintenance
Although these products have different physical properties and all will behave in a certain way depending upon the environment, it is essential you adopt a cleaning regime for all of them, if you wish to keep the area in a clean and pristine state.