Framing around pools is very similar to framing around hot tubs that are set on concrete pads. Before finalizing deck plans, consult pool manufacturer’s specifications for decking. You will need to allow for specific clearances and access to any necessary equipment, etc. Set up the pool frame before constructing deck if possible.
Mark all underground water and electric lines and flag all lines, even if above ground, before digging footings for visibility. Reposition footings if required. Install additional footings if needed to maintain the minimum spacing between posts. If possible, add, or adjust posts in such a way that the spacing of the remaining posts remains even.
Matching Pool and Deck Height
If your deck and pool top are to be the same height, set posts and leave them slightly long. Install the pool frame and level it. Work from this level to cut posts and set the deck frame height. A laser level is a good idea in this case, since the level will need to remain even over an extended area. Remember to allow for any top trim on the pool and the thickness of your decking, as well as any requirement for space to allow for installation of a winter cover.
If the pool is to be higher than the deck, determine how much and if any steps will be required, make them wide enough to enter and exit the pool safely before stepping down to deck height. Setting the pool lower than the deck is not recommended for safety reasons. Decks tend to shed debris as well, which would make the pool harder to maintain.
Framing on Uneven Ground
Post heights may vary considerably if matching a pool that is set next to a slope, or an area of uneven ground. Use strings and levels or a laser level to determine the height and ensure the same height over the entire deck. If the deck must step down to the pool, place the level break as far back as possible from the pool edge.
Ledger Boards Against the Pool Frame
In some cases, you may want the deck to attach to the pool frame. In these cases, a ledger board can be installed around the perimeter of the pool, level with the pools edge. Check with manufacturer before pursuing this route to ensure that your pool can bear the added weight.
Before installing the ledger board, install a deck board along the pool’s top edge to help stiffen it and give you something to match the height of the ledger board to. Self-tapping screws can be used to mount the deck board to the top metal edge.
Drill through your ledger and the metal pool flange as described in the section on ledger boards. Do this at least every 24 inches in the pools edge, and one at the top of each post in the pool’s frame.
Fit bolts through every hole from inside the pool frame, so that the bolt end protrudes through the ledger board. Fit washers and nuts onto the bolts from the outside and tighten them snugly with a socket wrench.
Miter the corners where the ledger meets at any corner of the pool. Fasten the ledger corners to each other with screws. Install joist hangers every 16 inches along the ledger board and install your joists as described in the section on ledger boards.