Stock Tank Pool Deck Tutorial
The Stock Tank Pool Deck Tutorial is here! You guys! I have received SO many questions and requests for this ever since we set up the pool last year. You asked. I listened and I am here to show you how to build your own stock tank pool deck just in time for summer fun. A few weeks ago, I also spilled the beans on how to set up a stock tank pool if you need to start from the beginning. SO, who’s ready to build a deck?
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First things first. Just a reminder, I am not a licensed contractor, just a creative homeowner. All projects are at your own risk. If you have concerns about a project or build, you should contact a licensed professional.
Stock tank Pool Deck SUpplies
In order to build a stock tank pool deck like ours, you will need the following items. Not every deck is going to be exactly the same and some modifications may need to be made to accommodate your situation.
All lumber sizes are noted as common sizes in inches x inches x feet. If you plan to change the dimensions for your deck, NOTE common lumber sizes are not actual sizes. For example, a 2×8 is really 1.5 inches by 7.25 inches.
8 – Deck Piers
Four Foot Level
Two Foot Level
2 – 6 inch Clamps
2 – 24 inch Clamps
4 – Joist Hangers
2 – Adjustable L Angles
Drill & Driver
Camo Hidden Deck Fastener
Camo Hidden Deck Screws
3 – Small Mending Plates
1 – Large Mending Plate
6 – 12×12 Square Pavers
4 1/2 inch HeadLOK Fasteners
1 1/2 inch Structural Connectors
3 inch Deck Screws
2 – 4x4x8 Pressure Treated Posts
3 – 2x8x10 Pressure Treated Boards
5 – 2x8x8 Pressure Treated Boards
1 – 2x4x8 Pressure Treated Boards
20 – 5/4x6x8 Pressure Treated Deck Boards
5 – 5/4x6x10 Pressure Treated Deck Boards
* NOTE if you plan to set up a stock pool for use this summer, I HIGHLY recommend acquiring your supplies, parts and decking materials ASAP. Last year everywhere was sold out of pool supplies by the end of June and decking materials were scarce.
Set up your stock tank pool. I am not going to dive into that in this post, but I did share all the details on how we set up our pool in this post. I do highly recommend having the stock tank in place BEFORE you begin on the deck build, but I do NOT recommend filling the pool until after the deck is complete. There will be times you need to stand in the pool or be operating power tools while in the pool and water and electricity do not mix well.
Purchase your lumber. We made multiple trips to several stores to acquire all of our lumber, as it was quite scarce last June. I highly suggest using pressure treated wood or cedar. We chose to use pressure treated wood since cedar is quite a bit more expensive. Please see the supplies list above for all the items we used.
Determine the footprint of your deck. We spent a fair amount of time measuring out our area to determine the best size for our deck. We wanted it to be large enough that you didn’t feel like you were walking the plank and still provide enough room for a few adults to sit pool side. These are the dimensions we decided on and they have worked well for us.
Frame out the deck. After watching many videos on building a low deck, we decided to use deck piers instead of digging holes and setting posts in concrete. We did this for two reasons. A) There are utilities that run under the area where the pool is. B) If we ever decide we don’t want the stock tank pool deck anymore, it will be easier to put it back the way it was since we won’t have to jack hammer concrete. If you decide to set your posts in concrete, make sure you have your utilities marked first by calling 811. We laid our deck piers out like this.
When using deck piers, you will have to level out the area in which they will sit prior to setting them. NOTE, there is NO pea gravel under the deck piers or the pool. I covered the leveling more in this post. Once the ground itself was fairly level, we used paver base and paver sand to set them. If you make your deck the same as ours, each set of two piers will be very close together since they are wider at the base.
Each pier needs to be level from front to back and side to side. It is useful to have more than one level for this. For the smaller spots we used a two foot level and the larger runs we used a four foot level and at times we used both.
The deck piers also need to be level between each other. We started at the front of the pool and worked our way back.
Once the front piers and the back piers were level, we ran a 10 foot 2×4 between them and used our four foot level to make sure the span was also level. This part does take some time. But be patient, because it is the entire foundation to your deck.
Once all the piers are set, you can cut the 4×4 posts to size. We cut ours to 16.75 inches long which allowed the top of the deck framing to sit level with the pool. The deck piers do vary a little depending on the manufacturer, so double check your height before making any cuts! Measure twice, cut once.
After placing the 4x4s in the deck piers, double check they are still level. We did this for all four sets of piers and posts. This is when we used both levels at the same time.
Now you are ready to add the framing or joists of the deck. For this we used 2x8s placing the inside and outside joists 22.25 inches apart measuring from the outside edge of each.
We secured the 2x8s directly to the 4×4 posts with these fasteners. They were SO easy to work with and we didn’t have to predrill anything! I also prefer working with star or spider style drill bits since they are less likely to strip out.
I’m not going to lie, attaching the 2x8s was a little tricky, so mid project we bought some clamps to assist. These definitely aren’t required, but were totally worth it in my opinion and really helped speed things up. We used the 6 inch clamps on smaller areas like this and the 24 inch clamps on larger areas. We have also used them on numerous projects since.
We also added a supporting joist in between the framing 2x8s on both sides of the deck. I am not sure if this was really necessary, but when I Googled how far a 2×8 joist could span, it said “if spaced 16 inches on center it can span 1.5 times in feet their depth in inches”. Since our spacing was greater than 16 inches, we erred on the side of caution and added two middle joists. I am not an engineer, but I can say the deck definitely feels solid. This also helped us when we got to laying the deck boards.
To attach the middle support 2x8s we used these joist hangers and structural screws.
The final step to the framing is the small diagonal joist we ran in the corner. I definitely think this was necessary to support the deck boards near the stock tank pool.
We used these adjustable L angles to attach the diagonal joist and cut it at a 45 degree angle with the miter saw.
Because it is so close to the pool, we also needed to use a pivot holder to attach it.
Build the stairs. There are stair kits you can buy, but for only two steps, it seemed easier to build our own. We essentially built two boxes out of 2x8s and then attached them. To assemble each box we used 3 inch deck screws.
For the base box (the bottom step), we cut two pieces at 22.25 inches (for the front and the back) and three pieces at 19.5 inches (for the sides and middle support). For the top box (the top step), we cut two pieces at 22.25 inches (for the front and the back) and three pieces at 8.25 inches (for the sides and middle support). These are the dimensions we used because I skirted the deck, adding another 2.5 inches to the total width. If you do not plan to do this, you may want to alter the dimensions.
To attach the steps, we used several brackets. We used a large mending plate on the back spanning over the seem between them.
And we used small mending plates on the inside of the boxes spanning the seems on each side and the middle.
We also chose to set our steps on top of four 12×12 paver stones to ensure they don’t shift.
Skirting the deck. I did not want the deck to be open underneath so I skirted it with deck boards down each of the sides and the back. We did this BEFORE we attached the steps and BEFORE we attached the top of the deck. So if you are wondering why I skipped that, I will come back to it. To skirt the deck, I attached deck boards vertically to the outside 2×8 framing. To cut around the base of the deck piers, I used our jigsaw and miter saw.
I also did not want to see face screws, so we bought this hidden deck fastener. This was definitely more challenging to use on the skirt than it was on the top, but I still think it was worth it not to see the screws.
I skirted the deck mostly by myself, so the clamps were VERY helpful here. A few things to note. If you plan to skirt the deck the way I did, it’s much easier to do BEFORE the deck boards go on the top. If your deck boards go on first, you will not be able to clamp your skirt piece in place while you attach it. Also, if you skirt the deck after the deck boards go on, you will have to account for the extra 1.25 inches the skirt will add to the edges if you want them to be covered.
Attach the steps. This was definitely one of the more challenging parts for us and we actually ended up changing some of it after we did it. Initially we did not extend the front framing past the steps to meet the edge of the pool. Also, there was too big of a gap between the base of the deck pier and the back of the steps. This picture is to show you what NOT to do.
We realized our mistake after the fact, but worked around it by adding a deck board to the front of the frame and then added a 2×8 to the outside. This gave us enough room to clear the base of the deck pier on the bottom and attach the steps.
The 2×8 we attached to the front face extends to meet the stock tank pool where we cut it at a 45 degree angle.
We then attached the steps to the front 2×8 with the same headlok screws we used above. The screw heads are in the inside of the top step so you cannot see them now that the deck is done.
This also allowed us to add a skirt to the front corner which would have otherwise been open to under the stock tank pool deck.
We attached these skirt pieces from inside the framing so the screws would not be seen. Another reason why we waited until the very end to attach the deck boards. Here is a top view of what this all looked like. It was a little confusing, so I want to give you as many pictures as possible.
Install the deck boards. We chose to run our deck boards on the diagonal and started in the top corner. In a perfect world, I would have lined up the skirt with the diagonal on the top, but I did not originally plan to run the deck boards on the diagonal.
Technically, all the deck boards should be run “long” so they hang off the edge of the deck. Then you come back with a circular saw and lop off all the ends to make sure they are all same. We did not do this for two reasons. A) You waste more lumber when you do this and lumber was VERY hard to find last year, so we did not have that luxury. B) We have irrational fears of our circular saw and really don’t like using it unless we have to. As result, our edges are not perfect, but they are good enough. We used the miter saw to 45 each end.
As I mentioned above, I did not want to see any face screws and we used the Camo Hidden Fastener. This was a little confusing to me at first, so I want to show you how it works. The tool straddles the deck board and you drive the screws in at an angle through holes on the front and back of the tool.
We attached the deck boards at each spot where the board intersected with a joist. If you are doing this solo, having the clamps is really helpful here too! I used them to clamp the deck boards to the 2x8s underneath so nothing shifted as I attached the boards.
We also used the deck boards for the tops of the steps. This was a little tricky with the hidden fastener because it didn’t fit around the deck board up against the step. In that situation and some others we encountered, we got the screws started before putting it in place.
On the steps, we used two deck boards. On the back piece we only used 3 screws on the front which we started and then moved into place and then finished screwing them in.
Cutting out the curve of the pool. For this part you will have to run the boards a little long and then jigsaw around the curve of the pool. This is what it looked like before I cut it out. Also, that is not rust on the pool, its just really dirty.
I am not going to lie, I was SO nervous about this part and it ended up being one of the easiest parts! Go figure. To help guide me, I used a piece of sprinkler tube that we had in the shed to trace a line along the deck boards.
Then I cut along the line with our jigsaw. We actually have more than one, but I prefer this one. If you have not used a jigsaw before, I HIGHLY recommend practicing on some scrap wood first because you only get one shot at this. No pressure 😉 But seriously, it wasn’t bad. I just took my time.
This is what it looked like when I was done. Marvin was checking out my work 🙂
Step 10 (optional)
Build an enclosure for the pool pump. This is definitely an optional step, but my OCD heart definitely needed this! Originally we planned to put the pump under the deck, but once we saw how little room there was and how difficult it would be to change the filter and troubleshoot, we decided to make a separate spot for it on the back left side of the stock tank pool deck. This also protects it from hail, which we get often in Denver.
To build the enclosure we started by cutting three pieces from from a pressure treated 2×4. We cut two pieces at 17.5 inches (the legs) and one piece at 28.5 inches (the back support) and attached them with 3 inch deck screws. These three pieces form the back brace of our enclosure.
Then we cut two pieces to 17.5 inches from the leftover 4x4s to serve as the enclosures front supports and measured how far apart they should be. We set the pool pump on two 12×12 pavers just like with the steps. Since there is pea gravel surrounding the stock tank pool, we found the rubber mallet to be helpful in leveling these out.
Then, we attached three deck boards cut down to 41.5 inches long to the front of the 4x4s. We used the hidden fasteners to attach these to the 4x4s at the ends.
Next, we placed the front panel and used the clamps to attach additional deck boards to the side. These were cut to 20 inches long.
Lastly, we built the top cover. We used four additional deck boards for this. Three were full size width and one was ripped down to 2.5 inches. You can cut this with the jigsaw. We secured these to one another on the back side with 17 inch long scrap pieces of deck boards we ripped in half and spaced 13 inches apart. I used flooring spacers we had to space the boards out and then clamped it all together so we could attach everything with screws from the back side.
The finished pump enclosure looks like this. Note, it is free standing and not attached to the stock tank pool deck but the weight of it is sufficient to keep it in place. If you wanted to attach it you definitely could, however, it is handy to be able to move it out of the way if you need to address pump issues.
Clean the pool and fill it up! I used dawn dish soap and water to scrub down the inside of the stock tank pool and filled it with the hose.
Enjoy your summer by the pool soaking up some rays!
Stock Tank Pool Deck FAQ
Did you stain your deck?
Yes! Since we used pressure treated lumber we waited a few months before staining the deck since the wood was too wet initially. We also sealed it with sparurethane like we did to the sofas and table last summer and I think it was a good call. The deck has been covered with snow throughout the winter and still looks great!
Does the pool sit on pea gravel?
NO! This area used to be our fire pit area and literally had a ton of pea gravel here so we reused it. However, we did move it all to level out the area under the pool. Once the pool was in place and all the deck framing was complete, we filled in the area around the pool and under the deck with pea gravel. For more detail on the set up check out this post.
How long did this take to build?
Once we leveled out the area for the pool and had the pool in place, we built the deck over three normal weekends or six days. Keep in mind, this was our very first time building a deck so we were figuring some things out as we went along.
How much did it cost?
The cost to build the deck itself was about $650. This includes all the lumber and building materials as well as the specialty hidden fastener. It does not include all the tools we already own. Depending on where you live and when you build your deck, this number could vary.
How do you set up the Stock Tank Pool?
I cover all the details on setting up the pool, how we keep it clean, and what we do in the winter in this post.
Shop The Look
Stock Tank | Black & White Towels | Unicorn & Llama Pool Floats | Flamingo Drink Holders | Shark Fin Chlorine Dispenser | Sunglasses | Fedora Hat | Step Lights | String Lights | Lantern | Tall Planter | Wood Planter (similar)
Summer is just months away, and lazy pool days are calling your name. Get started on your stock tank pool deck now and maximize your summer fun!
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I’ve been considering installing a stock tank pool so I really appreciate your detailed tutorial on both the pool post and now the deck post. Your deck is beautiful! Nice work!
Thank you so much! 🙂