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Deck/Patio Drainage For Inground Swimming Pools 101


fiberglass-pool-deck-drainageWe are frequently asked questions about deck drainage for inground pools.

Some common questions are:

  • How much should an inground pool patio slope?
  • Which direction should the patio slope?
  • How do deck drain systems work and what types of deck drain systems are available?

We’ll tackle these questions here and hopefully give you a better understanding of how deck drains for inground pools really work.

How Much Slope Should an Inground Pool Patio Have?

Pool patios, or pool decks as they’re also called, should slope at a rate of approximately one-quarter of an inch per foot.  So a section of patio eight feet wide for example, should have around two inches of fall.

Which Direction Should the Patio Slope?

The pool deck needs to slope away from the pool.  Otherwise, water will wash debris into the pool on a regular basis….and that’s no fun.  If the patio is surrounded by landscaping, it’s perfectly fine to allow the water to run directly of the patio into the softscape as long as that water has somewhere to go.  If the water becomes trapped in the area outside the patio for some reason, a french drain (12”x12” gravel filled trench) will usually remedy the problem. 

If the pool patio does abut a house or other structure there are several options:

  • Have the patio fall away from the house as well as the pool forming a valley in the middle of the patio field.  In this case the patio could either be “swaled” causing the water to naturally flow away from the center and off the sides
  • Or a drain could be installed in the valley to carry water away from the patio. 
  • You could also have the patio fall all the way to the house where you would place a strip drain to collect and divert the water. 

How Do Deck Drainage Systems Work and What Types are Available?

Deck drains are designed to collect water from the patio and divert it to another desired location.  There are basically two types of deck drains used in most pool projects: Strip drains and Spot drains. 


Strip Drains (also referred to as trench drains) are basically long narrow grates which water trickles into then flows through the underground trough away from the patio.  Strip drains are perfect to place against a house or other structure and are also commonly used in the valleys we discussed earlier.

Spot drains are typically smaller single drains that are tied together underground by pvc pipe that carries the water away from the patio.  Spot drains are perfect in areas where long straight trench drains won’t work.  This makes them ideal for free form patio applications.

Well, that’s it!  If you have any other questions or thoughts please feel free to share them in the comments section below. 

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very nice information you provide about swimming pool. 
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Posted @ Monday, November 28, 2011 6:12 AM by devanshi
Great post! Simple and easy to understand. I see so many contractors short cut drains to keep the project cheap. Never undersell the drainage.
Posted @ Monday, December 05, 2011 9:17 AM by David
Nice! I was looking for drainage solution info and I found this site. River Pools and Spas is everywhere! 
Have a great holiday guys!
Posted @ Friday, December 16, 2011 11:36 AM by Jason Diller
Great information! I was also looking for information on this. A deck drainage system is really important to have. The spot drains sound to be the best drainage system. Thanks you for providing this information for pool owners.
Posted @ Saturday, January 07, 2012 7:23 PM by Clarissa
My old house had strip drains that would divert the water on the pool deck away from the house, as the patio butted right up against the house.
Posted @ Wednesday, January 25, 2012 12:00 PM by azpool
Thanks for sharing, i found this very useful.
Posted @ Tuesday, February 28, 2012 8:02 AM by In grounds pools Sussex
We just bought a home with a screened in pool and patio. We notice during a hard rain yesterday that the strip drain running between the deck and patio was not draining causing a big puddle. When we first move in there were a few weeds growing from the drain, so I assume dirt/roots are clogging it. How do we get it cleared/cleaned out? Thanks.
Posted @ Monday, March 12, 2012 10:55 AM by Vic
The top should be removable, if it is simply clean it out and snap it back on. If it's not removable you could either try to snake the drain out from either end (preferred), or make a clean out by cutting part of the top off. No pretty way to do that one. 
Good luck!
Posted @ Monday, March 12, 2012 11:13 AM by Jason
Thank pool guy has half my patio draining into pool...the 3 feet around the pool is all back cut allowing water from that decking to enter pool..and he runs the patio right into my foundation...told him not to pour the other half today...till this concrete uis ripped out and i'll get a real concrete guy to do liner and water has been in for over a week and they are just getting to the concrete..water is putrid..concrete dust/concrete etc all inside pool... 
Losing my marbles in Niagara Falls!!
Posted @ Wednesday, August 01, 2012 7:23 AM by John
does strip drain come as narrow as 1/2 inch? I'm thinking of using it on my patio in lieu of expansion joint material.
Posted @ Monday, November 26, 2012 1:40 PM by Larry Patterson
what to do if drain strips are cemented in? They are breaking off? how do u remove them?
Posted @ Thursday, July 25, 2013 3:49 PM by Christi Toms
My pool deck is screened in with drain strips at one end but not at the narrow end of the pool. Should or does rain water drain off from beneath the screen base.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 28, 2013 11:20 AM by Vincent Dee
Does a french drain make the pool no longer part of the dwelling of the house. Does it split the pool and the cool deck , from the patio. I am wondering because my insurance co, said it did and the my pool would not be covered if I had one.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 10, 2013 2:58 PM by cookie delk
On trench drains how narrow do they come?
Posted @ Wednesday, February 26, 2014 8:39 AM by Patrick M. Watkins
We have a 20 year old home in NorthCentral Florida (Dunnellon) with a lovely Lanai and Pool. However, we have worm problem . . we think that they are living in the deck drain . . . We are hoping that there is a way to take this old system out . . and replace with one that we can clean regularly . . and in which worms will NOT like to live! We had 20 worms in our pool this morning (it rained last night), and saw a warm crawling out of the drain. 'Hope you and help! Thank!
Posted @ Saturday, March 29, 2014 9:37 AM by Gretchen Stansell
If you need drainage system for your pool or home We offer complete drainage system on affordable price we have lots of drainage design for pool !
Posted @ Wednesday, April 16, 2014 10:24 AM by Septic Tank Pumping
my pool deck (pavers) runs right up to my home. on one side is a french drain keping water away from my home.on the other side rain water drains under the home on a regular basis. could this be causing a foundation problem?
Posted @ Friday, April 18, 2014 11:53 PM by Linda
I am happy to know about this valuable information about deck drainage for inground pools. keep up the good work and keep posting...
Posted @ Tuesday, April 22, 2014 2:20 AM by Houston Patio Builders
I had some pretty serious drainage issues around the pool in my old home. I worked with a number of contractors to finally have the problem fixed. You'll especially want to make sure that you have good drainage to avoid damage to your lawn. 
Xavier Smith |
Posted @ Wednesday, April 30, 2014 5:16 PM by Xavier Smith
I have a court yard pool house with French drains that appear to be slow draining the water away. I sprayed a high power hose in the hole and dirt came out of the next 3 holes 
Is there a way to clean this system to assist drainage? Is this something you do? If so cost? Should there be a drain out of the pool area above ground where this water is discharged? 
Thanks for your help, 
Posted @ Wednesday, May 14, 2014 9:47 AM by Bryan Landry
Has anyone heard of painting the strip drains? We just had our pool deck painted and they painted the strips.
Posted @ Wednesday, June 11, 2014 6:39 PM by Mark
A very well written, detailed and though-provoking post on Deck/Patio Drainage For Inground Swimming. I really appreciate it and enjoyed this post. keep up the good work.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 22, 2014 11:11 PM by Pedro Tyler
We have original strip drains that were installed at same time as 1993 inground pool. They worked fine, but we had a hail storm this spring. Strip drain took a beating and now has random holes in the strip. No one seems to know how to replace/repair. Impossible to pull up the strip drain. In addition, concrete sections have shifted with the changing seasons and strip drain does not lay flat anymore. Any ideas? Our local pool companies are struggling to find a solution also. Thank you!
Posted @ Wednesday, July 23, 2014 9:20 PM by Vicki
I have a spot drain on my pool deck that often gets clogged. I haven't been able to determine where the water is being channeled. Do these drains typically channel the water all the way to an outside edge of the deck, or do they typically just channel the water to a special drainage area underneath the deck? My basic question is how are these drainage systems typically designed?
Posted @ Wednesday, July 30, 2014 8:42 PM by Dave
Thanks for sharing this awesome post. It gives very useful information about decks and porches. There are so many things that we need to determined before deck building. This post is very well written and helpful for taking decision.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 20, 2014 11:45 AM by Lee Pack
Beautiful and Clean Swimming Pool. I like Educational Swimming Pool. Thank You For Sharing..........
Posted @ Thursday, September 04, 2014 2:21 AM by Jack Mason
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