A.Craig Savage responds: In a word, our answer is masonry. Most of the decks we build sit on hillsides. This means the pool — a cistern built of rebar and gunnite — sticks out of the ground, and is supported on "table legs," or concrete caissons that typically run 50 or 60 feet down. Around this structure, we build a wooden deck on all sides. As a surface decking material, we always use some type of masonry. We typically use brick or sandstone flagstones. But slate or just plain concrete would do as well.

We hang the deck ledgers right off the pool and run our joists sloping at 1/8 inch per foot from the pool edge to the outside perimeter. We then deck the framing with pressure-treated plywood.

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