Introduction: DIY Pool Deck With a Secret Hatch! How to Build a Deck for Your Stock Tank Pool

About: I am a self taught maker that has fallen in love with making instead of buying. I create how-to videos about the projects I love and make. Check out my YouTube channel for more!

In this tutorial I'm going to show you how to build a small backyard deck with stairs for your above ground pool. I built this deck for my 8' stock tank pool, including a secret hatch so I can access my pump and filter. You could alter this deck to make it bigger or smaller, fit a different sized pool, add on railings or move the stairs. The possibilities are endless!

Be sure to watch the build video above for an even better tutorial.

Check out my tutorial on how I built the pool HERE


Step 1: Set the Posts

I started this project by bringing in some concrete pier blocks, which will be base of this deck. You could certainly dig holes and build the deck into the ground, but the blocks are great option too. Especially if you ever want to move the deck.

I placed the blocks in their locations and then made sure they were level. And then I cut some treated 4x4 posts and set them vertically in the blocks. I purposely kept the posts longer than needed and will cut them to their final height in just a bit.

All of the wood I am using in this project is treated lumber since this is an outdoor project.

Step 2: Attach the Rim Joists

Now to frame it up. To secure the wood to the posts I’m going to be using these super strong TimberLok Screws. They’re really easy to put in and can handle the weight we put on the deck without snapping.

All of the framing is going to be made from 2x6 boards.

When working alone, a good way to help hold a board up is to attach clamps, kind of like a shelf support. Once I got the board in the right position, I attached more clamps to hold it in place. This outside joist, called a rim joist, is going to be the same height as the pool. Then I pre-drilled and then screwed in my TimberLok’s.

I continued all the way around and got all of the rim joists in place. I secured the back, long rim joist to the center post.

Step 3: Tip: Hanging Joists

Here is a great tip for hanging joists:

I took a scrap piece of 2x4 and cut it in half. Then I screwed each one temporarily to the top of each joist end, as a brace. These braces allow me to now set the joist in place, held exactly where it needs to be.

I can then snug the joist hangers up under the joist and hammer them in place. Once they’re both set I can then remove the braces and the joist is ready to go! You can see in the photo that they are right where they should be.

I then secured this joist to the center posts with more structural TimberLock screws.

Step 4: More Joists and Blocking

I then filled in the other joists using the same method as before - setting them in place with braces and installing joist hangers.

I added boards between the joists, called blocking. I attached them by screwing to the posts where I could, and then using joist hangers where there were no posts.

At this point I can cut all the posts flush, and I did this with a reciprocating saw.

Step 5: Attach Corner Joists

To add bracing to the inner corners, I cut two 2x6’s with a 45 degree angle on each end with my miter saw. and then secured them in place on each end with TimberLoks.

Ideally I would have these two posts a few inches closer to the pool, but I couldn’t because the concrete slab was in the way. If you build this deck, I recommend moving your center posts so they are set under the corner joist ends for maximum support. See the build video for a much better clarification.

I cut some 2x4’s and added some support from the under side of the diagonal pieces, for more structural peace of mind. This piece was just long enough to screw into the posts and also fit under the diagonal braces.

Step 6: Add the Decking

With all of the framing done, it's finally time to move on to decking. I got 5/4 decking boards and set them in place using a framing square to make sure I started out square to the frame. And then I pre-drilled and screwed them into place with exterior screws.

To cut the curve around the pool, I found it easier to cut each board as I go. To get the curve, I like to hold something flexible in place and line it up on each side with the curve of the pool. I used a flexible ruler. I can then draw my line, and then cut along the line with a jigsaw.

Once one is cut, I repeat with the next board. I continued adding deck boards all the way down and cutting the curve along the way.

After I made it all the way around the pool, these last boards were super easy to install, as they had no curves and I just screwed the full board down.

Step 7: Add in a Secret Hatch

I purposely built this side so that it would cover my pool filter. However, I still need to be able to access the top of the filter from time to time. To do this, I’m going to cut in... a secret hatch.

I set my board in place and marked where the joists are. Then I used my circular saw and cut the boards right on the lines, which leaves me with three pieces.

I then cut two pieces from a 2x4 and screwed them in on the insides of the joist, where the opening will be. These are going to support my hatch. I made sure they sat flush with the top of the joists, so the deck board will sit even all the way across.

Then I set in my secret hatch piece, pushed the left and right boards right up next to it and screwed them down. The middle hatch board will not get screwed down.

Then I finished installing the last two deck boards.

Step 8: Trim the Overhang

With the top done I got out my track saw and cut the back ends perfectly flush. This could also easily be done with a circular saw and clamped a straight edge. And then this front side as well.

Step 9: Build the Stairs

To add stairs to this deck, I picked up some pre made stair stringers from Home Depot.

I attached another 2x6 to the 4x4 posts. I leveled the ground and placed some pavers to support the bottom of the stairs.

I’m using these galvanized stringer connectors that are made for stairs. I attached them, using their special galvanized hex screws, to the 2x6 board first and then to the stringer. And then I repeated the process for the second stringer, making sure the two were level to each other.

For the stair treads, I cut more 5/4 deck boards and screwed them to the stringers. I butted up two on each tread. And then I cut and installed one deck board for each riser, which is this vertical piece between each tread.

Step 10: Add Trim Boards

Add any trim you may want with more decking boards.

And with that, this deck is done!

Step 11: Enjoy!

I’m so thrilled with how this deck turned out and how much it adds to this pool space. It creates a place to layout, a place for people to sit on the side of the pool and a great place to set drinks and music and towels.

In a few weeks, once the treated wood dries out, I’ll go back and add some deck sealer to protect it from the sun and elements.

Don't forget to watch the full build video above to see a more detailed tutorial. If I can build this deck, you can too! And the video showing the pool build is here.

I'd love to see pics of yours if you decide to make your own! For more projects and tutorials, be sure and visit my YouTube channel and my website. You can also find me on Instagram @makergray.

Thanks for following along!

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