Living the In Ground Pool Lifestyle

When you have your very own in ground swimming pool, you in essence join an elite club of fellow in ground pool owners.  Although there are no membership cards or dues involved in this club, you will find yourself immersed in everything swimming pool related.  You may find yourself online looking at all things swimming pool related.

One of the best aspects of owning a swimming pool is finding new ways to enjoy it aside from the traditional way of swimming in it.  The internet is full of fun ideas that you and your family can do to get the most out of your pool.  These ideas are generally posted by pool owners to help their fellow pool owners get the most out of their pools.

Pintrest is a great platform to share information related to in ground swimming pools and really the swimming pool lifestyle in general.  I have found many interesting ideas on pintrest that I have used to enrich the lives of my own family.  Today I want to share with you some of the things related to the swimming pool lifestyle that I find enjoyable.

First of all owning an in ground swimming pool is a decision that you should not come to lightly.  This is a decision that should involve the whole family.  Some people make this decision to give their kids something fun to do each summer.  However many people without children get pools to give themselves a place to relax after a long day of work.  For them it acts as a fortress of solitude.  Regardless of why you decide to get an in ground swimming pool you will have many choices to make along the way.  Once that pool is installed it is up to you to make the most out of it.

For The Kids:

If you have decided on getting a pool for your kids to use it, is important to understand the safety aspects.  For one, if your children cannot swim, it is important to make sure they have some sort of adult supervision at all times.  However, this will be the perfect opportunity to bond with your children and teach them how to swim while having fun.  It can also become a daily after school routine if your children decide to join a swimming team or just let off some steam.  The fact there is a swimming pool in your back yard ready to go is perfect.  No need for traveling, wasting gas, paying fees to swim with people you do not know or having to worry about “where are the kids?”.  You will know at all times where the kids are and have easy access for getting to them.

In todays society, from elementary to high school kids, technology has taken its tole when it comes to being active.  Majority of children are now stuck from either looking at their phones or playing video games in front of a bright screen.  I remember the days when being outside was fun and every summer my folks would take my siblings and I to the public swimming pool to play in the water and have a great time, and I always did have an amazing time.  However, I did not like the fact everybody was separate from each other while we were at the public pool.  So eventually my folks decided to have a pool in our yard, which was better for everybody.  My parents were able to keep an eye on us and I was not separated from my siblings.  Not only that, but I was able to bring some of my friends over and have a mini barbecue.  So why not bring that kind of fun to your family?  The kids will have a chance to get off of their cell phones, video games and TV, and in exchange they get to have fun being outside in the comfort in their own backyard.  This gives them a change to be active, grow and be happy.

For Yourself:

Nothing wrong thinking about yourself and wanting to be able to spoil yourself.  So, why not spoil yourself with an ground pool?  Sounds like an amazing idea, because it is an amazing idea.  Correction, it’s not just amazing it’s fantastic.  There are other reasons to have a ground pool built in your background.  Some people do so for their families and children, which is still a fantastic idea.  However, there is nothing wrong thinking about yourself and wanting to do something for yourself.  If you have an issue being out in public pools, having your very own is perfect.  You can relax in the comfort of your home without the issue of other people.  Want to have your own party with close friends and family? Invite them over to your awesome place while having a barbecue, kicking back with a few beers and enjoying a nice swim or push your best friend into the water because why not, it is your home, your pool.

In Ground Swimming Pool Building Materials

 

Tri-Max

Only Alpha has a few different options available when it comes to the wall panels.  Like most other manufacturers, they have a steel wall and a non-corrosive wall.  There are some major differences between their wall panels and what is offered by every other manufacturer in the business.  I think that the best way to describe these differences is to approach them individually.  That being said I will start with the steel wall panels.

First of all they offer two different “lines” of steel wall panels.  The first is their Titan line.  This is the standard style steel panel that many vinyl liner builders are accustomed to.  The other is their Tri-Max line.  This is basically the triple bend panel.  With this line, they add an extra bend to the top and bottom flange, because as you may or may not know, every bend in a piece of steel adds strength.  Both of these lines use the industry standard 14 gauge, G35 steel.  This type of steel is common with all steel pool wall manufacturers.  However Only Alpha had taken it a step further and added their Alpha Advantage Shield.  This is an additional coating that gets applied to the steel on top of the the galvanization.  What this does is adds an extra layer of protection against corrosion.  Don’t get me wrong, all steel will inevitably rust, however it is just a matter of how long before it does.  With this Alpha Advantage Shield technology, the life of the panel is prolonged dramatically.  The next type of wall panel that they offer is a non-corrosive panel.

This is yet another area in which Only Alpha shines.  They have created a non-corrosive panel unlike any other on the market.  Other manufacturers may have a non-corrosive panel, however the structural quality in those panels is lacking.  Only Alpha has created a panel that is both non-corrosive as well as structurally sound.  The difference is very apparent to those who have worked with a structural foam panel in the past.  The structural foam panels have a tendency to warp and bow in the heat of the day.  Only Alpha’s true composite panels are a thermally set product, which means that once it is molded and set neither heat nor cold will affect its structure.

This is the point at which I want to give you my personal preference on the materials I would use in my own pool.  Given the choice I would definitely go with the true composite panel from Only Alpha over any other panel on the market.  Although Only Alpha has taken the steel panel to the next level which surpasses all other steel panels on the market, I would still opt for the composite panel.  The reason for this is simply because the composite panel will extend the life of the pool far past any other type of panel out there.  With steel, it will eventually begin to corrode.  It is a fact that steel rusts.  It could be 20 years or it could be 3 years but at some point it will rust.  (Especially if the pool is going to have a salt cell)  With Only Alpha’s composite material, you will have a completely non-corrosive panel and it will also stand the test of time.

If you are thinking about getting a vinyl liner in ground swimming pool I would strongly recommend going with the composite panel from Only Alpha Pool Products.  At the very least you should take a look at their website to get more information.  Just go to www.onlyalpha.com and see for yourself what makes them different.  I assure you that you will be impressed.

For more information on Only Alpha Pool Products, as well as general swimming pool information.  Please check out my other posts.  I have been in the industry for nearly ten years and have used my experience to gather knowledge which I intend to pass on to you.

Get Ready For Summer

I know that it seems like a long way off but the summer will be here before you know it.  There are a lot of things to do to get ready for it.  One of the things that crosses the minds of most folks is whether or not to get an in ground swimming pool.  For some this is a question that comes up every spring.  In my opinion if this is something that comes up that frequently, then maybe you should look into it a bit more.  More and more people are getting in ground pools these days and it just goes to show that maybe they aren’t that unattainable anymore.  It used to seem like an in ground swimming pool was something that only the upper class folks were able to afford.  This is not the case anymore.  In ground swimming pools are becoming more affordable as time goes on.  I think that this is due to the fact that the materials being used to build in ground swimming pools are changing.  Along with the materials changing, the way that the pools are built is changing as well.

With the cost of in ground pools getting lower, people are now able to spend more money on upgrading their backyards as a whole.  The backyard staycation is becoming a well known idea.  This is the idea that instead of spending money each year to go on an elaborate vacation, people are now spending their money on their own backyards.  Updating their landscaping, installing a swimming pool, and having a pergola built are just a few ways in which people are creating a unique backyard experience.  This is something that I would personally recommend.  Instead of spending all of your money on a vacation that will only last for maybe a week or so.  You can instead save that money and reinvest it in your own backyard.  If you plan this out properly you could likely improve your entire backyard complete with pool for the cost of what many people were spending on a pool alone ten years ago.

Lets break this down into individual components.  To start lets look at the pool itself.  I would recommend starting with the design of the pool, only because this component will likely take up the most space in your backyard.  When deciding on the design and size of your pool you should determine why you want a pool to begin with and take that into consideration.  Some people get a pool to give their families a place to have fun.  Some people get a pool to have a nice place to relax.  The reason you want a pool to begin with may be a contributing factor in the size and shape of the pool.  Once you have that figured out you can then determine what type of landscaping will compliment it well.  Many people will incorporate a nice patio area next to the pool.  This would give you a place to entertain or relax after a long day.  There are also many different types of patio styles to choose from.  Websites like Pintrest and Houzz are great places to get ideas and inspiration for backyard staycations.  Some people have great success by simply talking with their pool builder first.  Typically they can provide you with a drawing of the pool you want to scale which you could take to a landscape designer.  Or in some cases the pool builder might have some contact information on a landscape company that they have worked with in the past.

Regardless of how you go about creating your backyard staycation, the point is that it is in your best interest to do so.  In theory it would likely pay for itself over time by saving you money that you would have spent on vacations.  The other benefit is that it would allow you to create you very own resort in your own back yard, and allow you to customize it to your personal tastes.  If you want a nice place to entertain guests, or if you are looking more for a source of entertainment for your family, a pool is a wonderful way to go.

For more information on the backyard staycation as well as general swimming pool information, please check out the rest of my blog, and feel free to comment.  If there is something that is not clear or something that you want more information on just let me know and I will do my very best to address it.

Modern Vinyl Liner Pool Steps

In recent years there has been a shift in the world of swimming pools.  This shift can be seen in many different aspects.  The biggest part of this shift is in the type of in ground swimming pool that people are getting.  In the past I speculate that the majority of people were getting concrete pools.  Now the trend has moved toward vinyl liner in ground pools.  The reason for this is partly due to the fact that the perception of the vinyl liner pool has improved.  I think that people used to see a vinyl liner pool as inferior to the concrete pool.  Now people are starting to realize that there are benefits to owning a vinyl liner pool that are not available with a concrete pool.  In addition to that the cost of a vinyl liner pool is in most cases cheaper than that of its concrete counter part.

In today’s world one could get a vinyl liner in ground pool with all the same design freedom of a concrete pool.  By that I mean vinyl liner pools can be made in any shape, size, and form.  It is basically a matter of what is desired.  I have even seen guitar shaped vinyl liner pools.  In the past, the design options were limited, but with new technology and know how those options are now endless.  When vinyl liner pools first entered the market, there weren’t much to them.  A basic shape, with a white thermoplastic step.  Soon after that the fiberglass step was offered as an upgrade.  Mainly due to the fact that the fiberglass step is a much more structurally sound way to go.  Today more and more people are getting pools with custom vinyl over steps.

The vinyl over step is almost to the point where it is expected in a pool design.  This style of step offers more of a concrete pool look and custom design options.  Obviously that is an amazing selling feature for vinyl liner swimming pools.  Now instead of having the same white step as the neighbor, people are now able to have a similar swimming pool that looks completely different.  There are a few different ways that these steps are created.  First of all there are two basic types of vinyl over steps.  One is what is known as straight tread, and the other is known as permanent form.  The difference is in the way that these steps are manufactured.  The straight tread design means that the entire step is made out of the same material.  Meaning that both the riser and tread of the step are either made out of steel or a non-corrosive material.  (Side note… There are major differences in the types of non-corrosive materials that are available.  To learn more check out the rest of my blog.)  The permanent form design is in my humble opinion the better type of step.  This style of liner over step offers folks a more solid structure for their steps.  This type of step is different in that the riser is made out of the steel or non-corrosive material, but the treads of the step are concrete.  The permanent form step is partly made in a factory, and finished on site.  Once the step is installed in the pool there are a couple other options that need to be addressed.

Rod and Clip Design

With a vinyl over step, the liner will need to be secured to the step.  Usually this is done in the area of the steps where the treads meet the risers.  This is done a couple of different ways.  One way is to use rods and clips.  This way would require the liner to be made with “sleeves” on the under side of the liner where the treads meet the risers.  Then fiberglass rods would be slid through the sleeves and clips would be used to secure the rods to the steps, which will ultimately secure the liner into place over the steps.  This is an effective way of securing the liner over the steps.  However please note that the rod will, in most cases be somewhat visible under the liner where the risers meet the treads.  It comes down to personal preference.  Would it bother you to be able to see where the rods are underneath the liner?  If so then you might want to go with the other way of securing the liner to the steps.  This would have to be determined prior to the steps being installed in the pool.

Bead Track

The other way is to use what is called a bead receiver where the treads meet the risers.  In the past, the bead of a liner was only found at the top edge of the liner.  This is what secures the liner to the top of the walls of the pool.  However a bead is now used to secure the liner to the steps.  The liner would have to be manufactured with a bead in the correct location.  So instead of having a “sleeve” on the backside of the liner where the treads meet the risers, there would now be a bead.  That bead would then be neatly tucked into the bead receivers of the steps to give the steps an overall clean look.  Either way, the end result would be a secure liner over the steps, the only difference is that one way, in my opinion, has a better aesthetic appeal in the end.

The difference in cost is not that much in the grand scheme of things.  Again it comes down to personal preference and what best suites you.  The fact is that many people are getting pools installed with liner over steps as a way to make their pools a unique piece of art.

For more information on vinyl liner pools, and swimming pool in general please check out the rest of my blog.  There is a lot of useful information within it that will help current pool owners stay on top of whats new, and help those without pools decide if a pool is right for them.

Structural Armor Bonding

With all the new technology showing up in the swimming pool industry, there have been questions about what to do in certain situations.  Today I want to touch on one thing in particular.  In recent years the vinyl liner in ground pool industry has made a move toward non-corrosive pool walls.  This move has been made in an effort to increase the life of the vinyl liner in ground pools.  Before these non-corrosive alternatives came on the scene the majority of vinyl liner in ground swimming pools were made using steel panels.  As you can imagine, the life of the swimming pool was limited to the amount of time it would take for these steel panels to corrode.  There is no specific amount of time that it takes for a panel to corrode.  There are a number of things that can aid in the corrosion of the steel panels.  Since the non-corrosive alternatives were developed the life of vinyl liner in ground pools has been extended quite a bit.  However with this new technology there are new questions that need to be addressed.

There are things that had to be done with a steel wall pool that are different now that people are moving toward non-corrosive walls.  One thing that comes to mind is bonding.  In the past, with the steel wall pool, bonding was a requirement.  This is done to protect swimmers from electrical shocks.  Basically the rule of thumb is that anything metal within five feet from the water needs bonded.  So what about with these non-corrosive panels?  Do they still need to be bonded?  The answer is somewhat difficult to pinpoint.  As with any bonding it is dictated by the county, city, or state code.  There is no definite answer.  In some cases it is dictated by the inspector who happens to show up at the job site.  I have even seen instances where the same job was inspected by two different inspectors and one passed the bonding, and the other said more had to be done before it was okay.  The only way I can even begin to answer this question is to simply tell you what has been required in my area as it pertains to Only Alpha Pool Products’ Structural Armor line of building material.

To begin I must first clarify what “Structural Armor” is.  This is a line of building material that consists of Only Alpha’s composite wall system combined with standard steel bracing.  As I have stated above the bonding requirements for this line of pool are similar to the requirements for a steel wall pool in that they change from inspector to inspector, and in some cases from job site to job site.  Although the requirements are seemingly always changing, the rule of thumb remains the same, and that is that any metal within five feet of the waters’ edge must be bonded.  Although the composite material is not metal there are usually other things that fall under this category.  Things like coping, handrail sockets, and lights are all things that would need to be bonded.  In addition to those we are required to bond our concrete rebar grid as well.  Typically, inspectors will not require our bracing to be bonded, however I am told that in other location the steel braces are required to be bonded.  One thing that can be a bit tricky is the coping.  Usually every piece of coping needs to be bonded even though it is all touching.  For this we were told to simply run a “jumper” from one piece to the next.  This means that we would have a six inch piece of bond wire connecting the two pieces of coping.

To sum this all up, the bonding requirements for Only Alpha’s Structural Armor line of in ground swimming pool building material are dictated by the individual locations in which the pool is being built.  For the best possible answer you will need to check the code for your area.  Even if that is done you may still find that it is not sufficient enough to satisfy the eye of the inspector who visits the job site.  I think that this is a result of the fact that these codes are usually written in such a way that their meaning becomes a bit ambiguous and can be interpreted an number of ways.  One inspectors interpretation may differ than that of another’s.

For more information on in ground pool bonding as well as general in ground swimming pool information  please check out the rest of my blog.  I have written about many different topics related to in ground swimming pools so if there is something that you are curious about it is likely that I have already written about it.  If not feel free to leave a comment of question in the comments section below and I will do my best to address them in a timely manner.