Let the Pros Build Your Pool

It has come to my attention that there are quite a few people buying vinyl liner in ground swimming pool kits online and building them on their own.  This may seem like a good idea in the aspect that it will save money.  However there is a downside to doing this.

Think about it this way.  Companies that build these pools usually have a good deal of experience to rely on when something previously unseen comes to light.  When building a pool there are many things that must be done throughout the process.  First is that you will need to have all of the appropriate permits to do the things required in building a swimming pool.  In addition to that you will also have to have inspections done throughout the process.  These things represent costs that you may not have taken into consideration.  Having a pool professional build your pool will allow you to rest easy knowing that all the appropriate permits and inspections are being obtained.  It is my personal recommendation to have a company that has been in business for a while build your pool.  They will likely know what permits they will need and what kinds of inspections will need to be done.  This is only the start of it.

Please understand that there are a lot of things that must happen in a certain order to end up with a well built pool.  In some situations if a step is missed or done out of turn then it could result in added expenses to you.  In addition to that there are certain building codes that must be met to be in compliance with state and local authorities.  Again these are things that a professional pool builder would already know.  If you were to do something wrong and it was caught by the authorities you could be looking at a fine and have to spend even more money to fix it.  I have read that in recent years state and local authorities have been using google earth to spot swimming pools in backyards.  Then the cross check their paperwork to determine if all permits were obtained for building that pool.  This is just a heads up to anyone thinking about going around the codes.  You may have read or heard about several incidents this year where someone was hurt or killed in a pool due to electricity.  This is a very real concern when it comes to building swimming pools.  Proper precautions must be taken to prevent such things from happening.

Aside from all the legal stuff that one must make sure they follow when building a vinyl liner in ground swimming pool, there are also things that may happen related to the actual build of the pool.  Suppose you are building you own pool and as you dig deeper and deeper you encounter ground water.  How would you deal with that?  Do you know how to solve the problem?  Some do some don’t.  If you successfully build the pool do you know how to plumb the system, or cut in the liner?  I’m almost certain that people willing to take on such a big project, will more than likely have a background in construction of some kind.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will turn out a flawless swimming pool.  That really goes with any trade.  An electrician may not be the best plumber and vise versa.  For instance I have been building pools for almost ten years, but that doesn’t mean that I would feel comfortable in taking on a project like building my own house.  While they are similar in that they both fall under the field of “construction” they are still different enough that I would never think about building my own home.  I suppose that is what it comes down to.  Are you comfortable enough to try to build your own pool?  Are you comfortable enough to know what permits are needed and what inspections are needed?  These are the things you must consider before you start.  Even though the materials may be cheaper online than buying them from a pool professional, they still represent an investment.  Are you confident that the finished product will be worth the time and money you put into it.  If there is even a shred of doubt then I would let the professionals take care of it.

There are so many variables that come into play that building your own pool may not be something you want to try.  Below is a list of things to consider.

1) Are you confident in you construction skills?
2) Are you confident in your knowledge of building codes?
3) Do you know what permits you need?
4) Do you know how to trowel a bottom?
5) Do you know how to plumb a pool system?
6) Do you know how to wire the lights, cover, and sub panel?
7) Do you know how to properly bond the pool?
8) Are you confident in your ability to cut in a liner?

These are just a few things to think about when it comes to building your own vinyl liner in ground swimming pool.  There are many, many other things that go into building a pool that I did not mention.


The benefit of a 12v Light over a standard 120v

Since 1990 there have been over 60 deaths by electrocution and over 50 serious electricity related injuries due to faulty wiring in and around swimming pools. You might be thinking why would anyone have electrical lines around their pool area. You must understand that the majority of swimming pools have underwater lights. These lights can go bad in a couple different ways and result in stray electricity entering your pool water.

A swimming pool is meant to be a happy place where people can relax and enjoy a hot summer day. It shouldn’t be a place where people are at risk of injury. Older pools are at greater risk of having an incident. The lights used in older pools were likely to have a full 120V going to them. Today many manufacturers are changing their lights to a low voltage to prevent this type of thing from happening, or at least offering this option to those with concerns. What is likely happening is that the lights are failing and in some case water can get inside the light. Obviously this is a huge concern, especially if that light had 120V going to it. There could be other possibilities as well. If there is lighting around the pool then you will want to make sure that it is properly wired and grounded.

There are a couple ways that you can help to ensure the safety of your swimmers.

1. Signs of mold or other growth on the inside of the lens are signs of water leakage.
2. Have an electrician inspect the underwater lights and make sure that junction boxes and wiring connections are installed correctly.
3. Be sure that the power switch and GFCI for underwater lights are properly marked and easy to get to in case of an emergency.

One thing that you can do to help prevent any unfortunate events related to electrical shock in your pool is to have low voltage lighting installed in the pool when it is built.  There are several manufacturers of low voltage lights for in ground swimming pools.  Granted one low voltage light will not be as bright as a standard 120v light but you can make up for that by simply adding additional lights to the pool.  In addition to that these low voltage lights typically have the same capabilities as the larger 120V lights that are out there.  For instance many 120v lights are capable of changing colors.  In many cases the same goes for low voltage lights as well.
The point of all this is to inform you that you have options when it comes to swimming pool lighting.  One option being a low voltage light for your pool.  This will greatly reduce the risk of electric shock in your swimming pool, as opposed to a 120v light that would be very dangerous if it were to fail.

Vinyl liner Inground Pools – More than Just Rectangles

There are a few common shapes when it comes to vinyl liner in ground swimming pools that get built over and over again.  I think the most basic of these shapes is the rectangle.  This is a shape that many people end up with in their back yards, but why?  Originally, I think that it was more of a matter of availability.  When vinyl liner in ground swimming pools first came out on the market, there weren’t that many shapes available.  Luckily that is all in the past, yet still to this day the rectangle is a common shape among vinyl liner in ground swimming pools.

Some of you may not know this, but with all the technological advances that have been made over the years vinyl liner in ground swimming pool manufacturers are now able to offer any size, any shape pool that you can think of.  That is the point of this post.  I want to make you aware that when it comes to vinyl liner in ground swimming pools, you don’t have to go with a basic rectangle shape.  Many amazing pools have been done with vinyl liners.  In addition to that there are many different liner designs that are available to give your pool something that others around you don’t have.  Another thing that can set your pool apart from anyone else’s is the way your deck is done.  Let’s take a look at some of the vinyl liner pools that have been done in the past to give you an idea of what can be done with a vinyl liner in ground pool.

In this picture (left) you can see how they have opted to use pavers as their decking rather than traditional concrete.  In addition to that, this is more of an organic shape rather than the basic rectangle.  It is not likely that any of their neighbors will have a pool like this.

This next one is similar in that they again used the pavers for the decking, however the shape is drastically different.  In addition to that they used unique landscaping to set this pool area apart.

This pool has a somewhat standard concrete deck, however they chose to have a border around their pool in a darker color.  This is yet another way to set your pool apart from the rest.  When it comes to concrete, to get away from the traditional white brushed look, many people go with stamped concrete and add a 1′ border around their pool in a different but complimentary color.

The last pool here is a completely unique design.  The shape alone would be enough to set it apart from the neighbors pools, however they went a step further by adding some planter areas in the decking and by building a pool house nearby.  This is the type of setting that is used all over the country for back yard cook outs, and evening drinks by the pool.

These are all examples of how a vinyl liner in ground swimming pool can be made into any shape or size that you can imagine.  I have even seen a vinyl liner pool shaped like an electric guitar.  The way I see it, if you can dream it, it can be done.  There are endless possibilities that can be done with a vinyl liner pool.  It only depends on how creative you are when you design it.

For more information on vinyl liner in ground swimming pools, or just general swimming pool information all together please check out my other posts.

How a Pool Professional Builds a Vinyl Liner In Ground Swimming Pool

In ground swimming pools should always be built by professionals, but how do they do it?  let’s assume that all of the leg work going into the build has already been done (ie. the sale of the pool, the planning stages etc.)  This brings us to the start of the dig.

The Dig:

This is the part of the process where the builder will actually break ground and start removing dirt.  Typically this part will be completed in one day.  In some cases they may actually get to building the pool.  However before they get that far they will need to make sure that the dig is to the specifications of the plan.  This means that if the plan dictates that the pool be 8′ deep in the deep end, then the dig should reflect that.  However, they have to allow for 2″ of bottom material. The bottom material is typically either vermiculite, or a sand/ cement mix. So technically they would have to over dig the pool by at least 2″. They would have to be careful not to over dig it too much because you cannot replace dirt that has been taken out. If the pool is over dug too much they will have to bring in stone to bring the dig back within specs. Throughout the dig, someone will have to check the depth with a transit (laser) to ensure that it is being dug correctly.

The Build:

At this point the builders will begin to assemble the pools walls. The pool walls come in individual panels of different lengths. They will also come with a detailed layout showing which panel goes where. These panels are fastened together with nuts and bolts. Once the structure is built, they will square it (provided that it is a rectangular shape). Next they will stake the corners, then straighten the walls and stake the rest of the pool. Next they will level the pool with a laser/ transit.  After the pool has been straightened and leveled, the plumbing and electrical conduit is ran to the appropriate locations. At this point the footer is poured.

The Backfill:

The next day they will come back, and install the coping. Once the coping is installed they will backfill, typically with pea gravel or stone chips. If the pool will have an auto cover the auto cover box is installed as well. Lastly they will bond. Copper wire is ran around the entire pool. If the pool has steel walls every panel gets bonded as well as anything else metal within 5′ of the water. Next they do the rebar (sidewalk prep).

The Sidewalk:

This day they will come back and pour the sidewalks. Every foot away from the waters edge the side walk has to fall 1/8 of an inch. This ensures that when it rains the water will run away from the pool rather than into it. Once all of the sidewalks are formed they will pour the concrete.

Prepping The Bottom:

Next they will come back and take the forms off of the concrete. After all of the forms are off, they saw the concrete into sections to attempt to control cracks. Over time the concrete will crack and sawing lines in it will essentially coax the cracks to be where the lines are already placed. After they saw the concrete they pressure spray it to clear off any dirt or dust. Next they prep the bottom of the pool and clean the walls. After the bottom of the pool is prepped and the walls are cleaned they will place stakes in the bottom of the pool to run string for the exact transition points, where the bottom will ultimately be.

The Liner:

This day they will do the bottom by using either the vermiculite or the sand/cement mix. This process usually takes roughly 4 hours to complete. Once the bottom is done, it is time to drop the liner into place. They will start by securing the liner. Once they have the liner completely secured they will use a vacuum to suction the liner tightly to the pool walls. After the liner is vacuumed to the wall they will cut out around the steps, skimmer, main drains, lights and any returns there may be.  Once this is completed they are able to begin filling the pool with water!

Auto cover install: If there is going to be an automatic cover installed for this pool, it would need to be completely full. Once the  pool is completely full they are able to install the cover and you are ready to enjoy your new pool.

This is just the steps that are taken when pool professionals install vinyl liner in-ground pools.  I must insist that if you are planning to have a pool installed you allow a professional to install it. For more information on vinyl liner in-ground swimming pools please check out the rest of my blog.

Swimming pools that require little maintenance

In today’s fast pace lifestyles, people always seem to be looking for the quickest or easiest ways to do something.  This is apparent by the way we live our daily lives.  For example, when my wife and I are sitting at home in the midst of a discussion that our opinions differ on, the quickest and easiest way to settle the difference of opinion is to look the answer up on the internet.  Instead of going to the computer, to do this we grab for our phones.  This is a perfect example of how we as americans want things “now”.  It is no longer acceptable to have to go to the computer to get information.  We would rather have that information readily available in our pockets.  It used to be that at dinner time, one would have to physically prepare food.  Now there is a restaurant on every street corner.  These are just examples that demonstrate what I am saying.  This same mentality is now crossing over into the inground swimming pool industry.

People are still wanting inground swimming pools, but either they are not too keen on doing the maintenance on them, or they just don’t have the time in their daily schedules.  So what can be done?  Obviously the water would have to be maintained in order to keep it clean, and the pool itself would surely get debris in it.

With the technology that is available today the swimming pool industry has seen dramatic shift in the way that people are maintaining their swimming pools.  There are now systems that have been designed to clean the swimming pool so that you don’t have to.  Paramount has developed a system that uses specialized returns, floor nozzles, and main drain to remove debris from your pool.  This system basically eliminates the need to sweep the swimming pool.  They have a few different versions of this system that have different levels of cleaning.  I break it down a good, better, and best.  The good version utilizes the specially designed main drain and a secondary safety drain to clean debris out of the pool.  The better system uses those drains as well as the specially designed wall returns to direct debris to the main drain and remove it.  The best version is when the main drain, wall returns and floor nozzles are being used together.

So lets break this down even further.  The main drain that they have specially designed is called the MDX – R3.  This is basically an over sized main drain that is capable of removing even large debris from your swimming pool.  The way this works is by using a 4″ opening on the bottom of the drain.  This then gets reduced to a 2 1/2″ pipe.  All the debris that gets removed from the pool then gets deposited into a debris canister or it goes into your pump basket.

With this main drain it would be necessary to use the SDX secondary drain.  This drain acts as a safety drain.  It gets plumbed into the same line as the MDX- R3 so if something were to completely cover the MDX-R3 then the SDX is completely capable of taking on the full force of the pump.  This way, whatever is covering the MDX-R3 can be removed easily.

The specially designed returns are called SwingJets.  The SwingJets have ratcheting technology so they actually pop out pointing in one direction.  They then go back in and when they come back out they point in a new direction.  They ultimately have three different directions that they point to.  For the system to work properly there would need to be multiple jets in a single pool.  With multiple jets all working together they effectively push debris toward the main drain.  If the pool were to only have these SwingJets and no in floor nozzles then you might find that the debris is settling in the center of the pool in a line up the slope.  This would require you to simply brush the debris toward the main drain.  To Eliminate this problem you would want the “best” version which uses the in floor nozzles.

The in floor nozzles are basically a type of return fitting that actually gets installed in the floor of your pool.  There would typically be a few of them strategically located in your pool and would effectively force the debris to the main drain to be removed.

These systems are designed to take the work off the shoulders of the homeowners.  However this still leaves the problem of treating the water.  For some people this is not that big of a deal, however there are others that don’t want to even mess with it.  For this reason there have been products designed to treat the pool water so that you, the homeowner do not have to.  I say that, however they don’t completely take the human element out of it.  There are two particular products available that when combined they make your pool sparkling clean, and crystal clear.  They are the Clear O3 and Ultra UV.

These units work together to kill 99.9% of all bacteria and viruses in you pool water.  As I said, they work well together but the way they kill bacteria and viruses is completely different.  The Clear O3 system injects ozone into the filter system by way of the pump.  The Ultra UV uses Ultra Violet Radiation to sanitize the water.  The Clear O3 Unit will mount near the filter system and actually has a small hose that runs to the pump where it injects the ozone.  The Ultra UV will actually get plumbed into the system so that water will run through it where it will pass by an ultra violet lamp allowing the UV rays to kill any viruses or bacteria in the water.

As I said these systems will allow for the bare minimum of work to be done by the homeowner in regard to water sanitation.  However there will still need to be some residual chlorine in the water to take care of any excess “filth”.  This simply means that from time to time you would have to add some chlorine to the pool.

If you are interested in getting a swimming pool but have no desire to spend extra time taking care of it then you may want to look into these systems as they take a lot of the work out of owning a swimming pool.  The Clear O3 and the Ultra UV can be installed after the pool has been built, however the good, better, and best Paramount in floor cleaning systems will really need to be installed at the time that the pool itself is installed.

For more information regarding the Clear O3, Ultra UV, and the Paramount in floor cleaning systems please check out Paramounts website here http://www.paramountpoolsystems.com/