Why does my Vinyl Liner In Ground Swimming Pool Need a Sump Pit

More-Plumbing-001There are many ways to build a vinyl liner in ground swimming pool.  There are many things that go into building a vinyl liner in ground swimming pool.  One thing that many builders do is install a sump pit just outside of the sidewalk that goes around the pool.  Why do they do this?

It actually makes perfect sense when you really think about it.  We all know that when it rains, the ground absorbs much of that water.  The water that gets absorbed by the ground is what is know as groundwater.  More often than not when a pool is dug the groundwater is visible in the deep end.  If the hole were to be left like that, you would likely see that ground water begin to rise a bit, especially when it rains.  Instead, pool builders finish building the pool and put a liner in.  In some cases this process is a race against time.  They have to get the liner in the pool and get water in before the groundwater rises enough to make the liner float.  You may be wondering why the liner doesn’t float anyway, even after the pool is full.  It rains all the time throughout the spring and summer right?  Well the reason the liner does not typically float after the pool is full is simply because the weight of the water in the pool pushing down on the liner is greater than the pressure from the groundwater pushing up on the liner from underneath it.

IMG_2683Keep in mind that I said that a liner will not “typically” float after the pool is full of water.  There are always some that don’t want to behave.  This is why many pool builders install a sump pit right outside of the sidewalk around the pools that they build.  It is more of a precaution.  If the amount of pressure from the ground water pushing up on the liner exceeds the amount of pressure pushing down from the weight of the water in the pool, then the liner will float.  Having a sump pit will allow you to remove some of the excess water from behind the liner to prevent the liner from having a chance to float.

If you have an in ground vinyl liner swimming pool that has a sump pit installed, then I would recommend using it, especially at times when there is a lot of rain.  This will help to ensure you don’t have a problem with the liner floating.

In Ground Swimming Pool Building Materials



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.

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.

Why Only Alpha?

I want to reiterate the fact that Only Alpha is leading the field of vinyl liner in ground swimming pool manufacturing.  This means that those who build with Only Alpha’s materials are building with the absolute best materials on the market.  Regardless of if they are building with steel panels or non-corrosive panels, Only Alpha has made huge leaps forward in both lines of in ground vinyl liner pools.  To read more about what makes Only Alpha’s pool panels better than the rest please check out the rest of my blog posts.  There you will find information on not only Only Alpha’s building material, but you will also find general swimming pool information as well.

Only Alpha has also changed the way business is done by utilizing their customer’s feedback to make changes for the better.  You see, Only Alpha is completely customer oriented.  When a customer calls in, they get one on one help with someone of the Only Alpha team.  Being that Only Alpha is a smaller company, when a customer does call in, they can get to the appropriate team member in minutes rather than having to wait for a call back, or leaving a message.  Their design team is very knowledgeable and has the ability to look at the design as they are speaking with the customer right then and there.  This alleviates the confusion of talking over the phone and not being able to see exactly what the customer is talking about.  In addition to that all the pools that are designed by Only Alpha’s design team are designed on a one to one scale.  That means that there is no scaling down.  They are able to see what the builder sees in the field and make any adjustments needed right then and there to get the builder back to building.  If something is not going to work then they are able to see it right away before the builder goes through the trouble of doing it in the field.  This saves the builder time and money.

Like other manufacturers, Only Alpha’s building materials come with warranties demonstrating their confidence in what they sell.  However unlike bigger manufacturers Only Alpha does not have a traditional claims department.  Instead if there is ever a problem then their customers can simply call in and speak to someone in management and they will take the appropriate steps to resolve the issue.  There is no red tape, or bureaucratic non-sense to go through.  It’s a simple phone call and brief discussion of the problem to get things resolved.

They also have a Technical Sales Department to help answer questions related to the building material itself and the application of it in the field.  There is no “right and wrong” way to build a pool, that is up to the builder to decide.  Only Alpha does not try to tell their customers how to build pools.  However their Technical Sales associate is very experienced in building pools, specifically with Only Alpha building materials.  So if a customer asks what is the best way to do something, they will get an educated recommendation.  In addition to that, when Only Alpha gets a new customer, there will be a representative from Only Alpha on their first job site to help out and answer any questions that they may have.  This does a couple of things.  It ensures that the customer is getting that one on one experience allowing them to feel more comfortable with the materials, and it also gives Only Alpha the opportunity to see how different builders build.  This means that they can see first hand what techniques work well.  That knowledge can then be passed on and save builders time and money.

Only Alpha is not like most vinyl liner in ground pool manufacturers in that they sell on a very limited basis.  Each of their customers is hand picked by the management team, whereas bigger manufacturers will sell to anybody leaving the builders to compete head to head in a price war.  When two builders in the same area, and have the same products to sell it becomes more of a battle of cost rather than who has the better product.  In addition to that Only Alpha does not sell to the guy in a pick up truck with a spray painted logo on the side that says something like JimBoB’s Fancy Pools.  Instead Only Alpha seeks out builders with a more reputable background, and gives them an exclusive opportunity to have something that other builders in their area do not have.  That is better building materials, and a better relationship with the manufacturer.   Both of these things allow the builder to better serve their customers.

You may be wondering why this is important.  You may be saying to yourself that the building materials come second to a finished pool.  To you, maybe you think that a homeowner won’t care what materials were used as long as the finished product looks good.  Let me assure you that this is no longer the case.  With the way that technology has changed the world in the last ten years, more and more people are doing their own research online.  Think about it, what was the last big item that you purchased?  Maybe a refrigerator, maybe a new car.  Whatever it was I bet you looked online for the best one for your money.  I do the same thing every time my wife wants something new.  I go on line and find out what the best one is that we can afford.  I look at the products details.  I find out what features it has.  This is something that more and more people are doing everyday.  People can simply search the name Only Alpha online and come up with a barrage of information.  People can search pool building material and find a barrage of information.  What they will find is that Only Alpha manufactures the best vinyl liner in ground pool building material on the market and that is what they will want.

For more information regarding Only Alpha Pool Products and what makes them different please check out my other blog posts.  You will find links to their different websites, links to their YouTube videos and more.

Only Alpha Pool Products Composite Panels

I have written about these panels in previous posts.  However this post will be specifically about the composite panels and nothing else.

To begin, allow me to give you some background information on the panels themselves.  These panels are designed to replace the steel, and polymer panels that pool builders use to build vinyl  liner in ground pools.  This panel is entirely non-corrosive, as strong as steel, and the only true composite panel on the maket.  This differs from polymer or structural foam panels in that there is no longer a concern about the structural integrity of the panel.

So how is this done?  I’m glad you asked.  A polymer panel is made using the process of injection molding.  This is a process in which small pieces of plastic are heated up and injected into a mold.  It is then forced by expanding gas into every nook and cranny of the mold.  You may have seen other products that are manufactured this way.  They include those plastic lawn chairs, plastic storage containers that are in most of our attics,  and garbage cans.  The problem with this material is that it is nothing but plastic, and as most of us know, it is brittle in the cold and becomes soft in the heat.  This is not the most ideal material to build a pool out of being that a pool is in most cases exposed to both heat and cold.  I have seen examples of when this material fails in swimming pool applications.  I have personally experienced this type of failure on a job site while building a pool.  We built the walls of the pool, straightened them, and left to get some lunch.  When we came back, the heat of the sun on them was enough to cause them to warp and we had to straighten them again.  That is not the worse case scenario.  I have also seen photos of enormous holes in the polymer panels well after the pool had been installed.

Only Alpha’s composite panels are not only composed of a different material but they are also manufactured in an entirely different way.  Only Alpha’s composite panels are compression molded using a thermally set sheet molding compound (SMC).  This SMC is also reinforced with eight to twelve inch fibers.  Workers take a single piece of SMC that is pre measured to an exact amount and insert it into the mold.  Then using intense heat and pressure, the material is spread out throughout the mold.  Again this material is thermally set, that means that once the part comes out of the mold it will never lose its shape when exposed to hot or cold temperatures.  In addition to that the woven fibers throughout the panel give it unparalleled strength.  You can see for yourself how strong these panels are by clicking here Fiber Reinforced Composite Tests.  Here you can see different videos demonstrating the strength of the panels.  In addition to the strength of the panels there is another benefit to them that no other non-corrosive panel is capable to offer.  With patented technology Only Alpha’s composite panels are designed to go together in a way that gives pool owners a virtually seamless pool wall.

You may be wondering about the benefit of having a non-corrosive pool panel.  As you may or may not know, there has been a steady increase in the demand for “salt water” pools.  The problem with salt water pools is that the salt water is very corrosive to any metal parts of the swimming pool.  For years in ground vinyl liner swimming pools have been made of steel panels bolted together to form the walls of the pool.  What has been happening in recent years is that the saltwater from the pool eats away at the steel panel.  Regardless of the salt water, a steel panel will inevitably rust.  That is just the nature of steel when exposed to the elements.  Salt water just speeds up the process.  So with the ever growing demand for salt water pools came the need for a non-corrosive pool wall.

For more information on the composite line of pool panels offered by Only Alpha Pool Products check out the website at http://www.onlyalpha.com/ There you can find information on the composite lines of swimming pool panels as well as what others have used composite materials for.  In addition to that you can also browse the other lines of swimming pool building materials including steel and the Alpha Evolution line which is the same composite panels but used in such a way that there is no need for the vinyl liner.  You can also find more information on Only Alpha Pool Products as well as general swimming pool information on my blog.


Discover the Difference

Today I want to discuss the differences between Only Alpha Pool Products and their competition.  There are several things that set us apart from our competition so I think the best way to do this is to break it down piece by piece.

We are not a big corporate company:

The first thing and quite possibly the most important thing is that although Only Alpha is a fairly new company in the industry we are made up by professionals who have been in the vinyl liner in ground pool industry for decades.  We are all very knowledgeable in the field of in ground vinyl liner pools.  Our customers consist of pool builders that are out in the field installing vinyl liner in ground pools.  This means that if one of our customers calls in with a question, there are several people in the office that have the knowledge to accurately answer the question right then and there.  This basically comes down to customer service.  We have the ability to provide our customers with the latest and greatest information regarding their pool kit.  While our competition may have people with the knowledge, that doesn’t necessarily mean that when a customer calls they will be speaking with that person.  This brings me to my next point.  Only Alpha is a fairly small company who hand picks their employees based on experience and know how.  For instance at this moment I am sitting at my desk and if I look around, I see two other people in the room who have both knowledge and experience.  It is quite simple our company is small enough that if a customer calls with a question, they can be directed to the appropriate person in a matter of seconds.  With larger companies you can assume that if a customer calls they will likely be on hold for a bit, or transferred to several people before they get to the right person to answer the question.  As a pool builder myself I can assure you that when a builder is in the field trying to get a question answered, the worst thing that can happen is to be delayed due to not being able to get into contact with the one you need to talk to.

We are leading the industry in technology:

We have several patents on our products.  This means that the majority of our products are one of a kind and cannot be obtained anywhere else.  This allows our customers the ability to offer homeowners the best of the best.  From our steel pool panels to our non-corrosive panels, we are leading the pack.

Steel Panels:

You may be wondering what could possibly be different about our steel panels.  After all steel is steel right?  Well the answer is yes and no.  There seems to be a standard in the industry when it comes to steel.  The majority of manufacturers of steel panels use 14 gauge galvanized steel.  Likewise we use 14 gauge galvanized steel for all of our steel panels.  The number one problem with steel is that it will inevitably rust.  That is just a known fact.  Another known fact in the industry is that over the last few years there has been a dramatic increase in the use of salt cells on vinyl liner in ground swimming pools.  We all know what happens when you combine salt with steel.  If not, all you have to do is look around you while you make your morning commute to work.  You will likely see a car on the road with visible rust.  If not, go to your local car dealership and see if they offer an undercoating for the vehicles that they sell.  Salt causes corrosion in steel, it is as simple as that.  Some manufacturers realized this and made attempts to slow that process down with very little success.  Powder coating comes to mind.  There is a company that powder coats their steel panels to slow the corrosion process down.  What they found is that the powder coating does not stick very well to the steel panel.  In fact it will begin  to flake or peel off.  Here at Only Alpha we have developed a product specifically made to adhere to steel.  We still use the 14 gauge galvanized steel, however we apply this product on top of the galvanization.  This products actually repels water away from the steel and prolongs the life of the panel.

Standard Galvanization (Left) Versus Alpha Shield Technology (Right)

Click here to see how well this product actually works.  www.youtube.com  We basically set up an experiment at our office in which we submerged a piece of our steel coated with our “Alpha Shield” as well as a piece of the standard galvanized steel in separate containers of liquid chlorine.  We then set up a GoPro camera to take a photo every 60 seconds for the duration of two weeks.  The results were very drastic.  In addition to the effectiveness of our “Alpha Shield” we have found that it also gives the steel panel an almost stainless look, and we apply it to every steel component of our pool kits.  This fact makes a huge difference in the eyes of a homeowner.  The standard galvanized steel has a dull look to it and in many cases appears some what blotchy for lack of a better word.  I don’t know about you but if I were to buy a steel wall pool I would want the best looking products going into it rather that something that looks as if it has been sitting around for quite some time.

Another aspect of our steel panel that I feel is worth addressing is the way we attach the different parts of it together.  A steel pool panel is bent to form the shape of the panel and then locked together to hold its form.  It is the way that the panel parts are locked together that again sets Only Alpha apart from their competition.  Most manufacturers will use a toggle lock or clinch system to attach the different parts.  The problem with this is that it is fairly easy to break free again.  Obviously this can cause problems for the pool if they were to break free after the initial installation.  I have even heard of instances where these toggle locks were breaking free during the installation of the pool.  I can’t imagine the frustration of the builder when this happens.

To combat this issue Only Alpha has come up with a much better system.  We looked outside of the industry and found a system used by Audi, BMW, and Jaguar to hold together their car frames.  We figured that if this type of rivet system is good enough to hold together an automobile then it is good enough to hold together a pool panel.  Again we wanted to test out the difference between this technology and that which is used by our competitors.  To see the results of our test click here.  www.youtube.com

Composite Panels:

Only Alpha Pool Products Composite Panels

It is because steel panels corrode that the industry has been looking into non-corrosive alternatives for pool panels.  With the new trend being “salt water pools” the demand for a non-corrosive panel has increased dramatically.  The need for a non-corrosive panel sparked the birth of the polymer/structural foam panel.  The idea that this type of panel is non-corrosive peaked the interest of many builders.  Unfortunately while the panel is non-corrosive it lacked structural integrity, and many problems ensued.  In some cases the panel would give way all together, however the more common problem is bowing and flexing of the panel in the heat of the day.  The reason is because it is basically just plastic, and when exposed to heat the material becomes malleable.  Conversely, when exposed to cold the material becomes brittle and susceptible to cracking.  There is just no structural integrity to them.

This is why Only Alpha developed their true composite panel.  Again we looked outside of our own industry in search of a material that would work much better.  What we found is a composite material that is being used in several different industries from space exploration to sea walls.  It is a fiber reinforced sheet molding compound that is thermally set.  This means that the panel is molded under intense heat and pressure and once the mold is set there is no going back.  Not even extreme heat or cold will effect the structural integrity of the panel.  In fact the material will burn before it melts.  While others may claim that they have a composite panel, Only Alpha is the only company with a true composite pool panel.  We have several lines of pool kits that use this panel, and we have seen first hand the success of this panel.  Keeping our trend of testing our products to the extreme we again tested out the strength of our composite panel compared to the competitions non-corrosive panels.  Click here to see our results www.youtube.com

These are just a few of the ways in which Only Alpha has set themselves apart from the rest of the industry.  To see how different we truly are please check us out online at http://www.onlyalpha.com/
and type our name into your google search and see just how far our reach is.  You can also find us on a large variety of social media sites.  Being that we are leading the industry in technology it just stands to reason that we implement ourselves in the biggest technological swing the world has ever seen right here on the internet.

For more information on products we carry and general swimming pool information all together check out my other blog posts.

The Problem with One Piece Fiberglass In Ground Pools

The one piece fiberglass pool is becoming more popular each year, but I think that there are some things that you should know before having one of them installed in your backyard.  The following are aspects of the one piece fiberglass pool that they don’t want you to know.

– The Structure – 

As water is drained, the pressure outside the pool causes the pool wall to cave in

This is an aspect that I feel often gets overlooked, unless of course you are an installer in which case you are probable well aware of it.  Being that they are made of fiberglass, they have some flex to them and they are not a self supportive structure.  If fact if you have one of these pools, you may have noticed that during the build the builder was filling the pool with water as they were backfilling the pool.  The reason they do this is to equalize the pressure.  Many people don’t even think about the fact that the water in the pool weighs a tremendous amount.  That weight pushes out against the sides of the pool, and if there is nothing around the pool to support the weight of the water in it then you could potentially face the very real potential for the pool walls to collapse, causing irreparable damage to the structure.  On the other hand If the pool were to be backfilled without any water in it, then it could collapse in on itself or at the very least not hold its shape.  Either way it is something that should be considered during the installation process.  The best way to avoid this issue is to backfill the pool and add water at the same rate.  This will help prevent the structure from failing.

– Limited Sizes and shapes – 

As the name suggests, this type of pool is made entirely out of one piece of material.  This type of pool is molded in a factory somewhere.  This means that the size of pools available is limited to the amount of space available in the factory.  The shape of the pool is also limited to the molds that the factory has to work with.  This basically means that there is no customization.  You choose from what is available and that is that.  It is essentially a cookie cutter process.  The factory produces these pools over and over again.  You will not get to add your personal touch and design tastes to the pool.  You get what you get and that may also be what your neighbor has.  If you are looking to get a large extravagant pool then you may want to consider going a different route because even the largest one piece fiberglass pool is still relatively small.

– Don’t dare drain the pool –

This comes back to the issue with structural integrity.  Some say that there would never be any reason to drain this type of pool, but I strongly disagree.  There is always the potential for something to happen where the repair would require that the pool be drained.  For instance, what if there is a leak at the main drain, or a crack shows up on the bottom.  There are also situations that could cause the pool to lose water unintentionally.  Perhaps your filter cracks and you lose the majority of the water through it.  This has happened in the past.  A family left their home for a few days and upon their return they saw a mess in their backyard.  The pool had lost water from the plumbing failing at the filter pad.  As a result their pool popped out of the ground which in turn destroyed the concrete around it.  In my opinion that is the worst case scenario.  Another thing that could have happened stems back to the difference of pressure.  When the pool drains the pressure inside the pool becomes less and less, and the pressure outside the pool stays the same.  This could lead to the collapsing of the walls of the pool.  In the case I just mentioned the pressure from ground water under the pool was great enough to force the pool out of the ground.  Without the weight of the water inside the pool there was nothing holding it down.

– Problems with the finish – 

Blemish remains after repair is made

As I said before these pools are made primarily of fiberglass that is eventually coated with a smooth gel coat finish.  One issue that I have heard of is that this finish is susceptible to fading, leaving behind an eye soar.  If that were to happen on the bottom, then there is yet another reason the pool would need to be drained.  From what I have come to find out this type of repair is not cheap, and in many cases does not last.

– Location Location Location – 

I have built some pools in some pretty isolated or hard to get to locations.  This leaves me wondering how a one piece fiberglass pool would be delivered to a similar location.  Typically these pools are brought in on the back of a semi truck and crane lifted around the house or in some cases over the house to the back yard.  So from that alone I can’t imagine that having one delivered would be cheap. So how much would it be to have one delivered to a place where a semi truck can’t gain access to? How would they even get it there then?  I once attended a series of training seminars at a company that manufactures one piece fiberglass pools.  This question was brought up at that meeting.

We were told that this company in particular could deliver the pools a number of ways including by helicopter and boat.  So now you have to pay for helicopter delivery?  $$CHA-CHING$$  So all that being said, the location of the install and the amount of money the customer is willing to spend plays a huge role in the practicality of this pool.

These are some of the issues associated with one piece fiberglass pools.  Some say that there is no way that they will pop out of the ground,  some say that there will never be any reason to drain the pool, and some even say that they are structurally sound.  However the old adage remains true.  A picture is worth 1000 words.  All the pictures shown in this post suggest that they do in fact pop out of the ground, they are not structurally sound, and they are not the easiest pools to work with in general.

For more information on in ground swimming pools, specifically vinyl liner in ground pools check out my other blog posts.

Straight Tread Design VS Permanent Form Design Steps

When it comes down to deciding what type of steps you want for you new vinyl liner in ground swimming pool there are several options available to choose from.  Years ago there were really only a couple choices available.  Basically either thermoplastic or fiberglass acrylic.  Both of these types of steps are those that get bolted into the wall of the pool and the liner would have to be cut out in the area for the steps.  These types of steps are still used today and are for the most part very reliable.  I would say that out of these two types, the fiberglass steps are the better bet.  They are more structurally sound and in some cases the thermoplastic steps have been known to warp or not hold their shape as well.  This brings me to the main topic of this post.

Straight Tread Design

The newer style of steps that is all the rage is liner over.  This means that the liner is manufactured so that it perfectly fits the steps of the pool.  There are two different ways that the steps themselves are manufactured.  One way is that they are made completely out of the same material.  This style is referred to as straight tread design.  This means that the treads and risers are all the same material weather it is steel or composite.

Permanent Form Design

The other way they are manufactured is by making the risers out of steel or composite material, and leaving the treads out to be filled in on the job site with stone and concrete.  This is referred to as permanent form design.  Either way you go the outcome will look very similar.  The liner will be made so that it fits these steps perfectly.  However there are some key differences in these two styles that should be noted.  One difference is the cost.  The permanent for design steps are a bit more pricy.  This is due to the fact that the quality is substantially better, and in my opinion they tend to be a little bit easier to install.  The straight tread design steps tend to be a bit tougher to install properly.  The issue mainly comes down to backfilling.  The straight tread design requires that they be backfilled with stone all the way up to the bottom of each tread.  Sounds easy enough right?  While it can certainly be done, it can be rather difficult to do and ensure that it is done adequately.  If there is not enough backfill underneath each tread it can become a problem later on.  An easy way to test that each tread has enough backfill underneath is to step on them.  If there is not enough backfill then you will likely notice spots on the treads that sink under your foot.  By sink I mean that you will feel that there is a void underneath them.  If that void remains under the tread you will be able to feel it every time that you enter the pool.  While this style of step is less expensive and might require a bit more elbow grease to install than the permanent form design it can still be a very good step for any pool.

On the other hand, the permanent form design step is in most cases a more structurally sound way to go.  As I said before, the step risers of this design are made of either steel or composite material and have no treads on them at all.  This allows the builder to fill the steps with stone leaving the last two or three inches open to be filled in with concrete.  This creates a much more stable tread surface and you will feel absolutely no voids underneath them.  Being that this type of step is more structurally sound than the straight tread design, it stands to reason that they will cost a bit more.  Both of these designs are being used over and over by builders all over the country, and they both offer pool owners the beautiful look of having their liner over their steps.  It really makes the steps and pool look more uniform.  Rather than having a nice pattern throughout the pool and the step which would traditionally be white, blue, or grey.

Rod and Clip

You may be wondering how the liner stays where it is supposed to be on the steps.  There are two ways in which this is done.  One is a design called Rod and Clip.  This design requires that the liner be made a special way with sleeves where the treads meet the risers of the step.  In addition to they require the use of plastic rods that get slid through the sleeves.  After that a series of clips are used to hold the rods in place at the point in which the treads meet the risers.  This is what holds the liner down.

Bead Track

The other option, and in my opinion the better option is bead track.  This system does away with the rods and clips and instead uses a specially designed track made to accept the bead of the liner.  In addition to that the liner will again have to be specially made with beads in place of the pockets where the treads meet the risers.  The bead track is attached to the risers of the step just behind the treads.  The bead of the liner for the steps in inserted into the bead track.  I like this system better mainly because it is less noticeable than the rod and clip.  With the rod and clip design you will likely be able to see where the rods are behind the liner.  With the bead track design there will be no areas in which you could see where the bead is simply because it will  be tucked away behind the tread of the step.

I wanted my readers to know that there are other options available for choices in steps in addition to the thermoplastic and acrylic fiber glass step.  Both the straight tread and permanent form designs are amazing designs and will give your pool a clean, uniform look.  With this information you can hopefully now make an educated decision when it comes time to choose which type of step you want for your pool.

For more information on the latest and greatest pool products available, and general vinyl liner in ground pool information check out my other blog posts.  For more information on Only Alpha Pool Products check out the website at www.onlyalpha.com

Fiberglass Swimming Pool Steps – Not Created Equal

In the swimming pool industry today there are several different types of entry systems that one could choose from when having a pool built.  They are all a little different from one another and they all offer something different than the others.  So how do you know which is best for you?  In my opinion the best way to go about solving this question is to ask yourself a few more questions.  First which style has the most appeal?  Then decide which is the most practical for your family.  Finally determine how much you want to spend on your entry system.  These are some of the things that you will have to consider in your decision making.  In addition to that it may be a good idea to talk to your builder and see what they recommend.  They will be able to tell you which type is their best seller and may even be able to tell you something about the structural integrity of the different steps.  For instance I know that the thermo plastic steps may eventually warp and not look the best.  Another thing that should be considered is the manufacturer of the steps.  Not all manufacturers make the steps the same way and in some cases the way the steps are made makes a big difference.  Today I want to take the time to explain to my readers why all acrylic fiberglass steps are not created equal.

Only Alpha’s Fiberglass Steps

In the past I have gone into great detail about the differences between Only Alpha Pool Products and other manufacturers.  Basically the difference is that while Only Alpha strives to be the best and create new and better swimming pool components, their competition seems to only be doing what is necessary to get by.  This is also true when it comes to the acrylic fiberglass steps.  The steps made by Only Alpha are made with the highest quality material available.  In addition to that the up most care is taken to ensure that everything that leaves their facility is free of defects and blemishes.

Other step manufacturers use a filler material like talc in their steps to cut down on their cost of material.  What this means is that the steps bought from them are not made with quality in mind.  Instead they are thinking about how they can increase profits by using filler material in their steps and charging the same amount for them as if they were a high quality product.  In my opinion this is wrong.  Nobody should ever buy anything under false pretenses.  Most consumers will never realize that their expensive acrylic fiberglass steps are made poorly until it is too late.  At that point they will have a large eye sore in their beautiful swimming pool.  So what makes Only Alpha so different?  They use only the best material in their acrylic fiberglass steps.  In addition to that they don’t use cheap filler material to help cut costs.  So their customers receive the highest quality step on the market every time.

For more information regarding in ground swimming pool products and general swimming pool information please check out my other blog posts.  Also please take the time to check out Only Alpha’s website at www.onlyalpha.com and really see what makes them better than the rest.  From there you will have access to different links and information pertaining to their products and get side by side comparisons of different products so you can actually see why their products are superior.