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 to get your backyard ready for your staycation

The backyard staycation.  This is the newest trend among Americans.  This is the idea that you can put your money into your own backyard to transform it into a place where you and your family can spend your summers rather than spending money on expensive vacations every year.  The idea is to transform your backyard to accommodate the needs of your family.  This typically includes a place for relaxation, a place for entertaining, and a place for recreation.  At this point you may be wondering where to start.

I would recommend going about this as if you were packing up a truck for a big move.  Start with the larger items and then move to the smaller items.  This way you know exactly how much room you have to work with after the big things.

A common item that people often get is an in ground swimming pool.  As I have stated in many of my posts, I recommend going with a vinyl liner pool.  For more information on vinyl liner in ground pools check out my other posts.  To save time and space in this post I am not going to get into the reasons why today.  I think that an in ground pool represents the biggest part of the staycation project.  It will likely take up the most space in the backyard, and will likely be one of the higher end costs in the project.  I have also written about the best way to go about deciding on the style and size of the pool in another post.  If a backyard staycation is something that you are seriously considering  I think that it would benefit you to read through my blog as it contains a lot of information on in ground pools in general as well as vinyl liner pools specifically.  An in ground pool will act as a place for recreation for you and your family and friends.  Next I will tackle a place for relaxation.

This can be incorporated into the design of the pool, or you can have it designed to be separate from the pool.  Basically you will want a patio area for sitting and relaxing.  I have noticed a lot of people will incorporate an outdoor kitchen, or a large grill in their patio area.  It all depends on your personal preferences.  In theory you can have all of these components connected to each other or you can separate them almost as if they were different rooms in your backyard.  This will all depend on the space available and how much you are willing to put into it.  Personally I think that I would prefer each area to be somewhat isolated from one another.  I would do this through the landscape design.
Ideally I would have my relaxation area separate from the pool area, and the entertaining area separate from the relaxation area.

Lastly we come to the entertaining area.  Will this be another patio area with a fire place, or would you prefer a grassy area?  It is all up to you on how you want to entertain.  I have seen a lot of examples in which there are multiple levels of patio that represent the different areas.  Typically the pool area will be at the lowest level.  I find that Pintrest is a very good place to get ideas for your backyard staycation.  For the purposes of giving my readers a good place to start I want to give you my ideas on the way I would go about a backyard staycation at my own house.

The Pool (Copied and Pasted from my post title “My Ideal Swimming Pool”)

The design:

Free Form Style Pool

This part is really up to personal taste and backyard space.  My back yard is big enough to accommodate any size pool really so for me it comes down to the style.  I am partial to the free form pool.  I tend to be drawn to the curves and organic layout rather than the basic geometric rectangle pool.  I am not one to be too flashy so I would probably go with a smaller pool probably along the lines of something that would fit into a 16’x32′ space.  There are endless possibilities in regard to the shape so for that I would want to sit down and draw it out.  Did I mention that I am married, so naturally that would affect the design.  In the end we would come up with something that we are both happy with, but as long as she is happy I am cool with it.  Anyway that is a general look into the design I would choose.

The Deck:

Beautiful Decking

I have seen all sorts of decking options for vinyl liner in ground pools.  A lot of people choose to use pavers around their pool.  For me this wouldn’t work well.  I am more of a concrete type guy, however there are some things that I would do to give the pool more of a high end look.  To begin I would start with a 1′ stamped border all the way around the pool.  The color of the concrete would have to be chosen with my wife of course.  Then I would utilize a slightly different color to give the pool some contrast, and again my wife would help with this.  I have also seen a lot of pools that have some grass around them, and I really like the look of that so perhaps I would try to include it in my pool as well.  Again keeping with the organic look of the pool, the deck would also have to be free form with plenty of curves.  I am not a big fan of the “cookie cutter” type pools where your pool looks strikingly similar to your neighbors.  I like to have some aspect of originality without going over the top with it.

The Patio

Japanese style garden

This portion of my backyard staycation would preferably be at a different physical level than the pool itself, and I would use it as a place for relaxation.  I am a big fan of having this area somewhat isolated from the pool area through the use of landscaping.  Take a look at the photo to the left.  Notice how they used some evergreens to separate the patio area from the rest of the yard.  I also like the way that they used paving stones as the patio rather than going with standard concrete.

I happen to find traditional Japanese rock gardens to be very aesthetically pleasing so I would likely incorporate that type of design into my patio area.  The photo to the right displays some traditional Japanese garden ideas complete with a koi pond, and Bonsai.  This would be ideal for me because I have been working on a Japanese maple for a couple of years that would look amazing in this type of setting.  I find koi ponds to be very relaxing and for me this would be a must have.

Entertaining Area

I would prefer this area to again be separate from the other areas, and preferably on yet another level.  This is where I would have my outdoor kitchen and fireplace.  I would again have a patio area with plenty of seating.  As far as isolation goes, I think that I would prefer this area to overlook the pool, that way if anyone were swimming I would be able to supervise without having to look around anything.   The photo to the left is a very nice representation of an outdoor fire place.  However I would choose a different color brick to use.  The idea is to have these three components separate from one another, and yet tie them all together through color and style.  Obviously if you were to have three areas within the same backyard that all looked completely different you may lose some of the continuity.

Another way to go would be to just have a fire pit with some seating around it.  The photo on the right will give you a good idea of how nice a fire pit can look if done properly.  Although the fire pit looks really nice I think that I would still opt for the Fire place.

Next I think that I would want an outdoor kitchen.  This is a place that would have a grill, sink, refrigerator, and counter space.  It would serve as a place to prepare food and drinks for your family and friends.  These come in many different styles so choosing one that suites your needs and tastes would not be too difficult.

These are just my personal tastes and what I would want in my own backyard.  The next step would be to come up with a design that would incorporate all of these components and look really nice.  From there you would want to come up with a design for your landscaping.  One way to do this would be to hire someone.  Many landscaping companies have the know how to do something like this.  The other option would be to design it yourself.  For that I would definitely recommend searching around on the internet.  I know that you can find a lot of examples simply be googling it.  Another website that I find to be very helpful is Pintrest.  There you can collect many different examples and store them on the site itself.  Another site that is quickly growing in popularity is Houzz.  This site allows you to browse through projects that have been done and create a project book where you can keep all the information you want for your own project.

For more information on in ground swimming pools and vinyl liner pool specifically check out my other blog posts.  You can also find more information on these types of backyard projects in my blog, and ways to go about getting started.  As always if anyone has any comments or questions please feel free to share.


My Ideal Swimming Pool

There I am

I have been installing in ground pools for quite some time now, and I think that gives me a pretty good idea about what components would make for the best in ground pool.  Today I just want to give my readers my personal opinion on what I think would make a great pool.  Everything that you are about to read is my personal opinion based on my experiences as a in ground pool builder and service technician.  Obviously that goes without saying that you may feel differently about certain aspects of an in ground pool.  If I were to build a pool for my family today this is how I would do it.

What type of pool:

Beautiful Vinyl Liner Pool

To begin, I would decide on what type of in ground pool to install.  I have personally installed vinyl liner pools as well as one piece fiberglass pools.  I have yet to install a concrete pool and I am not all that interested in doing so.  For me I think the best route would be to go with a vinyl liner in ground pool.  I would be too concerned about having a one piece fiberglass pool pop out of the ground if I ever had to drain it down for any reason.  In all honesty that is a very real threat when it comes to one piece fiberglass pools.  There are also plenty of photos online that will back up that claim.  The expense in repairing something like that would be too great for me.  In addition to that I really do like the idea of being able to change the look of the pool simply by changing the pattern on the liner.  In regard to the concrete pool, I feel that it would just cost too much.  Traditionally a concrete pool is a symbol of social class.  With that in mind builders are able to charge more.  In addition to the high initial cost of the install I am very aware of the fact that concrete cracks.  It is just a matter of when and where.  There is no preventing it.  At some point it will crack and it will loose its aesthetic appeal.  I don’t know about you but if I am spending a large amount of money on something, I want it to look as good as possible.  That being said I feel that to get the best bang for your buck the way to go is with a vinyl liner in ground pool.  You will get a pool that is structurally sound and won’t leave you wondering how to repair a crack in the bottom.  In addition to that they are very aesthetically pleasing and can be made to fit any back yard and personal taste.

The design:

Free Form Style Pool

This part is really up to personal taste and backyard space.  My back yard is big enough to accommodate any size pool really so for me it comes down to the style.  I am partial to the free form pool.  I tend to be drawn to the curves and organic layout rather than the basic geometric rectangle pool.  I am not one to be too flashy so I would probably go with a smaller pool probably along the lines of something that would fit into a 16’x32′ space.  There are endless possibilities in regard to the shape so for that I would want to sit down and draw it out.  Did I mention that I am married, so naturally that would affect the design.  In the end we would come up with something that we are both happy with, but as long as she is happy I am cool with it.  Anyway that is a general look into the design I would choose.

The Deck:

Beautiful Decking

I have seen all sorts of decking options for vinyl liner in ground pools.  A lot of people choose to use pavers around their pool.  For me this wouldn’t work well.  I am more of a concrete type guy, however there are some things that I would do to give the pool more of a high end look.  To begin I would start with a 1′ stamped border all the way around the pool.  The color would have to be chosen with my wife of course.  Then I would utilize a slightly different color to give the pool some contrast, and again my wife would help with this.  I have also seen a lot of pools that have some grass around them, and I really like the look of that so perhaps I would try to include it in my pool as well.  Again keeping with the organic look of the pool, the deck would also have to be free form with plenty of curves.  I am not a big fan of the “cookie cutter” type pools where your pool looks strikingly similar to your neighbors.  I like to have some aspect of originality without going over the top with it.

The equipment:

Paramount’s 6 Jet Swing Sweep System

Swimming pool equipment has come a long way.  We now have all sorts of things available to use on our pools to give use the best possible swimming pool experience.  So with that in mind I would certainly utilize modern technology in my pool.  To begin I would install the Swing Sweep system by Paramount.  This will allow me to spend more time enjoying my pool and far less time actually cleaning it.  This system uses what are known as SwingJets to push any debris down to the specially designed main drain where it will be removed from the pool.


Jandy Versa Plumb System

As far as the equipment at the filter pad goes I would use a Jandy pump, filter, and heat pump.  Jandy has specific pumps, filters, and heat pumps that work with their Versa Plumb system.  The Versa Plumb system is basically a pre-determined way of plumbing the equipment.  It comes with all the necessary pipe and fittings to do so.  The benefit is that it increases efficiency and hydraulics.  This will allow me to save money in the long run.  In addition to that I would use an Ultra UV and Clear O3 from Paramount as a way to clean the water itself.  This will dramatically reduce the amount of chemicals I will need to put in the pool.

AquaLink RS One Touch

One last thing that I would do is install an automation system by Zodiac to complete my ideal swimming pool.  With Zodiac automation I can control all the aspects of the pool from the comfort of my home.  Think of it like a thermostat on the wall.  From there I can adjust the temperature of the pool, the speed of the pump, and I could even change the lighting.  In addition to that I could also get the iAquaLink which would allow me to do all of those things from my smart phone.  There are so many things that can be done using this automation that can make your pool your own backyard oasis.

These are just some of the things that I would do if I were installing a pool in my own backyard.  Throughout the years I have had the privilege of working with some of the best products on the market.  What you have just read is a combination of the best of the best that I would certainly use on my own pool.  The purpose of this post is simply to give my readers an idea of what is out there for their pools, and what I find to be the best.  For more information on vinyl liner in ground swimming pools check out my other blog posts.  For more information on Paramount Pool Systems check out their website at You can find more information on Zodiac/Jandy at

In ground pools – How to choose

When you begin thinking about getting an in ground swimming pool there are some things that you can do so when the time comes you are ready.  I have written about this subject in the past, however today I am going to approach it from a different angle.  The reason being that today’s world is technology driven.  That is something that I forgot the last time I discussed this subject.  For many of us, we have access to all of the information in the world.  In fact most of us have it right in our pockets.  We can access it at any time and without even thinking about the significance of what it means.  The majority of people use this technology to update their Facebook status, upload videos to Youtube, or just watch the Youtube videos that already exist.  Let’s face it the minute we stop going to school, that is the minute that we stop using the internet for what it really is.  The internet is our gateway into the world.  The possibilities are virtually endless.  That being said it stands to reason that we should utilize this technology for purposes other than recreation.  One of my favorite websites is Houzz.  With this site a person can view projects that others have done and create their own idea book.  This is where the process of getting a pool should start.  Granted their are other websites out their that can function similarly.  However with Houzz, a person doesn’t have to filter through a bunch of other stuff to get to what they are looking for.  Houzz is a jumping off point for a lot of people who want a swimming pool but just don’t know what components they want.

Step 1

The reality is that there are many things that a person can add to their pool to truly customize it.  Getting an idea of how what these things look like and how they work plays a huge role in the decision to purchase them.  Seriously, when was the last time you bought something without having at least some idea of how it works or what it looks like.  With Houzz people can see what others have done and get a feel for what would look good in their own backyard.  It allows us to see the many options that can compliment a swimming pool before actually buying anything.  The idea book aspect of the site allows viewers to take specific pictures and store them all together.  Now imagine having that when you sit down with a builder.  It will help to eliminate them trying to sell you the same pool that they put in down the street two years ago.  After all if you are spending your money on it and have to see it for years to come, don’t you want it to reflect your personality?  Having an idea book will help the builder understand what you like and and don’t like and help you decide what works and what doesn’t.  That is the first step to getting a pool.

Step 2

The fun part comes when you get to share your idea book with your significant other.  This is where you fine tune what you want in order to accommodate both of your tastes.  Use this to bounce ideas off of one another, eliminate the things you can live without, or identify the must haves.  Another major benefit to this site is that a lot of the projects that you can view are images of projects from start to finish.  This will allow you to see what’s to come during the build process.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many people have come up to me to tell me that they didn’t realize this or that.  With this site you can get an idea of what the project will look like at various stages.  This will allow you to eliminate that element of surprise later.  You can remain ahead of the game and know what is next.  Having that ability may be beneficial if you are still indecisive on some aspect of the process.  There are some things that can be changed before specific points during the build.  For instance if you are having concrete poured around the pool to form the deck, you may not be sure of how you want it to be formed.  If you can decide before your builder is ready to pour then you may be able to change it.  That is something that you obviously can’t change after the fact… Well unless you are willing to spend the money to have it busted out an re-poured.  However having these elements decided on before hand will definitely speed up the process.  That is another reason Houzz is ideal for people who are thinking about getting a pool.  All of these things can be decided on before you even meet with a builder.  If you and your significant other have two different idea books then you would likely have different pictures in them.  When you sit down and go over each others books you may be surprised to see something that you had not encountered during your search.  On the other hand you may see something that you saw and quickly passed on because its just not your taste.  When it comes down to it though, this is a big part of deciding what you want and having photos will definitely help.

Step 3

Finding a reputable builder is a very important part of this whole process.  You don’t necessarily want the guy in the pickup that will build the pool cheaper than anyone else.  A lot of time guys like that have very little experience and are just looking to get your money.  I have noticed that the most reliable builders are those with a store front.  However don’t just pick a builder based on that.  Use the internet and research their company.  Most builders are quick to identify how much experience they have.  You might see on their website that they were established in 1976 or something like that.  Also you can often find reviews that their past customers have written.  Be sure to look outside their website for these.  While they may have some testimonials posted on their website, you can be sure that what is there was hand picked to help make their company look perfect in the eyes of the consumer.  If you feel that you have identified a good builder take the time to go to their store and have a look around.  Obviously you want to make sure that they are what their website says they are.  If you drive up to an old barn with a paper open sign hanging in the window then you may want to do more research.  You may be wondering why it matters that they have a location and that it is one that is up to date and clean.  Well a lot can be said by what a company has.  A nice updated showroom in a clean building with an electronic sign out front shows that a company is responsible, at least to the extent that they pay their bills and maintain a nice showroom.  Granted the guy in the pickup truck may be a good builder and may be as responsible as the one in the nice building.  However keep in mind that you are about to spend a decent amount of money with them.  All politics aside you want the person building the pool to do a good job and you have to weigh the risks.  Once you feel comfortable with the builder you have chosen then you are ready for a consultation.

Step 4

Arrange a date and time to sit down with the builder and discuss the possibilities.  From your research you will likely have some questions for them and it is a good idea to have them written down ahead of time so you can make sure to get them answered before committing to buying a pool.  This is also the time in which you can show them you idea book.  In all my years as a pool builder I have found that talking about different components of a pool can be somewhat difficult.  It is difficult enough to do talk with someone else in the field so it is very tough to do so with someone who doesn’t know the terminology.  Photos of things you want to talk about will greatly help the builder understand the things you are wanting.  Likewise the builder should have plenty of material to go through with you as well.  The builder may have photos of pools that have been built in the past.  You can probably choose to get one like the one in the picture, or you can start from scratch.  You will have to decide why you want the pool to begin with.  Do you have children?  Do you just want a place to relax?  Do you want a deep enough pool to jump into?  These are all things to consider when choosing a pool.  However their may be some things that you have overlooked that the builder can help with.  Things like orientation of the pool in the backyard or size of the pool in general may be easier to decide while talking with the builder.  They may be able to give you some insight on what has worked in the past and steer you away from installing a pool that is much too large.  Your idea book will be very helpful to show the builder for things like concrete.  There are many ways a builder can do the concrete.  It can be standard white concrete, it can be colored, it can be brushed, it can be stamped.  You can have a boarder around the pool in a different color than the rest of the concrete.  If you have photos in your idea book of the style of concrete then your builder will walk away with a very good idea of what you want.  This can alleviate any confusion later.  Once you have determined the wants and needs associated with your pool you can move forward with the build process.

With the way that technology is moving it makes perfect sense to use it to our advantage.  Utilizing different websites and social media to benefit you in your search for your perfect pool or project in general is the next big thing.  It allows you to more easily identify the things you like and need and discard the things you don’t.  That way when the time comes to sit down and talk with a builder, you are fully prepared.  Being that Houzz in particular often shows you projects from start to finish you can go in with a greater knowledge of how the process will go.  In turn that will allow you to identify and write down any questions about the process so you can get them answered right off the bat.


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

Building an Inground Swimming Pool

A vinyl liner inground swimming pool is made up of components that get assemble together to make the finished pool.  This is coupled with a lot of hard work done by the builders.  However before the builders even see the components of the pool these components must first be made by the manufacturer.  In this post I will walk you through step by step on how the finished pool comes into existence.


To begin you must be aware that the walls of the pool is made up of several different panels that get bolted together creating the form of the pool.  These panels are made of two general types of material they are steel and a “non-corrosive material.”  The non-corrosive materials differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.  They can be a fiberglass material, a structural foam material, or a composite material.  and each manufacturer makes them differently from one another.  The reason that there are several different types of non-corrosive materials is because there are different levels of quality associated with each.  I am not going to get into the differences in this particular post but to learn more about these material please take a look at a previous post of mine titled Only Alpha Pool Products – Technological Advancements.  Just so you are aware, Only Alpha Pool Products has made some huge leaps forward in the manufacturing process of vinyl liner inground pool building materials, and hold several patents. A few of my posts touch on them in detail.  Another difference is in the steel manufacturing, Only Alpha has high tech machinery that is used to cut and bend the steel into the shape of the panel.  This ensures that each panel is identical to the previous one.  For more information check out Only Alpha’s website at  from there you can look at how both there steel panels and composite panels are made and discover the difference.  Only Alpha manufactures every component of the pool from the walls to the support braces.  Check out this video on how the steel panels are made Steel panel manufacturing.


Once all the components are made they are ready to be shipped to the builder.  Before this happens the builder needs to make the sale.  This process takes place between the builder and their customer.  In this meeting the customer will tell the builder what they want in their pool as far as how big, the shape, the depth, and any extra features they may want.  From their the builder will create a basic sketch of the pool and come up with an estimate for the customer.  Once everything has been approved the builder will submit everything to the manufacturer and they will come up with a detailed prints of the pool.  These prints will show the builder what goes where and give them the dimensions they will need to build the pool.  Sometimes this process goes back and forth between the builder and the manufacturer for fine tuning of the prints.  Once the manufacturer get the approval of the builder they will then get everything ready for the pool and ship it to the builder.

The Build:

When the builder receives the shipment from the manufacturer he will go through everything and make sure it is all there.  Then they will start digging the hole to the specifications provided by the manufacturer based on the preferences of the customer and builder.  At this point the customer may notice that the hole appears to be much larger than they had expected.  This is because the hole is larger than the end result.  This is so the builder can install all the braces, electrical, and plumbing around the pool.  This part of the process may differ from builder to builder, but typically once the hole is dug they will start assembling the panels creating the walls of the pool.  One of the prints provided by the manufacturer will show the builder where each panel goes in the pool.  For the most part this is pretty set in stone.  Especially if it is a free form pool. (one with a lot of curves) If the builder were to put a panel in the wrong spot then it could throw off the rest of the build and at the end they may find that the panels don’t fit to complete the form of the pool.  So you can see how important it is to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.  Once all the panels are in place you will be able to see the shape of the pool.

From there the builder will decide if the pool is properly in place, and if the pool is rectangular they will make sure that it is perfectly square.  After that they will secure the pool in place by staking it to the ground.  At this point they will install all of the plumbing lines to each appropriate fitting.  Typically you will have one line for the main drains, one for each skimmer, one for each return that may be on the pool, and one for any water feature that may be going in the pool.  From there the builder will install all the bracing around the pool pour a concrete collar or footer to permanently secure the pool into place.  This will likely be the end of day one of the build.  The following day will consist of running the conduit for the electrical components, Lights, outlets, auto cover, etc. and backfill the pool.  More often than not they will completely backfill the pool with stone to prevent settling.  From time to time you might see the builders backfill with dirt.  That is okay to some degree provided they have deck supports around the pool.  You have to realize that if the deck is poured without deck braces installed and the ground around the pool settles you will have a big problem.  The deck supports will hold up the concrete deck even if the ground below settles.  I think that it is more common to backfill with stone to prevent any settling form happening.  Depending on the extensiveness of the pool this may be the end of day two.  It does not sound like a lot but this part could take them all day.  Especially if they have to install the auto cover box.  The next day they will likely prepare the area around the pool for the concrete deck to be poured.  This is again something that differs from builder to builder.  I always poured the walks around the pool before doing the bottom and installing the liner.  It just made more sense to me to do it this way to prevent any wet concrete from getting into the pool or on the liner.  However some builders will do the bottom of the pool and install the liner before they pour the sidewalks around it.  I am not saying that one way is right and one is wrong.  Just that there are differences in the building process.

So lets stick to pouring the concrete walks around the pool before doing the bottom since that is what I am accustomed to.  Before they get to this point they will have the pool backfilled to where it needs to be and have the coping on the pool.  Now they are ready to form the concrete deck around the pool.  Again this is something that is usually predetermined by the homeowner and builder ahead of time, but I have been a part of forming the walks with the homeowner right there telling me how they want the walks to look.  That is not my favorite way of doing things.  In fact it is reminiscent of hanging a picture and having someone say “now a little to the left, bring it down a touch, take it to the right a smidge”, you get my point.  Anyway once the forms are in place they will bring in some rebar and lay it down in a grid type pattern cutting each piece to the appropriate length within the forms.  Most of the time they will also tie the rebar all together as they lay it in. Or have someone come behind the and do it.  You will also see them going around the forms making sure that they are all appropriately leveled.  The rule of thumb is that for every foot away from the waters edge the sidewalk will fall 1/8th of an inch.  So if the edge of the sidewalk in a particular area is 4 ft. from the waters edge is will also be 1/2 inch lower that the coping.  This next thing is something that I want to stress to anyone getting a pool.  Make sure that the builder does something to protect the coping before pouring the sidewalks.  I usually tape off the coping to prevent the concrete from getting on it.  More importantly it will protect the paint on the coping from the sealer they use on the concrete.  If that sealer gets onto the coping it can damage it.  The builder may or may not get to actually pouring the concrete around the pool the same day that they form it.  Either way once it is poured the will generally give it a day to cure.  Once it is cured they will come back and saw the concrete up into sections in an effort to control where it will crack.

After that they will clean everything with a pressure sprayer and prepare the bottom.  The final bottom will be either a mix of sand and cement or it will be a product called vermiculite.  Either way the process is essentially the same.  They will mix it with water and dump it into the pool a wheel barrow at a time.  Once it is in the pool a builder will move it around usually starting at the shallow end and working toward the deep end.  They will make a layer about two inches thick over the entire bottom of the pool.  As this is going on another builder will be raking the mix around making sure that the layer is even.  Once a section of the bottom is adequately raked out the builder will trowel it out making it incredible flat and smooth.  This process will continue throughout the pool until they have troweled every last inch of the pool.  At this point they will be ready for the liner.  The will install the liner into the pool being careful not to scuff the freshly troweled bottom.  When they get the liner in they will make sure that it is properly oriented in the pool.  Once it meets their satisfaction they will place one or two vacuums behind the liner and remove the air.  This will cause the liner to suck back into every nook and cranny.  Now they are ready to cut in all the returns, skimmers, and main drains and start filling the pool.  From there they will likely plumb in all the equipment (pump, filter, and heater) and do the final grade around the pool.

Sit back and Enjoy:

The pool is finished.  If there is an auto cover on the pool they will be able to install it once the pool is full.  However you are ready to swim, throw a party, have a cook out and simply enjoy the pool.

For more information please check out my other blog posts pertaining to vinyl liner inground swimming pools.

in ground pool

What is the Ideal In-Ground Swimming Pool Design?

For people who are thinking about getting an in-ground swimming pool, the time will come when you will have to make a decision regarding what type of swimming pool you want.  For some this may be a bit of a overwhelming experience as there are a lot of choices.  You may find yourself asking the question, “What is the ideal in ground swimming pool design?  The answer is not specific, there are things to be considered.  Don’t get too worried, though. There are some steps to you can take in order to make this decision a little easier, and your builder can also give you some good insight on what may be the best design for you.


First, you will want to look at your backyard and figure out the size of pool that would work best.  To do this, determine the location and orientation of where the pool will go.  Typically, you will want the pool in an area that gets a lot of sunshine.  The sun plays an important role, because it can help keep costs of heating the pool down, as well as offer the swimmer a nice atmosphere in which to swim.  Most people avoid areas where the majority of the pool will be shaded.  Also consider that if the pool is close to trees, there may be a significant amount of debris from the trees that will end up in your pool.  That will increase the time you spend cleaning the pool and decrease the time you will get to just enjoy it.  Depending on where you live there may be a requirement to have a fence as well, and that would be something to consider regarding the position of your pool.  Another thing to consider is who will be spending the most time in the pool.  If you have children that will be spending their summer vacations around the pool, you may want a design that will better accommodate their wants.

This could include factors that would affect the design, such as a deep end or a volleyball net.  If the goal is to have more of a place for leisure and the kids are grown and away, then you may want to consider a shallower type pool.  Unless you and the spouse frequently plan on having cannon ball contests, of course.  If you do have children and want something fun and exciting, I would like to caution you on installing a diving board or slide.  I know that they are fun, but the standards for residential pools with diving boards fall short in my opinion.  There are rules that builders must follow when installing a dive pool regarding depth, and distance from the slope of the pool.  Typically, to save on cost of building the pool, the pool will be built at the minimum depth, and distance allowed.  It may be difficult to visualize but this minimum requires that the dive be executed perfectly every time.  There is not much room for error in this.  A poorly executed dive could result in injury.  Slides are the other thing I would caution about.  They have their own set of rules and, if not installed properly, could again result in injury.  In addition to that, there may come the day that the kids are no longer satisfied with just sliding down, and decide it may be more exciting to try jumping from the top of the slide into the pool.  I know this one from experience, and I will never forget the look my mother gave me when she saw me jump off the slide.

Once you get those details hatched out, you will want to consider whether you want a basic rectangle pool, or if you would prefer a more free form, lagoon type pool.  The difference is in the aesthetics; some find that a pool with curves looks more visually pleasing.  The other thing to consider is if you will want an automatic pool cover.  I highly recommend having an auto cover installed for a number of reasons.  They help with heating the water, which will keep costs down; they help fight water evaporation, which again aids in saving money; they help keep debris out of the pool, which saves on cleaning; and they act as a safety feature preventing kids or others from accessing the pool without permission.  There are a number of different auto cover designs so they can be installed on virtually any style of pool.
Another thing is the visual appeal of the pool.  Are you looking to impress? Are you more interested in functionality? Do you want a combination of the two?  With the technology available today, a pool can be made to suite any need you may have.


Honestly, the best way to go about deciding on what is the ideal in-ground swimming pool design is to talk to your builder.  If they are a credible company, they will surely have the experience to help aim you in the right direction.  Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed, let the builder offer some suggestions, and share you thoughts, concerns, and ideas with them.  They are there to help you, and you should have the pool you have always wanted.  Do some research, Google Images is full of examples of spectacular pools and is a good resource to use to get some ideas.  Also look into builders in your area.  If you live in an area where there are multiple builders, it is important to do some research.  I understand that cost is important, but keep in mind you get what you pay for.  Some builders are there to make a sale, and others are there to get you what you want and do the job right.  You really do need to do the research on the company.  Ask questions like, how long have they been around, and do they have a store front? I know the second question might seem irrelevant, but most people don’t want Mr. Joe Humbum with a pickup truck and ladder charging a substantial amount of money and giving them a muddy hole in the ground.  Also, the cost should reflect their work.  Look online for reviews of the company and the work they do.

There maybe a number of things to consider when deciding on the design of the your swimming pool, but with the proper research and help from a credible builder, the experience should be exciting and fun, and the end result should leave you feeling like you have made the right choice in both the design and the builder.