pool contractor

Don’t Get Ripped Off! Key Tips for Finding a Reliable Pool Contractor

If you’ve decided this is the year of the swimming pool, congratulations!

You’re joining almost 500,000 people in the state of Texas who also dreamed of a pool in their backyard. You’re also about to become the most popular house on the block.

You’re excited but also a little apprehensive. You’ve heard at least a few swimming pools gone bad stories, right?

Investing in a custom built swimming pool isn’t like purchasing a pool-in-a-box from your local discount store. If you don’t like it you can’t pack it back in the box and drop it off at the customer service desk.

If you choose a reliable pool contractor, you won’t need to worry about swimming pool nightmares. Nor will you wish you could put the dirt back in the ground and put up a swing set instead.

But how do you pick the best pool builder?

It’s not difficult if you follow our tips. Read them and get ready to break ground.

Meet in Person

We live in a world where life’s transactions happen with a click of the mouse. For many purchases, we never talk to a human over the phone much less in person.

Even for major purchases people often don’t consult with someone face-to-face. Consider the latest trend of ordering a new car from what amounts to a vending machine.

Most people wouldn’t dream of picking a contractor from a vending machine sight unseen. It’s the same with your swimming pool installer.

Feel free to call and get estimates over the phone or by e-mail. Just make sure you meet in person before the first shovel digs into your backyard.

A reliable pool contractor expects to come out to a prospective client’s home before beginning work. This is a consultation where you talk about your dream swimming pool and your budget.

They inspect your site. They’ll share some of their own ideas. By the end of the consultation, they should have enough information to create a swimming pool proposal.

Meet with at least 2-3 contractors before making a final decision. As long as you’ve asked the right questions, this first date should give you a good idea of which company is right for the job.

Ask Key Questions

Don’t let the excitement of building a pool overwhelm you to the point where you can’t think straight. Right about now you’re dreaming of sinking into the relaxing cool waters of your very own pool.

Before you take the plunge, ask questions—lots of questions. Your questions should go beyond the price of the pool and how long it takes to build. 

Dive further into the question of how long they’ve been in business. Of course, you’re looking for experience but more important is how much experience they have building the type of pool you want. If their niche is fiberglass pools and you want a gunite pool, keep looking.

Another obvious question is whether they’re licensed but you should also ask about insurance. Be aware that not every state requires licensing for pool builders. All pool companies should carry general liability insurance and worker’s compensation.

Both types of insurance protect you. One protects you from poor workmanship. The other ensure you’re not liable for injuries that happen to your contractor or one of their employees.

You could also ask them if they can have your pool ready by next weekend for your kid’s birthday party. A sense of humor is important when building a pool, no?

Request References

A reputable pool contractor doesn’t earn their reputation by accident. Most pool builders keep a list of their happiest clients who don’t mind talking about how happy they are with their swimming pool.

You ask your babysitter for references. Your employer asked you for references. Why wouldn’t you ask a pool builder for theirs?

The key to a reference list is actually contacting the references.

You’re looking for information about what kind of experience previous clients had working with the pool company. You also want to know what it was like working with their crew and any subcontractors.

Ask about the final product. Were the results what the client hoped for, or were there things that didn’t meet expectations?

The most telling question is whether the client would hire the contractor again.

A swimming pool is a major investment and an emotional purchase. There’s a certain level of trust that comes along with the entire process. A good pool contractor builds that trust well before breaking ground.

Don’t feel awkward asking for references.

Don’t Sign a Contract on the First Date

Did you buy the first home you walked through? Most home buyers look at an average of 10 homes before making an offer. You probably don’t need to see that many pool installers.

Remember earlier when we suggested meeting in person with 2-3 pool builders before making a decision? Even if you fall in love with the first one, it’s still a good idea to talk with at least one other builder.

After your initial consultation, you’ll get a proposal. The proposal should include information about the type of pool, the estimated time-frame and cost. This is a proposal, not a contract.

Read each proposal and ask for modifications if necessary.

Compare proposals. One builder may offer an extra water feature at a discount. Another builder might throw in an upgraded deck.

Take time to go over all proposals before you hire your builder. This can prevent future problems with contracts.

It’s in the Details

Few people enjoy reading contracts, especially when they have a lot of fine print.

Your contract contains the details of your swimming pool project. Details include:

  • Description of services
  • Itemized breakdown of materials
  • Project deadlines.
  • Inclement weather agreement
  • Equipment
  • Responsibilities of pool company vs. homeowner
  • Payment terms

Read the contract and ask for explanations of every detail. No, you’re not a pest. Understanding your contract helps prevent future misunderstandings.

Ready to Hire Your Pool Contractor?

Whether you want it for the endless vacation factor or you hope to add value to your home, building a pool is a big deal.

If you follow our tips, you can find a reliable pool contractor who will ensure you get the pool of your dreams.

Ready for the next step in the swimming pool project? Contact us and we’ll set up a complimentary consultation.

pool design

Modern Oasis in Katy, TX: 10 Pool Design Trends for 2019

There are over 10 million residential swimming pools in America. While they can be found all over the country, California, Florida, and Texas are the most popular states for in-ground pools.

So, if you live in Texas (or another warm-weather state), it may feel like you’re the only one in the entire neighborhood without a pool. Installing one may cost a pretty penny, but your home’s value will likely increase, and you’ll have an amazing form of entertainment right in your backyard.

Of course, you’ll want to ensure you pick a pool design that’s stylish and relaxing.

Do you need some inspiration? Keep reading to discover our top pool design trends for 2019.

1. Sleek and Simple Shapes

Once upon a time, every pool was curvy. But in 2019, more and more homeowners are going to opt for a sleek and simple shape, like a rectangle.

This gives your pool a modern and sophisticated look. Plus, a classic rectangle shape will never go out of style, so your pool will look great for years to come.

2. Pools That Compliment the Home

In an age where pools are highly customized, an increasing number of homeowners are seeing the importance of picking a pool design that compliments their home. Pools that don’t match the home’s aesthetic often look a little awkward and out of place.

For example, a sleek modern pool would look a bit odd behind a rustic style house. But when installed behind a modern home, it can really elevate the backyard and create cohesion between the home and yard.

Many homeowners are also considering the materials they use when designing their pool. For example, you may want to use decking materials that compliment your home’s exterior.

3. Dark Interiors

Light blue has been the go-to color for pool interiors for quite some time now. But all that is changing in 2019.

Darker shades of blue, like cobalt and azure, are becoming increasingly popular. They create a more soothing, luxurious, and lagoon-like effect, making your pool the perfect place to relax.

4. Thoughtful Landscaping

If designing a pool that compliments the home is trending, it should come as no surprise that people are considering their landscaping too. Bushes can be used as a privacy wall in lieu of a traditional fence, and utilizing plants and trees that compliment your pool design is a great way to complete the look.

You’ll also want to ensure the plants you choose don’t drop a lot of leaves or petals. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck skimming your pool every day.

If you don’t want to change your landscaping, you can also incorporate this trend by using potted plants around your pool. Depending on what plants you use and how many, you can make it feel like you were transported to a tropical paradise.

5. Swim-Up Bar

Nothing screams “luxury resort” more than a swim-up bar. But now you can enjoy this feature in your very own backyard.

These convenient and luxurious bars will be trending in 2019. Plus, they make the perfect addition if you love to entertain.

6. Self-Cleaning Pools

One of the biggest downsides to owning a pool is all the maintenance required to keep it clean. That’s why self-cleaning pools will be popular in 2019 and beyond.

While the installation will be a bit more expensive, you’ll save tons of time and money on maintenance throughout the years, making this investment worth it.

7. Sunning Shelves

Who doesn’t love tanning on a relaxing Sunday afternoon? But when you’re battling that intense Texas heat, this can be easier said than done.

And let’s face it—those mesh inflatable pool floats can be uncomfortable and inconvenient when you can’t even sip on a cool drink while soaking up the sun.

That’s why sunning shelves are growing in popularity. These allow you to sunbathe or socialize on a shallow shelf in your pool, so you can still enjoy that refreshing water. You can opt to include built-in lounge chairs for a chic look or use your own, so they can be taken in and out as desired.

8. Infinity Edge Spas

If you really want to relax, you may want to include a spa in your pool design. To take this element to the next level, many are opting for infinity edge spas to add some interest and a touch of luxury.

9. Smart Lighting

The right pool lighting allows you to enjoy your pool at night and ensures nobody accidentally falls in when walking around the backyard. But lighting has come a long way over the past few years.

In 2019, smart pool lighting is going to be trending. With this feature, you can control the brightness, color, and timing of your lights right on your smartphone.

10. Timber Pools

Who says concrete and classic tile are the only options you have? If you want to go for something more relaxing and rustic, you’re in luck! Timber pools are a unique option that will be trending in 2019.

However, these pools typically aren’t made with all real timber. Porcelain tiles designed to look like wood are used to surround the pool and then combined with timber decking for a cohesive look that’s also durable.

2019 Pool Design Trends

Don’t stick to the same old boring pool design you had growing up. If you’re thinking about installing a pool this year, you’ll want to incorporate some of the latest trends to ensure it looks modern and stylish. From opting for a sleek and simple shape to trying out a timber pool, there’s sure to be a pool design that you love.

Are you ready to take the next step? Contact us for a free consultation today. We can make your dream pool a reality.

inground pools

The Scoop on Inground Pools: How to Start Saving

There are 10.4 million residential swimming pools in the United States. Swimming is one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities for children and adults alike.

But the cost of inground pools prevents many homeowners from installing a pool in their backyard.

Read on to learn how to save money for a pool you and your family can enjoy for decades to come.

Save Money in a Pool Bank Account

Inground swimming pools are a hefty investment. Just like any other major home renovation, it will take time and dedication to amass the funds for the project.

The best way you can work towards this goal is to set up a bank account that is just for saving for your inground pool costs. 

As a family, think about what expenses you could cut back on to go into the pool account. You might have subscriptions or memberships you don’t use. Or you could take local vacations instead of ones that are further away and cost more.

Your sacrifice will be worth the hours and hours of enjoyment you’ll get out of your backyard pool.

Also, once your pool installation is complete, you can keep this pool account for ongoing pool maintenance and future repairs.

Maybe You Don’t Need the Heater… Yet

Putting in an inground swimming pool is pricey. But you can reduce your total cost by saving some additions for later years.

For example, the heater is something that you can add down the road. Plus, waiting to add a heater will let you truly understand how much you need a heater and what kind would work best for you.

You might be surprised that with a solar blanket and some sunny days, your pool is quite refreshing without a heater.

Delaying adding a heater can save you several thousand dollars initially. Then after a season or two, you can add the ideal type of heater for your inground pool.

Opt for a Simple Patio

Often, a huge portion of the inground pool cost is the patio. In fact, this could be the most expensive part of your pool installation.

You can get your pool that much sooner if you choose to go for a simple patio for now. You could always add a fancy, extended patio later on if you really want it.

A basic concrete patio of just 3 feet is enough. Then, down the line, you can add pavers that will blend well with your concrete. Plus, pavers offer you tons of options and versatility.

Don’t Go Deep

Many people don’t realize that inground pool prices largely depend on the depth of the pool.

Take some time to really think about what you would use the pool for. Most people use it for their kids to swim and play in. And when they have friends and family over for a BBQ.

In both of these cases, you don’t really need a deep end. A 10-foot deep pool will cost you big bucks compared to a leisure pool that has a 5 or 6-foot deep end.

Unless you have a competitive diver at home, you are probably better off without much of a deep end.

Not only will you get more use out of the shallow end, but people also won’t have to squeeze into one small section of the pool for a game of water volleyball.

And don’t forget, the smaller the pool, the easier and less expensive it is to maintain. 

Keeping your inground pool dimensions modest will save you a lot of money.

Plumb for the Extra Feature

Just as you should consider adding in the heater in the future, you can add slides, diving boards, and waterfalls later. But, you need to make sure you get the plumbing done for these items during the pool’s construction.

Much of the costs of pools comes from the extras. Just a slide will be upwards of $2000.

Maybe it’s your dream to have a rocky water feature that cascades into the edge of the pool. Plan and design it, now. But save up for it.

It’s better to have a pool you can afford now and add the fancy extras later than it is to wait years and years for the pool of your dreams.

Now, here are ways you can save on owning a pool once it’s installed in your backyard.

Save Money on Maintenance

Once your pool installation is complete, there are things you can do to reduce the operating and repair costs of pool ownership. 

For one thing, once you have a heater, keep the temperature down. Even lowering the heat by one degree can save you 10% in fuel costs for a gas heater.

Get in the habit of running your pump and filter at off-peak times. 

Keep your pool cover clean in winter by regularly brushing off debris and dirt. This will extend the life of your cover. 

Also, set a pool care schedule and stick to it. Doing regular maintenance on your pool is less costly than having to fix issues once they’ve gone unattended. Also, buy your pool chemicals in bulk (and ideally before the summer season).

This will save you money and ensure you have the right supplies on hand to take care of your pool.

Final Thoughts on Inground Pools

Thanks for reading! Now you have some practical tips on how to save for a pool.

Though it takes some effort to save for inground pools, they are so worth it.

Review these 10 benefits of owning a swimming pool

pool water

Keep a Clear Pool Longer: Your Guide on Effective Water Treatment

There are 10.4 million residential swimming pools in the United States. A backyard swimming pool is a luxury that many Americans cherish during hot, sunny days.

But having crystalline waters doesn’t just happen on its own. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to maintain clear pool water in your swimming pool.

Test the Water with a Pool Water Test Kit

The secret to crystal clear pool water is frequent testing and balancing.

You should test your pool water regularly for best maintenance results.

A pool water test kit will test the free available chlorine, the total chlorine, the pH level, the calcium hardness, and the total alkalinity.

All of these factors work together to make your pool water inviting and enjoyable. Cloudy or green pool water is caused by some kind of imbalance of these ratios.

You should test the pH levels every other day.  Aim for a pH level of 7.2–7.6 parts per million (ppm).

Test the total alkalinity every month so long as the pH levels are in the right range.

For plaster pools, the ideal total alkalinity range is 80–120 parts per million (ppm). For vinyl, painted or fiberglass pools, the ideal range is 125–150 ppm.

Depending on what your pool water test kit reveals, you will need either an alkalinity booster, a pH product that will either boost or lower the pH range to the right range.

Select the Type of Chlorine You’ll Use

One of the main differences between a saltwater pool and a traditional pool is the use of chlorine.

You’ll need to use chlorine to kill bacteria and algae in your swimming pool water if you don’t have a saltwater pool.

Chlorine is available in tablets, sticks, granules or liquid. The active ingredient is the same regardless of the form.

The only differences are the concentration levels of the active ingredients as well as the way the chlorine dissolves.

Some types of chlorine dissolve slowly and so need less pool maintenance. 

Once you know the kind of chlorine you’d like to use, you need to decide how to deliver it to your swimming pool.

You can use a floating chlorine feeder or an automatic chemical feeder. Automatic feeders require little effort. With them, you can control the amount of chlorine added to the pool at any time.

With these feeders, you might not need to adjust your chlorine level until the next week.  

Shock the Pool Water Weekly

Combined chlorine happens when the chlorine you put in your pool binds with other chemicals in the water. For example nitrogen or ammonia.

When it binds to another chemical, the chlorine is no longer effectively doing its job. Worse still, this is when it can sting and irritate the eyes and skin of your pool users.

You can combat combined chlorine through a weekly shock treatment.

Ensure Good Circulation of Pool Water

You know that stagnant water, whether in a lake, pond or pool is unhealthy and not safe for swimming.

Green pool water is a sign of algae. If algae can grow that means that you don’t have enough circulation in your swimming pool water.

Moving water is vital for healthy clear, swimming pool water. Keep your pump and filter system running daily to keep circulation flowing well.

You can’t run your pool pump too often. But as that can get expensive, you should aim for at least 10 hours a day when you run your filter. 

Clean Your Pool Thoroughly 

It’s not enough to treat the water inside your swimming pool. You must also clean the insides of the pool.

You’ll need a net, a pool brush, and a pool vacuum to keep your swimming pool in crystal clear condition.

You should brush, skim and vacuum your pool at least once a week. This routine keeps buildup from accumulating on the walls and floor of your pool.

You may need to use a brush and some elbow grease to clean tough spots on tile or the liner. 

Even if you own an automatic pool cleaner, you’ll still need to skim and brush the pool regularly. Though having an automatic pool cleaner makes it easier and faster to clean your pool. 

Backwash Filters

To avoid cloudy pool water, you must frequently backwash your filters.

Backwashing means reversing the flow of water through the filters. This process pushes out dirty water and tiny contaminants out of your swimming pool. 

Create a Maintenance Schedule

One of the most important ways that you can be sure to maintain a sparkling pool is to create a schedule and keep it visible.

This allows you to keep organized and on track for your important pool maintenance tasks.

Pin your schedule to the fridge or in the pool shed where you’ll see it most often. You can include tasks such as what to do to close your pool in your schedule. 

If you have others enjoying the pool, why not assign them each a task to divide the work? If you divvy up the tasks, everyone will be able to spend more time in the pool and less time cleaning it.

If you are away from home for a few days, the schedule will ensure that the right tasks get done to keep your pool looking great.

Final Thoughts 

Thanks for reading. We hope this guide on how to maintain crystal clear pool water is helpful.

Though the process of maintaining a pool can be daunting at first, you will soon get the hang of it.

Next, learn how to care for your pool in winter.

best deals on swimming pools

Getting the Timing Right: How to Get the Best Deals on Pools

There are over 5 million privately-owned inground pools across the U.S. and 50,000 more are constructed each year. Pools are the perfect gathering spot for holding family barbeques, entertaining invited guests, or simply escaping the summer heat.

Maybe your next-door neighbor just had a new inground pool installed and now you can’t help but fantasize about owning one of your own.

There are so many different materials, manufacturers, and times to install. Finding the best deals on swimming pools seems anything but simple.

But trust us: It’s easy.

You could save thousands of dollars — or more — on your next pool purchase.

Before you make a big splash at your next house party, simply skim through our guide of cost-saving tips.

1. Fall for the Best Deals on Swimming Pools

Like many labor-intensive services, the prices on swimming pool installations vary throughout the year.

Summer

Typically, the busiest time of year for pool services is the summer. Who could blame them? Swimming is the favorite recreational activity of people under 18 years of age. It’s a great form of entertainment during their summer break.

But because of the increased demand, it’s extremely unlikely to find special deals on either labor or materials.

Along with paying full price, the laborers will be spread thin across a variety of projects and your pool may take longer to complete. If you start too late in the summer, you may not even be able to enjoy your pool before the beginning of early fall.

Spring

So what about spring?

Spring is the second most popular time to construct a pool. Since the demand is still significant, don’t expect deals or special services and discounts. Construction during this period may also be extended or delayed because of the season’s significant rainfall.

Wet earth and mud are not good factors for digging out your pool, and the machinery used could sink deeper into your lawn and leave muddy ruts.

Fall

For most people, fall is the absolute best time to buy an inground pool. You’ll save both time and money on your purchase.

Since the demand for pools is lower during the cold months, many pool builders will offer discounts and deals to entice customers. Depending on where you live, they may also be trying to empty their inventory of materials before shutting down for winter.

This can net you huge savings on both labor and material costs.

Opting for a fall installation has more than just financial benefits.

Due to the low demand, pool companies can give your project the undivided attention it deserves and complete it more quickly. It’s also doubtful that significant weather delays will occur.

During the fall, the dry weather will make construction a breeze.

And to top it all off, fall is the best time to landscape. After your pool is installed, you can plant your hedges and seeds and they’ll have bloomed and sprouted by the time summer rolls around.

Winter

Depending on where you live, winter is also an option for good deals. In many climates, the pool builders won’t work during the season. But in warmer climates, they’ll still be available and the ground will still be soft enough for construction.

However, sharp drops in temperature or winter storms can cause installation delays.

Also, at the turn of a new year, most businesses increase their prices. While you may be able to snag a good deal during January or February, you’ll also likely be paying at a higher rate compared to last year.

2. Choose the Right Materials

So you’ve decided to buy a pool during fall to snag those great deals before the winter price hike. Great!

But the opportunities to save don’t end there.

If you’re getting a custom swimming pool, you’ll have a ton of materials, finishes, and appliances to choose or exclude from your purchase.

Gunite, fiberglass, and vinyl liners are all popular options, but they come with their own upkeep requirements and initial cost.

Gunite

Gunite — which is concrete — is a complicated material and process, so there are no options for you to save money by providing some of the labor.

The initial cost of a gunite pool averages around $75,000 dollars. But that’s just the initial cost.

Of these three popular options, gunite requires significant upkeep fees. Over ten years, you can expect to spend an additional $30,000 dollars across its annual chemical and electrical fees and occasional acid washes.

Over ten years, an average gunite pool is a $100,000 dollar investment.

Fiberglass

The benefit of choosing fiberglass is the possibility of installing portions of it yourself, saving cash on labor.

But most people don’t have the know-how or desire to handle even small portions of the pool installation.

In general, you can expect to pay around $60,000 dollars for a full-package installation.

While this cost is nearly identical to the gunite option, fiberglass does not require an acid wash and also costs less in electrical and chemical fees.

Over ten years, you might pay an additional $5,000 dollars. That makes the final price of a fiberglass pool $65,000 — significantly cheaper than the gunite option.

Vinyl Liner

On a vinyl pool, the vinyl liner covers the structure of the pool. They aren’t prone to cracking or scraping, unlike concrete. Vinyl liner pools are relatively easy to make on your own and are undoubtedly the cheapest option.

You should expect to pay around $50,000 dollars for a hands-off vinyl pool installation.

Unfortunately, vinyl liners need a replacement once or twice every 10 years. Along with regular pool fees, expect to pay an additional $10,000 throughout the decade.

With these prices in mind, choose either a fiberglass or vinyl liner pool to save the most on your pool installation.

Ready to Save on Your New Pool?

With the right materials, timing the construction of your new pool could save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Now that you know how to get the best deals on swimming pools, it’s time to get yours installed and become the neighborhood favorite.

Not sure where to start? Contact us to get a free quote or discover more about cost-saving options for your future pool.

Swimming Pool Care

Take Good Care: How to Take Care of Your Swimming Pool in Winter

Living in Texas means you can escape the polar vortex. And keep your swimming pool open all winter. Now you know why the snowbirds flock to Texas during the winter months.

With average temperatures in the 60s, extending the swimming season doesn’t take much effort.

People who live in colder states use a complete winterization program. They partially drain the pool, blow out pipes and lines, and plug the return and suction lines.

Pool owners in Texas don’t go to that extreme even if they don’t keep the pool open all year. But why not take advantage of the climate and take a dip on a winter day?

We’ve put together a swimming pool care guide especially for pool owners in Texas who believe in year-round swimming. Continue reading and keep your pool running smoothly all winter long.

Don’t put your swim trunks and your floaties away just yet!

Use a Pool Cover

Covering a pool in the winter saves you from skimming and vacuuming as often. You may not get leaves and grass in the pool like you do during the summer months, but you’ll still get your share of debris.

You have options when deciding on a pool cover.

If you have children, mesh pool covers reduce the chance of accidents. They also work well if you live in an area with high amounts of rainfall because the rainwater filters through the cover.

Install a leaf cover over the swimming pool’s safety mesh and prevent leaves, insects, and other winter debris from polluting the water. One caution with leaf covers—they don’t act as safety barriers.

Solar pool covers can help lower your heating costs. Finally, an automatic pool covers work two jobs. They keep heat in and people out. They’re also the most expensive option.

If you do cover the pool, take a peek during the week and check the water line.

Watch the Water Line

Whether you keep your pool open all winter or not, you should keep an eye on the water line.

The line where your water sits is a breeding ground for bacteria. During the summer months, that area gets more attention because you use the pool more often and have a more regular cleaning routine.

Keep the water line clean with a quick brush and scrub. Algae and bacteria can’t buildup if you keep the area clean.

Ice buildup can happen if temperatures outside dip below freezing. Brushing at the waterline moves the pool water around and prevents ice buildup.

Ensuring the pool pump runs properly also keeps ice from settling on top of the water.

Run Your Pool Pump

Understanding your pump and how it works is basic for swimming pool care.

Pool owners who don’t swim all winter lower the water level. If you keep water in your pool, the pump must run. For proper water circulation, the pump should run for 6-10 hours.

Also, even if you don’t use the pool every day running the pump on a regular basis ensures fluids and other lubricants don’t sit for extended periods inside the pump. Think of it like your car. You don’t leave a car sitting for months without starting it up, right?

That leaf cover we talked about earlier will help reduce the amount of time you run your pump. The less debris, the less pump time you need for circulating it through the filter.

Speaking of pump running time, if temperatures drop to 32°F, run the pump and keep it running. Water freezes at 32°F. Keep it moving!

Since no one hovers over the pool with a thermometer waiting for falling temperatures so that they can turn the pump on, how do you avoid damage from freezing when you’re not at home? Continue reading about your pool’s freeze protection system.

Guard Against Freeze Damage

Even if you don’t expect unseasonably cold temperatures, plan for them anyway. Protect your pool from freeze damage by installing a freeze protection unit.

A freeze protection unit is a device that circulates the pool water when temperatures fall below 38°F. A sensor measures outside air temperature and activates the pool pump if temperatures reach the threshold.

If your pool uses booster pumps or you have other water features like a waterfall, deck jets, or wall sconces, consider an advanced pool controller. Advanced pool controllers can turn on the other pumps and open closed valves if necessary.

Your pool company may advise winterizing your water features, especially if you have any constructed from rock. Fear of freeze damage is one aspect of swimming pool care and maintenance that prevents most owners from keeping a pool open during the winter.

Caution is always good but with the proper protection installed, why not swim when it’s cold?

Winter Pool Chemistry

No one enjoys sharing the pool with debris, insects, or algae. Keeping dirt and insects out is easy. Eliminating algae means regular water checks.

If you don’t keep your pool open year-round, you may not pay close attention to the chemical balance in the water. If you swim all winter, you can’t forget about good water balance (and shouldn’t even if you don’t)

You won’t need as much chlorine during the winter as you would during summer and if the water temperature stays in the 40°F range, you need even less.

During the summer when your pool gets more action you probably (hopefully) check the pool chemicals 2-3 times per week. During winter, a weekly check works.

Check the following:

  • Chlorine levels
  • Algaecide levels
  • pH
  • Alkalinity
  • Calcium
  • Cyanuric acid

If you don’t use a pool cover be aware that without protection, the pool water absorbs everything from the atmosphere. If you’re not checking water chemistry on a regular basis, you may find stains and scaling on the pool walls and floor due to poor water quality.

Need More Swimming Pool Care in Winter?

Hopefully, after reading our swimming pool care tips you can relax and enjoy the pool this winter. With less debris and fewer chemical checks, you should have more time for swimming and spend less time worrying.

Maybe you’re working too much or spend a considerable amount of time away from home during the winter months. That doesn’t mean you can’t look forward to a swim on the weekends.

With a pool cover, a freeze guard system, and routine checks for water chemical balance, your pool can give you hours of fun and relaxation year-round.

If you need more information about caring for your pool this winter, or if you’re ready for a new pool, contact us and schedule a complimentary consultation.

Custom Swimming Pool

In the Know: What You Need to Know About Getting a Custom Swimming Pool

There’s little more refreshing in life than a dip in the pool to start or end the workday. For both your mental and physical health, there’s nothing better than swimming. So it makes sense that you’re excited to get to work on the custom swimming pool you’ll be installing in your backyard. 

But don’t get so excited that you forget to think! 

There’s a lot to research and consider before jumping straight into the deep end of custom pool shopping. Buying a pool isn’t exactly something anyone has a lot of experience in before doing it. As such, it’s fairly easy for future pool-goers to go about things the wrong way. 

But that won’t be you, right? That’s why you’re here. Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about custom swimming pools before you make the big leap. 

What’s Your Budget? 

The first thing you should decide before even going down the long road of pool building is how much you’re ready and willing to spend. Pools can vary widely in pricing, and it’s best to get a number locked in before you get lost in the planning. 

Many people also make the mistake of only thinking about the initial cost of pool construction. When making plans for the pool, you’ll also want to factor in the cost of lifetime upkeep and maintenance. 

Pricing for your pool will depend on a variety of factors. Size, material, landscaping, electrical work, fencing, and retaining walls all can add up to create a final figure for your pool.

Custom pool construction for an inground pool can typically cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,00 depending on these factors. 

What Size Should Your Pool Be? 

The size and shape of your new pool will depend on the dreams you have for it. Consider what activities you’ll be using it for. Are you a big lap swimmer? Do you think your kids will be having many pool parties? Do you just need a little area to dip in and relax? 

Understanding the future use of your pool will allow you to better select a size and shape that will fit your needs.

If you want a big patio area for grilling and hanging out, you’ll need to ensure you leave the proper amount of room. 

You will also need to watch the boundaries of the property line and the natural geography of your yard. You won’t want to build into any areas with decent elevation. And you won’t be able to build any part of your pool on any kind of property line. 

Make sure to keep all these factors in mind when planning out the size and shape of your new pool. 

What Material Do You Want to Use? 

Inground pools are most commonly made of one of three materials: fiberglass, concrete, and vinyl liner. The material you choose will determine the cost and time it takes to build your pool. 

Fiberglass pools are quite popular and are made of a mixture of elastic and solid materials. They are built in layered form, which means choosing shape sizes might be more limited.

Fiberglass pools are generally more affordable and take less time to install, which might account for their popularity. 

On the flip side, concrete pools allow for the most variety when it comes to pool shape and design. Concrete design allows for almost any shape for your pool. If you can dream it, you can probably do it.

The disadvantage of concrete pools is that they take a very long time to install and have to be made very carefully to avoid leaks. 

Vinyl liner pools are made of polypropylene plates made of outer ribbing. They are generally the quickest to get installed, as the pool comes to your home partially pre-made. There are a variety of shapes and sizes to choose from, though it’s rare to be able to completely customize a vinyl liner pool.

They tend to be smaller in size, but can be affordable as a result. 

Understanding the Construction Process 

There are a few various steps you’ll need to take so that the construction of your pool can begin. These may vary slightly by your location, so you should always discuss with a licensed pool professional to understand what is needed for your location.

Before construction can begin, you’ll need to obtain the proper permits. These permits will vary depending on the city and county you live in. They also might vary depending on what kind of pool you’re having installed. 

Working with reliable professionals in your area can help you best determine what kind of permits you’ll need. 

A certain amount of land work will need to be done before the construction of the pool can begin. A great deal of your backyard will need to be excavated and rough grading for the pool and surrounding area will need to be done. 

Only once excavation and grading is done can the actual construction of the pool begin.  

Building a Custom Swimming Pool 

Laying out the plans for a brand new custom swimming pool can be exciting. But there’s a lot of work and planning to be done, and it’s important that you fully understand the process and what it entails before setting any money down. 

With the proper knowledge in hand, you can start building your pool with confidence and clarity on your side. 

Need help bringing your dream pool to your backyard? Contact us anytime for a free consultation.

pool construction

How It’s Done: The Ultimate Guide to Inground Swimming Pool Construction

Designing and building your own inground pool has never been easier. Today we have software for modeling and planning. We enjoy modern construction techniques and state of the art filtration systems that create a clean and efficient system. 

Not that you need an incentive on all of that. A custom pool is usually enough to get people interested and dreaming of what their home could look like with a pool adjacent.

The health benefits of swimming are well documented. 

Pool construction doesn’t have to be a chore. Check out this simple step by step guide to see everything that goes into creating an inground pool.

Pool Construction Step by Step

As you know (or are about to know) three basic in-ground pool types exist. Each of the options from fiberglass, vinyl liners, and concrete have different pros and cons. 

This guide will note where steps change for each type but the overall process remains largely the same.

You proceed through the steps sequentially and each builds on the previous. 

Planning

The first step to inground pool construction is choosing what to build. Planning provides you with a chance to shoot for the moon in terms of exactly what style and look you want. It also gives you the hard facts on whether your dream is possible.

Planning takes into account the area the pool will cover and its volume. You need this information when coordinating the filtration, warming, and cleaning systems. 

Depending on the area you place the pool, depth and various underground structures may create problems.

Finally, your plan will account for the costs of materials and length of time it takes to complete building a swimming pools main body. Landscaping to complete the look you have in mind doesn’t necessarily factor into pool construction time.

Prep Work

Now that you know what you want and what it will take to get it, you also need to get approval. Secure building permits to ensure your plans fit with local codes and guidelines.

Acquiring a permit requires that you show you have planned for proper safety standards. You also need to show the pool is not cutting off access to utility lines.

The area for construction gets marked off in this step. Clear any access routes for equipment and mark off work areas. Depending on your situation, secure HOA approval.

Different areas require different pre-construction accommodations. One common fixture is temporary barriers. This helps protect the job site from outside contamination. It also keeps the job site contained from spilling out into the world. 

Excavate

With all the prep work done, the single easiest step can get underway. That’s right, it’s time to dig a big hole!

Excavation starts with a backhoe or other digging machine and then finishes up with old fashioned shovel work.

Soil doesn’t compact evenly or always cooperate. Be prepared in this step to shore up and move some earth around to get things even.

Structure

Now you come to the fork in the process. The type of material effects inground pool construction at this stage.

For concrete and vinyl liners you construct frames. This will create the basic structure of the pool with some space on the outside to work the plumbing systems.

Concrete requires a combination of plywood walls and rebar grids. Vinyl liners use wood or metal walls to etch out the external structure. 

A fiberglass installation places a pre-formed structure into the hole outright. The area around the fiberglass shell is then filled in to bolster it.

Systems

With the structures and shape of the pool in place, the plumbing, heating, and filtration systems need connecting.

These systems need to connect to different points in the completed pool. You lay out and partially install in conjunction with the completion of the structures.

Again, a fiberglass shell is nearly complete at this step, so system connections get done all at once.

Systems include:

  • Pumps and motors
  • Backwash drain
  • Return inlet
  • Filters
  • External drains (and covers)
  • Internal drains (and covers)

The accompanying pipes and wires conduits also get laid out. All of this sounds complicated but is one of the fastest steps in the how to build a pool process. 

Construction

With everything in place, the structures get filled in.

For vinyl liners, materials get attached to the walls. For best add an additional layer of foam padding or insulation.

Builders then pour a concrete floor. The pouring process requires several passes to ensure a smooth and flat surface. 

Concrete structures start with pouring concrete into the wall molds. Once the walls set and cure, the floor pour begins. The completed shell can be lined with other materials, such as vinyl, or finished with plaster and tile. 

The construction step takes the longest of any step (outside of planning) as the crew stops and confirms elements are level and set properly.

Testing

The systems get tested once the construction is complete. Realistically, the components testing occurs before installation as well.

The difference here is testing under load and to ensure all the connections are in place.

Filling

With all other steps complete and the green light given, the pool is filled. Another round of testing confirms that all the systems perform as needed. 

Safety

Now you install safety devices. Safety is important to the enjoyment of a pool and to fulfill necessary permit guidelines.

Pool enclosures and covers both protect the pool and others around the pool when not in use.

Finishing Touches 

Decorative landscaping and additional decking finish your dream vision of a pool.

External lighting sets off your pool for some night swimming. Internal lighting effects are best installed with the other systems.

Build It Now

Now you have the whole process of how to build a pool locked in. Pool construction takes an average of 6-8 weeks after the planning phase.

Imagine a beautiful pool sprucing up your backyard. The cool refreshing water ready when you want to entertain or relax. A few weeks of intense construction are a small hurdle for the benefits. 

Get started on your dreams with a free consultation and dive into the excitement.

Swimming Pool

10 Benefits of Owning a Swimming Pool at Home

Are you thinking about installing your own backyard swimming pool?

You’re not alone! Currently, there are 10.4 million residential swimming pools in America. In fact, there are far more residential than there are public swimming pools in the U.S.

Clearly, home swimming pools are popular additions to patios and backyard areas. But what other advantages to swimming pool owners enjoy?

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of owning a swimming pool at home!

1. Get it Customized

When you install a home swimming pool, you aren’t confined to just one or two options. Home swimming pools are often customized to suit your exact preferences.

This means that you can choose your pool’s shape, size, and depth. You also can have a say in lighting options, tile design, and pool placement!

This is vital for homeowners who enjoy adding custom features to their homes. After all, your home says a lot about who you are, and it is where most of us spend the bulk of our time.

Custom swimming pools are also more likely to suit a range of backyard spaces. Don’t worry if your yard feels small or unsuitable for a pool. Customized pools are highly versatile for every space.

2. Give Yourself a Low-Impact Exercise Option

Swimming pools aren’t just for leisure. Swimming is, first and foremost, an athletic activity.

In this sense, installing a home swimming pool is much like installing a home gym–except far better!

A swimming pool gives every homeowner a chance to exercise at any given time, and to do so in a low-impact manner.

Low-impact exercise is vital for individuals suffering from any joint or muscle pain, and it can be healthier in the long run than other high-impact workouts.

You’ll also be more likely to go for a swim workout when the pool is right in your backyard. No need to commute to a gym.

3. Boost Home Value

Are you thinking about selling your home in the future? If so, install a home swimming pool.

Doing so can dramatically boost your home’s value. This is essential if you’re keen to pocket a few extra dollars once you close on a home sale.

Even if you aren’t planning on selling your house, a higher home value can benefit you. You may pass your home on to your kids, for example, or consider renting it out as an investment property. 

4. Reduce Anxiety 

If you’re looking for an effective way to alleviate stress and anxiety, look no further than a home swimming pool. 

Pools give everyone a chance to relax, whether this means poolside sunbathing or gentle night swims. Aerobic swimming can also limit your body’s production of cortisol, the stress hormone.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, go for a gentle float in your pool before you crawl into bed. This can help relax your muscles and promote the healthy sleep cycles you need to start your days appropriately.

5. Create a Kid-Friendly Hangout Space

If you have a family of any kind, home swimming pools can be an excellent addition to your home’s kid-friendly hangout spaces. 

Lots of kids love to swim, and if you’re tired of planning play date activities, install a swimming pool to provide endless entertainment for kiddos.

If you have teenagers at home, they’ll also be apt to appreciate a pool. In fact, pools can be safe alternatives to other unsupervised activities high school students may seek out on weekends.

If you do install a pool, make sure you brief everyone on pool safety ahead of time. Pool toys are also a must for any home swimming pool.

6. Cool Off During Hot Summers

If you’ve struggled to make it through hot summers in the past, it’s time for a home swimming pool! Backyard pools give everyone a quick and easy way to cool off.

This is especially important if you live in a southern state like California, Texas, or Florida. Sometimes there’s no better way to escape the humidity than to plunge into a pool!

What’s more, a backyard pool means fewer trips to crowded beaches, where it can be harder to relax. Beach trips can also take up an entire weekend, particularly if you have to drive several hours to get to white sand.

7. Enjoy Convenience and Privacy

Your home swimming pool is exactly that: a pool in your own backyard. All you need to do is take a few steps, and you’ll be poolside.

Home swimming pools are incredibly convenient in this way. No more long trips to the gym, the beach, or other event venues. Simply open your patio door.

It can also be difficult to find privacy in this busy world. Home swimming pools are naturally private, letting you enjoy a secluded oasis at any time.

8. Host Parties and Gatherings

If you love having people over to your home, you’ll love hosting poolside parties. Pools are natural event spaces.

Pools can also make it easy to plan a gathering. They are multifunctional, after all, offering guests an opportunity to swim, cool off, and admire the flickering lights.

9. Extend Your Patio

Many pools function as patio extensions. If you currently have a patio but want it to serve a greater purpose, a swimming pool can help.

In fact, many pool owners will install a covered patio right next to the pool. Covered patios create more space for people to towel off, enjoy a summer barbecue, or simply hang out.

These patios can also feel like home add-ons, as they are prime locations for outside tables, plants, and couches.

10. Increase Your Backyard’s Visual Appeal

Tired of the way your backyard looks? You can easily increase your yard’s visual appeal by installing a home swimming pool.

Many custom swimming pools are works of art, designed to naturally complement existing plants and other landscaping. You can even add fountains and torches!

If your internal decorator is itching to make more of your backyard space, look no further than a custom home swimming pool.

Your Home Swimming Pool

Now you know all the benefits of owning a swimming pool. What comes next?

We highly recommend booking a free consultation with us to learn more about installing your custom pool. Click here to do so now!

poo in the pool

Is That Poo in the Pool? What You Didn’t Know About Public Swimming Pools

Did you know that feces are frequently introduced into pool water by swimmers?

Doesn’t this make you think of all the pools you have ever been swimming in? You’ve heard that public pools are nasty, but exactly how nasty are they?

Read on to learn why there’s probably poo in the pool your kids swim in.

Is the Poo in the Pool? What You Didn’t Know About Public Pools

Swimming is one of the favorite past times for children, but what many parents don’t realize is that their children can actually be swimming with poo in a public pool. This might be a reason to consider having a custom private pool built in your home instead.

Poo is not the only nasty thing in a public pool. Reading this post is going to surprise you.

Poo

Can you believe that up to ten grams of poop can wash off a child’s butt in a pool? This doesn’t sound like a large amount, but take ten grams and multiply it by the number of kids in the pool. Yes, it adds up.

A survey done by the Water Quality and Health Council reported that 1 in 4 adults goes swimming within one hour of having diarrhea. This is another way poo makes its way into public pools.

Chlorine

First, let’s chat about chlorine, which we all know is used in almost every public pool. This is to keep pools blue and safe by killing bacteria. But unfortunately, it can only do so much when there are dozens of sweaty bodies swimming around.

Sunscreen, sunlight, and the levels of urine absorb the effectiveness of the chlorine.

Pee

That’s right, you read that correctly. Pee or urine is found in public pools. A survey done shows that one fifth out of 1000 people admitted to urinating in a public pool. 

If you are concerned about urine and want to check the cleanliness of public pools, you can purchase test strips to see how much chlorine and urine are in the pool, along with the pH level of the water.

Cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidium outbreak doubled from 16 outbreaks in 2014 to 32 outbreaks in 2016. Crypto causes almost half of all outbreaks of gastrointestinal problems which are caught in recreational waters. This is one of the few microorganisms that are able to survive chlorine. 

When chlorine is dissolved in water, it breaks down into two chemicals that destroy a microorganism’s protective wall. But with Crypto, the coating is so thick that the chlorine isn’t able to break through the walls. 

Even if a pool is properly chlorinated, crypto microorganisms still survive. One child that goes swimming after having an infection can spread crypto into the entire pool. 

If the pool doesn’t have the right balance of disinfecting chemicals, crypto won’t be your only concern.

The following microorganisms will have their own effects:

  • Pseudomonas – pus-filled rashes
  • Legionella – fever, and cough
  • Shigella – diarrhea
  • Giardia – diarrhea
  • Norovirus – diarrhea
  • E-coli – diarrhea

All public pools are full of microorganisms ready to make you sick.

Health Code Violations

8 out of every 10 pool inspections find serious health code violations. Out of those eight, one of those will be serious enough to shut down a pool immediately. These violations are usually due to not putting enough disinfecting agents in the pool. 

RWIs

This stands for Recreational Water Illness, and it’s caused by the spreading of germs in contaminated water. This can be caused by chemicals in the water or chemicals the evaporate from the water.

This can cause health issues like gastrointestinal problems, skin rashes, and respiratory trouble, just to name a few.

No Bathing or Showering

Most people swim without showering or bathing first. This can cause bacteria to spread throughout the entire pool. When people don’t shower before swimming, they can release particles of feces, sweat, and pee. 

All of the above can cause a number of health issues.

Strong Smell

When you smell a pool from a mile away, it doesn’t mean the pool is clean as most people believe. It’s actually a sign that there’s not enough chlorine in the water. The chlorine combined with bodies, urine, and feces gives off this strong chemical smell.

The combination of urine, feces, and bodies use up all of the chlorine and then it’s less likely to kill off germs. A well-chlorinated pool should have very little odor.

Red Eyes

Have you ever swam in a public pool and your eyes begin to sting and eventually turn red? The assumption by most people is that it’s from too much chlorine, but it’s actually the urine in the pool water.

When the urine combines with chlorine, chloramines are produced. The chloramines give off a chemical odor that makes the eyes sting and become red.

Band-Aids

The floating band-aid in the pool water is not the prettiest sight. When you have an open wound, it’s advised that you stay clear of pools because of harmful bacteria that can spread to other swimmers. Or, harmful bacteria could get into your wound and make it worse.

Hairballs

Hairballs are not only gross, but they can also be the hair from a person who suffers from a bacterial infection. They can either suffer from folliculitis, furuncles, or carbuncles, and this ball of hair can be spreading this around the entire pool.

Lice

It’s recommended to have your hair tied up in a bun or a ponytail to avoid a lice infection or to at least reduce the chances of getting lice. If hair is left down, it’s essentially mopping up the pool with high chances of contracting lice.

Ready to Swim in Clean Water?

As you read above, public communal water is not as clean as some people might think. Not only is there poo in the pool, but there are countless microorganisms surviving in the chlorine. 

Ready to ditch the public pool and have your own clean pool that you have control over? Contact us for a free consultation to help you pick the perfect pool for your home.