Category: Pool Care

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.

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!

pool features

Customize It: Understanding Different Custom Swimming Pool Features

Did you know there are more than 10 million swimming pools in the United States? The kinds of pools can vary from above ground to inground, small to large, and simple to the most extravagant pools you can imagine.

If you are considering getting a custom inground pool, then why settle for something ordinary?

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common pool features you can add that will turn a simple pool of water into a tropical getaway.

Swimming Pool Water Features

If you want something really classy looking, there is nothing better than pools with water features.

Scuppers and jets are both popular options. If you don’t know what these are, scuppers are holes in the side of a raised wall that pours water into the pool. Essentially, they are a bunch of small waterfalls that add a lot of visual interest.

Jets are small holes near the side of the pool that can squirt a small jet of water over the pool. Or you can have it continuously running to make a sort of water tunnel over the top of pool.

If you want to add fountains, you can get them in any size and design and put them in the middle of the pool or anywhere else you want.

Of course, waterfalls are usually considered the most luxurious option. A larger waterfall cascading into the end of the pool looks beautiful, especially if it is worked into the landscape to look more natural.

For an even more spectacular waterfall, you can add a grotto. This is essentially a small cave on the side of the pool that has a waterfall flowing over the entrance. Imagine relaxing inside a little grotto, looking through the waterfall at everyone else!

Decks and Landscaping

An inground pool is more than just the water you swim in. It completely changes the landscape of the backyard or wherever else the pool may be located. If you have an ordinary grassy yard with a simple pool plopped into the middle, it won’t look that special. But imagine if the entire landscape is focused on the swimming pool.

One way to do this is having decking all around the pool and entire area. You can choose whatever material you want. Slate, flagstone, cobblestone, patterned cement are all options. You can choose the colors and designs you want.

It is best to work the decking into the landscaping. For example, a smooth slate walkway with palm trees on either side will make it look like paradise, no matter where you live.

Depending on the size and shape of your pool, a unique option is to have a bridge! If there is a narrower section of the pool, you can have a small bridge that walks over that area. It is functional, looks beautiful, and will make yours stand out from every other pool!

Add Some Fire

A popular option these days is to add some flames to your watery paradise. This is a great idea since it lets people warm up if the water is making them a little cool. If you are hanging out with friends in the evening or after dark, it also adds some light and ambience. Not to mention it looks awesome!

You can add as many fire bowls as you like to the sides of the pool, usually raised a bit so the water won’t splash them. Or you can add even add a raised fire bowl in the middle of the pool for a one of a kind centerpiece.

If you like hosting dinner parties then you may want to add a fire pit nearby. As before, this adds some mood lighting to the area. But it is also more functional since it is meant to be used for cooking.

This is perfect for pool parties when people want to toast some marshmallows or grill some hotdogs to have a snack, but then go right back to swimming. It is especially great for hungry teenagers, whose favorite recreational activity is swimming.

Kitchen Features

If you do plan on having lots of dinner parties by the pool then you will definitely be interested in kitchen and bar features.

Usually near the swimming pool instead of in it, you can add several different kitchen-like options. You can have an outdoor grill, sink, cabinets, pizza oven, and more. Of course, you’ll want a table and chairs for everyone to gather around for eating, too.

However, it is possible to add certain features actually into the pool instead of beside it. This will not work for the grill, but you can add a table and bar stools into the pool if you want. Typically the table will be raised so your food and drinks don’t get wet, but the stools are recessed into the pool a bit so you can stay cool while you snack.

Lighting Options

Lighting options are great if you want to make your swimming pool more unique looking, or if you want to be able to swim at night. There are many options when it comes to lighting.

As we mentioned before, fires can add both functionality and light to the area. You can also install lights into the pool to illuminate the water. Any other features you have added can also be lit up. Jets and scuppers can have colored LEDs to make your pool have a lot of color. Waterfalls can even have lights shining on them, or colored lights coming from inside a grotto.

Fun and Games

If your swimming pool is going to be used by children, or adults who simply want to have fun, then there are plenty of fun features to add. This can include slides or a diving board. In fact, around 38% of all inground pools have diving boards.

Once again, it is recommended to incorporate these into your design. For example, a twisting slide that goes over the waterfall into the pool would look amazing.

How to Get These Pool Features

Now you know about the variety of swimming pool features available to you. But how much will it cost and who can help you bring your vision of a paradise into a reality?

At Sahara Construction & Custom Pools we specialize in creating unique pools with whatever features you can imagine. Use our contact page to see how we can help you build your dream pool!

how to maintain a saltwater pool

Keep It Clean: How to Maintain a Saltwater Pool

A swimming pool can enhance your outdoor living space and provide fun for the whole family. It can even add about 7.7% to your home’s value

It’s an excellent home addition for those who live in a hot sunny climate. Many homeowners choose to go with a saltwater pool, as it’s a better option for your skin and hair. It also needs less upkeep than a standard chlorine pool.  

Here is your guide on how to maintain a saltwater pool. 

How to Maintain a Saltwater Pool

A clean saltwater pool is as easy as filtering out the dirt while also checking to ensure your water levels stay balanced.

This type of pool gets preferred as it doesn’t produce a strong chlorine smell. It is also healthier for the skin and those with allergies. 

Some people choose to hire a professional to handle their saltwater pool care. Yet, it is also easy to maintain your own pool using the following tips.  

Ensure Your Pump and Filter Are Functioning Right  

Saltwater pool maintenance is a breeze when all your pool parts function well. So it’s important to keep your pump, filter, and skimmer clean and in good working condition. 

These parts work together to help keep your pool water clean. So make sure to inspect and clean these on a regular basis, as they can become clogged with debris over time. 

A low water level can be a sign that one of these items is getting backed up. Clean these every week to avoid buildup. Spraying water from a hose should do the trick. 

Also, be sure to clean the pool’s generator cell every few months as it can become scaly from salt buildup. Clean it with a high-pressure water hose or scrape it off using a plastic tool. This helps the salt circulate through your pool well. 

Keep out the Dirt

Dirt removal is the most important tip in how to take care of a saltwater pool. You’ll want to remove debris from the surface of your pool to keep it sparkling clean. 

Use a pool vacuum attachment or mechanical cleaner. Do this by connecting the vacuum right to your skimmer box to suck away dirt. Or you can buy a robot cleaner or pressure cleaner to do the job. 

A saltwater pool only contains about 10% of the salt that’s found in ocean water. While this is a small amount, it helps to brush the bottom of your pool. This keeps saltwater from building up, which can cause staining.

Pools should get cleaned 2 to 3 times per week. An uncovered pool may need more cleanings or take longer to clean, as it is more open to catching leaves and other debris.  

You’ll also want to clean your pool lining every month and follow proper maintenance tips for closing your pool down in the winter. 

Algae can also cause your pool to take on a dirty green hue. Use a special algae bush to remove it from the sides and bottom of your pool. They also make an algaecide for pool use to help prevent the growth of new algae. 

It helps to have your family and friends shower before entering your pool. You should also wash your pool toys often. This will help stop mildew growth, keeping the pool cleaner. 

Test Your pH and Chlorine Levels

Add water level testing to your saltwater pool maintenance checklist.  You’ll want to check your pH and chlorine levels every week. You can use an easy pool test kit to do this. 

pH Levels

A pool’s pH should be between 7.2 to 7.6 ppm. If pH levels get unbalanced, you can add in muriatic acid to reduce the pH. Or add sodium bicarbonate to increase the pH levels. 

Alkalinity levels help keep your pool’s pH balanced. Check this level every month and aim for 80 to 120ppm. You can add baking soda to increase levels or muriatic acid to decrease them. 

Chlorine Levels 

You chlorine should be about 1 to 3 ppm. If you live in a warmer climate, the sun’s rays can evaporate more of the chlorine from your pool. So you need to test the stabilizer levels, which should be between 70 and 80 ppm.  

In some cases, you may need to drain some of the water from your pool so you can add in fresh water. This will help dilute the overconcentrated pool water. Or you can add cyanuric acid to bring your stabilizer levels back up.  

Calcium and Salt Levels

Calcium ensures your water stays clear. Check this every month, aiming for 200 to 400 ppm. 

Saltwater levels should likely be between 2700 to 4500 ppm. However, this number depends on the specifications of the pool manufacturer. 

You should also test your water to be sure there are no traces of metals. This can sometimes happen when you add fresh water in. Metals like iron, copper, and manganese can cause corrosion issues for your pool. 

Use a Shock Solution When Needed 

Shocking your pool is like deep cleaning it. It helps keep the water looking fresh. 

Here’s a saltwater pool maintenance for dummies tip. Shocking a pool gets recommended at the start of summertime when your pool sees a lot of action, or before hosting a big pool party

A pool gets shocked with a solution made of chlorine and water. Be sure to use a chlorine brand that is safe for saltwater pools. You want to ensure you are using the right amount of chlorine for your pool size.  

You’ll need to wait 8 hours to let the chlorine dissolve into your pool. This means no swimming or using the pool during this time. You’ll also want to recheck your pool levels afterward. 

If you have a big algae problem, you may want to shock your pool more than once. This helps to kill the algae and enhance the look of your pool water. 

Building a Backyard Oasis with the Right Pool Design 

As you can see, how to maintain a saltwater pool is quite easy when following these tips and tricks. A saltwater pool is a top choice for homeowners looking to add to their outdoor living areas. 

Note that it is also important to seal your deck when adding a saltwater pool. This helps to prevent the salt water from causing any damage. It will also increase the longevity of your deck material. 

Custom swimming pools are a beautiful way to transform your backyard space. They combine stunning designs that compliment your decking and home exterior. 

Learn more about how a custom pool design can enhance your backyard. 

build a pool

So You Want to Build a Pool? How to Choose a Custom Pool Builder in Cypress, TX

Have you always dreamed about putting a swimming pool into your backyard?

It’s not nearly as hard as you might think to make that dream a reality. There are more than 10 million homeowners all across the country who have installed pools in their backyards, and there are thousands of others making the decision to build a pool every year.

Before you start taking steps towards building a swimming pool in your backyard, though, make sure you have the right swimming pool company helping you do it. There are more than 13,000 swimming pool companies operating in the U.S. at the moment, which can make finding the right one a challenge.

It can be especially difficult if you’re interested in having a custom pool built on your property. Here are some tips that will help you choose the best custom pool builder in Cypress, TX.

Create a List of Custom Pool Builders in Your Area

At the start of your custom pool builder search, begin by creating a long list of the different custom pool builders operating in your area as well as surrounding cities and towns. Focus only on swimming pool companies that specialize in building custom pools.

You can find custom pool builders in your area by:

  • Asking your friends, family members, and neighbors for recommendations
  • Looking in the phone book
  • Conducting a basic Google search for “custom pool builders in Cypress, TX”

Your goal at the beginning of the process should be to list as many custom pool builders as you can. You want to give yourself plenty of options once you start narrowing your search down.

Check Out Reviews They’ve Received From Customers

Once you’ve compiled a list of at least 10 custom swimming pool builders, the next step you should take is to read through reviews that those builders have received from customers over the years.

You can find lots of online reviews through Google, Facebook, and even individual company websites. Look for reviews that are long enough to give you a good sense of what a company is all about and how they treat their customers.

Don’t automatically discount companies that might have one or two bad reviews on their resumes. Instead, take a look at how those companies have responded to negative reviews and see what they’ve done to remedy any issues they’ve had with customers.

You want to find a company that does great work while building custom pools. But you also want to find one that communicates well with customers and goes above and beyond to leave them feeling satisfied.

Take a Look at Custom Pools They’ve Built in the Past

After you’ve had a chance to read through a bunch of online reviews for custom pool builders, you can probably start to narrow down your search a little bit. Cut your original list of 10 pool builders down to just five or six based on what you learned while scanning through reviews.

From there, visit the websites for each custom pool builder remaining on your list and see if you can find photos of the custom pools they’ve built in the past. Most custom pool builders are proud to show off their past work in galleries on their sites.

By taking a look at the custom pools that different pool builders have created over the years, you can see which do the best work overall. You can also get a better sense of what makes each pool builder unique.

Read More About Them on Their Websites

While you’re working your way through the websites of custom pool builders in and around Cypress, TX and looking at photos, you should also take the time to read about each builder on their site.

Read through the introduction that each builder has on their homepage. Then, head over to their “About Us” page to learn about some of their history. You can usually find out how much experience a custom pool builder has by doing this.

Once you’re done doing that, you can also check out which services a custom pool builder provides on their website. Additionally, you can usually find a section on the site that explains the process that the builder uses when helping homeowners design and create custom pools (more on that later!).

There is a wealth of information about custom pool builders on their sites. Use it to your advantage and really get to know what each builder on your list brings to the table before you begin touching base with them.

Reach Out to Builders and Ask Lots of Questions

At this point in the process, you should be able to narrow down your list of custom pool builders even further than you already have. Between reading online reviews and checking out builders’ websites, you should have the info you need to knock a few more builders off your list, leaving you with about three options.

Now comes the hard part: Reaching out to each custom pool builder and interviewing them either over the phone or, better yet, in person.

There are going to be a million and one questions that you want to ask a custom pool builder. But you should stay focused during the interview and make sure you ask them the most important ones.

Here are some sample questions that you should consider asking when speaking with a custom pool builder for the first time:

  • “How long have you been building custom pools in Cypress, TX?”
  • “Approximately how many custom pools have you built over the years?”
  • “What is the most challenging custom pool you ever built?”
  • “How do you go about helping a homeowner build a custom pool from start to finish?”
  • “Do you help homeowners pull the proper permits for putting in a pool?”
  • “How quickly does it usually take you to build a pool?”
  • “Do you use subcontractors or do all work yourself?”
  • “Can you show me what my pool is going to look like before you get started?”
  • “Is there anything that could potentially delay my custom pool project once it gets going?”
  • “Do you stand behind the work you do and offer a warranty of some kind on it?”

A good custom pool builder will have absolutely no problem answering each and every question listed here. They’ll be more than happy to explain everything from their experience level to their warranty options in detail.

If you come across a custom pool builder who isn’t willing to talk at length with you for any reason, they probably aren’t the right choice for you. You want someone who will communicate clearly with you right from the start.

Ask Each Builder For a List of References

At the end of each interview that you do with a custom pool builder, there is one last question you should ask. That question is: “Could you send me a list of several recent references?”

Each builder should have no problem sending you a list of about five references that can vouch for their work. The references should be homeowners who had custom pools put in by the builder within the last few years.

Once you have the list of references in hand, reach out to each of them and ask them to tell you what their experience with their custom pool builder was like. Ask about everything from the length of time it took to complete the custom pool to the level of communication that took place throughout the pool building process.

Earlier, you read a bunch of online reviews, and they gave you a decent sense of what each custom pool builder was about. But references can go a lot more in-depth and share stories about what it was like working with a custom pool builder.

Lean on these references as much as you can and ask them to provide you with information that will make your decision easier.

Make Sure Builders Are Licensed and Insured

You should not, under any circumstances, hire a custom pool builder who is unlicensed and/or uninsured. If you do, you’re pretty much asking for trouble and could end up with a huge headache later.

If a custom pool builder doesn’t have a business license, they haven’t taken the right steps to register their business and make it official. It could make it difficult for you to take legal action against them later if they don’t do a good job on your custom pool and refuse to make changes to it.

If a custom pool builder doesn’t have business insurance, they aren’t going to be covered in the event that an accident takes place while your pool is being built. You could be on the hook for medical bills and repair work if anything goes wrong during custom pool construction.

You should always ask to see proof of both a business license and business insurance before signing on the dotted line and agreeing to work with a custom pool builder. Otherwise, it could prove to be disastrous later.

See How Soon Each Builder Would Be Ready to Get to Work

Do you want to build a pool in your backyard within the next few months?

This could potentially limit your options as far as finding a custom pool builder goes. You could track down the most amazing pool builder in Cypress, TX, but if they don’t have the resources to build your pool quickly, it’ll all be for naught.

Think about the timeline that you’re working with before you start reaching out to custom pool builders. Ask them if they’re going to have any issues working with the timeline that you have in mind.

Learn More About the Process They Use For Building Pools

Every custom pool builder works a little bit differently with regards to the process they use for building pools. Some handle all of the various aspects of designing and building a pool, while others only handle specific parts of the process.

You need a custom pool builder who will have a hand in just about everything. They should:

  • Provide you with a free design consultation at the start and listen to the ideas you have for your custom pool
  • Create a 3D drawing of your dream custom pool based on your ideas
  • Tweak their 3D drawing after hearing any feedback you might have on it
  • Send you a final drawing for your approval (and for approval from your homeowner’s association, if necessary)
  • Obtain all the permits that will be needed to build a pool in your backyard
  • Arrange for the underground utilities on your property to be marked
  • Settle on a start date with you and prepare to break ground
  • Build a pool for you while sticking to a predetermined schedule
  • Answer any questions and listen to any concerns you have along the way

If a custom pool builder can’t do all these things for you, you’re not getting the best experience possible. Look for one who plays a more active role in the process.

Consider the Cost Associated With Working With Each Builder

There are a lot of homeowners who focus on the cost of building a custom pool through different pool builders first and foremost. And while it’s only natural to want to be able to spend as little as possible on your pool, it shouldn’t be your No. 1 concern.

Try not to consider the cost associated with working with each custom pool builder on your list until the very end. You want to find one who will set you up with all the services you need for a fair and affordable price, even if it’s not necessarily the lowest price.

This will ensure that you love your custom pool when it goes in and that you get it for the right price from the right custom pool builder. 

Choose the Right Custom Pool Builder and Build a Pool Today

There are so many advantages that come along with putting a custom pool into your backyard. When you build a pool, it’ll bring your family closer, allow you to get exercise on a regular basis, and turn your backyard into the place to be.

But before you get blinded by the idea of having a pool and pick just any old custom pool builder, you should keep the tips you learned today in mind. They’ll help you to choose the right pool builder in Cypress, TX to create your custom pool.

Contact us to see if we would be a good fit for your custom pool plans. 

swimming pool designs

Be the Envy of Your Neighborhood: 9 Coolest Swimming Pool Designs

Installing or renovating a swimming pool is an exciting process with lots of decisions to make.

The design options for your new swimming pool are a myriad, and there’s a ton of inspiration out there for you. Sometimes, the best way to figure out what you want is to look at what other people have done. 

And people have done plenty in creating amazing swimming pool designs.

We want to go sit by these pools with something cold to drink and nowhere to be all day. Read on to find some of the best swimming pool designs.

Have a Waterfall or Two 

One of the quickest ways to add luxury to any swimming pool is to add a waterfall.

Whether it takes up a full side of the pool or it’s a little trickle in from one side, having that extra movement makes everything so much more beautiful. And there are so many amazing ways to incorporate waterfalls into your pool design.

But let’s be honest here, is one waterfall enough when you could have two?

Some of the most extravagant pools have a waterfall on one end and then a second waterfall spilling down into a lower level pool. These look like something straight out of a movie, and also like somewhere we want to spend our entire summer.

Add Some Cool Deck Features

The quickest way to add character to your pool is to add some major deck features.

Whether you’re going for an opulent Mediterranean look or a lush jungle vibe, the secret is all in the dressings. And the good news is you can do this even if you already have a pool that you want to dress up.

If the artistic style of The Prince of Egypt is your aesthetic, and you always liked the look of that big marble palace, we have the perfect idea for your deck.

Add some large (and we mean LARGE) urns around one side of your pool, and put in some golden lighting. We guarantee you’ll feel like royalty in no time.

Break Out of the Normal Shape

A lot of swimming pools tend to stick to the same basic shapes – you’ve got your rectangle, your oval, and your misshapen bean. But if you want to set your pool apart, changing up the shape can be a great way to do that.

What shape you go for depends on what style you want.

If you’re looking to get a sleek, modern vibe, why not add an L-shaped swimming pool?

A half-circle pool will bring a sort of asymmetric class to your back yard. And if you want to go totally hog wild, you could make your pool shaped like anything – the state of Texas, for instance.

Add Some Walls

Another great way to make your pool feel instantly more opulent is to add some walls around it. Depending on your neighborhood codes (and your relationship with the neighbors), these could surround your whole back yard or only border a part of your pool. Your budget and your homeowners’ association are the limits.

If you’re adding walls around your whole back yard, you may want to go for sandy-colored stone and a Tuscan vibe to the back yard. Or if you’re adding a wall on one side of your pool, why not add an interesting feature like a garden or a lounging area on top? You could also incorporate some brightly-patterned tile to bring a splash of color to your deck.

Make Use of Glass Walls

There are few things more beautiful than a well-designed glass wall in a pool.

We can’t explain why it’s so wonderful, but there is something mesmerizing about watching all that water move through a glass wall. It gives the light so much more room to play, and it leaves us daydreaming about summer even in the dead of January.

Talk to your contractor about how to add a glass wall to your pool.

If you’re doing an above-ground pool, you shouldn’t have a hard time making at least one of the walls out of glass. Otherwise, the best way to manage it is to build your pool into the side of a hill if you have one handy.

Put in Some Stone

Stonework adds such a wonderful texture to any space, and swimming pools are no exception.

A lot of swimming pool designs tend to use smooth concrete or polished marble. But adding some rough stone to your swimming pool can give it an amazing natural look.

Depending on the aesthetic you’re going for, you may want to add large stone slabs around your pool to create a hot springs/rain forest look.

If you want a more Italian countryside vibe, build a retaining wall out of tan stones. Or, if you want to have a truly opulent look, there’s always granite to build the world’s most beautiful deck out of.

Bring Things Indoors

Everyone knows swimming pools (at least private ones) go outside — we have decks and hammocks and places to lay in the sun.

But what if you want less a sunbathing spot and more a tranquil place to enjoy a cocktail and a few laps in the evenings?

Putting your swimming pool indoors can always be an option if that’s the style you prefer.

A sunroom is an ideal space to turn into a pool room, and if you don’t have one, you have an excellent excuse to put an extension on the back of your house.

If you want that sophisticated, elegant look, a rectangle pool is best. If you want something bursting with life, why not make the sunroom a greenhouse with a pool included?

Find More Swimming Pool Designs

Looking for swimming pool design ideas may have you feeling like a kid in a candy shop – wanting to look everywhere at once. There are some amazing swimming pool designs out there, and yours can be one of them.

If you’d like to have the best swimming pool in Texas, get in touch with us at Sahara Construction. We’ll help you design and build a custom pool to fill all your summer daydreams.

Get in touch with us for a free consultation today.

pool depth

4 Things You Didn’t Think About When Deciding Your Inground Pool Depth

With more than 10 million homes being able to boast a swimming pool, deciding on building your own inground pool requires a little bit of thought.

Some people can get excited and decide to just build a pool on a whim without considering the results of their decision. Deciding on your inground pool depth requires you to think about what you need and why.

Here are four things to think about before you jump into your pool depth if you still have time to change your mind.

1. Why Did You Build It?

If you’re thinking about building a pool, you’re probably not thinking about why you’re building it in the first place.

You probably have a nebulous idea of what having a pool will be like. For some people, they’ve always imagined having an inground pool on their property and fantasize about relaxing around it.

However, when you’re trying to come up with a pool depth for the new one at your home, there are some basic concerns you should think about. Simply asking yourself what the purpose of the pool is could be a great place to start.

If you want to throw parties where the kids play, have some grown-up fun on the weekends, or would prefer to swim laps, you have different needs. If you’re looking to have a diving board, you need to consider how deep your pool needs to be to safely ensure no one gets hurt.

If you’re looking for a place to swim laps, consider a length of 25 meters to get a nice distance back and forth. If you’re going to have kids playing around, stay with a maximum depth of five feet for safety.

However, if you’re going to be diving and swimming a lot of laps, you’ll need at least five feet, if not closer to six or eight at the diving board.

2. Figure Out the Height For Adults

Multi-depth pools are common, especially when you’re accommodating an entire family at your pool. However, you need to keep your adults content with the height rather than having them wading around a kiddie pool. Your depth needs to be fun but it also needs to be safe for everyone.

The staggered depths of three to six feet on a slanted pool usually works for people, but you need to make sure everyone has what they need. If you and your spouse have very different heights, you need to accommodate for each of you. Make sure that you both have the kind of depth you need before you simply throw out a number.

If you’re not sure, go to a local pool and see what feels good to you.

Some people like to be in over their head and others don’t want to risk having friends over who could fall in and hurt themselves. Decide what works for you and whether or not you’ll be drinking or having children around your pool before you decide on a height that accommodates adults.

Everyone has a different height that works, but if this is mainly for adults, consider their needs.

3. Think About Kids

While you might come up with a height that you want to use to accommodate your kids, you should also consider the time factor along with that.

Having a pool that’s safe for your kids is great but if they’re going to be tall enough to swim anywhere in the pool five years from now, don’t get your self stuck. Having a kiddie wading pool in your backyard instead of merely buying a net to keep kids out is a permanent decision you’ll have to deal with.

There’s no real “safe” height for kids. Toddlers wading in water that’s two feet high could still hurt themselves or end up in a bad situation. You need to always watch your kids in and around the water.

Since your kids will be able to handle three feet and more after just a few years, buy a pool with multiple heights.

Those lower sections are nice when you just want to sit on the stairs, enjoy a cocktail, and read a book partially submerged. It’s also a great way to get your infants and toddlers acquainted with the water.

Your best bet might be a separate wading pool for kids. While you could just use an above ground solution here, you could also incorporate wading into your pool with an L-shaped design. The wading area could be a way to get in and out of the pool as well.

4. Calculate Your Budget

While you might want to go big and start planning for the diving pool of your dreams, you need to calculate your budget seriously. There is constant upkeep and maintenance to consider with your pool. Splurging on a pool for diving could end up costing you exponentially more over their lifespan.

While there an initial increased cost up front, you’re also dealing with more costs over upkeep. Every inch of diving space is going to end up costing you thousands over several decades. Consider your water and cleaning budget before you decide on this.

While you should get the pool of your dreams, the extra cost should be worthwhile. On a tight budget, think twice about spending your money on a small added bonus that your family might not spend time using after all.

Pool Depth is a Safety, Budget, and a Use Issue

Before you make any hasty decisions about your pool depth, you should think carefully about what you really need before you build it. Your pool depth tells you how much it could cost you over the course of several years.

To more accurately calculate the cost of maintaining a pool, check out our guide.

how to close a pool

Don’t Turn Your Pool into an Ice Skating Rink: How to Close a Pool for Winter

There are over 10 million residential swimming pools in the United States. Each of those pools provides countless hours of summer fun, but come wintertime, acts as a magnet for debris, small animals, and insects.

When you live somewhere characterized by mild winters, it can be tempting to avoid closing your pool. The fact is, winterizing your pool can save you frustration, money, and time.

Why? Because if you leave your pool open throughout the winter, you’re setting yourself up for a bigger cleanup, a bigger hassle to balance the water, and potential plumbing problems.

The average temperature in January in Katy, TX is 43 degrees. This is below the 65-degree recommended threshold for closing a pool.

If you’ve never learned how to close a pool, we’ll help. Keep reading to learn the steps to preserve your investment.

Supplies: Closing Pool For Winter

There are two paths you can take: you can purchase a winterizing chemical kit or you can buy each individual item. Here’s a handy list of everything you might need when closing your pool:

  • Winterizing chemicals:
    • Algaecide
    • Shock
    • pH increaser
    • Alkalinity increaser
    • Calcium hardness increaser
  • Clarifying water enzyme
  • Skimmer cover(s)
  • Return line plugs
  • Expansion plugs
  • Pool cover

No matter which path you take, you’ll want to gather all your supplies before winterizing your pool. It’s no fun to be in the middle of the winterization process and have to run an errand because you don’t have the right chemicals.

How To Close A Pool

Whether you’re dealing with an in-ground pool or you’re closing an above ground pool, this process is all about ensuring both cold and nature don’t wreak havoc on your pool.

You’ll want to start by cleaning your pool. Make sure to also clean your filter.

Next, balance your water. This is where all those increasers we mentioned in the above section come into play.

Once your pool is clean and balanced, clean out and plug the pool’s lines. To do this, blow the water out from your skimmer(s) and plug the lines with the expansion plugs.

Whereas some steps, like balancing your water, make winterizing and opening again easier, this step is absolutely crucial to the health of your system. Ice expansion is just as damaging in pool lines as it is in home plumbing.

Next, protect your skimmer(s). We recommend removing your skimmer basket(s) and using a skimmer cover(s).

By covering a skimmer, you don’t have to worry about cleaning it out throughout the winter.

Next, you’ll need to winterize your pump and filter. Remove all the drain plugs and the pump, hoses, and chlorinator. Store all of these in a dry space.

How you winterize your filter depends on which kind you have: sand, D.E., or cartridge. Then, drain water if necessary to below the skimmer and return levels.

The final step is to install your pool cover.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to close a pool, you can ensure your pool is ready to face the winter. Remember that even a mild winter can cause problems for pools if they’re not winterized.

Do you still have questions about closing your pool? We’d love to help. Contact us to learn more about the best way to prep your pool for colder weather.

taking care of a pool

Seasonal Pool Care: A Guide on Taking Care of a Pool Year Round

Did you know that there are over 10 million residential pools in the United States? And while they provide hours of recreation for the family, they also require yearlong maintenance. 

Whether you have a pool or you’re thinking of installing one, constantly taking care of a pool can seem like a daunting task.

But it doesn’t have to be. Read on for our guide on seasonal pool care!

Taking Care of a Pool During Winter

Winter maintenance will vary depending on your climate.

If you live in a place that has a risk of freezing temperatures, then you’ll need to close the pool for the winter months.

If you’re not sure whether or not you’ll experience a freeze, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Frozen water will damage pool equipment which can result in expensive repairs.

About 10 days before you plan to close your pool, begin testing and adjusting the pool water to balance pH levels, chlorine, water hardness, etc. 

Next, remove any pool attachments like ladders and diving boards. You’ll want to use a soft brush that’s approved for your pool’s finish surface to gently scrub all the interior walls and the floor.

While you likely won’t need to drain your pool completely (unless you live in a severe winter climate) then you’ll just need to drain the water to a few inches past the skimmer. This prevents water from getting into the filter pump or other equipment.

Drain the water processing equipment thoroughly. Make sure there isn’t any debris on the pool surface or underwater.

And finally, put your winter pool cover in place.

Pool Maintenance During Spring

When the temperatures rise and it’s time to take off that winter pool cover, make sure to clean the dust and debris that have probably collected there over the winter months.

You can use a broom, leaf blower, or other gentle tools. After removing the cover, use a hose or spray washer to clean it, allow it to dry completely (if it isn’t completely dry it will mold), then store it in a dry place for the warm months.

Now before you jump in, you need to adjust your water pH levels and treat any potential bacteria growth. Using a chlorine booster treatment will kill any algae that might have grown over the winter.

Then scrub the walls, raise the water level, turn on the filtration equipment and jump in!

Keep in mind, the spring maintenance process can take about a week at the most.

Summer Pool Checklist

The summer maintenance is relatively easy. Make sure that whenever the pool is being used, that the debris net is also being used. The less debris the fewer bacteria.

Every week clean out your strainer baskets and use your pool vacuum as regularly as is recommended. Test the pop-up nozles monthly. Regularly brush the sides and floor of your pool.

During heavy usage, it’s important to monitor pH levels. Check chlorine, alkalinity, and other particle levels weekly.

Run your pump according to recommended guidelines

Fall Pool Care Guide

If you’ve got any kind of leafy plant in your yard, then your biggest fall maintenance will be skimming. You may even have to skim debris every day.

It’s important to make sure that falling leaves don’t clog your filtration equipment because that can result in extensive repairs.

If you live near the coast, then be sure to have everything you need to protect your pool during the hurricane season.

Now What?

Don’t let taking care of a pool scare you away from enjoying the fun they offer. It’s easy as long as you maintain a proper schedule.

Now that you know how to maintain a residential pool, you’re well on your way to getting the most out of it. 

Contact us today for a free consultation on a custom pool installation in your backyard!

pool maintenance

Just Keep Swimming: 5 Pool Maintenance Tips You Should Follow

There are around 10.4 million pools in residential homes in the United States. You’ll spend most of your time having fun in your pool, but there’s also some swimming pool maintenance that you have to do occasionally.

Whether or not you hire someone to service your pool, you’ll probably still have to put in some work to keep things running smoothly.

Here are five pool maintenance tips you should follow.

1. Skimming is a Part of Pool Maintenance

Remove debris from your pool as needed throughout the week with a skimmer to consistently maintain a clean pool. You can also invest in a robot vacuum cleaner that will be able to get and clean those hard to reach areas of the bottom of your pool.

2. Don’t Forget to Brush Your Pool

Brushing your pool may seem like a tedious task, but it’ll help prevent the potential buildup of algae around the sides of your pool. You’ll want to complete this maintenance task around every other week to keep your pool looking the best it can.

If this task seems like too much work, or you simply don’t have the time to do it, remember that a professional pool service can come out and help you regularly brush down your pool.

3. Cleaning the Pool Filter

You’ll need to clean out the filter baskets around once a week. These filters should be running around six hours every day to pick up any impurities. Turn off the filtration system and take off the cap that covers the filter. This will reveal the plastic basket that needs cleaning.

Then, just dump and shake out any of the debris that gets caught in the basket during circulation. To make sure the basket is really clean, you’ll need to use a hose to spray out any stuck debris.

4. Maintaining the Chemicals and pH Levels

One of the main ways you can keep the pool a healthy place for your family to have fun is to always maintain the chemicals and pH levels in the pool.

Take a pH testing strip and submerge it into the water. This will change the color of the strip. You’ll match up the color to the kit to figure out the alkaline levels. The alkaline levels should stay around 7.2 to 7.8.

Other chemicals that you’ll need to maintain are chlorine, calcium hardness, acidity, and cyanuric acid. Test these levels every week or every other week so that they don’t get too out of balance.

5. Check Out Your Water Level

Keep an eye out on the water level in your pool after heavy rainfall. Also, be aware of changing water levels is if your family had a large get together with many hours spent in the pool splashing around. Both of these things can lead to too much or too little water in your pool.

You can easily fill a pool that’s too low with a garden hose. You can invest in a pump that you can submerge in the water to drain any excess water. You can also rent one of these pumps or have a professional pool service company do it for you.

Keep Your Pool Running Smoothly

Proper pool maintenance makes sure that your pool always functions as it should and ensures a good pool for your family to enjoy for years to come.

Sahara Construction and Custom Pools will help you design and construct your dream custom pool and outdoor area.

Continue reading through our articles for more tips and information about how to best care for your pool.