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Swimming Pool Builders Blog

What to Expect During Your New Swimming Pool Construction Project

There are specific phases involved in constructing an inground gunite swimming pool, with each one having to be completed before starting on the next phase. On most of these projects, an entirely different crew will come in to carry out each phase of the building process. Having each phase done by different sub-contractors ensures an efficient process, as each team performing a particular phase is expert in what they do. Your project manager is the expert in handling the coordination of sub-contractors, ensuring there are no delays, and that each sub-contractor’s work is thoroughly inspected for quality and adherence to the plan.

Each phase of construction can take anywhere from a day to a week to complete. Here’s a quick look at each phase:

Design:

Swimming Pool Design

An experienced pool designer will come out and measure your lot, determine the property line, consider any easements, setbacks and underground utility lines while examining the area’s topography. Your budget will certainly be a factor as well as the size, shape and style of pool you’re envisioning. If you haven’t figured this all out already, your designer will likely show you some photos, or perhaps drive you around to see some actual pools in your area that they’ve designed and built.

Once you’ve agreed on the size, shape and style of your pool, you’ll talk about possible water features, rock formations and planter beds. Are you going to have a spa attached to your pool? You’ll look at your tile and coping options as well as those for plaster. You’ll consider special features like an infinity edge, built-in shallow-water benches and tanning platforms. You will also determine where the entrances will be. If you’re having a pool deck built, you will decide the size, the materials used, the texture and any accents. There are so many possibilities that the design phase can seem endless if you’re not decisive.

Once you’ve finished designing the actual pool, you need to determine what pool equipment you’ll install, and there are many choices. Do you want a slide and or a diving board? There will certainly be ladders and rails and of course an automatic pool cleaning system. Very often a pool builder will align themselves with a company that manufactures pool pumps, filters and heaters.

You’ll also consider having a salt chlorine generator, a mineral sanitizer unit or ozonator installed. If you want to control the pool equipment from a remote location, you’ll plan for handling the lights, pumps and heater from inside your home, or even your smartphone. If you want your pool to be eco-friendly there are heat pumps and solar pool heaters with zero emissions, water-saving cartridge filters, LED lighting and two-speed and/or variable speed pumps to dramatically lower energy consumption.

Once you and your pool designer have decided on all these items, he or she can start drawing the plans up. Once the plans are drawn up, you’ll meet to confirm all your choices before the plans are submitted to the city and/or county for permits. If you’re a member of a homeowners’ association, your HOA might need to sign off on everything as well.

Excavation:

Swimming Pool Excavation

This is when it all begins. An outline of the pool’s shape must first be staked and painted where it will be placed in the yard. To allow access, you may be forced to remove fences and trees. Your grass might be damaged due to the traffic coming into the backyard from the street.

Front-end loaders or excavators are usually employed to dig a pool, however some builders use skid-steer loaders, which work well on smaller pools. In a few short hours, the hole will be dug and you’ll see the rough shape of your pool. Excess dirt is usually taken away, but some homeowners choose to keep their dirt because they want to build up another area on their property. If you want to keep your dirt, you will save the cost of hauling the dirt away. It’s your dirt after all!

The excavators can run into problems if they happen to hit solid bedrock or a high water table or an underground spring starts leaking into the area being excavated. If your builder thinks there may be a chance that this could happen, he or she will most likely warn you, and the expected costs that this would add to the excavating phase.

Steel & Plumbing:

Steel and Plumbing

This is when the actual construction begins on your pool. The hole must be reinforced using steel rebar and the amount will vary depending on your location. In every case this steel rebar reinforcement acts as the actual skeleton of the pool, providing the structural support needed for the pool’s shell. The rebar is set 2” to 4” from the wall of dirt.

The steel rebar will be bent into position, wrapping around the curves and steps following the exact shape of the hole. Once the steel workers are finished, or perhaps while they’re still working, the plumbers will place the skimmers, cleaner lines, returns, and drains. During this time there may be electricians on-site to connect the bonding wire around the pool’s shell, hang the pool’s light niches where they belong in the wall, and make preparations for the upcoming gunite crew.

Gunite:

Shooting Gunite Pool

During this phase your hole will start looking like a pool. Gunite is actual concrete, which is shot out of a type of gun at a very high speed by forced air. The concrete is pumped continuously out of a hopper truck while being shot behind and on the surface of the steel rebar. Finishers then come in with trowels to carve out and sculpt the concrete into the finished shape of the pool, according to the plans.

Once the gunite phase is complete it must dry before any plastering can begin. It is going to take a few weeks for the gunite to fully cure. During this time it is critical that the pool not be rained on or for any debris to collect on the surface. As the gunite cures, you may notice small cracks appearing in the rough surface, which is not cause for concern since these will be covered over in plaster. However, if there are large cracks or areas of crumbling concrete, have your builder come out and inspect.

At this point your backyard will likely be a mess. Just be patient though, because there are just a few phases of construction left, and then you’ll be free to take care of your landscaping.

Tile & Coping:

Swimming Pool Tile Coping

While the gunite shell is curing, this is when it’s best to get started placing the perimeter tile as well as the capstones around the pool wall, which are usually brick, milled flagstone or precast concrete. The pool tile around the perimeter provides a surface at water level that’s easy to clean. Coping stones offer a safety grip inside the pool for easy grasping while keeping water from draining into the pool.

The deck could be built during this phase, and once done the expansion joint between the deck and the rear side of the coping stones should be caulked. Make sure the expansion joint is clear to the ground and that the deck is not touching any areas at the back of the pool wall. This enables the pool and deck to both expand and contract independently. By caulking the joint you prevent freezing water and debris from getting in and clogging the expansion joint.

Electrical:

It is now time for the electrician to come out and install the breaker box, normally referred to as a sub-panel. This goes where the pool’s equipment, the pump, filter and heater, is going to be placed. The sub-panel will most likely be a 100-amp box to power the time clock on the pump, the lights inside the pool, any extra outside lighting as well as any electrical outlet(s). The sub-panel can also power a salt chlorine system or booster pump to clean the pool.

The electrician must also connect the pool’s lights to the junction boxes outside the pool deck. Once that’s done, he’ll run an electrical conduit back from the junction boxes to the sub-panel.

Earlier, your electrician connected a bonding wire (a bare copper wire) to the steel rebar that created the pool’s shell. This is the wire connecting all of the pool’s steel components and equipment. It normally begins on the shell, goes on to connect to the ladder and/or slide leg sockets within the deck, then connects to the light niches underwater, and then goes to the equipment pad, connecting with the pool’s pump, filter, and heater.

By now the plumbers have installed most of the plumbing and you will notice them pressure testing everything before they backfill the trenches. Once the plumbing has undergone a whole series of tests, your builder will start installing the equipment onto the equipment pad. Most of the pool’s equipment will sit outside, but many homeowners choose to plant bushes and shrubs or build a little wall to conceal the equipment. If your heater is powered by gas, it must be properly vented towards the outside.

Plastering:

Plastering the surface of your pool is the final phase. This is the pool’s waterproof layer to protect its shell and steel, to provide a smooth surface and a nice luminescent layer that can easily be cleaned.

A plaster crew working at lightening speed is an amazing sight to behold. They work extremely fast, with a crew of just 4 or 6 completing the entire task in just 3 to 4 hours. When they’re finished the pool will be filling up with water. It’s always best to fill up the pool as fast as possible without stopping, which means you should have extra hoses so it can quickly fill up.

Your plaster crew will give you vital information on how to take care of your plaster. These instructions must be followed carefully. To carry this out, coordinate with your builder so that you have an understanding as to who will be handling the plaster care for the first few weeks, which is a critical time.

Pool Startup:

This is when all the last-minute equipment installation and cleanups occur. At this point, your pool should be almost finished and look like it. Your pool builder will do the initial start-up to get the equipment operating properly. He will also handle the initial balancing of the chemicals in the pool’s water.

Once this is all done, your builder will schedule a meeting with you so that you have a good understanding of how your equipment works. It’s a good idea to take detailed notes, because there will be a lot of information to remember. The chemistry in your pool will likely fluctuate, requiring daily checks and some balances for a time, but it will stabilize after a while. Now it is time to enjoy our new swimming pool!

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By | October 19th, 2016|Swimming Pool Construction|Comments Off on What to Expect During Your New Swimming Pool Construction Project

The Benefits of Saltwater Chlorination for Swimming Pools

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Why Should You Consider Switching to Saltwater?

Saltwater chlorination systems are a significant upgrade from your run-of-the-mill chlorine-heavy counterparts. With the simple addition and maintenance of a saline mixture no different than the table salt you use at home, you can cut costs and enjoy healthier, more natural water!

The Water
That’s an important aspect of any pool! The saltwater produced by saltwater chlorination systems contain 1/10th the salt of seawater, so you don’t have to worry about burning your eyes. In fact, mild saltwater has fewer negative effects on you than chlorine water does. No more red eyes, discolored hair, itchy skin, or faded swimsuits, and you can say goodbye to that heavy chlorine smell! Better yet, the more natural saltwater composition is much healthier for allergy sufferers and asthmatics.

Maintenance
If you prefer easy pool care, saltwater is the way to go! Along with practically cleaning itself via a chlorine converter, saltwater chlorination systems require less in the way of chemicals, making them a clean and environmental choice. On top of that, algae grows much more slowly due to the absence of stabilizer, a chemical used to offset the harshness of chlorine. The salt solution may corrode certain metals and improperly sealed stone, though this won’t be an issue if you practice proper maintenance.

Cost
Now, don’t let the price scare you away; the long-term benefits of switching to saltwater far outweigh the initial cost. Saltwater chlorination systems are much cheaper to maintain in the long run, since they require less in the way of chemicals. Salt is cheaper than chlorine, after all. If you convert your standard pool into a saltwater pool, you’ll make up the cost in only two years.

Ease of Installation
Saltwater systems are versatile! They can be used in any body of water you’d like, from hot tubs to commercial pools. Installation of saltwater purification systems is easy enough that you can do it yourself.

By | June 30th, 2014|Swimming Pool Maintenance|0 Comments

National Water Safety Month: May 2014

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It’s already May, and with summer just around the bend, it’s time to celebrate National Water Safety Month!  Many life-saving tips can be found here:

http://www.nationalwatersafetymonth.org/water-safety-tips

The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals and its partners, the American Red Cross, the World Waterpark Association, and the National Recreation & Park Association will be supporting the event with educational programs, public service announcements, governmental proclamations, dealer and business promotions, and the distribution of water-safety-themed materials to the public and participating organizations.

National organizations like the USA Swimming Foundation, the International Code Council, the National Swimming Pool Foundation, and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance will be getting involved with water safety programs and activities during the event, and community organizations such as guppy swim training groups and community outreach are strongly urged to participate as well.

For further information regarding the campaign and its events and activities, visit apsp.org/nwsm, and remember to swim safe!

By | May 6th, 2014|Swimming Pool Safety|0 Comments

The Advantages of Owning a Gunite Swimming Pool

b2ap3_thumbnail_gunite_swimming_pool.jpgSwimming pools are one of the best ways to both spice up a backyard and provide your family with a place to relax and mingle. Although it is chilly out now, having construction take place in the colder months means no waiting when things start to warm up. Gunite pools have seen boom in popularity as of late because of their incredible durability and innately flexible method of construction. Adding custom features to your long-lasting backyard hot spot is not a problem. Here’s a handy list the top five benefits of a Gunite pool:

 

  • As they do not require wooden framework to hold the shape of the pool basin, Gunite pools can easily be adapted to fit pre-existing outdoor landscaping. This means that constructing a pool ends where the pool does; no other changes necessary! The pool can be made to fit the location, not the other way around.
  • Gunite pools use plaster finishes, and the pool’s surface can be customized to your taste. There are a many special textures available, such as pebbles and glass.
  • Durability is a very important aspect when constructing a pool.  With proper maintenance and pool chemistry a Gunite pool’s finish can last for up to 15 years.
  • Gunite pools are easier to construct than concrete pools, though the process takes longer. Due to the nature of the construction of concrete pools, factors that you cannot control (like outdoor temperature) may take a foothold before construction has even been completed. With Gunite pools, concrete and a sand mixture is sprayed on rebar framework; quick, simple, and much less room for error.

  • Gunite pools are particularly open to custom designs. Barstools, spas, steams, tanning ledges, underwater benches, waterfalls; you want it, you got it! It’s just that easy.

 

By | November 26th, 2013|Swimming Pool Construction|0 Comments

Variable Speed Pool Pumps Give You Control Over Your Power Costs

b2ap3_thumbnail_swimming_pool_design_features_11_20100208_1702637971-300x198.jpgA quick peek into a swimming pool owner’s household energy consumption would reveal that their pool’s motor is on the top of the list. Those who are content with functioning hardware typically ignore the price of a pool motor that only runs at full power; the costly industry standard. Variable speed pool pumps offer energy-aware owners a chance to slash prices to a minimum while maintaining all the yield of a powerful pool pump.

Variable speed pumps utilize permanent magnetic motors (similar to those in hybrid cars) to increase their energy-efficiency, meaning a smaller electricity bill for you while your pool’s systems lose nothing in the way of functionality or efficiency. For example, running your pump at half speed reduces energy usage to an eighth. Pushing water slowly uses less energy than pushing it quickly, after all, and the job is done just as well. You can save 30% by swapping to smart pumps by merit of modern design alone, and by programming your pump to run at the minimum required speed for each task, you can boost your savings up to an astounding 90%. The pump pays for itself.

A recent study revealed that California’s 1.2 million pools collectively require the same energy production as a nuclear power plant, or two conventional energy plants. Greener pumps mean less energy squandered, which in turn means lower costs and happier customers.

A detailed and specific look at the IntelliFlo pumps by Pentair can give you an idea of how these green machines work:
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The IntelliFlo pump can function as an in-floor cleaner system and set at 3,000RPMs, equivalent to a two horsepower pool pump. The same model can be shifted down to 1,500RPMs to circulate and filter the pool or spa. It can also be used for spa boosters in both low and high speed modes, and to control the flow of a fountain or pool water feature. Looking for peaceful outdoor relaxation? Turn the speed down and your waterfall will drop to a hush. Want some noise and energy for a get-together? Crank it up to maximum pressure and watch it go!

Versatility is the key to smart pools; the ability to choose how to use. Pool users are quickly moving away from their older, energy draining pool pumps and switching to smart pumps that save them just as much as they want to save. Variable speed pool pumps are the future of the swimming pool industry. Don’t be afraid to go with the flow. You can spend a little now to save a lot in the long run.

By | August 1st, 2013|Swimming Pool Equipment|0 Comments

Considering a Swimming Pool for Your Home? Top 5 Reasons to Take the Plunge.

If you’re considering getting a pool, then it is a good idea to research benefits and drawbacks. When you do so, avoid information that is outdated, because it likely leaves out many of the benefits brought about by modern technology. With that in mind, here are the top 5 reasons buying a swimming pool now makes good sense.

Swimming pools are affordable.
While it’s true that pools can put a dent in your funding, it’s untrue that they are unreasonable in their pricing. The size of your yard, the materials used during construction, additions like hot tubs, heating, water features, screen enclosures all play a part in determining the cost of your pool. However, to put things in perspective, a pool is a permanent feature that eventually pays for itself. You can spend thousands of dollars on a family vacation, or you can head into the backyard and take a dip for free. Think about that.

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Maintaining a pool quick and easy.
Modern technology has put to rest the days when operating pool pumps drained cash quickly. Nowadays, energy efficiency and optimization have made maintenance cheap and simple. Modern filtration systems and purification chemicals are better at keeping pools clean and shining. In fact, an APSP survey shows that 63% of pool owners feel that maintaining chemical balance in their pools is simple and easy.

Modern swimming pools are energy efficient.
Pool pumps specifically designed for energy efficiency may cost a bit more, but use 30% less power than their counterparts. On top of that, additions like solar covers for in-ground pools can help them retain heat while keeping debris out. That’s less strain on the filtration system, less stress for you, and less of a sting to your wallet. With that kind of gear, your pool can give right back.

Pools enhance the value of a home.
APSP surveys reveal that an astounding 78% of people who bought homes with a swimming pool did so partially because there was an existing pool installed. It all comes down to the climate of your home. Warmer weather means a greater call for aquatic relaxation. If you live in an area that has hot summers and a consistently temperate climate, your home will look much prettier on the market with a pool.

Swimming pools become the center of social activity and provide a convenient venue for healthy outdoor exercise.
Swimming pools tend to be social centers, and are excellent spots for quality family time. They can be used for relaxation, exercise, entertainment, celebration; it’s a one-size-fits-all for get-togethers. And besides, if you feel your pool is lacking, upgrade! Put in a TV near the spa, or a waterslide so your family can make a splash when the days run long. It’s your pool, so customize it to meet your needs!

For more information, or to talk with a pool professional about your remodeling plan, contact Lifetime Pools today!

(Source: APSP )

By | May 31st, 2013|General|0 Comments

Swimming Pool Safety Tips for National Water Safety Month

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Child Safety Fencing

Water safety is always important, whether you’re dealing with children or adults. A little bit of knowledge and a fair bit of precaution can prevent poolside accidents and potentially save lives. To help celebrate National Water Safety Month, here are a few tips from some pool safety advocates:

Tips from the International Swimming Hall of Fame

  • Post CPR instructions in a conspicuous location in the pool area, and learn the procedures.
  • Make sure to inform babysitters about water safety, emphasizing the importance of constant supervision.
  • During social gatherings at/near pools, appoint a designated watcher to keep an eye on children present.
  • Flotation devices do not serve as a replacement for supervision.
  • Do not leave toys or other objects near the pool that might draw a child’s attention.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first; drowning is a silent death, and there may be no warning signs.
  • In the event of a potential drowning, do not wait for paramedics. Four to six minutes of oxygen deprivation can cause permanent brain damage or death.
  • Install a poolside phone with emergency numbers on speed-dial.
  • Do not prop gates leading to pool areas open unless the pool is being supervised.
  • Do not leave furniture near pool fencing, as children may use it to climb over.
  • Keep a first aid kit and rescue equipment poolside.

Also, some helpful hints from the Pool Safety “Simple Steps Save Lives” Program

1. Stay close and be alert when watching chidren in and around the pool

  • Never leave a child unattended in a pool/spa area, whether they are in or near the water.
  • Give children basic water safety tips so they can prevent incidents themselves.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings that may cause entrapment.

2. Learn and practice water safety skills actively

  • Learn how to swim and teach your children how to swim, even if only a few basic yet practical skills.
  • Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults. Update that knowledge regularly.
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so you can assist in the event of a pool emergency.

3. Maintain appropriate pool/spa equipment

  • Install four foot or taller self-closing and self-latching gates around your pool or spa, and ask your neighbors to do the same.
  • Install a lockable safety cover on your spa.
  • If your house is the fourth side of a fence around your pool, install door/gate alarms and always use them. Additionally, install window guards on pool-facing windows.
  • Make sure your pool or spa has compliant drain covers.
  • Consider making use of a surface wave or underwater alarm.

For more information, or to talk with a pool professional about your remodeling plan, contact Lifetime Pools today!

By | May 29th, 2013|Swimming Pool Safety|0 Comments

Getting Your Pool Ready for Summer

Summertime is around the corner, which means the pool covers will be coming off. Odds are, what you find under there will be a leafy chemical soup that isn’t suited for leisurely swims. By following a few maintenance guidelines, you can have your swimming pool clean and ready for the hotter seasons in no time.

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Hopefully, you kept your swimming pool filled during the winter months. The water table, which is the natural water level in the ground, can actually lift your pool out of the ground if it is empty. That would mean severe damage to the structure, likely resulting in a full replacement. Expensive, unfortunate, and unnecessary. Unless you’re explicitly aware of the water table level in your area, do not empty your pool in winter.

Replacing broken or misplaced drains and suction supplies can save you a lot of money in the long run. A leaky suction can pull air into the system, which can cause pumps to run dry then freeze. Suffice it to say, repairs/replacements are not cheap. In order to check if you have an air leak, run your equipment and look at the water coming from your return lines. An excess of air bubbles signal a leak, so you’ll know what to replace.

You may not feel as though you need a professional to check your pool’s water, but better safe than sorry. Chemical balance is a huge factor of pool safety. Take a sample of your pool water and bring it in to a local swimming pool store. They will test the mineral content, alkalinity, pH levels, and chlorine levels, then tell you which needs adjustment and by how much.

Here are the recommended levels:

  • pH levels between 7.2 and 7.4. Your pool’s pH level controls how much chlorine will change into hypochlorous acid. Soda ash will increase the pH levels, while muriatic acid/sodium bisulfate will cause a decrease.
  • Overall alkalinity between 80 and 120. Alkalinity affects the consistency of pH levels in your pool, so a regulated alkaninity will result in easier-to-manipulate pH levels. Apply sodium bicarbonate to increase alkalinity, and muriatic acid to decrease it.
  • Calcium hardness between 150ppm to 250ppm. This depends heavily on the hardness of the water used. Softer water will absorb much more calcium from its environment. Without maintenance, it can absorb grout from tiles, marble dust, or even vinyl. Calcium chloride can be used to control the hardness levels.
  • Chlorine from 1ppm to 3ppm. Cyanauric-based tablets can be placed in your pool to effectively dampen the sun’s ability to burn off chlorine. Pool sunscreen, in a manner of speaking.

For more information, or to talk with a pool professional about your remodeling plan, contact Lifetime Pools today!

By | March 7th, 2013|Swimming Pool Maintenance|0 Comments

Happy Customer Helps Us Celebrate Our 50th Anniversary

Yesterday, one of our remodel customers came in to our weekly construction meeting with this cake to thank us for the beautiful work that we did for her pool and back yard. Knowing that this is our 50th anniversary year, she duplicated our logo and put it on the cake.

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The cake itself was one of the best any of us have ever had. She is a really sweet woman and it was a pleasure working with her on the project.

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From left to right: Alfonso, Sonja, Jim, Gary, and Efrain

By | October 17th, 2012|Just For Fun|0 Comments

Health Benefits of Spas

b2ap3_thumbnail_spas_health_benefits-300x200.jpgMost people think of spas as a simple means of recreation and relaxation. In doing this, they disregard their potential health benefits. A fifteen minute soak in warm water can reduce muscle ache and back pain, along with aiding sleep. Consistent use can lead to other beneficial effects on your physical and mental health.

Spas are designed to produce precisely these health benefits, including: improved flexibility and muscle strength, reduction of pain and swelling, and lessening the symptoms of many medical conditions. The reduction of joint pain and stress through the use of warm water can make both recovery from and returning to exercising much easier. Having a spa at home is the perfect compliment to a home gym.

Though beneficial to health, maintenance and safety awareness are still important factors in use of spas. Monitoring and balancing pH levels into a safe zone is necessary, but is made simple through the use of chemical packages. Temperature is another important aspect of spa safety; the safe temperatures for people of different ages and in different physical conditions vary. For example, the temperature safe for a pregnant woman would differ than the safe temperature for a non-pregnant woman. When dealing with children, it is best to lower the temperature and provide constant supervision, or to allow shorter intervals in the warm water.

When using your spa, it is recommended to wear your hair up and avoid resting near any points of suction. Though unlikely, it is possible to have your hair caught in a drain and your head held underwater.

The relaxation and health benefits of spas can’t be understated. Your home spa can provide you with much of what you need to live a healthy, relaxed life. So why relax in a chair when you could be in relaxing in warm, soothing water?

For more information, or to talk with a pool professional about your remodeling plan, contact Lifetime Pools today!

(Ref: Ezine)

By | September 20th, 2012|Spas|0 Comments