08Oct/17

Construction of an in-ground swimming pool

Calm Water Pools installation photo

Purchasing an inground pool is a big decision that cost thousands of dollars and one that can increase home value while providing fun and aesthetics to your home.

Before you buy– research, research, research. Did I say research? Doing your due diligence will help inform all of your decisions with this future purchase…and there are a lot of decisions to be made. Your choices will affect features that should only make sense for your particular needs and how you live. If you dive in (no pun intended) without doing your homework, you could overpay, be surprised come invoice time, or purchase a pool that requires more maintenance than anticipated.

Here are some things you need to know:

Should I choose fiberglass?

That’s a hard YES! We’ve discussed the benefits of fiberglass over vinyl or concrete in other articles here on the blog, (low maintenance for one), and the experts say a fiberglass pool is the best way to go. That’s the main reason we decided to install just fiberglass pools. We like to provide the best for our clients and in turn, alleviate any problems down the road with the other options.

And, the price is…?

Price is something that just about everyone needs to consider. You should not only look at the initial purchase price, but the cost over the lifetime of the pool. Choosing a cheaper liner such as vinyl, for example, could cost you much more in the long run. I’d opt for fewer accessories if you need to keep the initial cost down. They can be added later and will keep you from making the wrong decision now.

When will my pool be done?

The second question most homeowners ask after cost is how long will it take. A fiberglass pool is the fastest type of pool to install. The entire process could take 2 – 4 weeks, and weather can make that vary. We just never know what mother nature has in store and trust me this could set the time frame back, so add a few weeks to your desired deadline. The time frame could also fluctuate based on size, options, and how many contractors are working on your site.

Here’re some approximate stats: Excavation: 1 hour -1 day, pool delivery: 1-2 hours, placement of stone pool base and plumbing: 1-2 hours, settling and leveling the pool: 2 hours, backfilling then filling with water: 2-8 hours– that wraps up 2 days of working. Next is patio installation which depending on what you choose can take up to 2 weeks. Pool start up: 1-2 weeks. Because the surface of fiberglass pools is factory installed and an integral part of the pool shell, it is fully cured and swim-ready as soon as it’s made. Once the pool is full and the pump and filter system is up and running, the water should be balanced and filter cleaned accordingly. There is no need for brushing.

Permits & preparing the land: Excavating the property and determining where the pool will go is first, then the installation begins. Don’t forget landscaping. This can transform the entire project. Most people are more involved in getting the pool that they forget about the landscaping which should be considered at the same time the pool is designed. Think about patio space; color, size, shape and how you plan to use it: to grill or sunbathe, etc. Think about a concrete pad if you want to add a diving board or slide. Now also consider plants, grass, shrubs, etc to really finish the look. If you have a larger space, grass shouldn’t be placed inside your pool fencing. Also, consider outdoor lighting at this point to really set the tone of your space and hire someone who has your vision for landscaping.

A pool contractor does what exactly?

A swimming pool contractor designs, builds, installs, and repairs swimming pools. If any of the work is outsourced, such as concrete pouring, they hire the professionals to pour the concrete and oversee the entire process. So, a pool contractor makes sure your pool is exactly what you want. No landscape is included unless it’s part of your contract and is outsourced.

Happy planning.

06Oct/17

Halloween party by the pool!

Why not have a Terror-ific Halloween pool party?

Ok, it’s October and we’ve already talked about closing your pool for the winter. But, it’s been 81 degrees for the past two weeks and some people were lucky enough to put off pool closing…until who knows when! Also, our friends with pools in the southern states keep their pools open year-round, so this is for everyone who has their pool open or wants to learn about decorating their pool for summer events as well. It doesn’t have to be Halloween to use these awesome ideas and get into the spirit of things.

You can make a floating anything when it comes to being creative with your pool For Halloween a floating pumpkin patch using real pumpkins can be screamingly awesome. Or, put carved-out pumpkins with tea lights inside all around your deck or swimming pool for cool ambient lighting any time of year. You can also add them to the water as floating surface lighting.

Here’s something cool for any kind of party…dry ice. It’s especially spooky for Halloween, but can add ambiance to any soiree’. If you’re putting it in the pool you can’t swim in it, because their vision will be limited with the cloud. Also, it’s a good idea to place the dry ice in a container before floating it in the pool so you don’t stain the surface. Add it to your drinks for that special aura.

Creepy factor alert! Place glow sticks inside surgical gloves that are tied off at the bottom/wrist area. Float them in the pool or around the tables in bowls of water for a spooky effect.

Drape skeletons, mummies, or zombies from the costume shop onto loungers to add another boo-ti-fully scary vibe.

Add fun colored lights and delicious foods like devil’s food spider cake, a purple martini with dry ice, and graveyard enchiladas and see more below to have a fun themed party.

You’ll find some awesome themed recipes on http://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/halloween/g151/halloween-desserts/

Boo!

 

photos: Pinterest, Delish.com

01Oct/17

Practicing yoga in the pool

Holding a yoga pose can sometimes be challenging. Focus is required or you could tip over. Imagine if you could just float into position with the grace of a dancer. Well, you can if you do yoga in the water.

Water helps with buoyancy, not to mention it’s good for relieving joint and bone stress. It’s so healing as it releases pain and stimulates your lymph system. A lot of physical therapists use water as a method for helping patients with arthritis and recovery for operations – so why not use it to help with yoga?

Water serves as a natural prop for helping the body to balance and stay upright. Stay at chest height in the water and try out some of these yoga poses. It’ll prep you and your muscles and joints for when you’re on your mat on dry land. If you like Bikram (hot yoga), crank up the heater!

1. Padangusthasana (Big Toe Pose)

Start at the side of the pool. Stand with a straight spine and one arm extended hold the wall to your left or right, bend the outer leg and bring the knee towards the chest.

Grab the big toe or outer edge of the foot, and straighten the leg as much as possible without losing the straightness of your back. Slowly take the leg to the side, keeping both hips forward, and the back straight. Feel the water support your balance. When you’re ready, let go of the noodle or wall. Stand tall and balance. Repeat on the other side.

2. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)

Using one or two foam noodles, place both hands on the noodle(s). Stand with a straight spine, rolling the shoulders away from the ears. Slowly push the noodles away, and simultaneously arch the back and roll over to the top of the toes. Use the core to stay in place while holding the noodles.

3. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Start out by holding the side of the pool. Standing with a straight spine and your left arm fully extended holding the wall so it is directly in front of you. Take the right hand and place it on your right hip.

Slowly hinge forward at the hips while raising the right leg behind you. Keep both legs straight. As the right leg rises, keep the foot flexed. When your right leg is parallel to the ground, or your face is too close to the water, open the hips towards the right and raise the right arm towards the sky. Feel how the water supports your leg and your torso. Repeat on the other side.

4. Navasana (Boat Pose)

Using 2 noodles, place each lengthwise on your left and right side. Grab each noodle with your hands and press down gently into the water. As the noodles go down, engage your core muscles, to let your legs float in front of you. Hold and don’t forget to breathe. Deep breaths in the nose and out the nose. Feel the water support your legs. By using your core it will enable you to stay.

5. Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand)

Remember the handstand in gym class? Well, it’s a staple in yoga, and a lot easier in water. It’s easier in the deeper end, so you may want to try it there first provided you’re comfortable holding your breath underwater. Eventually ease back to the shallow end and try it there once you feel confident. Dive down, place your hands on the bottom and kick your feet in the air.

There are quite a few poses that are easier to do in the water. The buoyancy makes even the most difficult asanas seem effortless.

6. Floating Savasana

Every yoga class ends with Savasana, so don’t deprive yourself of what I consider the best part when practicing in a pool. You can add a noodle or floating device if you prefer. Relax, lie back and float face-up in the water for as long as you need.

Namaste.

 

Photo: White Crow Yoga

27Sep/17

Your dream pool awaits…

Photo: Calm Water Pools

Admit it. You’ve been daydreaming about your very own backyard oasis for as long as you can remember. You want to be near water, but mother nature is miles away. And, each year as the days get warmer and we edge toward spring and summer that voice in your heart returns… “get a pool!”

A great pool takes great planning, and with the winter months almost here, now is the time to make that dream a reality. Take this time to start planning. Set the stage… write down your wish list… do you want a diving board? A slide perhaps? Auto-pool cover? Colorful pavers and landscaping? A swim-up bar? A hot-tub? Go on Pinterest or look at decor magazines and get inspired! You’re in the planning stage, so have fun with it.

Whatever your version of Nirvana is jot it down. Decide on the shape. There’s classic rectangular, free-form, kidney, and even custom is available in a fiberglass pool. We have designers that can make you a computer animation of your dream backyard, so you can see it in 3d even before you purchase it.

The colors and patterns determine the tone/look of your pool, so research, research, research. You might choose stark and modern. Or, whimsical colorful. Or have it look like that vacation pool you visited in Europe. Have that special look selected, so that when you’re ready to break ground you know exactly what you want and what you’re getting.

And, don’t forget the special add-ons. Jets, bubblers, custom lighting for elegant night parties, a deck perhaps. These are features that are the cherry-on-top that can make it look unique and special.

Have fun planning. It’s almost as fun as the real thing…almost.

26Sep/17

Let’s dive in, shall we?

To get a diving board or to not get a diving board? The first thing you should think about is safety and the location of a diving board is extremely important. If you don’t have the appropriate pool size then the answer is: don’t get one. Diving boards have strict placement requirements The ANSI/NSPI standards are very specific on the water depth on the board and in front of the board. It is also pretty specific on the required width of a pool and the slope of 1:3 maximum for the floor from deep end to shallow end.If you have the appropriate dimensions then one should observe very strict technical specs when installing a diving board if none existed on the pool beforehand.

Now, if you are just replacing your diving board, and you already have a stand look for a board that matches your stand. Not in style but in size. Do not install a larger diving board than the original one. The diving stand (and jig) must also be changed for the fulcrum location to be correct.

The placement and setting for a new concrete pad must also be very specific. You can refer to the owner’s manual for each diving board stand you purchase. The stand gives you a solid base for the board as it also provides the spring. You should never install a diving board without first using the right stand.

Depending on your pool size you can choose from 6′ and 8′ diving boards and jump boards. FYI, jump boards aren’t as bouncy, they’re for smaller, shallower pools.

Now, if you haven’t closed your pool yet…get out there and have fun!

 

Photo: Pinterest

23Sep/17

Let’s get this party started…

Sure it’s autumn, but it’s been in the 80s this past week and since you might be itching to throw one last bash before the cool weather hits I thought I give you a few of my fav options for outdoor speakers.

Because come on…it ain’t a party if you don’t have great music playing loud and for that, you need proper party speakers to shake up the neighborhood. (Invite the entire block this way nobody can complain about the noise!)

In the forties and fifties, people danced to the sound of live musicians because after all there weren’t playback devices. For my money, live music will always be the best choice. Hire a band, or if have any talented friends tell them to bring their guitars and rock the house down.

If live music isn’t possible, you’re in luck. By simply enabling a Bluetooth connection between your smartphone and the party speaker, you can create a playlist of the songs you like from your personal music library or music streaming service account. Modern technology makes it easy for wireless party speakers, which are light, portable, and powerful enough to make water jiggle

Here are just four of the many great speaker selections out there for your next party. Make sure you know what criteria you want before making a purchase since practically every speaker on the market has their strong and weak points.

1.The GTKXB7BC from Sony is a wonderful High Power Home Audio System with its extra bass technology and club-like LED lights. This party speaker offers a range of features that will allow you to experience an advanced high-tech party with great sound and exciting lighting features. The lighting goes from a bright pure white to a multicolored rainbow effect. You can change the power and the speed of the lights to match your party atmosphere and you can even set the lights to flash in sync with the beat of the music. This is a large speaker at around 26″ weighing over 25lbs, so make sure that fits into your scheme of things.

2. Now if you’re looking for a party on the go check out the ION Audio Block Party Live. This baby you can take just about anywhere because of its sturdy telescopic handle and rotary wheels. It has a built-in multi-mode LED Light Dome that can be found on top of the speaker. The dome features a series of red, blue and green LED lights that can sync to your music, providing you and your party guests with a spectacular light show. It also has Bluetooth that you can connect to the Audio Block – so make sure that your Smartphone playlist is well stocked with some dance tunes. Just note that it only has one mic port, so if you want to Karaoke you’ll need to buy a dual mic adapter for about $10.

3. Big blue party indoor-outdoor Bluetooth speaker is a big fella. Looks modern/high-tech that adds a style but the main advantages of this party speaker are beneath its cover. It’s the 360-degree sound that makes it extremely versatile for any location whether it’s your room, swimming pool area, or a lawn in the field. Then the ergonomic design is compact, easy to carry and move around. It was ultimately designed to be a portable party speaker. It’s also about 15lbs, very lightweight in comparison to others this powerful. Also, the Bluetooth range – it’s up to 33 feet away which is more than enough for most partygoers.

This speaker offers a total of 72 watts of power and half of that powers the sub. So you will not only get decent volume but you will get pretty great bass. is not the loudest portable speaker out there, but it will be more than loud enough for a decent sized party.

4. Soundboks.  This is the loudest portable speaker. Just know that if your idea is to throw a small mediocre party with some soft rock/pop in the background then this is not the speaker for you. This portable party speaker is an absolute beast – with 119dB, and will blow the roof off!

Do your homework and compare, and don’t forget my invitation.

 

 

Photo: Google images

21Sep/17

Get your pool water clean!

Years ago the best way to clean a pool was to put some elbow grease into it. Thankfully today it’s less hands-on. Easier on the back and not too bad on the wallet. With pool cleaners that are automated, there are a lot of options and some that are budget friendly. They all get rid of debris and are fast, quiet, and efficient. Take a look at a few on our list:

Robotic cleaners: This is the newest option and is ready to use out of the box. It’s a low-voltage option that uses electrical power. These have a bag or container that you can easily empty. Since they are fully self-contained, they don’t connect to the pool’s circulation system, eliminating additional wear and tear on the pool’s pump and filter.

Cleaners that are suction-siders: connect to the pool’s suction line and use its pump and filter for operation. It will move around the pool floor much like the cordless bot vacuum cleaners available for your interior carpets and rugs. Most models are also wall climbers. These cleaners tend to have few moving parts, which makes them simple to operate and maintain. They are also generally the least expensive type of cleaner.

Side pressure cleaners: These are powered by your pool’s pressure system and sometimes get the help of a booster pump. The leaves and dirt are collected in a bag that is attached to the cleaner, which keeps it out of the pool’s circulation system. This can be an advantage over suction-side cleaners in areas where large debris and heavy leaf accumulation are factors. A lot of the pressure-side cleaners that are available today are designed for improved navigation around steps and ladders. Some of these models even offer brush attachments to get into a deeper cleaning mode that can really take a bite out of algae stains.

17Sep/17

Safety First

It’s never too late to learn how to prevent pool accidents and preventative drowning techniques. Here are 3 musts for young pool enthusiasts:

  1. Parents and child care providers should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  2. Supervise. Never leave children unsupervised near a pool, hot tub or natural body of water.
  3. Teach children to swim.

Most children end up going into water too deep for them. Panic sets in, and they stir up the water, get it in their face and mouth, then they start coughing and inevitably fear takes over.

Aside from teaching them how to swim, also teach them key movements like floating and treading. Check it out:

Floating. The float state: With your head back, feet up, and your back on the water the mouth can then breath and able to get as much oxygen as needed. Then the mind can relax and you’re able to shout for help.

Treading. There are various ways to tread and also achieve the ever-so-important lift in the water.

With your thumbs up and the hands rotating slightly out the arms move back and forth in either a front to back motion or parallel to the bottom of the pool out and back to your sides. The water comes on and off the palms while pushing the water down. With pinkies slightly out on the way out and thumbs slightly up on the way in gives you the lift needed to stay afloat. A nice subtle motion pressing down and hands pulling up lightly while the wrists relax on the way up, with most of the resistance on way down.

Test this out with a vertical float. With a little bit of energy, you can get your mouth and nose out of the water creating vertical bobs.

While treading, btw, most people immediately think of the legs, but the arms play a central role. For beginners start by standing in shallow water and place the forearms below the water surface. Sweep the arms back and forth keeping wrists stiff in the water. This motion is called sculling.

Once you get the hang of the sculling movement with your arms then test out your legs. The most exhausting kick is the flutter kick. Move your feet back and forth in quick scissor motions keeping your toes pointed. Start with holding onto the wall then move out in deeper water to see how you’re doing. Hold onto a wall or floating device until you feel more comfortable.

The less tiring form is using the breaststroke kick. Straighten your legs and bring them together then the bend knees with your legs still touching. Flex feet, and move legs apart by moving them outward and away from each other. Snap legs together extend to the bottom of your feet then start in the starting position by bringing feet together and then repeat. Start this at a wall, then try it with a floating device. Move to the middle of the pool.

There you have it. No matter what season it is, any time is the right time to learn pool safety techniques. Stay safe out there.

13Sep/17

Hidden costs

When starting every project you should always have a budget in mind. But, more often than not there are hidden costs. You don’t want these costs to sneak up on you or frighten you away from the project. Here are a few pointers for what to look/ask for when beginning a pool project.

You need more concrete

We try to discuss the pool’s patio when first talking to homeowners about their upcoming pool project. Additional patio space, which is often requested after the start of the job, and after orders have been placed, is usually the most expensive option to the pool. Simply put most homeowners do not allow for enough patio at the start of the job. There’s no problem with starting small. People often do this to save money. Sure, you can always add on later, but this requires planning. And, if it’s well planned out as to where and how much of a patio you want before orders are placed, then adding to it later can make it go more smoothly. In the meantime, homeowners can still make use of and enjoy their pool.

Hauling that dirt

When we dig and build for your pool we take out a substantial amount of the earth. People can be surprised as to how much is removed to make that pool hole. We can always spread it across the land, but usually, we need to haul it away. This can be quite expensive and might be a surprise added cost to the budget, so take note and be prepared.

Landscaping

There are so many moving pieces in putting in a swimming pool that it requires a lot of planning and foresight. Large and heavy pieces of equipment will be used, but, with all that equipment at your property the grass, fence, and landscaping can become somewhat of a casualty. The reason? Because they may have to get dug up or moved. Sure, later on after the pool is installed everything can be replaced, re-seeded, or re-planted, but this step also adds to your budget.

If there’s a driveway to the main entry points for getting into the backyard, keep in mind there is a possibility the driveway might also incur some damage during the project especially if the driveway was built too thin. In such cases, damage due to the weight of the equipment is basically inevitable. This is not always the case, but a driveway may get some wear and tear. A driveway inspection should be considered before you begin.

The Electrical

If a pump, generator, light, automatic cover, hot tub and heat pump all need added power then the cost can rise significantly. So, decide ahead of time if you want all of these add-ons so you have a clear understanding of what electrical costs will be.

The Fencing

A majority of all pools require a fence. Sometimes homeowners, especially ones without small children, don’t even think about a fence. We make that a point of discussion up front with the patio, so homeowners can budget for a fence and plan it out as to dimensions, style, and location.

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are important and a lot of people don’t realize they need one. Ask for a price on the wall while you’re budgeting for the rest of the project.

Making a note of all these points could save you a lot of money and frustration. Bring up questions and concerns at the start and you’ll be happier with the outcome.

11Sep/17

It’s not over ’til it’s over!

What season would you say would be the best for installing a pool? Spring you say? Did I hear early summer? No and nope. The optimum time to install a pool would be….(drum roll) you guessed it, (with only 2 seasons left it wasn’t exactly hard to guess)…AUTUMN!

It may sound weird that autumn is the best time to install a pool in your backyard, hear me out– there are quite a few advantages as to why. For the obvious reason, pool installers have more time to focus on your job and can install yours more quickly in the fall because most people usually install in the spring.

Another great reason is that you can usually get a better deal on pool shells and also labor. The reason is that factories sometimes have shell over-stock at that time of year, and fall is a contractor’s slow season. Negotiate!

Here’s a no-brainer reason– the pool can be ready to open and use the second it gets warm next season. How cool is that? It’s like instant gratification.

Lastly, and my favorite reason… If you add a hot-tub you can use it as the weather gets cooler… and that would mean enjoying it just days after the install!

You’re welcome.