Category Archives: Swimming Pools

12Jan/18

A cascade

\

One of the coolest backyard design trends today is a type of waterfall known as a cascade feature.

Cascade waterfalls in your inground pool provide a modern aesthetic that’s attractive to those who prefer any style whether it’s contemporary, rustic, tropical, or other natural-style pool designs. They also make your backyard feel zen with the sounds of gentle water.

Offered in many heights and configurations these cascade waterfalls can be placed just about anywhere in your swimming pool.

One kind of cascade comes from a specially designed overflow from an attached spa. However, an independent cascade feature is possible in any pool with a raised section of wall or other structure—there’s no spa required.

The original style of cascades flow in a sleek, smooth sheet. The newer styles have water falling in broken drops to mimic the look of rain.

From its high position, the cascade feature delivers a continuous sheet of water—one-foot or wider—that falls into the pool surface below. You can achieve even more drama with cascades up to six feet wide.

A way to achieve a wider cascade span is to use multiple features in a row of two, three, or more. They can be installed directly next to one another—creating a single span that is several feet wide or longer.

A greater volume of water will need to be circulated if you’re going with the wider cascade. We recommend you plan for a larger pump and, or a booster pump.

Whichever style, quantity, and placement of cascades chosen, you will be sure to enjoy how the moving water glistens in the sun. You will also enjoy hearing the accompanying relaxing sounds.

No matter what style or size you choose, or where you place it, a cascade will give your backyard visual ambiance as well as the calming sounds of gentle water.

 

Photo: Pinterest

11Jan/18

Beyond the edge

The concept for vanishing edge pools is still new to many homeowners and as well as some builders. Whenever there’s a novel idea, you have to pay attention to details and pitfalls.

Speak up

As with any construction, the homeowner must communicate well with the contractor. Sometimes there’s a simple absence of understanding from homeowners of what to expect from a vanishing-edge pool and this is because the technology remains unfamiliar to the general public. Most people have an understanding of the basic workings of a standard 16-by-24-foot fiberglass pool, but the workings of a vanishing-edge pool are new to them.

One issue, in particular, comes up again and again with new vanishing-edge pool owners — an apparent leak in the catch pool.

According to some experts, clients think that they have a leak because the level of water in the catch pool drops a certain distance on a daily basis. But the evaporative loss in the main pool is reflected in the catch pool.

In a standard pool, evaporative loss is reflected in the slight lowering of its water level. But the water level in a vanishing-edge pool remains constant; losses at that point are concentrated in the catch pool, which is used to refill it and keep its level constant.

So water losses in the catch pool reflect evaporation not only from its own surface but the surface of the main pool, as well.

What makes the effect more dramatic is the smaller surface area of the catch pool. If the area of the main pool is 500 square feet and it loses a volume of water that would normally make its level drop 1 inch, the apparent loss of water in its catch pool of 50 square feet (a tenth of the main pool’s area) will be 10 times as great, or 10 inches — a shocking amount in a short time.

There might not be anything wrong, but the customer perceives that there is something wrong, and that becomes a sticking point for the builder. Problems worsen if the catch pool is too small for the pool it supports.

Make sure you have the ratio of surface area between the pool and the catch tank correct. So when you turn the pump on it runs the negative-edge flow — the water level in the catch tank falls below the level of the skimmers, and that causes a problem.”

Weir Wall

Mind the weir wall! Another tricky item is the weir wall, which, unlike the side of a standard pool, has water in contact on both sides.

Both sides of the weir should be waterproofed and since there are different types of waterproofing, you have to use products that are specific to the side you are waterproofing.

Valves

Finally, another trouble spot is the plumbing between the catch pool and the main pool, through which water is pumped to keep fluid spilling over the edge and back into the catch pool.

Since the catch pool is located below the main pool, when that pump is switched off, nature would like to drain all the water from the main pool down into the catch pool. A check valve in the line prevents this unless it fails.

 

Photos: Viking Pools

20Dec/17

LED lighting for your pool

Nothing makes a pool look better than lighting and LED lighting is a big part of all our installations.

I remember when I was a kid swimming with all my friends in our neighbor’s huge kidney shaped inground pool. The best thing though was to swim at night with the lights shimmering and catching the moonlight, bouncing off the water, the trees, and the sky.

Even as a teen I could tell it was pretty special, even though the lights were not nearly as spectacular as they are today. Today it’s like a magic show with dancing colors, and various brightness levels. You also have the ability now to program the lights so they coordinate with music. Just like a professional light show.

Check out these specs and give it a whirl.

  • Color Control: Control color, speed, brightness and modes.
  • Memory Recall: Remembers last color, speed and brightness.
  • Auto Sync: Automatic sync of your lights every time.
  • Wireless handheld remote control included.
  • Wi-Fi Capable: Optional connectivity for your Smartphone or Tablet.
  • Delivers 50 watts to support up to 6 4-wire lights.
  • Fully compatible with Perimeter lighting and Waterblade Sheer Decent waterfalls.

 

Photo: Pinterest

16Dec/17

The meaning of the color blue…

What comes to mind when you see the color blue? Your subconscious knows. Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body, associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes: Wisdom. Loyalty. Confidence. Intelligence. Truth. Faith.

Pay close attention next time you’re in a blue room, or see something blue. The color has positive effects on the mind and body and in many cultures is significant in religious beliefs.

You might feel calm when you look at the color blue. It’s soothing and relaxing and known to be healing.

Of course, the most common association with blue is with both the sky and water and that’s why in feng shui it’s used for inspiration and relaxation and is the perfect color for the abundance and prosperity area of the home. It’s an excellent color for bathrooms because of those tranquil, healing properties, and the best color choice for a pool.

Because it’s associated with water, check out these blue options for our fiberglass pools. They’re sure to make you feel tranquil, soothed, healed.

    

Photos: Google

07Dec/17

Swimming.

Growing up I had a friend whose father went polar bear swimming. In fact, the entire family belonged to a club that called themselves the Polar bears and the Polar bears went swimming in the ocean mid-winter in freezing temperatures. As a kid observing this and enjoying my scarf, hat, mittens, and down coat, I thought this was a crazy idea, but it turns out it could be beneficial. Afterall swimming is good for the body any time and at any temperature. It doesn’t matter when you get started, just jump in!

If you’re a beginner swimmer or an expert competitor, everybody starts at the same place. Build up your swimming technique and stamina with each session. Each time, you should start to feel a bit stronger in the pool and be able to build up to the next level.

You should actually start out of the water– before your training sessions you should activate muscles, and afterward, you should stretch to remobilize.

To beat the boredom, mix it up with different strokes. Swimming is a such a great workout for the entire body because it targets muscles in a way that you can’t replicate in your everyday lifestyle.

Also try to use different bits of equipment. Fins are a great way to work on leg strength and paddles for your hands are great for your upper body. By trying out different equipment, you can work on specific parts of the body and then target any weaknesses. Toughen up your lower body by working on kicking exercises. You can do this at the edge of the pool and depending on your ability to float and your core strength you can do this with or without holding on to the pool’s edge.

Spike your heart rate by mixing up the speeds which in turn will help you achieve better fitness gains. Try to have between 5 and 10 seconds of rest between your repetitions. This will enhance endurance levels.

Have a plan before you begin so you don’t get bored or worse– give up. If you have access to a heart-rate monitor, use it in the session and you can work in different training zones, it will also give you an idea on how different strokes/speeds can spike your heart rate.

Here are some favorite gym exercises that strengthen your swimming and also keep you in shape when the pool is closed or the weather doesn’t permit swimming: Pull-ups, Press-ups, Leg press, and Lunge/weighted lunge.

Now that you’ve got your motivation and your plan, get going! If you can’t swim in your own pool because of the weather, try a pool club. If that isn’t possible try those land exercises. Why wait until warm weather to get your body moving and healthy…in or out of the water.

Photos: Pinterest

01Dec/17

Wish you were here.

Long before Facebook, Twitter and even Myspace and the internet itself, there were just a few ways to brag about your vacation. Sure you could whip out the old projector and hold your friends hostage while showing them your home movies (or worse–slides!) of your vacation, but the cool way was to just send them a postcard with a simple message: “Wish you were here.”

Postcards, often free at the hotels and motels were mostly photos of the establishment’s pools…and of course the happy guests surrounding them. Postcards were introduced in the mid-nineteenth century as a cheap and easy way for people to keep in touch. The Golden Age for postcards was the turn of the twentieth century and they were widely circulated and collected. They offered a glimpse of the world when the public had limited access to pictures and travel.

But, we’re not writing this to just talk about those wonderful postcards. It’s the pool in the cards that have captured our attention. For both small and large hotels and anything in between, postcards were a primary means of advertising and used as a window to postwar American culture. And the star of those advertisements was…yep– the pools. At the time more and more people felt that a pool in a hotel or in a backyard was part of the American dream.

Check out some of these beautiful postcards featuring pools. So kitschy. So very Americana. So classic. Which one is your favorite?

Photos: Pinterest

06Nov/17

Fiberglass pools in the winter…

A fiberglass pool can more than handle winter weather!

Extreme hot or cold weather is no match for fiberglass pools which is another reason they are the only kind we sell. They plow through tough as nails ever year without showing hardly any signs of age.

How? Because the material is outstanding structurally–so there’s less expansion and contractions than other pool materials proving they have amazing flexibility.

Also, the chemical makeup of fiberglass shows it is resilient and can withstand chemical cleaners and ultraviolet light. In a word– strong! Which is surprising because it is relatively lightweight–another plus.

As long as the plumbing is appropriately winterized you should have no surprises come spring when you open up your pool.

Photo: Pinterest

03Nov/17

A cozy backyard for Autumn

It feels like spring outside this fall, but soon enough the temps will drop and you’ll gravitate more toward staying indoors. If you don’t want to say goodbye just yet to your backyard here are some ideas to cozy it up and enjoy the stars.

Hot tubs/Spas:

Hot tubs can remain open all year-round and feel especially wonderful with snow on the ground and the cool brisk air on your face as you submerge yourself in the warm water. If you don’t have one it’s not too late to get one quickly installed. In fact, this is the perfect time of year to do just that. Now is the slower season to install pools, so you can not only get the job done quicker than during the warmer months, but discounts are bigger now as well.

Floor surfacing:

Stone, brick or tile make a wonderful delineation between the pool and a lounge area. You can mix colors or make contrasting borders to liven them up. If you have plain concrete or just grass then an outdoor rug could do the trick. With so many to choose from these days, you’ll definitely find one in just your style. They can be placed in front of the seating area or big enough to cover all of your outdoor chairs and sofas.

Fire:

What’s cozier than a fire especially in the cold weather? Create a beautiful fireplace or fire pit or just buy one already put together and move it around the yard wherever you desire a fire.

Entertainment:

There are so many ways to entertain outside even in the cold months. The chilly weather is a perfect time to throw a dinner party alfresco–and fewer bugs. If you don’t have an outdoor table, drape a tablecloth on a folding table, or put a thick blanket on the ground and have a picnic.

It’s also easy enough these days to watch TV outside. You can curl up on a lounger with your fav movie playing on your laptop or bring a big screen TV outside to enjoy.

If you want something more subdued then bring out a blanket and read by the moonlight.

If you just want to chill and listen to music by the fire, set up your speakers and hook into your iPhone music and press play.

Lighting:

I always liked the look of small white lights in a garden all year long. Twinkle lights are sold in every store now that we’re nearing the holidays. Wrap them around a trellis, arbor or dining table legs for a wow! factor when entertaining friends or for a quiet evening for two.

Another outdoor lighting idea is candles. Use a floor candelabra on a stand. And/or spread tea candles around each table surface or chair arm (if it’s wide enough) these seem to add just the right amount of luxury. Carving pumpkins isn’t just for Halloween–grab any winter squash and use it as a votive for candles.

Draping:

Add a little drama to your outdoor living space by draping some sheer or thick fabric or drapery over your trellis. It’ll really come in handy if it’s windy and it will also give your area a great romantic vibe.

Nature’s decor:

Let the leaves fall where they may! The beautifully varied colors of fall leaves may make you think twice before raking and removing. Leaving these on the ground and even sprinkling some atop a table will bring rich color to your new area.

 

 

All photos: Pinterest

30Oct/17

And, you think Halloween is scary? Try not closing your pool vs Mother Nature!

 

So, you think you don’t have to close the pool, do you? The weather’s been warm you say… Why go through all that trouble you say… It may be a mild winter you say…

The question isn’t “should I close my pool?” It’s why haven’t you yet? Tomorrow is Halloween, so here’s some frightening information that will hopefully scare you into closing your pool and soon. Let us walk you through the grizzly details.

Damaging pipes:

Get all the water out of your pipes and pool equipment! Boom. That could be a mic-drop right here because that’s all she wrote. Plumbing will freeze if there’s any water left in the pipes and it’ll crack the pipes, pumps, filters, heaters, skimmers, etc if they’re filled with water. But we’ll go into more details so hang on to your scary masks and broomsticks…

First of all, it can take less than an hour if the temperature is below 32 degrees. (Of course, if there’s running water through the equipment it won’t freeze.) And, if the pipes are underground the water won’t freeze for several days of freezing temperatures before it does any damage.

Pump damage

At least PVC pipes and connectors are rather inexpensive and easy to replace, but who wants to go through that hassle and cost? To winterize a pool pump (even if just for one night), remove the 2 plugs from the pump. Simple. Done.

Heater damage

Cast Iron and Polymer heater headers are usually the first to be susceptible to a sudden freeze. To winterize a pool heater just remove the front and rear header drain plugs, and disconnect the pressure switch inside the heater. Blowing air through the heater is recommended, to remove all of the water.

Filter damage

A pool filter tank can handle enormous pressure, up to 50 psi in most cases, but that’s still no match for the power of expanding ice. In some cases, the tank itself will crack, or the clamp ring on the cartridge or DE filters will crack in half, or the top mounted multiport valve flange will separate from the tank, or, well…just start leaking.

To winterize a pool filter, open the air bleeder and remove the filter drain cap or drain plug. If you have a multiport valve, turn the handle to a spot in between any two positions, and if you have a push-pull slide valve, place it mid-way between up and down positions.

Deck damage

For inground pools, you can’t always see damaged pipes that are leaking three feet under your concrete pool deck. Replacing busted up pool plumbing is one thing, having to cut through your concrete pool deck and dig down several feet to fix the plumbing is yet another. And, by the way…if your pipes are freezing then most likely your pool equipment is freezing too.

Sometimes there’s nothing scarier than Mother Nature!

 

Mother Nature photo: Pinterest

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.