Gas, Electric, and Solar: A Breakdown of Your Pool Heating Options

The ability to heat a swimming pool drastically expands the seasons in which you can use a pool, especially in areas that aren’t warm year-round. Many of our pool owners will start swimming well before Memorial Day and long after Labor Day, sometimes putting off closing their pools until October or November. And for those who have spas, many will opt to heat these all winter long.

So what are the best options for heating your outdoor water features? There are a few different types of heating systems available for custom swimming pools and spas. Each one has unique characteristics that may make it the best option for your setup. Let’s take a closer look at the three main options and the pros and cons to consider for each.

Electric
Heat Pump

In a typical installation, this style of heater is utilized
for its ability to maintain a desired temperature in your swimming pool
and extend the usable season of your pool. This is NOT a quick, “on-demand”
heating system, it requires a little bit more forethought and planning to work
efficiently.

The heat exchanger in the heat pump “pulls” heat from the
outside air temperature and transfers it to your pool water. The warmer it is
outside, the quicker your pool water can get up to temperature. For this
reason, it is not the best choice if you want 84 degree pool water when it is
50 degrees outside! It is also not a good solution to heat up a spa that may be
designed as part of your pool project.

Clients often look for spa water temperatures in the 98 –
104 degree range. A heat pump will not do the job. However, most of our clients
are only looking to gain an additional month of swimming early in the season
(May) and a month on the back end of the season (September/October). A heat
pump is a great way to get consistent pool temperatures of 82 – 84 degrees
during those months.

The energy efficiency of the heat pump comes from slowly warming
the water up. It will take a few days for the heat pump system to get your
water up to those temperatures…so plan accordingly. There are also times during
the hottest parts of the summer when your pool starts to become too warm to be
refreshing. Heat pumps can now be installed to actually help keep your pool
cooler! Be sure to ask your pool professional if this may be an option worth
exploring.

Gas Heaters (Natural Gas or Propane)

If natural gas is available and installed at your home, you
will be able to connect a heater to your gas meter to take advantage of what is
already available to you. If natural gas is not an option at your residence,
you can purchase or rent a propane tank to supply the fuel necessary to install
a gas burning heater.

Both natural gas and propane heaters come with a couple of
installation options and challenges that need to be considered. For natural gas
applications, the pool heater that is being installed has certain requirements
for the volume and pressure of gas needed to operate the heater correctly. Your
pool professional will need to coordinate with a plumber who is certified to
install gas lines and hook ups to make sure that the system installed on your
residence will meet these requirements.

There may be instances where the size of your gas meter or
supply lines need to be upgraded to meet these requirements. For propane gas
installations, you need to have a tank that supplies the gas to your heater. If
you do not already have one or need a larger one, you can sit a tank above
ground or choose to bury your tank. With either option, your tank needs to be
within 100 feet of an area for a gas tanker truck to park and refill your tank
as needed. So consider this as you are designing your project.

Unlike Electric Heat Pump pool heaters, gas heaters are
designed to quickly heat up your pool or spa and have the ability to get water
temperatures up to 104 degrees. For that reason, if a built in spa is part of
your project design a gas heater is your ticket. The gas heater has a dual
thermostat, so it can be utilized to heat both the pool and the spa. You can
set the pool temperature to 84, but when you feel like slipping into the spa
for some relaxation you can boost the spa temperature up to 102 with the same
heater. This heater selection is better for that on-demand, “having a pool
party this weekend” type of customer. If you use it as a consistent pool
heater, you will burn through gas quickly! Be prepared for some hefty gas bills
if you have a larger swimming pool.

Solar or
Geothermal Heating Systems

These systems are a little less common in the Northeast part
of the country, but are available options. These two types of installation will
require coordination between your pool contractor and a professional contractor
that specializes in that particular system. There are many different options
available to consumers on solar heating systems, it is just a matter of finding
what works for you.

Geothermal systems are typically installed with a new home
being built where a geothermal heating source is already being planned for. One
thing is for sure though, these systems work and are environmentally friendly!

Dual Heat Systems

Here is where we can get creative! We can combine any of
these options to get a pool heating system that is truly custom. For example: If
you have a pool and spa combination, we can install an electric heat pump to
consistently keep both bodies of water at 84 degrees and also install a gas
heater just for the spa to “boost” the heat up to 104. You could also
supplement these heaters with a solar or geothermal system to further customize
your options.

The most important takeaway is that you have options! Technology
is constantly growing and improving, so be sure to seek the advice of an
experienced pool company who understands what’s available on the market, and
can present you with the best options for your pool project. With the
investment you’re making in your pool, you want to be sure you get exactly what
you want – and that you have a pool that is comfortably and functional for your
lifestyle.

If you have
additional questions about the right heating system for your pool or spa, contact
Aquavisions today
and we can help you!


What You Need to Know About Building an Indoor Pool

When a homeowner wants to build
an indoor pool (especially in the Northeast), it’s often so that they can enjoy
it year-round. And that might be a good reason to do it, especially if the
client is a competitive swimmer or training enthusiast.

Other times, it is for health or
therapy reasons since swimming offers a low impact and buoyant exercise that is
good for the joints. Additionally there are all sorts of different specialized
equipment for underwater exercise including treadmills, pull up bars, and swim
jets where you swim against a current of water.

Dehumidification

The biggest difference in doing a
pool indoors as compared to outdoors is the need for dehumidification systems
to “treat” the room. Moisture and interior surface materials (drywall, wood,
insulation, etc.) typically don’t interact well!

It is imperative to hire a good
HVAC company and designer to ensure that the moisture in the room is being
addressed. Windows will need air returned onto them to prevent condensation and
fogging, air handling units need to take moisture out of the air, and the
heating/cooling system will need to interact with the pool water temperature to
make sure that the room itself doesn’t feel like a rainforest.

The contractor that is building
the structure around the pool should also help provide guidance on finish
materials that are suitable for wet conditions. Because of the complexity
created by all of these moving parts, it is important to hire an experienced
pool construction firm that is comfortable working with timeframes and
schedules of other contractors involved in the project.

Impact on Project Cost and Timeline

The pool will be one of the first
things started on the project but, will be the last to finish since adding
water to the pool is the final piece. There is typically not a large change in
how much the pool will cost compared to an outdoor pool. The big difference is
what you will need to spend on the dehumidification system of the room itself.

Don’t skimp on this system! Protect your investment and make sure that your system will keep the room comfortable and your materials protected. Also, indoor pools are generally smaller than outdoor pools. Because of the cost associated with the actual room construction and dehumidification systems required, the room size will dictate the pool size.

Experienced with Indoor Pools

Aquavisions has had the pleasure
of completing several indoor pool projects for clients over the years. One of
our most recent projects is a small to mid-sized pool as part of a new home
construction. The house is located on a unique lot that overlooks a famous
Pennsylvania trout stream in the State College area. The slopes and elevations
of the terrain, along with the water table elevation required the services of a
commercial construction company to build the foundation(s) of the home.

Once the foundations were in
place, Aquavisions came in and installed the concrete pool shell within those
foundation walls. The end product allows the clients to gaze out of their
windows (while swimming in their pool!) and enjoy the view of the tumbling
stream beyond. As part of the building process, the home builder had to build a
bracing structure within our pool shell and constructed an entire floor OVER
our pool so that they could continue to work on the rest of the home. Then we
came back, peeled that floor away, and completed the indoor pool project. It
was quite a magnificent end product!

If you would like more information about building an indoor pool, or
any pool, contact Aquavisions today
to start a conversation.


Expert Advice on Closing Your Swimming Pool for the Season

EOnce Labor Day has passed, the weather begins to cool and
the leaves start to fall, pool owners naturally begin to think about when they
plan to close their pool for the winter season. There are many questions
surrounding this process including when is the best time to close a pool, and
what pool company should you trust with this important task.

To help us answer some of the most essential pool questions,
Mark Murphy of Blue Diamond Pool Services (Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania) joins
us to provide his expert input. Take a look!

Guide us through the
basic process of closing a gunite swimming pool for the winter season.

Blue Diamond Pool
Services
: When we close a swimming pool at least two service technicians
will arrive onsite. One technician will work pool side while the other focuses
on the equipment pad. While working pool side we will clean the pool one final
time and lower the water level approximately 3-4” below the tile band.

Throughout the process they will remove pool accessories
(fittings, ladders, railing, etc.) and prepare the pool to be covered, which
includes unrolling the cover, turning up anchors, and install cable systems.
While this is happening, the second technician is winterizing pool equipment
and clearing water from plumbing lines.

Finally some winter chemicals will be added and the pool
will be covered by both technicians. While closing the pool, we are proactively
giving the pool and filter system one final inspection for the year and making
note of any issues. No one wants to have a “surprise” next spring!

How does this differ
from closing other types of pools?

BDPS: Gunite
pools generally offer more options in and around the pool. Things like
waterfalls, water features, in-floor agitation systems, tile work, etc. all
impact the number of plumbing lines to winterize, the amount of equipment to
address on pad, where water level needs to be maintained, and how the cover is
secured.

What is the ideal
time frame to close a swimming pool and why?

BDPS: There is really
no right or wrong answer. We will close our first pool in August and our last
pool in December. Homeowners will keep pools open longer not to always use
them, but to keep the aesthetic of their back yard. Your ever-changing life
schedules will help to determine your pool closing, but in a lot of cases the
biggest factor is the surroundings of the pool. Keeping up with leafs can be
never ending, so finding a balance between enjoyment and hassle is what usually
determines each pool owner’s “right” time.

What are the risks of
trying a DIY approach to closing your own swimming pool?

BDPS: The type of
pool and the variables mentioned above will greatly determine whether or not a
homeowner should even think about tackling a pool closing on their own. Having
the necessary equipment to complete the job, the attention/know-how to get
every line blown and plugged, and the help to get the pool cover on and secure
are all essential to a thorough pool closing. If a pool is not winterized
properly the chance of pipes freezing and breaking is very real in
Pennsylvania.

Without an established relationship with a service company
getting issues corrected in the spring can sometimes be difficult with the
seasonal workload. By using a reputable pool service company it ultimately
should give the pool owner peace of mind and assurance that come next spring
their pool will be ready when they need it to be.

And one last piece of
advice…

BDPS: As the fall
season creeps in on us, swimming pools can become an afterthought. It is
important to maintain your pool until it is closed for the year. Leafs
compacting in the skimmer and strainer baskets will restrict flow and function
of filtration system. Letting water chemistry get away at the end of the season
can lead to scaling and interior finish imperfections.

And remember…what you
don’t do this year will potentially catch up with you next swim season!


10 Myths About Custom Gunite Swimming Pools - Debunked!

1Once you decide you want something, like the convenience and luxury of having your own swimming pool, there are few things that can hold you back. Many of these things prove to be myths or misconceptions once you pull back the curtain and learn the truth. 

This is exactly what we’re going to do for the
10 most common myths that often hold back hopeful pool owners from pulling the
trigger and starting their pool project. Let’s take a look at the truths behind
the matter and put to rest all the myths that might be holding you back from
starting the process of building your dream pool today. Take a look!

Myth #1: Gunite is way more expensive than
other types of pools.

Truth: Not necessarily. A variety of factors will
impact the cost of any type of swimming pool including: size, job site access
and topography, design, features, materials, and excavation requirements. The
unique design flexibility, material durability and longevity that gunite pool
projects provide can often offer the most “bang for your buck”.

Myth #2: Building a pool is a long and drawn
out process. 

Truth: Like any construction project, building a
custom gunite pool follows a certain process. However, this process can and
often does flow smoothly. Customers can have a large impact on the building
process by making clear and efficient decisions on pool design and material
finishes in the planning stages of the project. Furthermore, working with a
professional pool company with experienced project managers will keep your pool
project moving forward seamlessly.

Myth #3: A pool will cause my utility bills to
skyrocket.

Truth: It’s true that a pool, especially one that is
heated, will indeed increase your electric, water and possibly gas consumption.
But smart and efficient use of your pool will not cause your utility bills to
“skyrocket” more than what is to be expected. Variable speed pumps, proper
hydraulics and pipe sizing, and installing the most efficient heating systems
possible are a few of the options we can walk you through to maximize your pool
fun and minimize the utility bills.

Myth #4: Learning how to maintain the pH levels
of a gunite pool will be hard. 

Truth: Like most things in life, there is a learning
curve, but once you know what you’re doing it becomes easier. The same is true
of managing a gunite pool (or any other type of pool for that matter)! Our pool
professionals will teach you how to test the pool water chemistry and make the
necessary adjustments. It only takes a few minutes per week to maintain good
water quality and a balanced pH in your pool. And if you’d rather hand this off
to a professional, we can do that too!

Myth #5: All the decisions involved will stress
me out. 

Truth: When working with a professional and
experienced pool company, many of the major decisions will be made easy because
we guide you through every step of the process and provide sound
recommendations. It’s our responsibility to offer you the best pool design to
meet your wants and needs. 

Myth #6: It will feel like a second job
communicating with all of these contractors.

Truth: Again, this is a core responsibility of your
pool company to be the project manager and make sure everyone is effectively
communicating with one another. It’s our job to manage all the moving pieces
(see Myth #2) and to keep all parties informed of what’s going on and what the
next steps in the project are. We will work hard to ensure that the entire
process, from designing your dream pool, continuing on through construction,
and splashing in with the first cannonball is an enjoyable one!

Myth #7: Maintaining a pool is hard work. 

Truth: It’s fair to expect that there will be certain
responsibilities that come with owning a swimming pool, but these do not need
to require excessive amounts of your time. Simple and manageable maintenance
tasks, like cleaning out your filters and checking your pool’s chemical levels,
will only take a few minutes of your time throughout the week. This, compared
to the hours you’ll enjoy swimming in your pool each week, is a reasonable
trade off.

Myth #8: Maintaining a pool is expensive. 

Truth: Every pool we build is sanitized by a
salt/chlorine generator. Saltwater pools require only a few bags of salt
throughout the season, which are far less expensive than buying chlorine
“shock.” Our goal is to put the least amount of chemicals in the pool as
possible, which in turn reduces maintenance costs. While there are other costs
associated with maintaining a pool, like investing in a quality pool cover to
winterize your pool, these are long-lasting investments that are not required
annually. 

Myth #9: It’s cheaper/more convenient to use a
community pool or country club.

Truth: Building your own swimming pool is an
investment. While it may seem more convenient or less expensive to continue to
use a community pool or a country club, consider the long-term costs and
requirements. You will thoroughly enjoy the convenience of walking out your
back door to your own, private swimming pool. You are also likely to use it a
lot more! Additionally, the cost of other pool memberships quickly add up over
the years. You’ll never pay a membership to use your own pool. 

Myth #10: Opening and closing a swimming pool
each season will be stressful.

Truth: It’s so important to properly prepare your
swimming pool for the seasons, whether this is opening it for summer, or
closing it for winter. The good news is a professional pool company can make
this stress-free for you. Trusting a reputable service company to open and
close your pool takes the stress out of this task and may also reinforce
warranties provided by your pool builder and pool filter equipment
manufacturers.

If you spent this summer dreaming about having
your own swimming pool, what’s holding you back? Now that you know most of the
common hesitations are myths or misconceptions, let’s start making your pool
owning dreams a reality!

Contact us today to get started.


Are You Ready to Be a Pool Owner? Here's What You Should Consider.

AIf there was a single, most important question everyone should ask themselves before starting to build a swimming pool it is “Am I ready to be a pool owner?” In case your initial answer to this question is “I don’t know. What will it require of me?” then let us help by breaking this responsibility down into five key questions that will help you consider some important things.

How will you prepare non-swimmers to swim safely?

Pool safety is our top priority, as we’re sure it is yours. If you have young swimmers, or even adults who are not strong swimmers, it’s important to think about what steps you will take to prepare everyone who will be around your pool frequently to swim independently and safely. You may wish to sign children up for professional swim lessons early. Additionally, you should invest in life vests and life saving devices to have near the pool. Finally you should consider the many ways you can incorporate safety features and alarms around your home and pool to make sure children only have access to the pool when supervised.

Who will be responsible for pool maintenance?

The next big question is who will be responsible for pool maintenance. This includes everything from skimming out debris from the pool, emptying filters, keeping the pool area free of dirt and grass, and watching for any signs of wear and tear that may need to be addressed. Consistent maintenance, especially from the beginning, is essential for keeping your pool running at its optimal performance. This is also a great way to assign out some of these chores to family members to get everyone involved and feeling responsible for the pool!

Will you be diligent about monitoring and testing the water? 

This question is an important one. Being diligent about monitoring and testing your pool water will prevent large problems from arising down the road. Not only will you enjoy clearer, better looking water when your water chemistry is correct, your pool’s finishes and filtration system will also last longer. It’s possible to do this on your own, with the right training from a professional pool company. Or you can hire a professional pool company to monitor, test and adjust your water chemistry for you for a reasonable monthly fee.

How will you establish “pool rules” for family and friends?

Next you should think through your family’s pool rules and how you will manage guests wanting to use your space. Rules are important, not only to maintain control over who visits and when, but also for ensuring safety. Will you allow guests to stop by and use the pool when you’re not home? What do they need to know about using your pool and pool equipment? Are neighborhood kids allowed to swim without a parent or guardian accompanying them? These may seem like minor details, but the earlier you can think through your pool policies, the better prepared you will be to handle these scenarios and help guests understand your preferences and expectations.

Who will close and open your pool each season?

A final and very important consideration is who will be responsible for closing and opening your pool each season. The reason it’s important to consider this is because it’s not typically an easy DIY project. In many cases, you are better off working with a professional pool company, like Blue Diamond Pool Service, who is experienced doing this and who can ensure it’s done properly each and every time. Additionally, depending upon the style and shape of your pool, a custom cover or closing/opening process may be needed. For these reasons, it’s important to get input from a professional pool company, and to also budget for whatever costs may be associated with opening and closing your pool each season.

Depending upon your answers to these questions, do you feel you’re ready to be a pool owner? Or do you have another question you’d like to ask a pool professional? Contact us today so we can begin to walk you through our process for building custom gunite swimming pools.


5 Unexpected Benefits of Having Your Own Swimming Pool

5When thinking about the many reasons for wanting to build your own swimming pool, a few easily rise to the top. You want an easy way to keep cool in the summer, it is great entertainment for kids (of all ages!), you enjoy being outside, you want to feel like you’re on vacation all season long – and the list goes on. 

But have you considered some of the less obvious, maybe even unexpected benefits of owning a pool? Like how your whole family is more likely to stay active throughout the summer, or how your children will have the opportunity to become strong and safe swimmers? Once you add these following benefits to your full list of “pros,” you just might be ready to pull the trigger on building your custom gunite swimming pool sooner than later! 

1. Convenience and Comfort

Many people underestimate just how convenient and comfortable it is to have your own swimming pool right in your backyard. Gone will be the days of packing up all the swim gear, snacks, drinks, your own lawn chairs and towels and trekking the whole family out to a crowded public pool or lake. You control the water temperature, style of lawn chairs, types of towels, and much more. And you can actually float on a raft in peace!

2. You’ll Entertain More

Having a pool, especially during those dog days of summer, will instantly make you the friend everyone wants to know. This will give you a reason to reach out to friends and family and invite them over, when maybe you might not have otherwise. A pool is also an easy form of entertainment for guests of all ages. Put out some snacks and you’re ready to go!

3. Opportunity to Develop Strong Swimming Skills

No matter your age, having strong swimming skills is extremely important. Children (and adults) who grow up with frequent access to swimming will develop these skills much sooner, and can continue to refine them. With your own swimming pool, your children will get to practice almost daily under safe supervision. You could even have a swim instructor come to your home to provide formal lessons. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that!

4. Easy Option for Exercise and Activity

When you have a pool right outside your door, glistening in the summer sun, it becomes a lot harder to find an excuse to stay inside. When you spend the majority of your free time in or near your pool, you’re going to get a lot more exercise and activity than watching TV, playing video games, or surfing through YouTube clips on the computer. This is particularly important for children who are home during the summer. Additionally, swimming is great exercise than you enjoy at any age or skill level. Just remember to always keep pool safety a top priority and monitor or assist those who are not strong swimmers.  

5. Avoid the Hassle and Cost of Pool Memberships

Finally, you will be able to say goodbye to the hassle and cost of pool memberships. If you’ve ever had a country club membership to have access to their pool, you know just how quickly this adds up with initiation fees, membership dues, plus minimum monthly spends. Even public pool memberships can add up over time and be a hassle with the lines and fighting for a spot to put down a chair or towel. By eliminating this expense (and hassle), and investing it toward your own pool, it can help you make some wiggle room in your budget to further justify why building your own swimming pool is a smart, long-term investment.

Which one of these benefits would be enough reason for you to build a swimming pool? Or is there another benefit you’ve been considering that would make a pool project an easy “Yes!” for you? We encourage you to list these reasons out and really think about everything you could gain from investing in your own pool. Most pool owners’ only regret is not getting started sooner!

Ready to learn more? Let’s talk!


A Creative Way to Make an Infinity Edge Beautiful and Functional

You may think that the infinity edge feature is reserved for the pools you see sitting atop a fancy hotel in Los Angeles where the water appears to run right over the edge. Or maybe you’ve enjoyed a pool with this feature while on vacation where the infinity edge appeared to drop off into another body of water like a lake or the ocean. While these are all excellent uses for an infinity edge, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re not limited to using this feature only when you have a steep drop off near another body of water. 

In this unique project, we want to showcase how we built a custom pool to include not only an infinity edge, but one that includes a second lower pool all its own. There were several reasons why this became the dream design for our client. Foremost, they wanted to find a way to work with a challenging slope in their backyard while enhancing the aesthetics of their pool. They also desired a separate pool space that felt more intimate and secluded. Finally, their property is along the Yellow Breeches, and they wanted to find a way to incorporate the sound of running water to reflect the sound of the creek. 

Take a look at how we were able to accommodate all of these wishes by incorporating an infinity edge feature into their pool design. 

Working with the grade of the landscape.

This particular project presented the challenge of a sloped landscape that would require some substantial excavation and regrading to make it level for a swimming pool. The property was known to have limestone underground, so there would be the risk of hitting rock if we did any major excavating. It would also add to the cost of the project, more so than starting on fairly level land. 

The alternate option we recommended to this client was designing the pool with an infinity edge to work with the existing grade of the property as much as possible. The infinity edge accommodates a slope by allowing for an exposed wall and for the water to run over the edge into a catch basin. The end result is not just a solution to the grading challenge, it’s an outstanding feature that greatly enhances the aesthetics and wow factor of the pool.

Enhanced aesthetics. 

To dive a little deeper into the enhance aesthetics of this pool, the infinity edge and the lower catch base, as well as various areas of exposed sides of the pool were all finished with natural limestone. We recommended using natural stone over a veneer to ensure that as water runs over the edge of the pool, deterioration or a buildup of salt residue would not be an issue. Natural stone is far better at holding up to this daily wear and tear. 

The stone was selected to perfectly blend with the house’s existing stone finishes, and gave a nod back to the area that is known for its limestone. When standing at the lower end of the pool, you can see how the many layers of stone and hardscaping create a stunning backyard scape that certainly grabs your attention. 

Filtration and Function. 

Many people don’t fully understand how the hydraulics and filtration systems for these magnificent looking features work.  And they shouldn’t really need to! It is the job of the pool professional to understand and design the system to meet all pool and spa codes along with meeting expectations from the client on how things look and will operate. 

Keeping the correct amount of water moving and circulating between the main pool and the catch pool below can be tricky depending on what you are trying to accomplish. As the water from the “upper” pool spills over the edge to the “lower” catch pool, leaves and debris will spill over with it.  A well designed hydraulic system will incorporate a pump and filter for this lower pool to ensure that it stays clean. In this particular job, we installed variable speed pumps, cartridge filters and tied the plumbing system into a pool heater so that the water is sanitized and crystal clear as well as heated!  The water then returns to the main “upper” pool via fittings in the pool floor to create the overflowing edge. By returning the heated water to the floor of the pool we ensure efficient heating as well as a water surface that doesn’t show “ripples”, giving the glass like appearance that clients find desirable in vanishing edge designs.

Two separate and functional swimming areas.

What’s most unique about this particular pool is that the client wanted to make the lower basin, which is typically a slender catch basin, into a fully functional second swimming area. Because we custom design each and every one of our pools, we were happy to accommodate this special request. More than just an additional swimming area, the lower basin includes several jets to give it a spa-like feel. The end result was two pools in one, each with a very different feel and view. For a family with small children, this is an ideal setup where the kids can enjoy splashing in the upper pool while the adults enjoy calmer waters in the lower pool, along with the soothing sound of the infinity edge’s waterfall. 

Have you ever envisioned building a swimming pool that includes an infinity edge feature? We can help you explore all the possibilities! Contact us today so we can start a conversation


Benefits of Having a Sun Deck or Tanning Ledge in Your Gunite Swimming Pool

You may hear them referred to as a
sun deck or a tanning ledge. No matter what you choose to call this trendy pool
feature that’s being incorporated into more and more pool designs, one thing is
for certain – you’re going to love the benefits it provides!

In all of our years of building
custom gunite swimming pools, we have never come across two clients who use
their pool in the exact same way. Even within a single family there will be
many types of swimmers and sunbathers who value different aspects of their pool
design. What sun decks and tanning ledges provide is versatility. So whether
you like to be active in your pool, jumping and splashing around, or you prefer
a calm and relaxing atmosphere to read and soak up the sun, you’ll be
interested to learn that the sun deck will quickly become a fan favorite for
swimmers of all ages and energy levels. Here’s why.

Feel refreshed without having to dive in.

Sometimes you want to feel quickly
refreshed without having to commit to going “all in.” With a sun deck, you have
the best of both worlds because you can wade in about one foot of water and
instantly feel refreshed, while still staying mostly dry. It also creates a
nice space to gather with friends, feet dangling in water. Since sun decks are
usually in a curved shape, it creates a comfortable conversation nook.

Stationary sun bathing.

Laying on a raft in your pool,
drink in hand and blue skies above sounds like most people’s definition of a
day in paradise. But if we’re being honest, rafts can get a little awkward to
get on and off of. It can also be uneasy not knowing where you’re floating off
to, if you doze off. The solution? The sun deck. With just the right amount of
water to keep your lower half cool, while still getting to soak up the sun, you
can fully relax without a care in the world.

The perfect depth for your younger swimmers.

Let’s not forget the kids! Keeping
kids safe in the water is our highest priority, and the sun deck gives us just
one more way to do so. With water just about as deep as a kiddie pool, but with
much more room to play, the sun deck allows tiny swimmers to splash around and
play in a comfortable depth of water. Of course swim vests are still required
since the deeper parts of the pool are accessible from the sun deck.

Cool down with both shade and water.

We saved the best feature for last,
and that’s because it becomes just about everyone’s favorite place to be on the
hottest summer days. We build sun decks with the capability to hold a patio
umbrella. This creates a space that has both shade and water for the ultimate
cool down. Take a seat and take a load off!

If your pool had a sun deck or tanning ledge, which one of
these benefits do you think you’d enjoy the most?

Leave a comment below to let us know if this
pool feature will make it to your wish list!


How to Pick the Right Finishes for Your Custom Gunite Swimming Pool

When
building a custom gunite swimming pool, you have so many options available to
you to truly make it a pool customized to your exact wants. Size and shape are
just the beginning! You will get to choose what features you want to include,
like built in seating, ledges, steps, fire features, infinity edges, and more.
Regardless of the combination of features you choose, there is one thing every
pool owner will need to decide upon when building their swimming pool – and
that’s its finishes!

Throughout
the process of designing and building your swimming pool, selecting the
finishes is one of the biggest decisions you will need to make. But don’t let
this stress you out! The good news is that with the guidance of your
professional pool company and the following tips, you’ll be well equipped to
make smart and stylish choices. Here’s a look at a few considerations you’ll
want to keep in mind when selecting your pool’s finishes.

Look at the big picture.

When
choosing the decorative tile border that will accent your pool, and the Pebble-Tec
finish for the pool’s interior, you’ll want to see how these elements
complement one another. Additionally, you want to keep in mind the color and
style of your hardscaping that will also play into the big picture of your
backyard space. While any one of these elements may look great alone, keep in
mind that they will impact one another when they all come together in your pool
area. Place samples of each piece side by side to visualize how they look
together.

Take lighting into consideration.

When
selecting your pool’s band of tile and interior finish, keep in mind that the
colors will appear different in various degrees of lighting. Your pool will
appear darker when it’s cloudy outside or when the sun is not directly
overhead. Alternately, colors will appear brighter and lighter on sunny days.
Consider the pattern of the sun in your backyard and also the look you want to
achieve most of the time. While there will always be variation in lighting, you
want to select the colors of finishes that work with the way the natural
lighting is in your backyard the majority of the time.

Test out both the look and the feel.

The Pebble-Tec interior finish of your pool comes in 48 different colors, but also keep in mind that it has 3 different textures as well. You can drastically impact the feel of your pool, literally, by the type of texture you select. Some pool owners prefer a very smooth, glass-like finish, while others like extreme texture. Still others like something a little more in the middle. It’s great that Pebble-Tec offers a selection for this very reason! When looking at samples, you will likely be feeling the dry texture with your fingers. Remember that this will feel different when it’s wet and felt by your feet. If at all possible, try to find a pool with that finish so you can see it in water and feel it under foot. Another reason why you'll want to see the finish when it is wet is because the color will darken up significantly, which is how it will look when the pool is filled with water.

Choose timeless over trendy.

Our
final, and quite possibly most important tip is when selecting the finishes of
your pool try to choose timeless over trendy. While there will certainly be
ways to incorporate new trends and technology into other elements of your
swimming pool, for the pool’s finishes, you want to aim for timeless. Why?
Because you want to be as happy with the colors and textures of your finishes
today as you will be 20+ years from now. If you go with a bold color now, it’s
likely you’ll grow tired of it overtime. A more subtle or natural color will
age well. You can always add pops of color in your pool’s accessories like
umbrellas, patio furniture, pillows and towels. These are far easier and less
expensive to change out over time. When it comes to your pool’s finishes, think
long-term!

Do you have another question related to picking
the right finishes for your pool? If you’re ready to begin design your dream
backyard, give us a call today!


5 Swimming Pool Trends That are Taking the Summer by Storm

5Summer 2019 is heating up! And with the new season right around the corner, so are the new pool trends you’ll start to see guiding the design of pool construction and renovation. These trends go beyond the obvious or expected and take things to the next level by using new technology and design to incorporate elements that are both stylish and functional. Let’s take a look at what we predict to be the top five swimming pool trends to take this summer by storm.

1. Integrated Structures
One of the most increasingly popular requests we receive from clients has been incorporating shade or shelter structures within the surrounding pool area. This includes pergolas, gazebos, pool cabanas, shade sails, and the like. Not only do these integrated structures increase the aesthetics of the space, they also serve an important function of keeping guests dry from a passing rain storm or providing the relief of shade on a hot summer day.

Aquavisions Creates Custom Gunite Spa with Outdoor Living Area

2. Natural Lighting Elements

While there will always be a need for traditional and LED lights around a pool area, more and more pool owners are incorporating natural lighting elements, like fire, into their pool designs. Fire elements are a great way to add light, ambiance and heat all at the same time. Fire pits and fireplaces can be built into the hardscaping surrounding the pool, or elements like fire bowls can be placed right near the edge of the pool to create an inviting and luxe atmosphere.

3. Contrasting Finishes

Dare to be different! This is a theme we are seeing more and more of these days. Pool owners are choosing to incorporate contrasting finishes within their pool and hardscaping to create defined spaces and to accentuate features. If you’re designing or renovating a pool this summer and get to choose new finishes, keep in mind that not everything needs to match perfectly. While everything should fall within a defined color palette, you have the freedom to choose various sizes, colors and finishes of tiles and pavers for your pool area. You can also use contrasting banding to add an artistic element to your space while defining its shape.

4. Stone Elements

Another trend we’re seeing is stone finishes. This includes hardscaping as well as the pool itself. For pools with exposed edges, natural or veneer stone can be used to cover the exposed part of the pool. The result is a beautiful, high-end finish that delivers that “wow” factor to your pool area. The color, size, and pattern of stone you use can have a profound impact on the overall design of your pool.

5. Investing in Long-Term Value

One more important trend to note is investing in elements that add long-term value to a pool. The more you can prioritize designing a pool that is well equipped to maintain its functionality and beauty, the happier you will be with the end result. It’s so important to not cut corners on things like your filtration system, heat system, or finishes. Once you go through all the effort of building a pool, you’re going to want to have it last as long as possible with as little maintenance as possible. Investing in quality now, will give you year and years of through relaxation and enjoyment.

One more thing to note…

Though
this is not a “trend” because it is and should be standard, pool safety
features have also come a long way thanks to new technology entering the market.
Door and gate alarms can be set to audibly alert the pool owner if they are
home, while also alerting them on their mobile device in case they are not.
This way you are always aware of someone entering or existing your pool area.

Additionally,
in-water surveillance systems are designed to continuously monitor what’s going
on in your pool. If it detects a “struggle” in the water, it immediately alerts
the pool owner or can be set to contact 9-1-1. These are just a few of the many
products now on the market that pool owners are incorporating into their pool
designs to provide peace of mind while keeping swimmers safe.

When it comes to building a custom gunite
swimming pool, you have a ton of features, finishes and design options available
to you that can allow you to truly create the pool of your dreams, with very
few limitations. This list only begins to scratch the surface of the up and
coming pool trends that are making waves in 2019. Are you ready to being
designing your backyard paradise? Let’s talk!

Which one of these pool
trends is your favorite? Or is there another trend you’d like to see added to
this list? Share what you think by leaving a comment below!