Fake Swimming Pools

Creative art installation by Leandro Erlich features what appears to be a real swimming pool with people walking beneath the surface of the water.


To make the illusion, thin layer of water (only 10 cm deep) was suspended over glass. Below the glass, there is an empty room that visitors can enter.

Fake swimming pools were installed at the PS1 Art Center in New York and the 21st Century Art Museum in Kanazawa, Japan.

Swimming Pool Illusion in New York

Swimming Pool Illusion in Japan

12 Unusual Swimming Pools

Infinity Pool

An infinity edge swimming pool located at the Alila Ubud, luxury boutique resort hotel in Ubud, Bali


Hanging Pool

Joule Hotel is a five-star, 129-room hotel in Dallas famous for it’s swimming pool that partially hangs off the side of the building - eight stories up.

World’s Deepest Pool

Nemo 33, a recreational scuba diving center in Uccle, Belgium is home to the deepest diving pool in the world. The pool has two large flat-bottomed areas at depth levels of 16 ft and 32 ft, and a large circular pit descending to a depth of 108 ft. 

Bathing Ship Pool

Badeschiff is an old barge or cargo container that has been converted into a public swimming pool in Berlin, Germany. 

Sarojin Pool

Unique swimming pool with drape shaded island pavilions located at the luxury Khao Lak Resort Hotel in Thailand.

Transparent Pool

Cool modern swimming pool with transparent glass bottom.

World’s Largest Pool

Located in Chile, world’s largest swimming pool is more than 1,000 yards long, covers 20 acres, and holds 66 million gallons of water.

Ocean Pool

Beautiful pool at Coogee in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Guitar Shaped Pool

World’s Largest Indoor Pool

Located in Japan, Ocean Dome is the largest indoor swimming pool in the world. It is 300 meters long and 100 meters wide.

Underground Pool

Located in Midway, Utah, Homestead Crater is a 55-foot tall, limestone rock that nature has hollowed out and filled with 90° to 96° water.

The 10 Best Collegiate Competition Swimming Pools

Butterfly, Backstroke, Breast, Freestyle….

5 am practice times, thousands of meters swam, these are just a few of the exhausting statistics that a collegiate swimmer thinks about on a daily basis. The grind, the hours, just like every other college athlete, swimmers, divers, synchronized swimmers, they are training and training and training. In our most recent ranking, we’ve decided to take a look at the facilities that swimmers are using. After comparing aquatic centers from around the country, we have narrowed our list down to these top 10 competition pools.

Competition Pools from around the country were ranked using a system based on area, depth, technological features, and age, as these factors can contribute to the speed of a racing pool. Further consideration was given to spectator seating, notoriety and history as measured by the occurrence of high profile competition and record-breaking.

Whether your school has hosted Olympic time trials, seen national records fall, or provided spectators are great view for a dual meet, we are thrilled to bring you the Top 10 collegiate competition swimming pools.

10. Trumbull Aquatic Center – Denison University

Denison’s Trumbull Aquatic Center, opened in Fall 2012, is a $20 million facility. It features a course 50 meters in length and 25 yards in width; a large diving well; and a capacity of over 750 spectators. Also featured are a scoring and timing system, two video boards in full-color, and a high-quality sound system. There are also well-equipped areas for event administration and media coverage.

In 2014, the facility hosted the North Coast Athletic Conference Championships and the NCAA Division III Diving Regional. In 2015, the NCAC Swimming & Diving Championships were held at Trumbull. The Trumbull Aquatic Center also prides itself on having programs and events for both the general student body at Denison and the campus’ surrounding community.

9. Denunzio Aquatic – Princeton University

Constructed in 1990, Princeton’s Denunzio Pool has state-of-the-art design and technology. It is one of the fastest pools in the nation, with a minimum depth of nine feet and a maximum depth of 17 feet. Along with locker rooms and a conference room, the facility seats 1,700 individuals. In addition, everything is ADA accessible.

The Denunzio Pool has hosted many aquatic events. For example, the 1999 Ivy League swimming and diving championships– commemorating the League’s 25th anniversary of women’s athletics– and several Ivy and EISL championships since, were held at the Denunzio Pool. Other events that have occurred at Denunzio include men’s and women’s Southern, Eastern, and ECAC Championships in water polo; an exhibition between the Princeton women’s water polo team and the U.S. National Team prior to the 2004 Olympics; and 2009’s NCAA Division I men’s water polo championships.

8. Gabrielsen Natatorium – University of Georgia

The University of Georgia’s Gabrielsen Natatorium, opened in January 1996, contains three separate pools. Its 50-meter competition pool contains 844,000 gallons of water, and the pool can be modified for different events by moving its bulkheads. The natatorium can hold 2,000 spectators, and many accommodations, including locker rooms and lifeguard offices, are located on the deck level.

Georgia claims that the pool is “a magnet for national-caliber competitions.” Some swimmers from the University of Georgia went on to become SEC championship swimmers, All-Americans, and even Olympian team members during the time of B.W. Gabrielsen, the school’s former swimming coach and the building’s namesake.

7. Robert Kiphuth Memorial Exhibition Pool – Yale University

Yale, after years of bureaucratic arguing, is in the process of building a new competitive swimming pool. The pool, which is expected to cost tens of million dollars, is to be one of the fastest in the nation.

For now, the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool is open. It is a 25-yard, six-lane pool, which was built in 1932. Originally intended for intercollegiate competition, it has 2,187 seats . Each row of seats rise at an angle of 45 degrees, offering every spectator a perfect view of the action below. NCAA and AAU championships, along with the first-ever double-dual meet between Yale, Harvard, and Princeton, were held here.

6. Avery Aquatic Center – Stanford University

Stanford is known for its Avery Competition Pool, located within the Avery Aquatic Center. The facility, which can hold up to 2,530 fans, is also one of the fastest pools in the nation. The competition pool is 37 meters long by 20 meters wide, and goes from 11 to 14 feet in depth.

The Avery Aquatic Center is very strict on not letting in public guests; the rules permit exceptions in only certain circumstances. The university is a member of the national membership-operated nonprofit organization United States Masters Swim. The Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics frequently hosts USA Swimming events.

5. Freeman Aquatic Center – University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota’s Freeman Aquatics Center is notable in that over five million individuals have swum there since it opened in 1990, receiving much praise from Olympians along the way. The center features a 50-meter racing pool and adjacent diving well.

Its two pools are constantly busy, and one can reserve a pool for an event. The facilities were fashioned to meet or exceed Olympic standards so that it could host major swimming and diving events. Fittingly, nine Big Ten Championships, six NCAA Championships, many national and international competitions, countless State High School Championships, and many other events have been held in the Freeman Aquatics Center.

4. Mccorkle Aquatic Pavilion – The Ohio State University

Ohio State University’s McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion has a 50-meter competitive pool at 79 degrees Fahrenheit, a diving well at 83 degrees Fahrenheit, a dive spa, and seating for 1,400 individuals. The facility is open to the public on a limited basis.

A number of aquatic activities are offered to the public, such as swim lessons, lifeguarding, and scuba classes. OSU’s varsity men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, varsity synchronized swimming team, and the Ohio State Swim and Diving Clubs all participate within the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.

3. IU Natatorium – Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis (IUPUI)

Indiana University– Purdue University Indianapolis’ Natatorium is part of a grander $30 million renovation investment currently being undergone at the university. Part of the impetus for the aquatic renovations has to do with Indianapolis hosting the U.S. Olympic Diving Team Trials in 2016.

IUPUI’s natatorium, built in 1982, is notable in that the 220,000-square-foot facility is the nation’s largest indoor swimming facility. It has two 50-meter pools and can seat 4,700 spectators. Over 100 swimming records have been set in its pools. In 2014 and 2015, YMCA of the USA’s Long Course National Championships were held in the natatorium.

2. Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center – University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin’s Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center boasts a number of impressive facts and features, including: 1.5 million gallons of water circulate 24 hours a day; it has one, three, five, 7.5, and 10-meter diving towers; and underwater lighting and viewing windows.

It is home to the Texas Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame, which features tributes to some of the state’s best swimmers and divers. As for events, it is also known for year-round happenings including the Austin Grand Prix. Longhorn Aquatics, a competition-oriented membership program for swimmers and divers, prepares individuals for elite swimming competitions.

Joe Jamail, its namesake, is a billionaire attorney from the Houston area. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, and is cited to be the 833rd richest person in the world.

1. Herb McAuley Aquatic Center – Georgia Tech

Built for the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Georgia Tech’s Coach Herb McAuley Aquatic Center is known for being being one of the fastest in the world, thanks to the depth of its pool, water flow control, deep gutters, and wide lanes to reduce wave action.

With stadium seating for 1,950 individuals, its competition pool is 50 meters by 10 lanes. It has been used in the past for Olympic time trials. A smaller, leisure pool is also in the facility with a 184 foot water slide and a 16 person spa.

The Herb McAuley Aquatic Center, named after Herb McAuley, commemorate’s the university’s late champion swimmer and beloved swim coach. McAuley was a truly passionate and relentless swimmer; he continued to partake in competitions into his 90s.

How to Prepare Your Pool Surface for Painting

How to Prepare Your Pool Surface for Painting

Instructions on how to paint a non-painted pool surface

Surface preparation is the single most important thing in any application of any paint products. The paint you apply is only as good as the quality of the surface you are applying it to.

Please wear eye protection and a vapor mask and rubber gloves when applying or working with any paints, thinners , muriatic or sulfamic acids, TSP cleaners or power washing equipment.


For painting plaster, concrete, gunite, marcite, or other porous pool surfaces:

Painted surfaces will need to be abraded first before following these instructions. Follow the manufacturers label recommendations on any surface preparation. The pool surface may become very slick and dangerous, so wear the proper attire and shoes for working in water with acid.

Step 1. Scrub the entire pool down with a TSP (Tri-Sodium Phosphate) solution to remove all algae, oils, dirt, chalking, peeling or loose paint. It is recommended to power wash the pool during this process. Use a good hard scrubbing brush on the end of a handle to scrub the surface with. Rinse, thoroughly with water and remove water from pool. If you need to make any surface repairs to the surface with a patching compound, it is recommended to do this next after the surface is dried.

Step 2. All concrete/plaster surfaces should be acid etched with a 15-20% solution of muriatic or sulfamic acid to achieve a medium grade sandpaper finish on bare concrete or plaster and to remove mineral deposits on previously painted epoxy surfaces. Pour acids into water, rather than adding water into the acid. Use a hard scrub brush to apply acid and water solution. Rinse surface completely and remove water from pool.

Remember wear safety goggles, mask and gloves.

Step 3. Neutralize / rinse with TSP and water. Allow surface to dry completely before applying epoxy or rubber paints. 5 dry days is standard. To make sure surface is dry attach a clear packing tape 2in x 5in on the surface in different areas of the pool the day prior to painting. If the tape has moisture on the sticky side, the surface needs additional drying time.

For painting fiberglass pools or spas:

Step 1: Sand the surface in straight lines with 80 grit sand paper. Do not use an orbital sander.

Step 2: Scrub the entire pool down with a TSP (Tri-Sodium Phosphate) solution to remove all algae, oils, dirt, chalking, peeling or loose paint. It is recommended to power wash the pool during this process. Use a good hard scrubbing brush on the end of a handle to scrub the surface with. Rinse, thoroughly with water and remove water from pool.

Step 3 (optional):Optionally, you can wash the pool/spa down with acetone, which you can buy at a hardware store. You can roll the acetone onto the surface of the pool with a roller and allow to evaporate completely before applying the paint. The acetone will allow the paint to adhere better to the pool. PLEASE BE SURE TO WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING, SUCH AS A MASK AND GLOVES WHILE USING THE ACETONE. Be sure to be in a well ventilated area, especially if you are indoors. You can put a fan in the pool to blow the fumes away.

Step 4: Apply two coats of the High Build Epoxy Pool Paint to the fiberglass pool or spa.

20 Tips to Know Before You Buy a Swimming Pool

Think you might be ready to take the plunge? If you're planning to buy your first backyard swimming pool, you probably need a few tips to get started. Learn how to establish a budget, find a pool builder, and always remember to put fun on the list.

1. Create a wish list. 
You may have been dreaming of a swimming pool for years, and you may think you know exactly what you want. But it pays to read up on the latest technology and gather ideas. Once you’ve done a little homework, you’ll be ready to speak to your pool builder about what it is you want out of a swimming pool. He’ll be able to help you crystallize how you plan to use the swimming pool and can suggest styles, materials, designs, and blueprints to make your dream a reality.

2. Create a look book.
It’s often difficult to put your ideas into words. Pool builders and designers appreciate when customers come to them with pictures from magazines, our swimming pool photo galleries, or even scenic photos taken on vacation. They give your pool builder a good sense of what you’re interested in and how to incorporate your style preferences into the swimming pool design. It also ensures that you and your builder are on the same page.

3. Research the three types of inground pools. 
Sure, that’s what this article is all about, but dig deeper. A swimming pool is an investment, just like a car or a home. You wouldn’t just buy any car on just any lot, would you? The same rules apply. There are many ways to build a swimming pool. Some are made of concrete, others are made of fiberglass, and still others are vinyl. And that’s just the first step. Coping, cleaning systems, filtering systems, artistic finishing touches. The list of variations goes on and on. Getting up to speed will allow you to speak your pool builder’s language and be more confident in the decision-making process.

4. Find a credible pool builder. 
Once you’ve made the decision to dive into swimming pool ownership, the best way to ensure a smooth building process is to choose a seasoned swimming pool construction professional. Check with friends, your local and regional pool builders associations, even the Better Business Bureau. Interview several candidates, and ask about their building philosophies. A good pool builder will offer examples of his work, provide references (be sure to check them), and be able to answer relevant questions. You’ll be working with this person for many months, so choose someone you feel comfortable with. 

5. Decide what kind of pool shape you want.
Swimming pool design is critical to both the overall aesthetic you’re trying to achieve and what you can actually do in the swimming pool. Rectangular designs are perfect for people wanting a classic, timeless look. They’re also great for games and swimming laps. Kidney and free-form swimming pools can blend with the surrounding vegetation and appear more natural. They also lend themselves to waterfalls and grottos. Choosing the wrong shape may mean you have a swimming pool that doesn’t really suit your lifestyle as well as it could.

6. Consider the weather in your area. 
Depending on where you live, the weather can dictate certain pool building decisions. People in colder climates should consider enclosures to prolong the pool season. Those living in wetter climates also enjoy the benefits of enclosures. In temperate climates—places where it never gets overly warm—pool heaters are useful. Windy areas, heavily treed areas, or places cold enough to close swimming pools for the season make swimming pool covers a good idea to stem evaporation, keep leaves and debris at bay, or protect the swimming pool when not in use. Many of these options are just plain good ideas, but your local weather can make them necessities.

7. Know how you want to use your pool. 
Stop and think about why you’re installing a swimming pool. Is it for your kids? For entertaining? Is it an investment? Do you want it to make a dramatic architectural statement? Or is a relaxing retreat for you and your spouse? Answering these questions will help tell you what kind of swimming pool you want. A swimming pool for kids might include a slide and a wading area. It probably doesn’t need high-end glass tile finishing or a vanishing edge. But if you want something that is as visually appealing as it is enjoyable to use, you might consider a built-in water feature, more expensive coping, and a negative edge. A client with a clear sense of purpose is a builder’s best friend.

8. Establish a budget. 
You probably already know what you’re willing to spend on a new swimming pool, but it’s important to speak with your pool builder to gather more information and get a sense of what your project will cost. Your pool builder will be able to listen to what you want and give you an estimate on what it will cost to make it happen. You may have to adjust your plans, or you may find you have the resources to add to your initial concept. Either way, it’s important that both you and your builder know what your budget is from the start.

9. Consider long-term costs. 
Owning a swimming pool is actually quite affordable. Upkeep, especially if you take a few energy-saving steps (more on that below), can literally cost pennies a day. But it’s best to have an idea of what those costs are. Factor in how much water it will take to keep your swimming pool full, cleaning and water maintenance costs, and any accessories (pool covers, filters, toys, etc.) you’ll need to purchase.

10. Check your local building codes. 
Yes, your pool builder can help you with this part immensely, but it’s a good idea to know the rules yourself. Some areas require perimeter fences of a certain height. Some require the fences to lock. Others require a fence around only the swimming pool itself. You’ll also want to inquire about building permits, building restrictions, noise policies, and property tax concerns.

11. Don’t forget about insurance. 
When establishing a budget, don’t forget to think long term. Contact your insurance carrier and find out if owning a swimming pool affects your homeowner’s policy—no one likes to be surprised.

12. Don’t skimp on the features you really want. 
Yes, we told you to stick to your budget (and that’s sound advice), but don’t settle if you can help it. Retrofitting a swimming pool is never as easy as the initial install. So, if you really want that slide or the cascading waterfall over the slab of granite, go for it. If it busts the budget, ask your pool builder where you might be able to save elsewhere. You never want the swimming pool that’s “almost perfect.”

13. Be energy efficient. 
It’s easier than ever to save on a swimming pool’s energy costs. Enclosures, pool covers, and pump and lighting timers can all pay for themselves in energy savings in a short amount of time. In cool climates, it can sometimes pay to shut your swimming pool down for the winter, rather than heat it.

14. Be green and eco-friendly. 
Some shy away from swimming pools for fear of their environmental impact, but the industry has worked hard in the last few years to make pool owner and steward of the environment not mutually exclusive terms. Today’s pool heaters can be heated almost entirely using solar energy. There are even swimming pools filtered using totally natural methods—an attached pond does all the work—and many chemical water treatments can now be replaced by less harsh natural alternatives. Swimming pool covers also reduce the amount of water lost (and then replaced) due to evaporation.

15. Don’t forget water features. 
Elegant waterfalls, spouting sconces, bubbling fountains—people love water features almost as much as the swimming pools themselves. If you’re interested in adding a few jets to your swimming pool, though, it’s best to do it during the initial construction. Retrofitting can be tricky (and sometimes impossible, depending on your swimming pool and what you want done) without a major remodel. It also costs more than twice as much, typically, to install water features after the fact.

16. Plant with purpose. 
This is especially important when thinking about your budget. You won’t want that swimming pool sitting in the yard by itself, so consider what you’d like to plant and where. Avoid planting messy trees (pecans, gums, sycamores) or trees with far-reaching, shallow root systems (some oaks, birches, cypress) near your swimming pool, for instance. Instead go with bushy perennials that don’t grow as tall and can be moved if necessary.

17. Keep safety in mind. 
Beyond any required fencing your local codes require, consider what other safety measures you’ll want to have in place. Swimming pools can be equipped with alarms to alert you when someone or something enters the water. Child-proof locks on gates, and security alarms on windows to the backyard are also considerations.

18. Think about finishing touches. 
Things like coping, decking, and borders can make a swimming pool stand out. The materials used for each vary—stone, concrete, ceramic and glass tile—and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Discuss with you designer which options are right for you.

19. Put fun on the list. 
As the swimming pool nears completion, it’s time to enjoy yourself by gathering all those extras that make pool ownership fun. Toys, games, floats, swimsuits, patio furniture, you name it. Accessorizing is half the fun.

20. Plan your first pool party! 
Don’t forget to throw a big bash to celebrate your new swimming pool. Get the burgers on the grill, invite the kids’ friends (and a few of your own) over, and break in your swimming pool in style.

10 of the Best Spa Interior Design in the World

The Spa at the Viceroy Miami/Spa interior design by Philippe Starck

Espace Vitalite Chenot / Spa design by Jacques Garcia

Armani / Spa, Armani Hotel Milano Giorgio Armani

Mamounia Spa at La Mammounia / Spa interior by Jacques Garcia

Green T. House Living Bath House Residence / Spa interior design by Jin R

The Dolder Grand Spa / Norman Foster

 Verdura Golf & Spa Resort / Flavio Albanese and Olga Polizzi


Spa Fasano at Hotel Fasano Punta del Este/ Isay Weinfeld

Backstage Hotel Vernissage / Heinz Julen


Vinotherapie Spa Caudalie Marques de Riscal / Frank Gehry and Yves Collet

Warm Water Works Wonders on Pain

Soaking in warm water is one of the oldest forms of medicine, and there’s good reason why this practice has stood the test of time. Research has shown warm water therapy works wonders for all kinds of musculoskeletal complaints, including fibromyalgia, arthritis and low back pain.

“The research shows our ancestors got it right. It makes you feel better. It makes the joints looser. It reduces pain and it seems to have a somewhat prolonged effect that goes beyond the period of immersion,” says Bruce E. Becker, MD, director of the National Aquatics & Sports Medicine Institute at Washington State University in Spokane.

There are many reasons soaking in warm water works. It reduces the force of gravity that’s compressing the joint, offers 360-degree support for sore limbs, can decrease swelling and inflammation and increase circulation.

So, how long should you soak? Dr. Becker says patients he’s studied seem to reach a maximum benefit after about 20 minutes. And make sure you drink water before and afterward to stay well hydrated.

Here are some other simple steps to make the most of your next bath.

Go warm, not hot. Water temperatures between 92 and 100 degrees are a healthy range. If you have cardiovascular problems, beware of water that’s too hot because it can put stress on the heart. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says anything over 104 degrees is considered dangerous for everyone.

Don’t just sit there. Warm water is great for relaxing, but it is also good for moving. Warm water stimulates blood flow to stiff muscles and frozen joints, making a warm tub or pool an ideal place to do some gentle stretching. To ease low back pain, trap a tennis ball between the small of your back and the bottom or back of the tub, then lean into it and roll it against knotted muscles. The flexibility lasts even after you get out, says Ann Vincent, MD, medical director of the Mayo Clinic’s Fibromyalgia Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “Patients report that soaking in a warm bath and stretching after that seems to help.”

Add some salts. Data collected by the National Academy of Sciences show most Americans don’t get enough magnesium, a mineral that’s important for bone and heart health. One way to help remedy that: bathing in magnesium sulfate crystals, also known as Epsom salts. They’re relatively inexpensive, can be found at grocery and drug stores and can boost magnesium levels as much as 35 percent, according to researchers at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. But don’t go overboard; the National Institutes of Health warns these salts should only be for occasional use. People with diabetes should be aware, too, that high levels of magnesium can stimulate insulin release.

Consider finding a warm water pool. Warm water can be so helpful in fighting the pain and stiffness of arthritis and fibromyalgia that experts recommend heated pools for exercise. A variety of studies of patients with both conditions found that when they took part in warm water exercise programs two or three times a week, their pain decreased as much as 40 percent and their physical function increased. The exercise programs also gave an emotional boost, helped people sleep better and were particularly effective for obese individuals.

“We definitely talk to our patients about that,” Dr. Vincent says. “You are in a pool so you aren’t working against gravity, warmth is comforting and the heat can decrease stiffness and possibly improve circulation.”

Deciding on a Swimming Pool Contractor

By Mat Jobe

Building an inground pool involves a lot of decisions, but none more important than selecting a builder. All your careful planning can go out the window if your swimming pool contractor is incompetent, irresponsible, or worst of all, unethical. It goes without saying that you should call at least three builders to get estimates. But how do you choose which pool contractors to contact, and which to ultimately choose? Here are some tips.

Get Recommendations

Know anyone in the neighborhood who has an inground pool? If so, ask them about their experience – most pool owners are more than willing to talk about it. They may be able to steer you toward – or away from – a particular contractor.

If you live in a larger city, you may also be able to find recommendations from internet forums and consumer websites. Be cautious of these, however, as they’re easily manipulated.

Check References

If a contractor is eager to give you a long list of references, that’s a good sign. The more happy customers a builder can point to, the less likely it is that they’re staged or cherry picked. If there are a lot of references, you probably won’t check all of them, but you should randomly pick a few to call (don’t just call the first three, but pick from different parts of the list). If it’s a smaller list, that doesn’t necessarily disqualify the contractor, but you might want to ask some probing questions to make sure the references are on the up-and-up. Some things to ask:

  • When did the contractor perform work for you? If the references are mostly older, that could indicate cherry picking.
  • What type of pool did the contractor install? If you’re installing a fiberglass pool, you’ll be particularly interested in what the reference has to say if he also had a fiberglass pool installed.
  • Did the contractor complete the work on time, and only ask for payment for completed work?
  • Were there any surprises?
  • Were the builders courteous and considerate of your needs while onsite?

Do a Background Check

If you’re seriously considering a contractor, it’s time to take your investigation to a new level by looking at records relating to the business. Your first stop should be the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against the contractor. For a small fee, you can also get a report from ContractorCheck that includes an overall contractor rating and lots of details about the builder’s business operations. Finally, you should look into your state’s regulations on swimming pool construction and make sure the contractor is properly certified.

Listen to Your Gut

First impressions are often wrong, but don’t bet tens of thousands of dollars on it. If something about a particular swimming pool contractor doesn’t seem right, then that’s reason enough for caution. Some red flags to look out for:

  • Offering an unrealistically low estimate
  • Pressuring you to make a decision quickly
  • Pushing you toward getting financing through the pool company or an associated business
  • Asking for payment in cash
  • Asking for a large amount of money upfront
  • General lack of professionalism in appearance or behavior

Before signing with a pool contractor, be sure to visit the builder’s place of business. How a builder manages its office and conducts routine day-to-day business is often instructive of how they perform on the job. And if the contractor doesn’t have a place of business? Well, that’s another red flag.

Protecting Your Investment

You’ve probably heard the horror stories about pool construction gone wrong. Behind every one of these stories is a bad swimming pool contractor. While the unexpected can and often does happen when undertaking such a large project, an experienced professional can usually handle it without missing a beat. If you have a pay a little extra to get a swimming pool contractor you feel comfortable with, then that’s the price well worth paying.

Pool Safety Guidelines

The National Safety Council reports that 600 children and adults drown annually in swimming pools, 330 in home pools. By communicating these pool tips effectively as well as using common sense, your backyard pool can be a safe and pleasurable experience for children as well as adults.

  • Check local ordinances and codes for safety requirements.
  • Use non-slip materials on the pool deck, diving board and ladders.
  • The steps of the pool ladder should be at least three inches wide, and the ladder should have handrails on both sides small enough for a child to grasp. There should be a ladder at both ends of the pool.
  • Electrical equipment should be installed by a licensed electrician in accordance with local safety codes.
  • Check with a professional pool contractor to be sure the depth is sufficient for a diving board or slide. Always put a slide in a deep area of the pool-- never in shallow water.
  • There should be a fence at least six feet high around all sides of the pool with a locked gate to keep children out when there is no supervision and the fence should be constructed so it is difficult to climb. Lawn furniture, trees and shrubs should not be close enough to provide an easy boost over the fence. Avoid using a side of the house as part of the fence; toddlers have wandered out through an open patio door or window and drowned.
  • Mark water depths conspicuously. Use a safety float line where the bottom slope deepens.
  • Above-ground pools: Install sturdy guard rails around the pool deck. Look for rolled rims on the metal shell to be sure the rims do not present a sharp cutting edge if someone falls. The access ladder to the deck should be sturdy and without protruding bolts or other sharp edges. The access ladder should swing up to prevent children from unauthorized entry or should be easily removable for secure storage away from the pool area.
  • Check the pool and equipment periodically for cleanliness and good maintenance. Cover all sharp edges and protruding bolts; repair rickety or broken ladders and railings. Replace non-slip materials when they wear out.
  • Teach children to float or swim as soon as possible.
  • Always provide competent adult supervision when the pool is in use.
  • No one should ever swim alone.
  • Caution children against showing off and playing rough and explain the dangers of running and diving recklessly.
  • Never push others into the pool.
  • When using water slides, always go feet first.
  • Before diving or sliding, check to be sure that other swimmers are out of the way.
  • Keep rescue devices and first aid supplies near the pool.
  • Teach children what to do in case of emergency. An alarm bell that could summon help would be a good idea.
  • Keep electrical appliances such as radios out of the pool area because of the hazard of electrical shock.
  • Never swim after drinking alcoholic beverages, eating or taking medications.

Cleaning Your Pool Deck

Pool decks should be both cleaned and disinfected regularly to prevent the spread of disease as well as the slipperiness that results from the growth of bacteria. Depending on the type of deck surface material -- brushed concrete, textured modified cement or other cement coatings, ceramic tile, rubber granules, stone, brick, or epoxy aggregate, cleaning procedures may vary slightly. Always follow the manufactures recommendation for properly cleaning and maintaining the surface. When pool decks are large enough, the purchase of a pressure washer is recommended because cleaning and disinfecting decks by hand would just be too time consuming. But for smaller decks, you can follow the directions below. Dirt, grease and scum can be removed by scrubbing the decks with a stiff brush and any of a number of non abrasive commercially available cleaning solutions. Be sure to read the MSDS sheet or check with the distributor to make sure that the cleanser or detergent is compatible with pool water in case some of it gets into the pool. The decks can also be cleaned using TSP (tri sodium phosphate) which can be purchased at most hardware stores. Use one cup of TSP to one gallon of water. Use a pressure washer, or rinse with a garden hose with a high pressure nozzle.

To kill bacteria and other harmful pathogens, pool decks should also be disinfected. Commercial disinfectants are available from your local pool retailer. Use an air pressure sprayer and wand purchased specifically for this purpose at the local hardware or gardening store to apply the disinfectant solution to the deck. Rinse with fresh water immediately afterwards.