Reasons to Remodel Your Pool

before-afterThere are so many ways and reasons to remodel your swimming pool. Perhaps you’ve had your pool for a while and Maybe you’ve fallen in love with a new pool tile and want to resurface it. Or possibly you’ve added a child or pet to the family and you are interested in remodeling with the latest safety features. Whatever your reason, a pool remodel can completely change the look of your swimming pool area.

If you have had your pool for a while and you are interested in upgrading the features, there are many things that you can add to update it. Consider adding water features such as waterfalls, fountain bubblers or deck jets. You can also add other features such as fire features, waterslides, rock walls, a hot tub or even lighting features.

Adding safety precautions is a great reason to remodel your pool area. You may need to add a pool fence or pool safety nets to protect children and pets. You will also want to be sure that you pool has the latest in anti-entrapment equipment to prevent hair, limbs or other body parts from being sucked toward the pool drain.

You might also want to remodel your pool for energy efficiency. If you have an older pump, you will want to upgrade to an energy efficient, variable speed pump, which will use 30-45% less than a standard pump. A pool cover can also keep your pool water warmer, saving energy costs to heat the pool. A cover will also reduce evaporation. Many people are also choosing to remodel by adding saltwater conversion. This more natural option will allow a homeowner to handle less chemicals and save money in the long run.

So, no matter the reason to remodel your pool, be sure to explore all of the options available to you and choose the best for your backyard, your home and your family.

Re-blog
credits to: Janel Evans

What to Do With Wrinkled Vinyl Swimming Pool Liners

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There are some chemical conditions that can cause a vinyl swimming pool liners to wrinkle. Wrinkles most often occur in swimming pool liners during the winter, when the swim pool is closed and the water level is lower.

How can you get the wrinkles out of vinyl swimming pool liners?

During the construction of a pool, the hole that is dug is slightly larger than the pool, and the dirt that is backfilled is not as compacted as the undisturbed soil around it. This can create a “bowl” which holds water for a while before that water is absorbed into the surrounding soil. When the level of this groundwater outside the vinyl lined swimming pool comes up to or is higher than the water in the swim pool, the vinyl liner is in a “floating” situation. As the water on the outside of the swim pool liner is absorbed into the soil, the liner is again pressed against the pool support structure, but not always like it was originally. The result? Wrinkles.

How can they be removed?

Groundwater often comes from the landscaping, surrounding the swimming pool, directing rain/snow runoff water under the pool deck and into the area around the pool. It is important that this be corrected by directing all runoff water away from the pool area. Check where your gutter downspouts direct the water.

If you have just removed the cover to your pool, and have not filled the pool with water yet, and you have found that the liner is “floating”, now is a good time to prevent wrinkles from forming. As you are adding water to the pool you will be able to move the liner around to position it as it should be as it begins to sit back against the walls and floor.

You can do this using a pole with the pool brush on the end or by padding the end of the pole with a rag. Do not push so hard that you poke a hole in your liner. You will need to “baby-sit” the filling process until the liner is firmly seated.

What if your pool is full and there are wrinkles in the liner? If there are only a few small wrinkles, you may be able to remove these by using a toilet plunger. By plunging around the wrinkle you can spread out the liner in that area thereby removing the wrinkle. Do not plunge directly on the wrinkle but rather just above, below, or to the side.

If the pool is full and there are too many wrinkles to plunge out or the wrinkles are so large as to be folded over we would strongly recommend calling in your local pool service professional. When the liner has folded over, it will most likely require draining the pool and resetting the liner to correct.

Anytime you drain a pool, there is the possibility of structural damage taking place. This is not the time to scrimp. You could lose the whole pool.

Credits to:  Woody McDowell

Hydrotherapy & Aquatic Exercise

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We all know getting enough sleep, a balanced diet, regular exercise, are essential to our health. But with our busy lifestyles, accomplishing any of those activities may seem like impossible and can cause us to feel even more stressed.

Hot tubs promote both physical and mental health through warm water therapy, or hydrotherapy. The combination of heat, buoyancy, and massage jets increases circulation, loosens and relaxes stiff muscles, and stimulates the release of endorphin.

Numerous studies have shown that regularly soaking in a hot tub or spa for 15 – 20 minutes can relax muscle and joint pain, reduce stress, help control blood sugar, and promote deeper sleep.

Hot tubs also provide a low-impact environment for exercise: Because you weigh only 10 percent of your actual body weight in water, there is less pressure on your joints. The low-impact environment is ideal for arthritis , as well as runners who may have suffered knee injuries. Water’s resistance also forces your muscles to work harder, making aquatic exercise an effective activity for strength training and endurance. Performing mild exercises in warm water (100 – 102 degrees F) is a soothing and gentle way to tone, strengthen, and rehabilitate muscles.

Swim spas allow for these same health benefits because they are a combination of a hot tub and swimming pool; they feature a swim current at one end and therapeutic jets at the opposite end. In addition to loosening muscles against the pulsating jets, you can swim laps in the convenience of your own backyard and in a fraction of the space of a pool. Swim spas can be used for many fitness activities including swimming, running or walking in place, and aquatic workouts using water weights, swim fins, resistance bands, and buoyancy belts. Some models even have deep water wells that add 2 feet to the depth of the spa, allowing for even more activities such as deep water running.

Luckily, there’s a way you can relax, sleep better, work out, and enhance your overall well-being all at the same time. Learn how a hot tub or swim spa can improve your health, and discover the best options for your budget and space.

Let’s Have a Pool Party!

pool-party-iOK, it’s party time. The most fun you could ever have around your pool is when you have guests and are entertaining.  It is the perfect time to show off your pool  from Pools by Design your Woodlands Pool Builder . The key here is preparation.  Invitations, menus, helpers, pool, and yard will all need to be taken care of in advance.  The more you do ahead of time, the more time you will have to enjoy the party.  Start about a month before the party. Make a list of who you want to come. We can’t give any advice here.  But too many people would not only be unsafe, but we want enough room for eating, swimming, and just lying around.

So, here are a few tips for the pool party, and believe me, we’ve been to hundreds.

1)   Invites. Get something fun. Hand made invitations are cool, and personal. Another quicker, cheaper option is using evite.com to send out invitations. *** Remind everyone to bring a towel and swimming suite.

2)   Recruit. Get some help. The best parties were planned with several people. Get some helpers. Johnny does the food, Karin gets the liquor, and Steve gets the ice. And be sure to get a name or two for clean up. The end of the night is always the hardest to recruit help, so ask for clean up help before the party. You don’t need to clean the whole yard, but you will need to secure the trash, leftover food and such.

3)   Food. Decisions, decisions. You could go all out, roast a pig, smoked chicken. Or, keep it simple. Finger sandwiches, fruit bowl, or just burgers and dogs. The more “self serve food” you offer, the more time you have for fun. But, remember, the first thing people usually remember about a party, is the food. Give your guests something to talk about and remember. It’s not too hard to do!

4)   Drinks. You can’t have a good pool party without good beverages. But, an open bar can mean a disaster. If everyone is allowed to mix their own beverages, there is always someone who can ruin it for the rest of the guests. If alcohol is served, serve responsible, or serve beer and wine in moderation. Remember, Alcohol use is involved in about 35% to 50% of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation. And please don’t let guests who drink, drive. Call your local cab company in advance and set up an account for the evening.

5)  Safety. This one is easy. Call your local swimming pool management company, and hire a lifeguard or two for the event. It’s not expensive, and well worth it. If someone has had too much to drink, keep them away from the pool. Things we all take for granted like diving boards, slides and just jumping off the side of the pool, can pose a threat to those impaired, and everyone else trying to have a good time. Keep safety equipment handy, and ALWAYS keep a working phone dry, and near the pool.

6)   The Pool.  A week or so before the party, test everything pool related. (The lights, the heater, and the fountains) Make sure any electrical outlets that will be used are grounded. Trip hazards, excess patio and lawn furniture should be stored, or moved away from the pool deck, to allow easy access to the pool. Add a clarifier to the pool several days before the party. Small unfiltered particles are very easy to see at night with the pool light on, so take that extra step to get your pool as clear as possible. And make sure the pH and chlorine are adjusted. A chlorine residual of 3.0 is perfect.   The morning of the party, brush the pool and then vacuum an hour later. Remove your automatic pool cleaner and store it away for the party. Polaris parts are not cheap!

7)   The Party!  The moment we’ve all been waiting forParty time!  Got enough Tiki torch fuel? Ice? Soda? Make that last minute run to the store and you should be set. With proper preparation, all of the chores are done, and it’s time to party. So, fire up the grill, and ice down the punch. It’s your turn to relax.

Pool and Backyard Furniture

pool-furniture-300x225 When you think of furniture, you think of living rooms, dining rooms and family rooms. Very rarely do you associate furniture with swimming pools. But pool furniture is not only fashionable it’s practical, too. When you entertain guests, including family and friends, in your backyard and pool area, you want to have places for everyone to sit and relax. That’s where pool furniture comes in.

You can create a restful haven by the side of your pool and indulge in the ultimate comfort with poolside lounge chairs. Or you can create the perfect outdoor dining area on your deck with a glass table and cushioned table chairs. You can even put up a hammock to waste those lazy summer days away with a nap or two. It’s up to you! Your backyard is a blank canvas for you to fill with the kind pool furniture that is just right for you.

Choosing pool furniture is a lot like choosing furniture for any other room in your house. You want to select comfortable and eye-appealing pieces as well as pieces that reflect your style and taste. Outdoor décor is becoming more popular as the amount of pool owners continues to increase. Many notable department stores and furniture outlets are carrying patio and pool furniture lines for you to choose from.

The fact is that pool furniture has come quite a long way. The days of plastic tables and big umbrellas are over. Now you can accent your pool, deck and patio with pool furniture in teak, cedar, wrought iron, aluminum, wicker and rattan in a variety of combinations of wood and metal.

The thing to look for in quality pool furniture is durability, weather resistance and resistance to sun damage. You can purchase preassembled sets or sets that require minimum set up. Mixing and matching pieces can also be fun. You can choose from a variety of pool furniture pieces including dining chairs, hammocks, tea carts, Adirondack chairs, dining tables, folding chairs, foot stool and more.

Outdoor dining sets can come in numerous styles such as aluminum, wrought iron, wick and rattan. Many dining sets come with matching umbrellas to help shield the sun from food and drinks. Some have circular vinyl umbrellas and other are Eastern-inspired with woven fabric and wood frames. You can choose from glass tabletops or metal tabletops, and pick table chairs with mesh fabric or removable cushioned seats.

The idea behind pool furniture is to accent your pool and construct a comfortable area to sit and enjoy everything a pool offers. Plastic pool furniture is no longer considered fashionable or even practical. Your backyard and patio should look and feel as great as your indoor rooms do. Whether it’s relaxed and casual or elegant and refined, you can find the right pool furniture to fit you and your style. A backyard and pool area should be considered and outdoor oasis for you and your family. And the right kind of pool furniture can help you achieve it.

Get Rid of Mustard Algae in a Pool

images Mustard or yellow algae is a rare form of pool algae that is more common in  warmer southern areas, but that doesn’t mean your pool won’t be infected. It’s  important, that if you spot signs of mustard algae, to act quickly and get rid of it.

 What is Mustard Algae?

Mustard algae is rare and often mistaken for sand, dirt, or a stain in your  pool.It’s not slimy like regular green algae, but it likes to attach itself to  pool walls and other items.

 

It’s also chlorine-resistant and very stubborn. It can even live outside of your swimming pool. That means pool equipment, toys, floats, and even bathing suits. If you have mustard algae, you’ll want to disinfect these items right away.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to getting rid of the algae.

1. Machine Wash Your Suits

Wash all your bathing suits in the washing machine and dry in a dryer.This should kill the algae if it has infected these items.

2. Clean Your Toys and Floats

Disinfect all toys and floats with a chlorine based solution. Clorox cleaner(not bleach) should work just fine in this case. You don’t want to bleach your toys and floats.

3. Move Equipment to Shallow End

Place all maintenance equipment, including hoses and poles, in your pool (the shallow end, if you have one). When you treat the pool with shock, this will sanitize all your equipment. You can also throw anything you think might be infected with mustard algae in the pool.

4. Vacuum The Algae OUT

Fill up your pool with fresh water to the very top. Hook up your manual vacuum cleaner (do not use an automatic vacuum for this) and turn your filter to waste, not backwash.

Mustard algae can live in your filter, so you don’t want to vacuum the algae through your system. Since you are vacuuming the water directly out of your pool, you are going to lose some water. That’s why recommend filling your pool up to the top, before you vacuum, to compensate for water loss.

5. Get Your Water Tested

Make sure your pool water is properly balanced using test strips. Your pH levels should be between 7.4 and 7.6 and your alkalinity should be between 120 and 150 ppm (parts per million). This will allow the shock treatment to be more effective.

6. Brush Your Pool

Brush the algae off your pool walls and floor using a pool brush. Also, brush the entire pool. You want to break up the algae and get it in suspension so that the chlorine from the shock can attack and destroy it.

7. Triple Shock Your Pool

Just like a regular algae-killing treatment, you want to shock the heck out of it! Three pounds per 10,000 gallons of water. Make sure you shock at dusk or nighttime, and leave your filter and pump running 24 hours a day until the algae is gone.

8. Keep Brushing

Keep brushing your pool for the next couple of days. It’s a good idea to keep your pool properly sanitized during this time.

Keep checking your pH and alkalinity levels to make sure they stay in range. You want to keep that algae from attaching itself to anything, like the walls and floor of your pool. If the algae is in suspension, you will have an easier time killing it.

9. Make Sure It’s Safe

After a couple of days, if the algae seems to be gone, it’s safe to take any toys, floats, equipment, and bathing suits out of the pool.

I would suggest shocking your pool one more time for good measure. It doesn’t have to be a triple shock, you can just use one pound of shock per 10,000 gallons. Just make sure your filter is still running and you shock at night or dusk.

10. Check and Repeat

After you’ve done your final shock treatment, it’s time to test your water and repeat if needed.

If the water chemistry is good and the water looks clear, then you should be fine for now. If, however, the pool water isn’t chemically correct, be sure to get it back where it needs to be.

How To Prevent Yellow or Mustard Algae from Growing

Keeping your pool properly balanced and sanitized is the key to keeping all forms of algae from growing. Make sure you:

  • Keep your pH, alkalinity and sanitizer levels in the correct range at all times.
  • Run your pump and filter for 8 to 12 hours a day all season long.
  • Keep your pool clean by regularly vacuuming and brushing.
  • Shock your pool every week. One pound per 10,000 gallons.
  • Keep your additional pool equipment clean including pool toys, floats, ladders, steps, diving boards, slides, solar blankets and covers.

Happy Swimming!

The Push For Pool and Spa Safety

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The pool and spa industry, manufacturers, national safety councils/leagues and departments of health and safety help homeowners understand the risks involved with pools by demonstrating what can be done to prevent incidents. Despite the many different techniques, products and materials available, everyone agrees on one issue: Layers of protection offer the best insurance.
The most important  layer pool owners should provide is caretaker caution. Many water accidents occur because one parent “thinks” the other parent is watching the child, and vice versa. Always appoint a designated poolside caretaker.

Swim classes are available across the country. National groups, local community pools and private swim instructors help people of all ages learn to swim. A surprising number of adults can’t swim, yet they enjoy their backyard pools in many other ways. Make sure you and your family members know how to swim. You don’t have to swim laps or compete with anyone; just make sure you can swim to safety.

Teaching children to swim early in life adds another layer of protection. Benefits of swimming lessons extend far beyond reducing accident risk: An early swimmer has more confidence throughout life, and the physical benefits of working young muscles in a pool are beyond comparison.

Florida’s Palm Beach County is home to some of the world’s innovators in swim instruction for infants and children. Rob McKay, president of the Lifestyle Swim School in Boca Raton, Fla., and heralded as an expert with young children, offers swimming lectures across the globe. He says several key points can determine a child’s acceptance of swimming.

“Make it fun,” he says. “Infants and toddlers have a natural love of water and water-play. Forcing can be traumatic. Fears must be overcome before children accept water as a comfortable habitat. Parents should be in the pool with their children during lessons,  he advises. “They know the child’s moods better than anyone, and it provides added security, making children relaxed and willing to participate.

Rob begins by working on above-water skills, including kicking, blowing bubbles, shimmying along the gutter and getting the face wet in playful activity. He suggests lessons be short. Learning and physical activity at these ages is tiring – 15- to 30-minute lessons is ample.

Once you know how to swim, never do it alone. A bump on the head, a mouthful of water, and other seemingly trivial events have been known to cause devastating accidents.

Carefully build your layers of protection with this advice, and with products that can help insure the safety of those you love.

Swimming Facts!

Screenshot_4One thing that I think all homeowners can agree on is that when there is a swimming pool involved, a good time is definitely in order. With this post, we want to venture outside the box a little bit. Sure we all have fun swimming in the pool, playing games, cooking out or relaxing and lounging, but tune into this post to learn about some entertaining facts that you may have never known about.

1. Elephants can swim as many as 20 miles a day — they use their trunks as natural snorkels!
2. Swimming works out all of the body’s major muscles and reduces stress.
3. The bikini swimsuit was named after a U.S. nuclear testing site in the South Pacific called Bikini Atoll.
4. The fastest and most efficient swim stroke is the crawl/ freestyle. This is always the most popular freestyle stroke.
5. As with any other type of exercise you need to stay hydrated while swimming and you need to drink water. Your core body temperature can rise as the activity increases. Your body also produces sweat as it does with other physical activity, but it is not as apparent since you are already wet.
6. An Olympic size pool depending on its size (50 meters X 25 yards or meters) can hold from 700,000 to 850,000 gallons of water.
7. An hour of vigorous swimming will burn up to 650 calories. It burns off more calories than walking or biking.
8. The first recorded swimming races were held in Japan in 36 B.C.
9. The Titanic was the first ocean liner to have a swimming pool and a gym.
10. Swim fins were invented by Benjamin Franklin.

Take note and use these interesting facts to start up a trivia game at your next pool outing or be the first one to impress your friends and family with your newly accumulated swimming pool knowledge.

Contact us when you’re ready to build a new pool or remodel your current pool. And we wish everyone, happy swimming!

Leaving your Pool During Holidays

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A very common concern we get this time of year, “I’m going on vacation, and no one will be here to take care of the pool.” As we all know, an unattended pool will not stay clear and algae free for long If you are going on vacation, or going away for a few days, there are some steps you need to take. Few things to think about before you leave the pool alone.

 

Water level is very important. If the level goes down, then the filter will not operate properly check and adjust your pH, then shock the pool water. Add a dose of swimming pool algaecide as well. Make sure to backwash, or clean the filter and pump and skimmer baskets before leaving.

The best thing to do while your away, is ask someone to pool-sit for you.  If you do give someone permission to use the pool while you are away, put all instructions in writing, so they have it handy, make available the phone number for your favorite pool service company. Just in case your pool sitter needs some help.

If you have a mesh safety cover, install it before you leave. Having a safety cover on the pool not only reduces filtration and sanitation demand, but it keeps the pool clean. Also, installing your mesh safety cover keeps fence-jumping neighborhood teenagers from using your pool, and more importantly, may prevent a tragedy from an unsupervised pool.

The most important thing about leaving your pool unattended is safety. Get a pool alarmmake sure all gates and fences are working and in good repair. Lock the gates. Remove anything around the property that can be used to help climb a fence. Chairs, storage boxes must be removed from the fence line.

Do not turn the filter system off before you go away. The filter system should run several hours per day. If you have an automatic timer, set it to allow the pool filter to run at least 8 hours per day.

If you are going to be away for more than a month, then consider “winterizing” the pool. Drain all of the equipment, lower the water level, and add a good dose of chlorine and algaecide. Then install your pool cover, and forget about until you get back.

The other alternative, is hire a local pool company to look after the pool while you are away. It’s usually not expensive, and many pool service companies offer “Vacation Pool Maintenance” and will keep an eye on things while you are away.

Give Your Swimming Pool a Resort Style make over

 

 

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Imagine walking out your back door into a luxurious outdoor sanctuary that emulates a contemporary 5-star resort too good to be true? It’s all within reach, with decorative upgrades to transform your pool into a stunning resort-style retreat.

Lighting Effects

Make your pool come alive at night and create ambiance by installing dramatic pool lighting. Try incandescent lights for a soft yellow glow or colored LED lights for energy-efficient lighting. DMX-controlled light systems with colorful fiber-optic lighting can also create a dynamic light show in your backyard.

Fire Features

Use the fireplace to create a cozy and intimate space for an evening outdoor dinner or late-night socializing, a time when the pool shifts into the aesthetic backdrop. A fire feature or fireplace creates resort-like style and beautiful soft lighting.

Beach Entry

Consider transforming one end of your pool into a beach / lagoon pool design. You can use stone, glass or ceramic tile or decorative concrete to build a pool wading ledge. Add and rock accents or waterfalls, and your backyard will feel more like an exotic escape in the tropics.

Outdoor Living Room

Every luxury resort provides lush lounging for world-class sun bathing and relaxation. Put some lounge chairs, an outdoor coffee table or even a cabana can create an upscale social space in your backyard.

Swim-Up Table

Install a table with surround seating and an umbrella where guests can escape the sun and grab a drink without getting out of the pool. Use travertine pavers and glass tile mosaics for a contemporary look with a touch of simplicity.