The vital importance of quality steel, concrete, and plumbing
There are many options to consider when buying a concrete swimming pool. Do you want free form or geometric shape? Concrete deck or natural stone? A spa or a tanning ledge? These are only a few of the many considerations you’ll make when planning your pool. But before any of these more engaging design elements come into play, your swimming pool builder has to lay a stable foundation.
The important thing to remember is this: Saving money on an initial pool purchase by cutting corners on construction is never worth it. Investing in the life span of your pool’s structural integrity with quality materials can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars (not to mention stress and time) in the long run!
Stay one step ahead of the game with this look at 3 Reasons Swimming Pool Builders Should Never Cut Corners: The vital importance of quality steel, concrete and plumbing.
1. The critical nature of a steel “schedule”
Steel is the “skeletal system” of your pool—a critical part of a lasting, quality concrete shell that will hold water for years to come. A steel “schedule” refers to the way in which steel bars are measured, gauged, and laid. Within the pool industry, there are accepted practices for using a reliable steel schedule.
After excavation takes place (the “dig”), a lattice of steel bars is carefully laid that will form the backbone for the entire pool structure. The integrity of this steel cage is vital to the long-term life of your pool. Your pool builder should make sure they are using steel bars that are both thick enough and used frequently enough throughout the pool. Some local building departments require official steel inspections to ensure correct spacing and bar thickness, but not all jurisdictions do.
Skimping on steel may result in a less stable foundation with greater opportunities for cracks and leaks over time. It is critically important to go with a pool builder who will use an appropriate steel schedule that extends the life of your pool.
2. The importance of concrete floors and walls
If you think of steel as the skeletal system for a pool, you can think of concrete as muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Your pool’s steel structure serves as a scaffold for incoming concrete (gunite or shotcrete) that will form the pool shell. The two function together and are highly dependent on each other, just like your skeletal system and musculature.
After a pool contractor lays the steel, they bring in concrete and—using a high-pressure hose—shoot it into the steel lattice. This duo of integrated steel and concrete is what will form your pool’s shell. Typically, this concrete will be about 6 inches thick, but it may vary based on pool size, shape, and depth. While certain municipalities regulate the thickness of pool concrete, in most cases this decision is up to your pool builder.
Is it possible to save money by shooting thinner concrete and using a shorter project schedule? Absolutely. But a concrete shell that’s not as thick as it should be may result in a weaker pool shell with higher risk of failure. Cutting this corner is nowhere near worth it in the long run!
Choose long-term enjoyment of your backyard resort by hiring a swimming pool company that is committed to ensuring quality concrete walls and floors in your pool project.
3. The value of good pool plumbing
If your steel is the skeletal structure for your pool, and your concrete is the musculature, then your pool’s plumbing is the cardiovascular system—the very heart of your pool that keeps everything functioning.
The pipes in your pool are crucial to good sanitation and water quality; they help circulate water from the pool to the pump and heater and back into the pool, keeping the water clean, filtered, and heated. Choosing the correct pipe size and number of return lines (pipes going to and from your pool to the pump and heater) is essential. The right choices by your builder will ensure that your pool operates efficiently and brings your family years of enjoyment.
On the other hand, plumbing that’s undersized (to save a few bucks) limits the flow of water throughout your pool. The consequence: Poor water flow. Poor water flow forces your pool’s pump to work harder—burning out the motor faster and incurring hundreds of dollars in repair or replacement costs.
Don’t undervalue good pool plumbing; invest in a pool from a quality builder who will use the right options to keep the heart of your pool “pumping” for a long time to come!
The bottom line? Don’t simply go with the bottom line! There is always a happy median when you choose to build a pool: Don’t take the lowest quote to save upfront costs at the risk of sacrificing quality and costly problems later. When discussing pricing with your builder, make sure your quote includes the best options to maintain the integrity and longevity of your pool. What you may spend up front can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars later on.
For more information on building a quality pool, visit http://www.bluehaven.com/national-office-directory, and reach out your local Blue Haven Pools office.