Have you just bought a pre-owned house with a swimming pool that was clearly not maintained well? Alternatively, have you just not kept up to date on caring for your own swimming pool? Regardless of why your pool is now green and disgusting, it’s important that you clean it up quickly to prevent further damage and keep your family from getting sick.
Restoring a neglected swimming pool takes significantly more work and time than simple pool maintenance. However, with the right tools and cleaning supplies, you’ll have a sparkling pool again in no time. Here’s how to restore your pool and get started swimming again.
Decide Whether or Not to Drain the Pool
For a severely neglected swimming pool, the best way to clean it is to drain all the water, sanitize the pool shell to kill the algae, and refill the pool. However, about the only type of swimming pool that can be completely drained safely is a gunite pool. A pool with a fiberglass shell will likely “float” out of the ground, especially if your area has a high water table. Double-check to make sure that your pool can be safely drained before you begin cleaning.
Clean the Pool Shell
Although it’s certainly easier to clean the pool shell when the water has been drained, regardless of whether you drain the water or not, you’ll need to clean the shell very thoroughly. Start by vacuuming the bottom of the pool. Once you’re done, scrub the entire shell with a rough algae brush to knock as much algae off as you can. Don’t try to vacuum up the algae–your goal is to kill the growth, not merely make it appear to go away.
Restore the Water
Once you’re done scrubbing the shell, note the pH of the water for later reference so you can balance it properly. Shock your pool at least twice with chlorine shock, refill the pool to its proper level, and turn the filter on. Leave the filter running constantly for up to five days and monitor the water to make sure it’s becoming clearer. Once the water appears clean enough, balance the pH as necessary. You’re finally ready to start swimming again!
Pro Tip: When you shock your pool to kill the algae, the pool shock you use MUST contain at least 70% chlorine. Any less will not be nearly as effective in killing the algae permanently.
Get Your Sparkling Clean Pool Back
Not only is a neglected swimming pool gross, but it also could make you or your family sick if you attempt to use it or even leave it alone for too long. Additionally, if algae and bacteria have plenty of time to grow, irreversible damage may occur. Your best course of action is to clean your pool as quickly and as thoroughly as possible and maintain that same level of cleanliness.
Join the conversation to learn more about swimming pool restoration and maintenance.
Adding a swimming pool to your backyard already gives your house a unique flare and certainly more curb appeal. Why not step it up a little? Make this new custom swimming pool as uniquely yours as possible with a few extra features. Your pool contractor will help you make your vision a reality.
Customizing Your Dream Backyard
A custom pool is designed to fit perfectly with the rest of your backyard, along with your overall home aesthetic. As part of your design, you should consider any additional custom features that appeal to you. Do any of these popular choices match your backyard design?
A fire pit, a bowl of fire, or another fire feature near your swimming pool adds an exotic atmosphere to your backyard. Imagine what an after-dark pool party would look like! As a bonus, adventurous homeowners can hold a marshmallow roasting session over an open fire without going on a long camping trip.
Fountains are always a popular way to make elegant use of water. You can replicate this on a smaller scale by adding bubblers to your pool, filling your backyard with the sound of softly splashing water. For a truly magical look, install LED lights in your bubblers and flip them on after dark.
How many people can say they’ve swum under a bridge before? If your swimming pool pinches to a narrow point, a bridge not only gives you a quick way across, but it also gives you the unique opportunity to swim underneath a bridge in your own backyard. Connect different parts of your pool or yard with an elegant bridge!
Waterfalls are a simple but elegant way to make decorative use of the water in your pool. Whether you opt for a natural-looking waterfall over a rock formation or a more modern waterfall that looks like a sheet of glass, your custom pool builder will help you find the perfect waterfall to match your overall pool aesthetic.
Pro Tip: The sound of running water is almost universally considered soothing and comforting. A waterfall gives you the chance to enjoy a relaxing sound as you swim or host a party!
Looking for a special way to entertain your kids or frequent guests? What about a pool slide? Add an equally elegant and stable stone pool slide to your design for an additional fun feature. Combine a slide with a rock waterfall for a particularly creative appearance!
Your Backyard Paradise
A custom swimming pool is a perfect addition to your unique backyard paradise, and a great way to show off your creativity in pool design. Choose some custom features from the list or talk with your swimming pool builder about your own ideas. Make your pool match your home and your personality!
Join the conversation for more custom pool design ideas.
A swimming pool on its own already adds a lot to your home. But why settle for just a typical pool? An unconventional shape or eye-catching accessories could be the perfect finishing touch to your new backyard paradise. These swimming pool ideas will help you turn your new pool into a one-of-a-kind home addition!
Popular Pool Concepts & Designs
Swimming pools come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Depending on how your backyard looks right now and your plans for any future designs, some of these pool styles may work better than others. Which of these popular ideas will look the best in your backyard?
- Uniquely shaped
Modern designs tend to focus on clean, defined shapes, particularly shapes with prominent corners or edges. A modern-style pool will likely be shaped like a rectangle and lined with a single neutral color. This clean, uniform style adds a touch of class to your backyard and is the perfect way to round out a simpler design.
For a natural-looking pool, homeowners prefer to channel a less artificial appearance. A pool in this style might be round or even serpentine in imitation of natural ponds or lakes. Add in a nearby flower garden and you have a natural pond transplanted into your backyard! A few nearby trees or a wooden pergola to shade the pool will complete the atmosphere.
Pro Tip: If plants will be growing near your pool, be diligent to scoop fallen leaves, bugs, flower petals, or other debris regularly to keep your pool filters from clogging.
This one works regardless of your final pool shape. A few strategically placed underwater LED lights give you a magical swimming experience, particularly after dark when the water illuminates from underneath. Imagine how an evening party will go with a lit-up pool!
4) Uniquely Shaped
Unconventional shapes for your pool, such as a serpentine or polygonal design, add a touch of personality to your backyard. A few particularly inventive homeowners may also consider an infinity pool, a pool where the water flows over an edge to create the illusion that the pool goes on forever or merges with the horizon. This is particularly a clever idea if your home is slightly elevated so it appears your pool ends in a waterfall. Different shapes and edging styles will give you a truly customized experience with your pool!
If you know your family, friends, or neighbors love to hold parties in your yard, why not design a pool to accommodate them? Make the pool big and deep enough for everyone to fit, and don’t forget to add an outdoor kitchen or firepit to your overall design. Encourage everyone to come straight from the pool to a meal cooked outdoors over an open fire. Your friends are sure to love the new hangout spot!
For a tropical experience in your backyard, start with a natural pool shape to mimic a tide pool on the beach. Line the shell with white or pale colors to emphasize the clear water. Lastly, if your backyard has room, add a few palm trees and beach chairs. Bring the island beach right to your house!
Completing Your Outdoor Living Space
Maybe this swimming pool is the finishing touch to your backyard, or maybe it’s just the first of many changes to your outdoor hangout spot. Whatever the case, make sure to begin this project with a good idea of what your finished pool will look like. This addition to your backyard is sure to be more than worth the wait!
Join the conversation to see other homeowners’ favorite swimming pool ideas and styles.
Swimming pools are a backyard staple for many families, providing countless hours of entertainment for kids and adults alike. However, parents should also be aware of the potential risks involved when a child spends time near an open body of water. Swimming pool safety is critical where children are involved.
Safety Rules for the Swimming Pool
Modern swimming pools are designed with the safety of their users, especially small children, in mind. However, there are still steps you can and should take to ensure that no one is hurt while enjoying a swim. A few crucial pool safety guidelines include:
- Install drain covers
- Install alarms, barriers, and covers
- Learn CPR
- Never leave children unattended
- Make sure your family can swim
1) Install Drain Covers
Suction from uncovered swimming pool drains can be difficult for even adults to escape from. For a small child, an uncovered pool drain that turns on and pulls too hard can be a deathtrap. Even if you go to a public pool, if you notice missing or broken drain covers, it’s not worth the risk. Keep your own pool’s drain covers in excellent condition and replace them immediately when necessary.
2) Install Alarms, Barriers, and Covers
Texas homeowners are required to install fences at least 4 feet tall around their private swimming pools to prevent anyone, particularly children, from accidentally falling in. While additional safety features such as alarms or pool covers are not mandatory, they make a huge difference in keeping others safe. If someone tries to get into your pool, they’ll set off an alarm and alert you to make sure everything is ok.
3) Learn CPR
Whether you have kids or not, it’s absolutely critical to know CPR and first aid for people of any age who experience an emergency in the water. It could be the difference between life and death while you wait for emergency services to arrive. Find a specialized first aid course designed for people who spend a lot of time near the water.
Pro Tip: There are a few key differences between CPR designed for adults and CPR for kids. Make sure you know the proper way to do both.
4) Never Leave Children Unattended
This rule is rather self-explanatory. Kids, especially very small kids, should never be in a swimming pool unsupervised. Even if there’s a lifeguard on duty, you should always designate a dedicated person to keep an eye on your children the entire time they’re in the pool. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
5) Make Sure Your Family Can Swim
Swimming is more than just a fun summer activity. In a large body of water, knowing how to swim or tread water is quite literally a lifesaver. Make sure your entire family can swim to the edge of the pool or keep their heads above water until someone can reach them.
Enjoy Your Pool Safely
Fortunately, most pools are designed to be safe for users of any age. With careful consideration and application of these additional swimming pool safety guidelines, parents can feel confident that their children can enjoy a swim in safety.
Join the conversation to learn more about safety features and guidelines for using your pool.
Once a pool builder has done all the hard work of installing your new swimming pool, it’s up to you to keep your new pool clean and maintained. Your pool needs regular cleaning and work as much as your house or your car. Fortunately, cleaning a swimming pool is not especially difficult. With this helpful swimming pool maintenance guide, you can easily maintain a clean, enjoyable pool for you and your family.
Pool Cleaning Checklist
Keeping your swimming pool clean and pleasant is a simple task. Between preventive work and specific cleaning tasks, your pool will stay sanitary for a long time. Check each of these tasks off during your pool cleaning session:
- Water circulation
- Cleaning the water
- Balancing your pool’s chemistry
- Shock your pool
- Scheduling your pool cleanings
1) Water Circulation
Stagnant water is the perfect place for algae to grow and for dirt to accumulate with time. You can easily avoid this unpleasant problem by making sure your pool water circulates regularly. If you’d rather not leave your pool filter running constantly, make sure to at least let it run for 10-12 hours per day regardless of whether or not your pool has been used that day. Not only will this prevent any grime from building up, but it will also keep your pool safe to swim in without getting sick from accumulating bacteria.
2) Cleaning the Water
Some contaminants in your pool water are easy enough to remove without a filter. Use a net to scoop out bugs or leaves, and vacuum your pool about once a week.
Don’t forget about the subtler contaminants too. Sunscreen, makeup, or sweat can leave an oily film on the top of your pool water. Get rid of the oil with specially designed oil absorbers or tennis balls floating in your pool for about a day to absorb the excess.
3) Balancing Your Pool’s Chemistry
This step is crucial to maintaining the proper level of chemicals in your pool water. During your weekly pool skimming session, sample the water and test its pH and chlorine levels. Add more chemicals as needed to keep your pool water clean and safe.
Pro Tip: Different pool chemical kits come with different contents. Before you buy one, talk to your pool contractor for their expert input on how to maintain your swimming pool’s chemistry.
4) Shock Your Pool
Despite your best efforts, sometimes your pool just needs a thorough cleaning. Maybe a pool party left your water looking oily, or maybe the filter broke down temporarily. Whatever the case, a quick shock to your pool can help. Shocking your pool refers to adding especially strong cleaning chemicals and allowing the pump to run overnight (approximately 8 hours) to circulate the shock through all the water. It’s generally best to do this at night since the heat and light from the sun will not react well with pool shock.
5) Scheduling Your Pool Cleanings
Generally, pool owners should perform a basic pool cleaning every week, and a more thorough inspection and shock every month. However, your circumstances may mean another schedule works better. If your pool is used on a near-daily basis, it may need a surface cleaning two to three times a week and a thorough scrub twice a month. On the other hand, a seldom-used pool can go longer between cleanings. Consider how often your pool is used and how clean or dirty it’s left afterward. How often does it need a thorough cleaning?
A Clean Pool is a Happy Pool!
A newly cleaned swimming pool is not only more sanitary for your family, but it also simply looks more appealing. With crystal clear water and a freshly sanitized pool filter, your backyard swimming space is at its best right after cleaning. Take advantage of this swimming pool maintenance guide to help you keep it that way.
Connect with us for more tips on keeping your pool clean and appealing.
Don’t be put off by the high price of a new swimming pool. Even if you don’t have all the money just laying around, you can still find a way to build the swimming pool of your dreams. The addition could even increase your home’s resale value! Let’s look at a few options for financing a swimming pool.
Financing a swimming pool starts with deciding which style of pool you want. Once you know the ultimate price tag and the annual maintenance costs, it’s time to put money down on the project. Pool loans can take many forms, but these are the best choices for most homeowners:
- Unsecured pool loans
- Home equity loans
- Home equity lines of credit
- Cash-out refinancing
1) Unsecured Pool Loans
A “pool loan” is simply a personal loan. However, because it is an unsecured loan, lenders are more reluctant to grant one and often charge significantly higher interest fees. Additionally, the maximum allowable amount for a personal loan is usually far too low to cover a swimming pool project. Unless you’re building a very small pool, an unsecured pool loan is not your best choice.
2) Home Equity Loans
A home equity loan, sometimes called a second mortgage, allows you to borrow a lump sum of money at a predetermined interest rate. You generally have around 10 years to repay the loan. While this does keep your interest payments low, it also means that once you’ve taken out the loan, any additional pool expenses (such as additional pool features) come out of your pocket or require a second loan.
3) Home Equity Lines of Credit
Also known as a HELOC, this type of loan works like a secured credit card. You need only to make payments or withdrawals as you need the money. While a HELOC can bring some additional fees, some lenders will allow you to pay interest at a fixed rate to minimize surprise costs.
Pro Tip: A home equity loan or line of credit often comes with tax-deductible interest! When you apply for a swimming pool loan, see what potential savings your lender offers.
4) Cash-Out Refinancing
This loan adds the required amount onto your home mortgage, allowing you to pay for the pool almost immediately. While this is perhaps one of the simpler financing methods, you do have to meet stricter standards to qualify and will often pay higher interest rates. This is the best choice if your project is time-sensitive. If you can wait a little while, try another method.
Paying for Your Swimming Pool
The high price of a pool shouldn’t be the reason you give up on what you want. With a little strategic financing of your swimming pool, you can still afford to add this valuable feature to your home and enjoy it for years to come.
Connect with us to learn more about planning and purchasing a new pool.