There are many advantages to considering an inground swimming pool. Vinyl liner pools are typically the first category of swimming pools that truly allows you to customize your investment and is hands down the most popular within the Mid-Atlantic region. But it's not the only category! read more
Please take a moment to view our photo gallery which is always a work in progress. These swimming pools are local to the Tidewater area and were built for people just like yourself. Look closely at a timeline of a recent tear out & rebuild to see the exact quality Mid-Atlantic Pools represents. view
Pricing and Financing
What does a new in-ground swimming pool cost? With a free, no-obligation consultation, a designer from your local Mid-Atlantic office can give you an exact, written quote for a pool customized for your backyard.
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Swimming pools are more than just about digging a hole in your backyard, tiling it and pouring water in it. Gone are the days of the Encino Man - remember that opening scene where the teens decided to build one in their backyard during summer break, the dig that led them to discover the frozen Brendan Fraser? Most folks think it's that easy but don't get confused by reality and movie magic.
I personally think that idea was thoughtful but that's what movies are for you. They peak your imagination although in real-life it does not happen that way. Swimming pool construction is a lot like building a house. You have to have a solid foundation and build it up from there.
As technology moves forward so does the techniques in pool construction. Anyone who has their own swimming pool knows that once they have decided to get one, shopping for it is nothing like going to the store and getting a new appliance or replacing an old coffee machine. You can't just pick what you want from the shelves.
Swimming pools takes a team with precision to be able to build a safe, sturdy and hygienic swimming pool. As co-owner of one of the best known pool contractors in Virginia I'd like to suggest the following regarding whether or not to consider building your own:
- Swimming pools are custom-built. It cannot be bought from the shelf nor is it something you can pick out from a catalogue. There are various things to consider such as available space, quality of soil and safety.
- Get in touch with at least 3-4 contractors before making your decision on whom to hire. Put in consideration their track record and portfolio. Once you've decided on a contractor, get in touch with them in person and ask them to give you proper estimates based on their actual measurements of your place. Have them lay out your options from financing, materials, scheduling, safety precautions, maintenance, warranties etc.
- Ask a lot of questions to your chosen contractor even if you think it might be trivial, ask away. There are no dumb questions.
- Don't shop based on the price. Yes, we all understand that pricing is crucial but you also have to consider the quality of the project. You wouldn't want to have a pool that will later turn into a liability because of poor construction, right?
- Don't make assumptions that there are peak and off-peak season for building swimming pools. Whether its summer, spring, fall or winter building pools is no easy task and as days and months go on the prices of construction materials will vary. Don't rely on the information you got from your next door neighbor. It's a good comparison but swimming pools whether Inground or above ground are all custom-built, the contract price would likely differ from that of your neighbor.
- Focus on the mechanics and technical aspects. Ask your contractor about the stuff they are using and how they plan to build it. Remember, function and safety are always a first priority but don't forget the full scope of your project as aesthetics will always be what everyone sees.
It’s that time of year and inground swimming pools are extremely popular in both Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, Virginia. As I have said before, both vinyl liner and fiberglass swimming pools are built in higher frequency over concrete within the Mid-Atlantic region.
So not to exclude Gunite or Shotcrete pools I believe and understand that they too have their place. In all honestly, I could drive between one to three hours west and north from my area and find that they are more common over vinyl or fiberglass. I’ve written about regional trends before and don’t know how to best explain it other than to say that specific swimming pool equipment and materials gain a following depending upon where you live. It is my opinion that materials often times reflect upon financial demographics but that’s not to say that you can't have a quality swimming pool at a lower price point.
I am constantly meeting potential consumers who rely on what they read from the internet to influence their decision before I sit down with them. This is where I love my job because I see myself more of a consultant than a salesperson which I think is a dirty word. I don’t sell swimming pools, period! I take the time to methodically educate my clients as to the pro’s and con’s of each type of swimming pool available. It just so happens that my company offers and builds fiberglass, vinyl and concrete pools which is everything available in today’s market. That fact tends to relax our potential client and at least allow them to open up to the idea that what they read somewhere might not be the truth.
For example; vinyl liner pools need to have their liner replace every 4 to 5 years and can cost up to $6,000 each time it is replaced. That’s false and I can quickly share with you why that is. What makes more sense? A fiberglass installer writing an article about a type of material that they don’t install to throw out false truths or could it be that there is a vinyl liner installer who wanted to write something to scare you about the product that supports their livelihood? Well I have opinion as fiberglass pools are typically $4,500 to $8,000 more expensive on their initial price point over vinyl liner pools. So if I could make you believe that’s how much a liner change costs then I might have a better chance at convincing you to go with fiberglass. The fact is that our company can do a liner change on your average swimming pool for just under $2,000 dollars and our average client will go between 10 to 14 years before needing it performed. By that time you probably won’t even be in the same home and even if you were you might be ready for a mini-makeover anyway.
To be perfectly fair I want to site an example for fiberglass; I hear that they “spider crack” which in my experience is just not the case. Yes, I have seen fiberglass shells crack but 9 times out of 10 it got down to installer error. In those rare cases it always occurred at the top of the pool near the lip which just so happens to get buried in concrete once the pool is completely installed. I’m not one to place blame on any one particular builder but I know what I know through experience and you gain experience by making mistakes. The difference here is that I am willing to admit that I’ve made mistakes but I also corrected them while learning. So aside from a builder picking up a wide pool incorrectly and causing it to get pinched at the top I can't say that I’ve never seen a quality fiberglass swimming pool crack, ever! But please be careful, there are still a few small manufacturers who really need not be in business as their finished product give the fiberglass industry a bad reputation.
These are just two examples of what I explain to my clients when I go through a proper consultation. In addition to explaining all the joys of swimming pool ownership our company will take the time with each and every client to draw their swimming pool in 3D and in full color! Once the art work is completed our clients can easily move the swimming pool around to see how it will look in different locations before every placing a pen to contract. In just a few short clicks of a mouse we can change your concrete walkways to pavers or change the colors and patterns to anything within the design.
Furthermore, our proposals are fully transparent. Our staff will take the time to show you a detailed list of materials along with their actual cost in addition to our labor and profit margins. Purchasing a swimming pool shouldn’t be like buying a car where you’re left guessing whether or not you are getting a fair deal. We believe that by showing our profit margins we could lose a client who might think that we are making too much money but often times our clients are highly educated and understand that we are in business. So what’s to hide? Mid-Atlantic Pools does this for its clients because we want you to know what to expect from a truly professional company. So before you believe what you read on the internet or might have heard from a horse’s mouth I want to personally invite you to give our office a call for a no-pressure meeting of the minds. Let us build your pool and take the stress of what to expect off of your shoulders.
Homeowners often call upon swimming pool builders to discuss their interest in having a swimming pool erected or built at their private residence. They trust that the builder they are dealing with is professional, licensed and insured but some of those items can be subject to interpretation especially when it comes to professionalism. I can cover that topic in another article so for now, lets discuss what you should do to prepare before meeting with anyone.
To start, I always recommend calling the utility locators out to your home to mark where all of the underground utilities are located on your property. This way when you meet with a potential builder they can see exactly what they are up against. Knowing ahead of time that your power and gas lines are outside of the proposed construction site ahead of time can give you a clear piece of mind. In the event they are located where you don’t want them you can at least begin to call the utility companies directly and get pricing to have them safely moved. It’s helpful to have all costs associated with building your project in hand before making a final decision and moving underground utilities is some times part of that consideration.
Second; in most cases the builder is going to need a site plan of the property that shows all of your property lines as well as the placement of your home. A site plan, also known as a survey, will usually be stamped with some sort of seal from the office in which it was generated. Site plans often include setbacks and easements that can give your potential builder a glimpse into whether or not your project can easily proceed forward without much difficulty. Easements for example are usually recorded restrictions as to what you can and cannot do with your property. The most common easements are given to utility companies and drainage for purpose of right of way which can limit you especially if your property is small in size.
Those are just a few examples of what you can do to help a professional builder help you and they’re things that almost no builder can guess the answers to. There are a few builders that will call the utility locator companies for you but even with that, having a certified site plan in hand is almost always necessary and is something that no builder will do for you without the security of a contract in hand.
At Mid-Atlantic Pools we take pride in the fact that our clients have every option available to them when it comes to buying a swimming pool. Whether you’re considering an above or below ground Vinyl, Fiberglass or Concrete pool we want our clients to have a choice but do yourself a favor; with a little preparation beforehand and you could save yourself both time and money.
Maybe I should have retitled this article as “Swimming Pools 102” because I really don’t want you walking away with just the basics or someone else’s opinion. There must be thousands of articles that discuss one brand of swimming pool or another. Some tell you to go with an above ground swimming pool while others state that below ground is the only way to splash around in your back yard. So what’s the truth and which is better? The answer is both!
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the luxury of private aqua activity in the comfort and privacy of your very own back yard. The fact of the matter is that it’s your pool and you shouldn’t necessarily be persuaded as to what is best for you. Both above and below ground swimming pools have their advantages and disadvantages, just know the differences between what’s available on the market before making your purchase.
Above ground swimming pools are comparatively the most affordable at face value. There are different levels of material quality currently available, some offering aluminum wall structure and others being manufactured out of steel. The materials can have different levels of thickness and sometimes it gets down to “you get what you pay for”. I am not the industry expert when it comes to above ground swimming pools although I have learned allot about the product options over the years. What frustrates me most is when I see creative advertising that the consumer may not really understand what they are reading or seeing. The best example I have was when I saw an advertisement stating that the liner was “20 gauge” which was misleading. Vinyl Liners are measured in “mils”, metals are “gauged”. The most common vinyl liner thickness for above ground pools is around 12 mils, an inground swimming pool is typically 20 mils. So when I saw the ad I thought to myself, “that’s a thick liner”, then I realized what they had done with creative wording. Though I can’t “gauge” a liner, a comparable thickness would be about 12mil, the thickness of a typical standard above ground vinyl liner.
I’ve seen above ground pools advertised for between $999 upwards to $10,000 and there’s no one answer to the difference in price. Quality of materials and size are two of the biggest contributors but don’t forget to familiarize yourself with the filtration equipment. A great swimming pool equipped with lousy filtration equipment is in my opinion a lousy swimming pool.
That statement holds true for inground swimming pools whether they’re made of concrete, fiberglass or vinyl liner. Inground swimming pools are typically at least twice the cost of your most expensive above ground pool so cost can certainly be a drawback to some. Most people find inground swimming pools more aesthetically pleasing to the eye but I believe beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As I said in the beginning, every pool has both advantages and disadvantages. Above ground swimming pools have given hundreds of thousands if not millions of people personal and private enjoyment for decades. If this is what is within your budget and you want to take a plunge then go for it and don’t look back!
Anyone who is in the swimming pool industry can probably remember the first time they had to determine how much it was going to cost them to build the project before they even thought of proposing a cost to the client. I do; it took me four days of combing through lists of materials and triple checking everything in fear of missing something big that would cost me a fortune and ultimately make my efforts worth near nothing. Once I had those costs it took me another three days to put something together that I thought was professional enough to present to the client. That was allot of effort to end up without the contract and I would go through at least twenty more similar rituals before finally landing my first piece of business.
It didn’t take me long to realize that calling distributors every time I needed a quote wasn’t going to work for me, it was a waste of their time as well as mine. I set out to create a list of commonly used materials that I could refer to every time I needed to bid on a project. It turns out there was about one hundred and eleven such common items and with that information I was on my way to ridding my dependency of distributors who make you wait for a return call with their quote just so I could prepare mine.
I sat down to read the latest edition of “Excel for Dummies” and began building my first spread sheet. I compared my list of materials to factory build sheets that included more than one hundred typical swimming pools built in kit form. It took me weeks to comb through each list of materials and when it was all done I had the strongest sales tool I could have ever imagined. The spread sheet not only allowed me to account for every nut and bolt needed to build a swimming pool but my labor costs as well as my overhead were also included. I had even taken the time to go through each of those one hundred plus pools and calculate the minimum amount of concrete needed to create a standard three foot concrete apron. Nothing was left unaccounted for.
There are many advantages of being able to bid proficiently; you can’t even begin to imagine the freedom such a tool can offer you. Any time the cost of a nut or bolt changes you can instantly go into a program and change the price of that one item when needed. Every pool programmed will raise or lower its total instantly and across the board. You could have the freedom of sitting down with a potential client and knowing to the penny whether or not you could build a swimming pool profitably without jeopardizing your profit margins. Better yet, it’s a tool that can allow you to gauge what your competition is doing. Learn over time if they are bidding like a healthy company or one that is desperate to stay in business.
Having those answers as a small company, any sized company for that matter is a critical competitive advantage. Learning what to do with that information takes experience, experience that Mid-Atlantic Pools has spent the last ten years developing to help you become a successful company within the swimming pool industry. This information is beyond Small Business 101 but under our program we will work with you until you fully understand everything that has made us what we are today; a series of small and profitable construction companies that are filled with happy families.
To learn more just click on our Franchising Link found above and apply today to become a member or the Mid-Atlantic Pools team!
Residential in-ground swimming pools have become a combination of safety, affordability and aesthetics for Mid-Atlantic Pools and our customers. Paver stones can usually bring all three of those points together so before you commit to a standard or upgraded stamped concrete walkway I hope you’ll take a moment to read through this article.
When you sit down to discuss your new pool project try to take a little time to get to know who you might hire. Determine if they are not only qualified to handle your project but if they have you and your family’s best interest at heart before handing them your business. Having had consulted with hundreds of homeowners over the years I can attest that each potential customer usually has something unique for me to consider as a professional contractor. For some it may be accessibility to the construction area and my biggest concern would be whether or not I can get all of the necessary equipment into the back yard of a home. For most however the biggest question I have had to answer is how to provide best quality and value that can hold up to the test of time while not becoming a regret afterwards. This is where paver stone patios and walkways come in to play, it not only answers questions regarding safety and aesthetics but they often become the long term solution to affordability.
Broom finish concrete offers affordability and grip when looking at purchasing a new inground swimming pool. It allows you to purchase volume at a relatively low price and for those of you with children and elderly persons in your family it will offer the most skid resistant surface to help prevent slips and falls when installed correctly. The downsides to standard concrete are many however; cracking and chipping is a normal characteristic to concrete and over time it is also proned to staining. It is not uncommon for us to go in and replace standard concrete when remodeling a swimming pool in as little as 10 to 15 years because of these issues that come up from time to time. I also noted that it can be the most skid resistant “when installed correctly” which leaves room for error; there have been cases when broom finish concrete has become unsafe to walk on and either requires to be resurfaced or torn out completely and installed again. This not only costs time and money but who wants that headache at the end of a project that might have already taken months to complete?
Stamp concrete has somehow become the go to solution to dress up residential swimming pools and even our company offered it for a brief period of time. When installed correctly with good color selection it can be beautiful but there are drawbacks to stamp concrete that are not easily fixed, if at all. First, stamp concrete is colored with bags of dye that are mixed inside the truck on site while the material is still wet. So if you have an unusually large project that requires more than one truck load of concrete mix you risk having problems before the job is even poured. This gets down to basic chemistry so if the volumes in each truck are not 100% identical you probably will run into color match issues. I’m not trying to say that it’s not impossible to match two loads of raw material but take into consideration some basic facts as to what it takes to make that happen. Matching raw material requires identical sand, stone and Portland to be added to each truck plus identical amounts of water that are both at the same temperature and humidity. So even if that is accomplished you still have to be able to pour identical amounts of dye to each truck which is difficult at best. So let’s say all that is accomplished; what if the concrete cracks and a portion of it needs to be replaced? Let’s say it doesn’t crack; the biggest problem I personally ran into with stamped concrete around swimming pools is safety. The final product is just too slippery around swimming pools, bottom line. I have used professional contractors that have poured small glass beads into the sealant to help produce the much needed texture but it was always inconsistent and never produced the level of grip that would give you confidence while walking on it. Our company offered stamp concrete for less than a full season before taking it out of our options list; we would rather risk losing a potential client than run the risk of our clients hurting themselves. We believe in our decision that firmly.
Paver stones on the other hand don’t have any of these issues. The final products are poured in a factory controlled environment and come in various textures, shapes, sizes and colors. Pavers can last decades without issue and even if one were to arise they are easily replaced or repaired. Mid-Atlantic Pools will only install paver walkways and patios on top of a 4” concrete slab with a minimum rating of 3,500 psi. This practice prevents settling and pumping of the ground beneath the stones and is performed to provide our customers with years of trouble free enjoyment. In the rare case an area needs repair our company can go in and remove only the stones necessary and often times reuse the same stones once the repair is completed. Not only does this remove color match issues it offers peace of mind that your landscape project can truly mature over time with minimal interruption, if at all. Paver stones can be mixed and match both in texture and color to provide a final product that is truly as unique as your imagination but what’s most important is that you will never have to worry about an unsafe or slippery surface to walk on ever again. When comparing price you will find that pavers do cost more than broom finish but less than your stamp concrete options. When comparing final aesthetics and safety we at Mid-Atlantic Pools feel that there is no room for argument, paver stones will always win!
When I think of small business a vision of a woman proudly overlooking her small factory while sipping on a cup of coffee comes to mind from all of those banking commercials I see on TV. Or there’s the one of that man who left his office in his six figure luxury car to head to the mountains just to stand in a river and fish for trout. It’s the American dream to own a business and run a successful company and I believe there is nothing wrong with dreaming! What I don’t like about all these commercials that fill our heads with visions is that they never have enough time to explain what it took to get to that level of bliss. There is a level of sacrifice that every entrepreneur and small business owner is willing to make in pursuit of their dreams. For some it may be financial with an initial or ongoing injection of capital and for others it may be precious time with family and friends. One thing is certain; everyone who takes the big step of owning and running a business never starts out thinking that they won’t succeed.
Many who get involved in the swimming pool industry usually start out as teenagers and young adults who work for other professional pool companies. They learn the trade through on the job training and spend years perfecting their skill. It’s somewhat typical for the best tradesmen to want to earn a better living through running their own company and there’s nothing wrong with that process. But what they often don’t realize is everything that is involved in the back end of a company to make it successful. Knowing your trade is easy compared to everything else that brings a company together. There are the legalities of incorporating, getting proper licensing, obtaining tax identification numbers and insurance just for starters. So let’s say you get past all of that and you’re ready to meet with your first customer; are your contracts properly written to meet state and local guidelines? Is your advertising in place and did you absolutely get the best price before paying a professional company to handle it for you? What about your phone and fax system or your bookkeeping software? There is allot to consider for anyone who wants to get into business but sadly these technical issues that hold a business together are often the ones that prevent many from succeeding beyond two to three years after opening. It doesn’t matter if you graduated high school, college or even retired from a previous career; small business is the hardest profession on earth but it can also be the most rewarding.
The swimming pool industry holds tens of thousands of small business models throughout the United States. Some are focused on residential and commercial new construction while others may prefer the remodeling, repair and maintenance of those swimming pools that already exist. Our industry in our opinion has to be one of the most rewarding small businesses to consider especially if you love the outdoors. Sure it’s hard work but where else can take a flat canvas and convert it into a beautifully landscaped recreational facility in less than three month that offers a combination of water, natural stone and luscious landscaping? What’s even more intriguing about our industry is that there is plenty of room for business minded people to own their own company who know little to nothing about swimming pool construction and maintenance; it’s truly a matter of who you know, the "what" comes over time.
Mid-Atlantic Pools creates the power and presence demanded in the swimming pool industry that few will ever achieve because of its organization and masterful negotiating skills. We offer our franchisees an opportunity but we cautiously avoid claiming any guarantee because your level of success is truly dependent upon your commitment to our industry. There’s something to be said for every small business that approaches their first client. At the end of that first appointment what really matters is who will walk away with the deal and be open tomorrow to talk about it. Consider increasing those odds by becoming a Mid-Atlantic Pools Franchised Company.
In our current economy we find ourselves reeling in our "wants" and focusing more on just our needs. As Americans, we still dream and therefore want certain things now that we'd rather not wait for. So what if your neighbor paid $35,000 for a swimming pool last year and I showed you how to get the same exact pool for $25,000 or less, would you listen?
New Construction Swimming Pool costs haven't necessarily been slashed but it does help when you have someone on your side should you decided to do it yourself. First things first, do your research on what's the best Pool Design might be for you and your family. Then determine if you can find a fiberglass pool factory as close to you as possible, drop yards don't count / read why in previous articles.
Okay, so you've done some of your homework by now. Hopefully you have determined what you want to buy and whether or not your local permitting office will allow that particular type of pool installed at your residence. Now what? Some factories say they will sell factory direct but ultimately they want to see you hire a professional pool contractor to have the shell installed. As you can expect, the factory has a list of those professionals they want you to use within arm's reach. Keep in mind that many factories won't honor their own warranty if you truly Do-It-Yourself, so consider the alternatives before moving forward.
You have to know quite a bit when it comes to installing a fiberglass pools, they are not as easy as they look. Imagine trying to install a bathtub in your existing home, getting it through the door can be quite a challenge. Now imagine that bath tub being nearly 40 feet in length; aside from all of the obstacles getting that tub within a quarter of an inch within level all of the way around is a major task. There are a lot of tricks that are hard to describe and quite frankly I don't know if I've ever seen them online either written or photographed. You certainly need to have the confidence to perform this task on your own or at least have the gumption to know who to turn to when you need something. Here are a few examples of sub-contractors and suppliers typically used in a fiberglass swimming pool installation:
1.Excavator / preferably one with his own dump trucks to haul away your extra dirt.
2.Sand or stone yards for floor preparation
3.Crane or boom truck to hoist the pool into position. Need 10,000 pound straps and chains + spreader bars if your swimming pool is more than 14 feet wide.
4.Electrician familiar with pool bonding. Check with your permit office and check up on your local requirements thoroughly.
5.Bob Cat or what I call a skid steer to help you back fill your Over Dig.
6.Cement contractor / preferably one that is experienced with swimming pools. They have the most experience in pouring cantilevers and knowing how far back your hand rail or ladder anchors need to be installed.
7.Landscaper to perform final grade if needed. They usually have a Harley Rake which will do the best job.
8.Last but not least, the fence contractor. FENCES ARE MADE TO KEEP YOUR POOL SAFE! Not to annoy you, but do not try to skimp on safety when it comes to your new swimming pool.
Now if you know who's who in the contracting world and all of the above mentioned sounds like perfectly clear English to you then you shouldn't have a problem moving forward with a little bit of guidance. But where are you going to obtain this guidance? Most swimming pool contractors aren't set up for Factory Direct Programs nor do they want you to do it yourself, that's what they are in business for. But if you look hard, there are a few and this is where we come in to play. With a properly placed factory direct program you can cut the middle man out of everything. If you play your cards right you can even purchase your swimming pool equipment at wholesale pricing in addition to everything else. Contact Mid-Atlantic Pools today for a free in-home consultation and let us help you purchase factory direct!
Dealing with heavy ground water conditions can sometimes be a nightmarish ordeal to a professional pool builder but it is easily resolved with experience. Building in solid clay normally provides very dry working conditions but in this article we will explore how it can create an ongoing headache for the homeowner long after the project is complete.
It's true, no matter where I have tried to build a below ground pool in Smithfield, Virginia I have had to deal with clay. I wish I could say that we have a clay soil mix but what little earthy soil I've found in my area wouldn't even be enough for a single potted plant. Smithfield clay is so bad that the deeper you go the worse it gets. I lovingly refer to our soil as art clay, those solid and moldable gray blocks you would get in a high school art class to sculpt a flower pot. For the professional pool contractor dry clay isn't necessarily a bad thing as long as they carefully excavate the shelf for the walls to sit on perfectly level. Otherwise the simplest repair is proven difficult whether they need to shave an inch or raise its elevation ever so slightly. Dealing with the leveling of a swimming pool wall structure isn't necessarily a long term concern especially when it is dealt with before the concrete footer is poured.
Clay presents a problem during the build if your job site endures extensive rain and no one prepared for ground water ahead of time. In a previous article I describe a few scenarios of how to deal with ground water from between two and four feet below ground level and again from four feet and deeper. It is the latter that I always consider when building in solid clay. By over digging the deep end by at least two feet and filling it up with stone you allow yourself an opportunity to bury a well point horizontally. Normally I will take a section of Schedule 40 PVC, cap it on one end and connect the other with flexible spa hose to allow it to be easily bent up the deep end side wall and underneath the installed wall. Before I burry the PVC I will take a ¼ inch drill bit and punch about twenty to thirty holes in a staggered fashion along the length of the rigid pipe. This acts as a pool builders well point in most cases as the traditional premade ones with fine slits tend to easily clog. Realize that there is no easy way to get to your well point after construction if it fails; therefore you are better off considering this tip based on experience.
So you now have a well point and it may have cost you an extra twelve hundred dollars in material. You may find yourself hating this article if it never rains during construction but if it does both you and your pool contractor will be happy to have it in place. Rainy construction days weren't the purpose of this article however, its post construction that I worry about when dealing with my clay in Smithfield. It's a little difficult to explain but no matter how long you let the over dig settle after backfilling your new pool it will never be the same. The clay has been disturbed and ground water will always seek the path of least resistance. Even years later that path will always be the back filled area around a pool that the water finds.
The true nuisance is the soaking rains that are followed by one or more gully washers. If and when that ground water finds the path of least resistance it never takes much of it to cause a vinyl liner to float or for a fiberglass pool to shift ever so slightly. For a vinyl liner pool that magic number could be as little as a few thousand gallons of water that finds its way around the walls of your pool before you risk the floating of a liner. And if that liner floats and goes unattended for even the shortest period of time you may find yourself replacing it when it stretches and won't fit into its original place.
Sometimes preparation for worst case scenarios can cost you what seems like an unnecessary expense. But in the case of preparing for dry ground my twelve hundred dollar investment has saved me and my clients tens of thousands of dollars in liner repairs and/or replacement. A well point will help you pull that extra water out from behind your swimming pool structure but what you really want to prevent damage is to learn how to control it even when you sleep.
Preparing to build a new swimming pool can be a challenge especially when weighing all of the stories that your neighbors will tell you. Vinyl liners are frequently replaced and fiberglass pools float are the two most popular I routinely hear but one thing is true, fiberglass pools can and will float.
Floating fiberglass pools in Virginia Beach never made any sense, not when I sold or installed them professionally. It is true that when the pool tub has its plumbing fully installed that you basically have a boat sitting in your back yard, but after doing the math floating makes no sense. The smallest fiberglass pool that our company typically installed held about 11,000 gallons of water which is approximately 91,799 pounds holding it down. Then it happened, I witnessed a fiberglass pool literally float off of the ground before my very eyes. This article is more for the person considering installing a fiberglass pool for themselves or even another pool professional looking for a good laugh.
Before we get carried away let me share that the excavated hole for which this floating pool sat was solid clay. If you have read any of my other pool related articles then you might already know that this situation closely follows the theme of "Swimming Pools and Smithfield Clay" but I'll admit that in this case we didn't follow our own advice. Yes it's true, even the pro's can make a goof and I'm not shy about sharing my mistakes to help you from doing the same. Luckily the truth doesn't hurt too much, there was no permanent damage and it cost me and my company less than a thousand dollars to repair.
Two days from the day we broke ground our fiberglass pool arrived. Normally I wouldn't advise preparing a fiberglass floor several days in advance but the location to this particular project was very remote. We prepared the floor with a two inch compacted surface of masonry sand which was probably mistake number one as we should have used pea gravel in this scenario. The second mistake was not installing a well point in the deep end of the hole as I almost always suggest whether ground water is present or not. The problem arose after the fiberglass tub was installed and our crew began to backfill the project with washable sand fill. During the backfilling process of a fiberglass pool it is always recommended that you use water to wash in the sand. The water accelerates the compacting process and helps the material reach voids around the pool walls to secure it into place. As you can imagine it takes allot of water to wash in sixty tons of sand. In a hole made of clay the water had nowhere to escape to fast enough, had we installed a well point this wouldn't have been a problem. Also, filling the swimming pool tub at a faster rate would have offset the water being held in the hole but in this story we didn't do either. A simple error of getting carried away with the backfilling process and failing to pay attention to physics caused the fiberglass tub to literally lift off of the prepared floor. Before realizing what had happened our perfectly level swimming pool now sat a full six inches higher than where it started. There is only one way to safely fix a goof of this magnitude and it requires a crane for half of a day and allot of physical labor to remove all of the material we so impatiently washed underneath the pool.
So there you have it, fiberglass pools can and do float in Virginia Beach.