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There are many options available to today’s consumer when selecting materials for a swimming pool.
Gunite has long been a popular choice because it is highly durable and it can be used to create a swimming pool in practically any shape. Gunite pools utilize a rebar framework sprayed over with a concrete and sand mixture. This method is preferable over traditional poured concrete that uses a wooden framework to hold the shape of the basin. Gunite is exceedingly durable ensuring that swimming pools made of this substance are built to last. 

The versatility added to swimming pool design is a major benefit as it provides designers with the ability to create an unlimited array of shapes. Gunite pools also allow designers and homeowners the ability to select from a variety of finishes and coordinate theswimming pool finish with the rest of the outdoor living area. Plaster finishes come in an array of shades that can be coordinated with the pool decking of your choice. There is also the option of utilizing a pebble aggregate finish for a truly unique, high-end feel for your swimming pool design. Glass tile is another popular, style-setting trend used with Gunite pools. 

Tiles come in a variety of colors shapes and textures and add a beautiful artistic element to the finished swimming pool design. Gunite pool construction also allows homeowners the option of adding a variety of additional features to thepoolscape design. These include waterfalls, baja ledges and steps, custom spas, the list is endless. Working with Gunite offers a flexibility in design that means you can customize a swimming pool to your specific taste and budget.Their beauty, versatility and durability make Gunite pools a top choice by today’s consumer and, should a Gunite pool owner decide it is time for a remodel, again, the list of options available is endless. 

This swimming pool design incorporates a gently sloping transition from the deck into the water. The slope is very similar to a real beach. Beach entry is a popular option that replaces the top step with a gentle slope. The depth starts out at zero and slowly slopes to a depth of one foot.

How Do I Know maintain my pool?
To maintain proper balance in your swimming pool, it is essential to know how many gallons of water your pool holds i.e.your pool’s volume. Here is a quick explanation of the formula for calculating swimming pool volume:
Four Steps For Calculating Pool Volume

Step 1: Average Depth Use the minimum depth and the maximum depth of the pool and divide the result by 2. For example, your shallow end may be3 feet deep and the maximum pool depth may be 7 feet. Your calculation would appear as: 3+7 = 10 10/2 = 5 The average depth of your pool would be 5 feet.

Step 2: Average Width This can seem a bit more complicated, especially if you have a free form pool design, but, all you’ll need to do is measure &add up the different widths of your free form pool. Once you have thatfigure, simply divide it by the number of widths. We will use an example of a pool with three widths: 8 feet, 12 feet and 20 feet. The calculation would be: 8 + 12 + 20 = 30 Since there are three widths, we divide the 30 by 3:30/3 = 10 The average width of the pool would be 10 feet.

Step 3: Measuring the Length Measure the longest part of the pool. For our example, let’s say that it’s 35 feet. The average length of the pool would be 35 feet.

Step 4: Finding The Volume Of Your Pool First we start by determining the cubic feet of the pool, which is multiplying the three numbers above together:5 feet x 10 feet x 35 feet = 1750 feet cubed Take your cubic feet of 1750 and multiply by 7.48 x 1750 = 13090 Gallons Now you know how much water your swimming pool holds (aka Pool Volume). Note measurements above should be taken from the water line. If any doubt of measurements please always refer to yourswimming pool professional. A one time visit from a professional can save you a larger expense later.

Step 1: Remove the cover. Ok, sounds like an obvious step but you need to remove the cover.  FIRST however, remove any large debris or standingwater so that neither slip into your pool when the cover is removed.Safety Cover – if you have a safety cover in place, you will need an installation rod and hex key in order to remove thesprings and the anchors.  Take care to screw the anchors down flush to the concrete. Tarp Cover – if your cover is a standard tarp cover, remove any weights (some may be filled with water –those should beemptied).  It is easiest to remove if you start at one end & fold the tarp as you go.  It is a good idea to now unfold & clean the tarp, (check your local pool supply store) allow it to dry prior to storing for the summer.

Step 2: Remove All Winter Plugs Remove all the winter plugs from jets and return lines. Skimmer Bucket Maintenance Remove ice compensators from the skimmer buckets & replace baskets. Now, check to make sure your water line is mid-way up the skimmer opening prior to starting your filter system. 

Step 3: Focus On The Filter System prior to starting the system, make sure all the drain plugs are properly in place.  Your filter system should have one main drain plug and your pump may have two. Next, replace the pressure gauge on your filter system + any other parts that belong.Now inspect the o-ring on your pump lid. Is it in good condition?  Bend it between your fingers to look forcracks.  If all appears ok, apply a swimming pool o-ring lubricant before putting the pump lid back in place.Check all the valve settings for proper flow.Once you have everything back in place it is safe to start your system. Note:  You will have to prime your pump, prior to starting. 1-While pump is off, remove the lid 2- Use a hose or large bucket to fill the pump housing with water 4-Replace the lid& o-ring, then start your pump, it should prime itself.

Step 4: Test & Shock Once your pool equipment is running – take a water sample to a professional for water analysis. Make sure that your water isproperly balanced. Shocking your pool right away as well as adding the appropriate sanitizer, are recommended at this step in the process. Be sure all chemical levels are back to normal along with a safe sanitizer level prior to allowing anyone to swim.  

Step 5: Vacuum.Vacuuming your pool using a manual vacuum to remove any heavy debris.  This will be a big help if you have an automatic pool cleaner as it will take that initial heavy hit. After the initial vacuum, you can rely on your automatic cleaner to handle the rest of the season.  
What’s your style?  Consider your options; Glass tile comes in clear, glass with white backing, opaque glass (venetian), rough glass and a whole host of various style, shapes and sizes.   Some are straight and consistent in sizing/shapes, while others have a more haphazard look to them.Think about what you like to see.  If you like the refraction of light to bounce off the tile pick one that is either all clear or clear with a white backing.  Only want the smoothness of glass but not the transparency? – pick a venetian glass.Take time at the selection stage to do your research.  Whichever style, size or color you choose, remember your personal style and the environment in which you are using it.  If you like bold colors, purple maybe a great option, if you prefer a more monochromatic in style, matching the tile to the surrounding decking colors would suit you better.  Most common sizes we see installed in pools are 1”x1” and ¾”x ¾”.  However, you can also get 1”x2”, 3/8”x3/8” and other sizes.  When looking at glass tile keep in mind a few facts.  If you can see-through the tile you will be able to see the thin-set bed as well. So the white or grey thin-set will show through and alter the color of your tile accordingly, regardless of grout color.  If you have a see through tile try to keep the grout the same color as the setting materials for consistency of look. Find a tile in your budget and consider the additional costs; Glass tile pricing ranges greatly. This is because of where tile is manufactured, how far it travels to us and as always the quality.  

You can even get glass tile with gold specks. It’s best to understand how much area you are tiling in square feet or square meters before you start shopping. That way when you are presented with prices you can do a quick calculation to see if it is in your budget.  If you  find you are totally in love with a tile out of your budget consider using it as an accent only to limit your costs. Glass tile is harder to install than regular ceramic or porcelain tile so your labor cost will be higher as well. This is due to the fact that glass tile has to be cut by hand and in individual pieces to fit in places where a full tile can’t be used, especially in the curved corner of a pool where the floor meets the wall.  Also of consideration is an anti-fracture membrane. This membrane is applied immediately over the mortar bed and provides a bit of flex for the tile. In frost/freeze climates this is a must on tile bands and particularly any tiled areas which are above ground like vanishing edges. While these precautionary steps add to the initial investment it contributes to a lasting product.  Many glass tile manufacturers insist on using this product under their tile. It’s wise to have a sample sheet for your tile setter to see when they price out your project. This way no one has unpleasant surprises. Not all tile setters are skilled in glass tile and not all know what setting materials to use. Glass is smooth and so creating a solid bond for an underwater application is essential.  Using the right setting materials is critical. Ask your tile setter if they have had experienced in setting glass tile in underwater applications.  Some tile manufacturer’s, such as Bisazza, offer training certification courses in glass tile installation.

To mesh or not to mesh? Most tile comes in sheets, generally a 12” x 12” square, held together on a mesh backing or a paper/plastic facing. For underwater applications a paper/plastic facing is ideal.  This allow the setting material full contact with the tile.  With many mesh backings sometimes the glue used to stick the mesh to the tile is over applied in the manufacturing process.  This limits the bond of the setting materials to the tile.  While mesh is the more popular backing available and often the more affordable choice, care needs to taken to determine whether it is suitable for underwater applications. Some tile distributors/manufacturers have glass tile on mesh which are guaranteed for pool installation.When considering where in your pool, whirlpool or water-scape you will want glass tile, think about the practical use of it.  Glass is very slippery so on steps might not be the best choice.  Adding one or two rows of a non-slip tile for safety can help.  If you are installing glass tile in a whirlpool you might not want to install a tile that has sharp edges; sitting or leaning your back on these types of tiles can cut a person’s skin as grout wears over time.  These are better suited to a tile band where people rubbing up against is not an issue.  Rub your hand over a non-grouted sample.  If you can feel rough edges poking at your skin you will feel the same on your whirlpool seat.Glass tile is a wonderful and beautiful surface. 

My personal favorite and a top 10 trend as rated by the Master Pools Guild for 2013.  I see this stunning finish to be even more popular in the future as prices and options in North American are becoming more consumer friendly.  There is no better way to bring that resort feel to your home than with a glorious glass tile pool and whirlpool. 
During the frigid winter months, many pool owners see their pool as “out of sight, out of mind.” However, just because the pool is “shut down” for its long winter nap that does not mean that maintenance is not required. A well balanced pool with properly maintained water level and a clean cover will make your spring opening a breeze!   

​Maintaining balanced chemistry is important throughout the winter. Not only will this make life easier when opening yourpool in the spring, but it will also benefit your pool’s finish. For example, allowing pH to remain low or high throughout the winter months can cause damage to the plaster, reducing the life expectancy of the plaster, or can cause ugly scale build up. We recommend checking the water chemistry once a month during the off season and making any necessary adjustments. Keeping the water balancedwill help keep the water clear, making your opening less stressful and less expensive!Depending on how you cover your pool, if at all, the pool’s water level may need to be monitored.  While mesh safetycovers look great and provide a necessary safety benefit, they are still made of mesh. This means that all of the snow, rain, and ice pass through the cover and into the pool. It is important to monitor the water level as it rises due to the precipitation. 

When water reaches the tile level, there is potential for some of the water to find its way behind the tile. If that water then freezes and then subsequently thaws, it can cause the tile to crack and/or fall off during the freeze process. It is important to check the water level of the pool once a month, and if the water level nears the tile (as a general rule we pump pools when the water level gets within 3 inches of the tile), you will need to pump some of the water out of the pool. Finally, keeping a clean cover while the pool is closed will make the pool opening much easier.

This goes for all types of covers, whether it be mesh, solid, or an automatic cover. With mesh covers, debris and leaves can disintegrate and get into the pool. It is important to try to brush leaves and debris off of the cover using your telescopic pole and pool brush. With solid covers, the rain and leaves can build up over the winter. This makes the cover very heavy and very difficult to take off, and many times results in stale, stagnant, and debris filled water falling into a clean pool when the cover is pulled off. Using a cover pump and dip net to getwater and leaves off the cover once a month during the winter is an easy way to prevent this from happening. Keeping up with this program on a monthly basis makes the job easy. 

Following these steps can make your spring opening a fast and easy experience. Opening a clear, clean and balanced pool by taking off a clean cover saves time, money and the headache of trying to fight an algae filled pool. But more importantly, it also means that you will have more time to enjoy your backyard vacation in the spring and summer!


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