Archive for November, 2010

Modern vs. Traditional Pools

Bob Russell | November 15, 2010 in Eco-friendly,Pool,Pool equipment,Pool renovations | Comments (0)

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Recently, I heard someone ask about “Modern Pools” and wondered what he meant.

I thought about the eye-popping pictures of swimming pools atop skyscrapers in Dubai. I thought about the huge pool on a tropical coast that you can take a sailboat out on.

So, what is “modern?”

We restored a Frank Lloyd Wright pool to it’s original beauty last year. (The pool pictured here is NOT that pool). The design of this pool is timeless and spectacular in form- grabbing one’s attention. In his day, Frank Lloyd Wright was beyond modern- he was pushing the limits of architecture in both form and function. His work was spellbinding- it’s as though you cannot look away from it. That said, this was a low-tech, 40 year old pool that happened to be designed by a man who was way ahead of his time…and perhaps ours too. So, I look at it and think it still looks “modern” …but that’s my opinion.

So what makes a modern pool “modern?”

What about the “common” rectangle pool with state-of-the-art remote controls, automatic cover, LED lighting, sonar safety system, underwater speakers and salt/chlorine generator. Does the latest technology make a pool “modern?” or, is it the design? Or both?

At Glen Gate, we create state-of-the art pools. Some of these pools are architectually beautiful to look at, some appear to be very traditional. Does “modern” and “traditional” work in the same sentence? Perhaps. Super-efficiency and cutting edge technology is modern, though the design may be “timeless.”

When I was a kid, my favorite car was the Ford GT. It’s a 40+ year old machine now and considered “old technology” but, boy are they pretty!

Recently, Ford had a brilliant idea and re-made the GT! …with the best stuff available under the hood! Timeless design never goes out of style. Performance and innovation is usually hidden out of sight.  

I think the (2) basic rules of the “modern Pool” must go something like this:

1) The modern pool must delight the eye of the Owner and be married to the surrounding land. It might look 40-50-years old or it can look like a spaceship- but it must be love every time I look at it. 

2) There’s something else the modern pool must do: it  has to run better and smarter than anything else out there.

We’re still working on the definition here.


The Perfect Winter Cover Up

Bob Russell | November 3, 2010 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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A custom fit winter pool cover is the best and most beautiful way to protect your investment.

Pools in New England are usually closed between  6-8 months. I look for the following things in a winter cover:

1) Safety.

2) Keeps debris out.

3) Minimal effect on grass, deck masonry and does not detract from beauty of landscape.

4) Beauty. That’s right, beauty. If I have to look at it 6 to 8 months, it better look nice!

Fits like a glove!

 

Installation: Things I look for:

Custom fit ensures debris stays out!

A great anchoring system includes planting areas and grass. This anchor is set in 14" conduit and screws down below toes and mower blades for the summer.

Brass escutcheons give brass anchors a finished look and protect deck material from installation tools.

Make sure your winter cover is custom installed by a professional. It is well worth the investment!


Pool Inspections

Bob Russell | November 2, 2010 in Pool,Pool renovations,Pool Service,Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Concrete Pool Inspections  

 

Yes, have the pool inspected! 

When buying a home it is considered normal to first have it inspected . When buying a home with a swimming pool or spa, most Buyers are also ordering a pool inspection. This is a wise decision! 

 A quick word about selecting a pool/ spa Inspector: 

A pool inspection should provide objective, factual and informative information about the pool. Your Real Estate Agent or Home Inspector will usually be able to refer you to a solid and reliable company. 

I cannot possibly cover everything about pool inspections in a short article, but here are some of the main things I look for during a ["gunite"] pool inspection: 

Safety:  

Again, space does not allow for a full discussion of this issue; but this is the number one reason you should have a professional inspect the pool or spa. 

  • I look for GFCI circuits and make sure they are in good working order.
  • I look at safety code compliance especially regarding pool or spa suction outlets.

This topic is covered more extensively in other blogs. 

Pool Masonry and Structural Issues:  

I “sound out” coping, tile and other pool stone work by taping with an instrument (like a 3 iron golf club). I am listening for hollow sounds- when I hear them, I examine these areas to see how extensive it is and why it is happening. 

Loose or hollow coping and tile are often indicators of other problems like: inadequate or missing expansion joints, or drainage around the pool site. Coping and tile problems can be expensive; an expert’s opinion is valuable here. Below is a picture I took of a typical coping problem. One thing I’d like to point out about this particular issue, “…you can’t see it by just walking around the pool.” 

Note the bluestone coping setting bed has broken bond in this picture.

 “Expansion Joints”: A bit of a catch-all term, I am referring to the joint between coping and pool deck. 

If the deck base is concrete, there must be a gap  between pool deck and pool coping (typically 1/4″ to 1/2″ ). This joint is often filled with a flexible material.

This is a very important joint, here’s why: The deck expands sideways in the sun; it may also rise and fall slightly with freeze/thaw cycles- if there is not an adequate gap, the pressure caused by such movements will damage the coping- even pushing it off it’s cement setting bed.

Note- Even pools that appear to have an expansion joint can have this problem if deck and coping is touching below the caulk. 

Cantilevered decks- are decks that lay on top of the pool beam (or pool wall); the point where the deck and pool beam interface must have a  “bond breaker” to prevent movement damage. 

Is It A Structural Problem? Or just superficial? An experienced pool inspector can usually tell the difference and advise you. 

 
 
Equipment Brief:
 
Heaters:

Is that a legal stack? Is it safe?

 Is the heater older or newer? Is it running? Well-maintained? 

 Filters, Pumps, Remote Controls, Valves: 

Does it all work as it should? Has it all been maintained well? What are my expected maintenance costs?

Is everything working as it should?

  

Automatic Covers: 

Automatic covers should be inspected for smooth operation; winter covers should be checked for age and wear as well as condition of anchoring system. 

 

Finally, I strongly recommend calling for a pool or spa inspection. I have found some problems that even the previous homeowner was not aware of. Pools are important investments and some larger repairs can run into the tens of thousands.