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Closing Down Pools: What It Means to Have You Covered

With temperatures hovering close to 80 during September, summer has lingered here on Long Island. And while most have already closed their pools, a few diehards are squeezing every bit of enjoyment out of them. Most agree, however, that the time has come to close the pool down.

To the uninitiated, closing a pool takes a few steps, says Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter. To get a full picture of what’s involved, our team spoke with a pool contractor who works with Bill on a regular basis — Michael Truehart, CSB, owner of True Blue Swimming Pools in Deer Park.

“In climates like the Northeast,” says Michael, “the most important reason for closing a pool is pipes and other pool equipment can freeze in cold months. Part of what we do is administer a chlorine shock, or algaecides, or phosphate remover to the pool water. Then the pool/spa equipment is taken apart and cleaned, drained of water, and underground pipes are blown out so no water can freeze in them.”

Because our changing seasons cause a lot of falling twigs and leaves especially in the Fall, a pool cover is imperative, says Michael. “We don’t recommend a plain tarp cover that sags under the weight of rain collected on it. We suggest a mesh-type cover that allows rain to seep through it. This does require another step: lowering the pool water level to about 12-18 inches below the coping. Then, as rain water seeps through the mesh cover, the pool can accommodate it.”

Our own Bill Renter adds that he finds these mesh covers, such as the Loop Loc brand, are also important to help ensure that no one gains access to the pool when it’s unsupervised. The mesh covers are very taught he explains. “A plain tarp type cover that holds water on it will collapse if a pet or child walks on it. But mesh covers, with strong straps to hold them in place, allow for water to drain through into the pool.”

“These covers are so taught, they act almost like a trampoline,” confirms Michael.

 

Measuring for Pool Covers

Measuring for Pool Covers:

Installing and measuring a mesh pool cover that involves freeform shapes, waterfalls, etc., must be exact. A mesh cover is strong because its straps with tension springs are connected to anchors set in the patio. For this pool’s water feature area, stainless steel eyelets were drilled into rocks where a cable secures it.

 

 

 Pool/Spa Covers:


Pool/Spa Covers:

For this job, because of the number of rocks involved, a separate Loop Loc cover for the spillover spa was required. Also: installing a hose and cord under the cover permits pumping water out later should too much rain fill up the partially drained pool.

 

 

Pool Surrounds:

Pool Surrounds:

A bluestone area (with grass pepping through) forms part of this pool’s surround. In such areas where there is no hardscape to secure the necessary tension, little anchors are set into a pipe which, in turn, is set deep into the ground. To secure the pool around the grotto on the left — where the cover wraps inside it — the only way to install that was from in the pool on an inflatable raft.

 

 

Gravel Pool Surrounds

Gravel Pool Surrounds

Without strong patio masonry to grip, the pool cover straps and anchors for this pool are set in a pipe anchored into the gravel. For all these jobs, the pool contractor used “Image Loc,” a special measuring process where taking photos from several views are input into a computer which does the measuring. This system works much like forensic technology.

 

Outdoor Living Spaces: Deck and Patio Restoration Showcase

Restoring outdoor living spaces damaged by time and storm

 

Sometimes property restorations and upgrades are forced on us when purchasing a home; other times, as in this project showcase, outdoor living spaces are ruined by storm or time. In other cases, properties simply look dated and tired. And, occasionally, the motive is simply to replace decks and patios that require constant care with more maintenance-free materials and designs.

In the case of this special waterside project, both time and storm had torn away the vinyl fabric and foundation of an existing pool. The surrounding landscaping also needed restoring, as, indeed, did the expansive backyard decking. Taking advantage of all this new work being done, the homeowners decided to enjoy the “full water experience.” Beyond the wonderful dock/water access they already had on a charming Long Island canal, and the pool they were restoring, they wanted a new hot tub/spa to complete a new backyard oasis.

 

Backyard Restorations:

Backyard Restorations:

The owners of this Long Island waterside home wanted a pool and deck restoration/upgrade to what time and storm had destroyed.

 

Upgraded Pool and Surround:

Upgraded Pool and Surround:

Our design and build team restored damaged pool, deck, and landscaping to create an enviable waterside oasis.

Refurbished Pool

Our design for the pool kept the straight lines of the previous geometric vinyl pool but as an upgrade we chamfered the corners; we replaced the previous liner with a lagoon/grotto style that is so in demand today. Of course, before adding the new liner, the bottom and sides of the pool needed restoration. In fact, our vinyl pools also have steel reinforced concrete walls, which are thicker and stronger than a typical gunite pool. Vinyl liners simply soften the feel of the pool by offering a top layer of comfortable padding.

The only challenge with vinyl is measuring and accurately cutting and welding the liner to fit perfectly over the concrete base. Deck and Patio’s team works with the very best experts who can do even very complex projects such as vinyl pools with a “vanishing” or “infinity” edge.

 

Geometric Vinyl Pool:

Geometric Vinyl Pool:

The only challenge with vinyl is measuring and accurately cutting and welding the liner to fit perfectly over the concrete base. This requires expertise and experience.

New Multi-tiered Decking

When designing expansive decking and pool surrounds, it is important that the chaise lounge, dining, and outdoor patio areas are all large enough for furniture and offer enough room to walk around. It is equally important not to over-build or “hardscape” the whole space.

For this project, in consultation with the homeowners, our design team installed three levels of capped composite decking that begins at the back door and leads down to their canal-side dock.

The upper level has room to relax and enjoy the water views; this level is flanked by two different sets of steps. On the left, the stairs lead down to the new hot tub/lounge area. The stairs on the right lead down to the larger pool level. At the water’s edge, we provided a fire pit/sitting area that, along with the hot tub, dramatically extends the outdoor living season.

 

Waterside Ambiance:

Waterside Ambiance:

Deck and Patio provided a fire pit/sitting area that, along with the hot tub, dramatically extends the outdoor living season.

Deck and Patio and the homeowners chose strong “capped composite” decking  because of the natural beauty of the material and its durability. It offers the look of wood but is warranted against staining and fading. No nail holes or wood knots to contend with, and certainly no staining or painting. Framing the entire area is lovely vinyl railing which also delivers durability as well as beautiful, sturdy and safe surrounds. The “capped” part of this quality composite decking acts like a veneer, or cap, for extra protection of the underneath composite materials.

In sum: the new three-level deck’s clean lines give a more modern and polished look to this lovely waterside outdoor space while also being extremely maintenance-friendly.

 

Decking design/build:

Decking design/build:

The new deck’s clean lines offer a modern and polished look while also being very maintenance-friendly.

Hot Tub/Loung Area

Completing the “full water experience,” a new hot tub is just steps down from the backdoor where it has been set into the deck for a pleasing “built-in” appearance. The hot tub’s cover can be left upright to provide additional privacy and also easily dropped down to cover the hot tub when not in use.

Deck and Patio includes a hot tub cover with almost all of its packages. We feel this is important because when the wind blows and dirt and leaves fall, they throw off the balance of the water quality by affecting the sanitary conditions of the water. We have learned from experience that clients will use the cover more regularly if it’s easy to open and close and if it is attractive and suits the hot tub model. Such is the case for this hot tub’s cover which fits the hot tub’s size, design and where they wanted it placed.