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Monthly Archives: March 2015

When should you open your swimming pool?

Town & Country Pool Builders, serving DC, Virginia & Maryland answer the age old question, “When should I open (or close) my pool?”

Is there a time that is ideal for opening your swimming pool? Is there a specific date on the calendar by which your pool simply must be opened? For most pool owners, and depending on the area of the country in which you live, you can’t always go by a date on the calendar; you need to rely on the weather and what your local meteorologist says. Most pool owners are anxious to get the pool opened and summer started as soon as the sun starts to shine and the swimming poolssnow has melted, but you may need to take more precautions than that.

When is the best time to open it though? You don’t want to schedule your pool contractor from Town and Country Pools to come and open the pool and then faced with unreasonable and unseasonable weather, like a freak late season snow storm. You don’t want your pool to fall prey to damage if there is a storm after it’s been opened.

If you don’t have a pool heater or solar cover, the water will not be warm enough to swim until you have several weeks of above freezing temperatures and nights that remain warm. Warm night air is as important to getting your pool water to a safe swimming temperature than warm days are. Spring days in the 70s still, in some cases, lead to nights that are barely above freezing  – not an ideal time to have your pool opened just yet.

If you have your pool opened too early your pool could become a magnet for pollen and that could lead to algae growth; that is a nightmare to clean up if it takes hold. If you’re like many pool owners, Memorial Day is the absolute latest you will want your pool opened, but for most it is a personal preference.

As for when you will close the pool; it is typically done when the nights start cooling off and the days are no longer as warm but before a freeze is predicted. If you’re running your pool heater frequently, that is also a sign for many pool owners that the time is near to close the pool. Falling leaves can also lead to both algae growth and to potential damage to your filters and pumps if they clog it up.

Again, listen to the weather forecast because both you and your pool contractor will want the pool closed before the first frost hits the area. Ask your contractor if he has a cut off date for a pool closing as he will not want to be out there working on the pool in freezing conditions. Frozen pipes can lead to broken pipes and that could be expensive to repair.

Your swimming pool contractor should be your go-to source for pool openings and closings as this is his area of expertise and he has the knowledge to know the best time for both openings and closings.

Keeping your pets safe around the swimming pool

Virginia, DC & Maryland pool builders from Town & Country Pools offer pet pool safety tips 

Sun and fun and swimming pools don’t have to be just the realm of the humans in your family! If you plan and prepare, your pets can enjoy the water with you — if they want to. A swimming pool as you know is about fun and sun but it is, most importantly about providing safety to those who use it. Swimming pools can also be a place you can spend time with your pet if you do it wisely.

Keep in mind that even though you may love the pool, your dog may not be as enthusiastic and he may not even be a good swimmer; not all dogs can swim or enjoy swimming. If your dog is drawn to the water, here are tips from the swimming pool contractors from Town & Country Pools on how you can help him or her enjoy it safely:

  1. Treat your dog as you would your child; never leave the dog in or around the swimming pool unattended.
  2. Always keep the safety fence locked when there isn’t an adult in attendance. This is likely required by law as swimming petwell.
  3. Keep the toys away from the swimming pool. These could tempt your pet to jump in and try and retrieve them.
  4. Leaving more than one dog in the pool area unsupervised is a risk. Roughhousing dogs could fall into the pool.
  5. Understand dog first aid and pet CPR. Become familiar with reviving a dog that has drowned. Have vet and emergency vet numbers handy.
  6. Teach the dog to swim, and do it enough until the dog doesn’t panic in water. Swimming looks different than panic. If your dog simply doesn’t like the water, don’t force her to swim, let her enjoy the family time from the sideline.
  7. Have a visual target for the dog which is near the steps leading out of the water. Train your dog to notice it and get in and out using the steps or ramp.
  8. A dog that isn’t fit can’t swim any better than a human that isn’t in shape.
  9. Don’t overly exhaust the dog while swimming or they will go under.
  10. Preplan your pool construction with the idea that the dog needs sufficient footing to climb out of the pool. Small dogs, especially, can’t make it up and out using the big steps of most pools. You may want to consider a beach entrance or a dog specific removable ramp.

If you’re determined to spend time with your dog in the pool, take some precautions to make it happen and it can be another way to spend time together (and get your pet some exercise as well!). Talk with your pool contractor and let him know this is a possibility as he may have safety measures for you to implement and he can also offer suggestions on safety equipment such as dog life vests and more.


How to build a concrete pool?

Town & Country Pool Builders, serving DC. Maryland & Virginia explain gunite pool benefits

Choosing the building material for your swimming pool is one of the many decisions you will need to make when beginning the journey toward swimming pool ownership. The swimming pool contractors from Town & Country Pools in Virginia explain benefits to choosing concrete/gunite for the building material, and how to build a concrete pool. A concrete pool is ideal for the homeowner who wants a customizable pool design because gunite allows for free how to build a concrete poolflowing designs that fit your budget, your yard, and your lifestyle.

How to build a concrete pool?

To answer “How to build a concrete pool?” we first talk about the benefits. Gunite pools cost more than other building materials including vinyl or fiberglass. On the other hand, they are easier to customize and are built of the longest lasting pool building material available. Here are some that your Town & Country Pool Builder share:

  1. First of all, a concrete in ground swimming pool can add to the value of your home. Swimming pools are considered investments that add to the resale value of a home. A potential buyer may be swayed to purchase your home over another simply because you have a swimming pool.
  2. Second, a gunite pool will last for decades! If you’re a new homeowner looking to put your unique stamp on a property, adding a swimming pool could be perfect!
  3. Because they are easy to customize, they will enhance the beauty of your existing landscape.
  4. Third, concrete pool provides a wide variety of options for the accessories and design. Choose mosaic tiles, colored concrete or concrete with quartz or other stones embedded. Adding tiles to the edging or beautiful coping can amp up the aesthetics of the pool.
  5. Lastly, this will be a pool that will be with you and your family forever. Moreover, there will come a time when the pool may need to be re-plastered. Re-plastering, for one thing, is simply a way to enhance its beauty and breathe new life into it.

When you’re researching your pool project, be sure to ask about the benefits of concrete! You certainly might find it will be the ideal building material for your custom swimming pool!

  1. Permits – Because this pool is being built in Fairfax County, a grading plan is required. For this project, the permit was obtained in about 4 months.
  2. installation steps

  3. Utilities – A utility company is called to mark the entire property to ensure that no lines get hit with construction equipment.
  4. Ground prep- A silt fence is required to ensure minimum land disturbance and is part of the grading plan requirements. The day of the dig there is usually a lot of Town & Country staff on hand to ensure that all measurements are perfect. The measurements are “pinned” on the house side of the pool. The excavator then grades the area down to the proper elevation. The house side is pinned again and forms are installed. Two deeper holes are made on both sides of the deep end, and the rest of the pool is formed. On average the dig usually takes two days depending on the fill conditions.
  5. installation steps

  6. Plumbing – After the digging is done our plumber plumbs the lines and sets the equipment.
  7. Forming – After plumbing, the pool is formed to ensure nice, clean edges for when the pool gets the gunite shell.
  8. Structural steel – Structural steel is installed.
  9. installation steps

  10. Steel and bonding inspection – The Fairfax County building inspector inspects the pool to make sure that the pool structure meets the county’s pool code.
  11. Tile samples – It is time to think about the pools aesthetics and choose tile.
  12. Gunite – The crew lays plastic down on the driveway to assist in keeping gunite off the driveway.
  13. installation steps

  14. Electrical – Trenches are made for the electrical conduits. The pool lights are installed and as well as any automation accessory.
  15. installation steps

  16. Tile selection and interior finish – Our design team helps clients to finalize the interior finish and tile choices.
  17. installation steps

  18. Coping, tile and deck installation – All of the finishes are installed. During this time, landscaping and decking can also be addressed.
  19. installation steps

  20. Automatic cover – Finally, an automatic cover is installed. All the pool equipment except for the heater will be started.
  21. installation steps

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