Whether you’re just seeking information about building a swimming pool or you’re nearly complete with your pool project, there is a critical last step to take before you dive in: learning how to properly use and maintain your new pool.

After construction is completed, any reputable pool company should give you one-on-one training showing you all of your pool’s functions and features so you have the confidence and knowledge to get the most out of your pool. The following is a general guide for new pool owners outlining what to expect when the pool is ready to use and what important details they should inquire about.

The Finishing Stages of Concrete Pool Construction

Assuming you opted for concrete pool construction (the preferred option), there is often a special start-up or break-in procedure that needs to be followed to ensure the plaster surfaces cure properly. Your builder should already have taken care of this process by the time you have your new pool orientation, but it’s a good idea to ask them what, if anything, is left to do before the pool can be filled and used.

As for filling the pool, again, most builders would do this before your orientation, but there are right ways and wrong ways to fill a pool. This is a good time to get some details on the process should you ever have to drain and refill the pool yourself.

Once the pool has been filled, the company will add the proper chemicals to it as well as do a final inspection of the pool, and circulation and filtration systems.

You will want to ask your pool company how long you have to wait until you can swim in your new pool. You will also need to know when you can start using the heater to heat your pool. It might be necessary to delay using the heater. If you have a saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) pool, your pool company should tell you when it’s OK to start it up.

Pool Operation Walk-Through and Maintenance Requirements

Once all the post-construction checks have been completed, your pool company will contact you to schedule an orientation to teach you how to care for and operate your new pool. During this walk-through, you are encouraged to video record the process of operation (in case you need to refer back to it later) and ask questions.

Here are the key points you’ll need to discuss at length with your pool builder before they “hand over the keys” so to speak:

  • Skimming surface water for debris
  • Brushing the pool sides to reduce algae buildup
  • Checking and emptying the skimmer baskets for debris
  • Checking filter pressure and setting it properly
  • Cleaning the filter
  • Turning the pump on and off and knowing how often it should run
  • Checking the pool’s chemical levels and pH balance
  • Shocking the pool
  • Turning the lights on and off and keeping all lights working
  • Basic best practices for landscaping around your pool

Talk to the representative about a recommended maintenance and cleaning schedule. You’ll want to document and refer to a schedule that outlines the frequency these tasks need to be performed for optimum pool operation. As mentioned before, it’s also a good idea to record all these procedures as they are showing them to you on your pool and equipment. Any quality pool company will provide you with some written resources and instructions to help guide you after the orientation. They also typically have resources on their website you can refer to. Some pool companies will even come back to your home and provide free refresher training if you need it.

As for supplies, there are a variety of chemicals you should have on hand to maintain the proper mixture in your pool water. Hydrochloric or muriatic acid are common as well as chemicals that raise or lower pH levels. Ask your builder at orientation about what chemicals your pool requires. The representative conducting your orientation should also leave you with a pole, basket, brush, and test kit.

Essential Pool Safety

The last and most important thing you should know about your pool is how to ensure the safety of people using it. This is vital information that any new pool owner should know.

  • Never leave children unattended in or near a swimming pool.
  • Have emergency items ready and know how to use them. These include: life preserver/jacket and/or pole, cell phone, and a first aid kit.
  • No running in the pool area.
  • Always make sure your pool fence or barrier is secure by closing the gate. The gate should be locked when the pool is not in use.
  • Remove objects near the pool barrier that could be used to climb over it. You are responsible for the safety of everyone who uses your pool whether they were invited to use it or not.
  • Install and maintain good lighting both in the pool itself and around the deck and walkways.
  • Store pool chemicals out of sight and away from children and pets.

If you’re in the process of looking for a pool company to build your in-ground swimming pool, no doubt you’ve carefully researched and thought about different construction options for your pool. But, did you know that the pool deck is just as important to consider as the pool itself?

The pool deck surrounds, complements, and protects the swimming pool. It is also the area where you will ultimately spend most of your time when outside enjoying your pool. Don’t make material selection for your new or remodeled pool deck an afterthought: Learn about the five best materials used today for deck surfacing — and which is right for your project.

1. Artistic Pavers

Unlike plain poured concrete, artistic pavers add a distinct touch of elegance to the overall look of a pool space. Artistic pavers can be manufactured with a variety of looks and finishes such as stone, coral, seashell, and tumbled finishes to mimic the look of many types of natural rock for a fraction of the cost.

Besides their pleasing appearance and overall aesthetic versatility, artistic pavers have a huge durability advantage over concrete as they rarely develop cracks. Artistic pavers are generally more expensive than basic concrete up front, but their durability spreads that extra investment across a longer time period.

Artistic pavers also have the advantage over concrete of being slip-resistant when wet. They also tend to stay cooler than concrete.

2. Travertine Pavers

Travertine, which is a kind of limestone, has been used as a building material since ancient times. Not every pool company offers travertine as an option, but it happens to be a superior choice for a pool deck.

Travertine pavers come in many different sizes, patterns, and hues. They are often distinguished by their pitted holes and wavy patterns that resemble those of marble. The different-size pavers available allow pool companies to create unique decorative tiling patterns. Many pool owners prefer travertine for its classic look of sophistication just as much as its durability and resistance to many different types of weather.

 

Travertine nicely complements custom “natural” yard features like waterfalls and boulders. The material is also slip resistant and stays cooler to the touch than many other options.

3. Concrete Pavers

Concrete pavers are manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be made to look like stone or brick. These types of pavers are made to interlock without grout in the joints, so they are water-permeable and thus a great choice for pool decks. The sheer variety of sizes, colors, and textures means that concrete pavers look good with nearly any type or shape of pool.

Concrete pavers are a smart choice for buyers who want something with a classier look than poured concrete but whose budget may not allow for the higher cost of natural stone pavers.

4. Acrylic-topped Concrete

Concrete is probably the most common material used to create pool decks, but its two main drawbacks are its tendency to crack over time and the fact that it absorbs and radiates heat so readily. Acrylic topping offers a solution to both of those problems. It’s applied as a liquid to the hardened concrete, and when it dries it forms a protective coating that makes the underlying concrete more resistant to cracking and heat.

Acrylic coating also offers better wet traction than basic concrete, so it makes concrete pool decks safer for walking.

Acrylic can be applied by a pool company to your existing concrete, requiring no demolition, so it’s a great choice for remodeling an older pool deck on a budget and in a much shorter time.

5. Flagstone

Flagstone is a soft, porous rock that is another excellent choice for pool decking. It absorbs water and dries faster than most other deck materials in use today. Because of those characteristics, as well as its semi-rough texture, it is also one of the most slip-resistant options. Flagstone is very low maintenance and extremely durable.

Flagstone can be cut into tiles to complement a formal or traditional deck design. It can also be set in natural slabs to complete the quintessential look of an oasis-style pool area.

Any of the materials discussed in this article would make a great choice for your pool deck. It really comes down to your budget and the look you’re after.

If you’d like to see and experience these deck options in person, check out one of California Pools & Landscape’s two Arizona showrooms. We’ll be happy to help you choose the perfect material for your dream pool deck.  

The Summer Sale Is On… Everything Is On Sale!

No One Knows Summer like California Pools & Landscape

Get our best pricing of the year! All the things that make Arizona summer living great are on sale now – decking, fire and water features, lighting, electronics, hardscapes, softscapes, landscapes and more. Let us help bring your backyard dreams to life!