Category Archives: Blog

Prefab Swimming Pools: Choosing Concrete or Fiberglass

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some basics on what are known as prefab swimming pools. Referring to options that are fully manufactured in a facility before being shipped to you for installation upon purchase, prefab pools are often ideal for many homeowners when it comes to basic installation and various maintenance themes.

At Packman’s Pools, we’re proud to offer a huge range of custom swimming pool design and construction services for numerous pool formats. If you’re considering a prefab pool design of any kind, chances are you’ll be choosing between the two most common materials used for these designs: Concrete and fiberglass. Today’s part two of our series will go over some important pool variables, then discuss which of these materials is best for each area.

prefab pools concrete fiberglass

Flexibility

When it comes to flexibility and the ability to withstand rocking or various forms of movement, fiberglass prefab pools tend to be the preferred option over concrete. Fiberglass is much more flexible than concrete, as you may have guessed, allowing for some wiggle room in either direction – concrete, on the other hand, is extremely rigid.

This means that if movement does occur, whether due to soil shifting underground or some kind of above-ground impact, fiberglass pools have lower risk of cracking. Concrete pools are still highly durable here, but strong enough movement might lead to cracks due to their lack of flexibility.

Shape Variety

Shape variety is one area where both concrete and fiberglass options boast good variation, but once again fiberglass tends to be the overall winner here. Generally speaking, there are just fewer shape varieties out there for concrete prefab pools, which are a bit tougher to manipulate during manufacturing – on the flip side, there are hundreds of different fiberglass prefab pool shapes, sizes and depths to choose from.

Surface Options

One area where concrete prefab pools hold an advantage is in their surface options. Fiberglass pools almost always come with a gelcoat surface, which is fine for most pool owners – but if you prefer a surface like plaster, pebble or even tile, concrete is your best bet.

Maintenance Themes

However, one major consideration if you’re moving away from the gelcoat surface: All other surfaces come with some pretty significant maintenance needs, which gelcoat does not. It’s smooth and nonporous, keeping away algae and making standard cleaning incredibly easy. Surfaces like plaster or tile, on the other hand, will require a bit more in-depth care, which is fine for some pool owners but not desirable for certain others.

For more on choosing between concrete and fiberglass for a prefab swimming pool, or to learn about any of our swimming pool or custom spa services, speak to the staff at Packman’s Pools today.

Prefab Swimming Pools: Basics, Pros and Cons

There are several areas or industries where the term “prefab” will be used, and the swimming pool and hot tub world is a good example. Referring generally to “prefabricated” products, this is a category that simply means a given product was made beforehand at some kind of facility, often in sections that are easily shipped and then put together at their final destination.

At Packman’s Pools, we’re happy to offer a huge range of custom swimming pool design and manufacturing services, plus construction in several different formats. What exactly does the prefab title mean in the swimming pool construction world, what are some of the pros and cons of this format, and which pool materials might be utilized for prefab pools? This two-part blog series will go over several important themes to be aware of.

prefab swimming pools pros cons

Prefab Pool Basics

As the broad definition we listed above indicates, a prefab pool refers to an inground or above-ground pool that’s fully manufactured in a facility before being shipped to your home for installation. In most cases, prefab pools are desirable for those who want quicker installation rather than building a pool on-site, though there are other variables at play here.

There are two primary materials used for permanent prefab pools: Fiberglass and precast concrete. We’ll go over both later in our series.

Benefits of Prefab

There are several benefits of prefab pools for those who go this route:

  • Quicker installation based on previous construction, often far quicker than other methods.
  • Less noise during the building process, including on your property.
  • Multiple installation options, including above-ground, inground and even semi-inground.
  • In some cases, cheaper due to being smaller and having fewer size limitations.

Drawbacks of Prefab

There are also some potential drawbacks of prefab pools depending on your needs:

  • They are smaller than other types, and usually cannot be larger than about 16 feet wide and 40 feet long.
  • They require a bit more maintenance because they have porous plastic surfaces. However, their tile surfaces are very easy to maintain.
  • Lifetime costs: These kinds of pools may experience certain larger costs over time, such as the need for more chlorine, more extensive cleaning demands and certain resurfacing needs in other cases. However, modern prefab pools use improved materials that make this less of a concern that it would have been even a few years ago.
  • Fewer options: Finally, for those who really want a unique pool, some prefab options are limited to certain shapes. There may be freeform designs from many manufacturers, however, another area where modern technology has improved in recent years.

For more on prefab pools and whether you should consider one, or to learn about any of our swimming pool or spa construction services, speak to the staff at Packman’s Pools today.

More Cold Weather-Friendly Pool Materials

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on which pool materials tend to do best in the cold weather. There are several high-quality pool materials out there today, each with different specific qualities – which is the best choice if winter use and maintenance are top priorities for you?

At Packman’s Pools, we’re happy to offer a wide range of custom swimming pool material options, from fiberglass swimming pool construction to several other choices. Why should you be thinking a bit differently about pool care during the winter period of the year, and which material is best for those considering this and other pool care areas in their selection? Here are some basic areas to go over.

cold weather pool materials

Vinyl Material

Another material often used for pools is vinyl, which is incredibly versatile – it’s used in some format across numerous industries and specific applications. One of these is for swimming pool liners and materials.

Vinyl pools are some of the most budget-friendly out there, and they’re common in areas that have cold winters. Their structure is held using poured concrete, similar to a fiberglass pool we went over in part one, but the walls are made of polymer and won’t crack in cold weather.

On the flip side, vinyl liner surfaces may have some issues during winter if they aren’t protected properly. This liner material is a bit fragile, and may crack during extremely cold temperatures. It may also form tears that lead to leaks later on. If you’re able to limit extreme temperatures in this area, however, vinyl does very well during the winter.

Making Your Choice

As we noted in part one, fiberglass materials tend to be the best overall for cold weather, especially in places like Utah where sub-freezing temperatures are common. The materials are flexible and strong, both for the surface and structure of the pool, and will withstand temperatures on both sides of the spectrum. While vinyl pool structures also have similar benefits, their liners are a bit problematic and make fiberglass the prudent choice if winter care is a top priority.

Filing or Empty?

One additional question we’re often asked by clients and wanted to mention here: Should you drain the pool for winter or leave it filled? Logic might indicate the former, but we actually recommend leaving water in as long as it’s protected – pools that are empty may float out of the ground, and the results of this are much more severe than any minor risks of a freeze-thaw cycle from leaving the water in. On top of this, brittle pool liners are at even greater risk if you leave the pool empty, and they will almost certainly crack.

For more on choosing the ideal pool material for winter care and upkeep, or to learn about any of our swimming pool design or construction services, speak to the staff at Packman’s Pools today.

 

Ideal Pool Materials for Cold Weather Climates

As we enter the winter season, there are some special considerations for Utah pool owners. Utah’s climate fluctuates heavily from summer to winter, going from 100-degree heat to freezing temperatures and significant snow, and not only are there care areas to consider for your pool this winter, many of these themes actually trace back to which pool material you decide on during installation.

At Packman’s Pools, we’re happy to offer custom swimming pool construction services that are ideal for Utah clients who deal with the changing local climate. We offer several pool materials, including fiberglass options that are often considered ideal for cold weather and the stresses placed on a pool during this time of year. This two-part blog will go into why those in cold climates need to be thinking carefully about their swimming pool material during pool design, plus go over some of the common pool materials and which are best for these situations.

pool materials cold weather

Shorter Season

The primary needs for quality pool material in a cold climate come during the actual winter periods. That is, you need a material that won’t have major issues during cool parts of the year, such as cracking or related issues that damage the pool.

However, there’s also another major consideration here: A shorter swimming season. Those with outdoor pools in Utah unfortunately get several fewer months of hot weather than those in, say, Florida. For this reason, it’s vital to make sure you’re getting proper value on your pool and that the material you choose won’t come with more hassle and maintenance than it’s worth. We’ll discuss both these themes moving forward.

Fiberglass Material

Likely the single best pool material for cold climates, fiberglass pools are rising in popularity for several reasons. Because they’re made with extremely flexible materials, they do very well in colder temperatures – freezing and thawing don’t risk cracking or expansion and contraction concerns, which might be issues for concrete or other materials.

Generally, concrete will be poured around the fiberglass pool shell to lock it in place. While you will need to seal and properly care for these concrete areas to prevent cracks, such risks are not present for the pool itself, which contains no concrete elements for its actual structure. For this reason, fiberglass is the best choice if you want to prevent any cold-weather risks like cracking or leaking.

Concrete Pools

Concrete pools are the most common pool type across the country, but this trend is changing somewhat. Some of this is because they’re expensive and require significant maintenance, including for cold weather climates – you must seal and care for concrete to prevent freezing and thawing cycles from damaging the pool, and this can be a very involved process. Structural and plaster problems may take place otherwise.

For more on which pool materials to consider for a cold-climate swimming pool, or to learn about any of our swimming pool design or construction services, speak to the staff at Packman’s Pools today.

Dark Bottom Swimming Pool Themes and Options, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on dark bottom swimming pools and their qualities. Growing in popularity over recent years among a variety of pool color choices, dark bottom pools refer to those using colors like deep blue, gray or even black colors for their pool, both for style and several other potential factors.

At Packman’s Pools, we’re proud to offer a wide variety of custom swimming pool design and construction services, including for those who want a dark bottom pool installed on their property. One of the most important considerations for those going this route: Which material will be used for the pool bottom? Today’s part two of our series will detail the three most common options here and which is best for you given your needs and desires.

dark bottom swimming pool options

Fiberglass

One of the main advantages of fiberglass pool materials, which we’re happy to offer in numerous varieties, is how versatile it is from an aesthetic standpoint. There’s virtually no color hue that can’t be achieved using fiberglass, including black, blue and gray colors for those who want dark pool bottoms.

In addition, fiberglass is known for the “shimmer” effect many buyers enjoy in their pool. They’re the most vibrant and color-reflective of the primary options here, often the top choice for those who are utilizing this color primarily for aesthetic reasons.

Vinyl

Vinyl is another pool material that’s easy to create in any color variation, making it excellent for dark bottom pools. In fact, vinyl can even be fashioned to resemble tile, marble, mosaics or many other high-quality designs often desired in pools.

Now, there’s one minor downside of vinyl liners: They may fade with excessive chlorine exposure over time, turning the color lighter than you desire. Luckily, they’re easily replaced – this needs to be done every 5-10 years in most cases anyway, which gives you the option of varying up the pool’s design every few years.

Concrete

Finally, concrete also works well here because it can be dyed to any color you desire. It’s not as pigmented as the fiberglass option, however, and the surface only tends to last about ten years – fiberglass often lasts far longer.

For many, however, this downside is worth it due to concrete’s multiple surface selections. If you want tile to be used, for instance, you can choose any dark tile and utilize it easily. You also have the option of aggregate or several other types.

For more on attaining a dark bottom pool design, or to learn about any of our pool design or construction services or our hot tub solutions, speak to the staff at Packman’s Pools today.

Dark Bottom Swimming Pool Themes and Options, Part 1

There are several swimming pool color design themes that have been around for years but are only growing in popularity recently, and a great example here is the dark bottom pool. Usually some shade of deep blue, black or gray, such pool designs aren’t exactly new, but their popularity is definitely a more recent development on the pool market.

At Packman’s Pools, we’re proud to offer a wide variety of services when it comes to new swimming pool planning, design and construction, including assisting those who are looking for a dark bottom pool design. In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over everything you need to know about these pool types, from the common colors available to general cost and safety themes, plus some of the common materials that are best for your color choice.

dark bottom swimming pool options

Common Color Options

Some of the colors commonly chosen by homeowners installing a dark bottom pool include:

  • Black: The black bottom pool is s dark as you’ll get, available in several varieties. Such pools aren’t usually advisable for pools where small children or pets swim regularly, as the black color may make seeing the bottom impossible and could present safety risks. However, there are also angling or forms of light you can use to combat this, especially for outdoor pools.
  • Gray: Gray is another color option here, one that comes in a wide range of hues. They help bring the water a beautiful deep blue shade.
  • Dark blue: Maybe the most popular surface color for all pools today, not just dark bottom pools, dark blue bottoms hold several major benefits. They come with a huge variety of precise shades, for one, plus help bring an oceanic feel to the area. There are several materials where dark blue works extremely well.

Price Considerations

For most pool manufacturers, pool cost is based on a standard surface color like white or blue. Some additional colors will be an upgrade in terms of cost, but this will depend on the material and the precise color chosen. Contact our team to learn more here.

Safety

We noted possible safety concerns briefly above, and they’re worth considering. Darker pool bottoms don’t make the pool tougher to monitor from above, necessarily, but they do limit depth perception, especially black or dark gray colors. This can pose a jumping or diving hazard if the pool is not deep enough – in such cases, you should both verbally and visually make it clear to any pool users that jumping and diving are not allowed.

Color and Temperature

Pool material can also impact temperature. Dark pool bottoms usually tend to warm up a bit faster than others, depending on their precise pigment, so you can expect better heat retention from these shades.

For more on choosing a dark pool bottom, or to learn about any of our swimming pool or spa services, speak to the staff at Packman’s Pools today.

Smaller Swimming Pool Benefits and Tips, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some initial benefits and factors associated with a smaller pool installation on your property. From common smaller pool dimensions and depths to maintenance themes and some of the benefits of owning such a pool, there are several areas to consider here.

At Packman’s Pools, we’re proud to offer custom swimming pool design and construction for a variety of pool needs, including those with a smaller space looking to install a pool. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll dig into a few additional factors to keep in mind when considering a smaller pool, including a few accessories plus important installation variables to consider.

smaller swimming pool tips

Heater Factors

Like with many other pool types, one of the factors to keep in mind with a smaller pool will be whether you require a heater. This doesn’t necessarily depend on your climate, though this does play a role – it’s possible for pool water temperature to be very different from the outdoor environment in many situations.

With smaller pools, water volume is lower. This means you can expect water to heat much faster if you do purchase a heater, and it also makes alternative pool heating methods like solar covers, heating mats and others more viable in many cases.

Slide or Diving Board

A common question we get from clients considering a smaller pool installation: Can a slide or diving board be installed for entertainment? The answer tends to depend.

Slides, in most cases, are easily installed in smaller pool spaces. They may be limited somewhat depending on the slide and pool depth, but most slides for small children don’t require a very deep pool. Diving boards, however, will have more stringent depth requirements: You must have at least eight feet of depth to install a diving board. While smaller pools may run to such depths if you desire it and can find the right liner, this is not as common and most smaller pools will restrict the shallow zone.

Installation Timing Factors

How long will pool installation take for a smaller pool setup on your property? The answer will depend on a few factors, but by far the most important is the material used for the pool. Based on material, installation times may vary thusly:

  • Fiberglass pools: 2-4 weeks
  • Vinyl liner pools: 4-8 weeks
  • Concrete pools: 3-6 months

As some who have installed a larger pool in the past may have noted this is not all that different from the installation time for standard sizes. While you may be able to shave off a few days here or there for a much smaller pool, many of the same installation themes remain and there’s only so much you can do to shorten this process.

For more on smaller pool design or installation, or to learn about any of our custom pool construction services, speak to the staff at Packman’s Pools today.

Smaller Swimming Pool Benefits and Tips, Part 1

While some might naturally think of a huge, sweeping pool space when discussing an inground pool on their property, the reality is new swimming pools come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some properties do indeed install larger pools, but others are well-suited for smaller inground pool designs in many situations.

At Packman’s Pools, we’re happy to provide custom swimming pool design and construction services for a wide range of pool size needs, including many smaller options – our fiberglass pools are often utilized for smaller spaces, for instance. In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over everything you should be thinking about when considering a smaller pool installation, from proper sizing to maintenance themes, benefits of the smaller space and a few operation areas to keep in mind.

smaller swimming pool benefits

Common Smaller Pool Dimensions and Depths

While your pool’s precise size will vary based on materials and your own desires, there are a few common size templates used on the smaller side of inground pools today. They include:

  • 12×15 feet
  • 10×20 feet
  • 12×24 feet (the most common size)
  • 12×26 feet

The average here is roughly 12 feet wide and 24 feet long, with a bit more than five feet of depth. Smaller pools usually are not deeper than six feet, though this is another customizable feature you have some control over.

Will it Be Large Enough?

Now that you have an idea of your size ranges for the “smaller” end of inground pools, will this range be large enough for your needs? Here are some basic steps to calculate the answer:

  • Consider the average number of people who may spend time in the pool simultaneously.
  • Account for at least 15 square feet of space for each person who might be in the pool, for sanitation reasons.
  • Use basic multiplication to determine whether you have enough space in the pool area.

For families with children who like to host big pool parties during the summer, then, the smallest pool dimensions available might not be for you. For individuals or couples who just want a relaxing pool area where they can spend time, on the other hand, smaller spaces are often ideal.

Maintenance Themes

As you may have guessed just based on their size and water quantities, smaller pools are both easier and cheaper to maintain than larger pools with similar qualities. Less water means fewer chemicals needed, plus allows you to run the pool’s filter for fewer hours. Areas like refinishing or re-tiling are much easier on smaller spaces, as well.

Specific Advantages of Smaller Pools

If you’ve gone through the above areas and have determined a smaller pool will work for your space, here are some of the potential benefits of installing one compared to larger pools:

  • Cheaper and easier to build and maintain
  • Faster heating and cooling
  • Leave more room for other outdoor activities or accessories
  • Fit in a wider range of yards
  • Less expensive to close in

For more on our smaller swimming pool options, or to learn about any of our custom pools or spas, speak to the staff at Packman’s pools today.

Swimming Pool Heater Basics, Needs and Types, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on the various pool heaters and related items available for your new swimming pool. Even in warm summer locations like Utah, water temperature will not always match the outdoor temperature, and in fact will often be a lot cooler – which is why many pool owners choose to install a heating component.

At Packman’s Pools, we’re happy to discuss heating elements and your options within this realm during any of our custom swimming pool design and construction planning sessions. During today’s part two of our series, we’ll dig into a couple other pool heater types available to you if you’re going down this road, plus how to choose the proper size for your heater.

swimming pool heater basics types

Electric Heat Pump

Slightly different from other heating formats, electric heat pumps work by pulling in heat from the air and transferring it into the pool’s water. This is done in a similar format to solar heaters, allowing for strong energy efficiency and better environmental friendliness than gas heater types.

Generally, electric heat pumps are very inexpensive to operate – between $50 and $100 a month in most cases, one of the most cost-effective options. They do come with a higher installation and up-front cost, often ranging from $2,000 all the way to $7,000 or higher for certain custom models, but this value is realized over years of efficient use and low operating costs.

One note: In areas that sit below 55 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer, electric heat pumps might not be an option. They generally require air temperature of at least 55 degrees to operate.

Gas Pool Heater

For those who live in cooler climates or want the fastest possible pool heating, gas pool heaters are usually the way to go. These models are not as energy-efficient, which is a big downgrade for some but might not be as large a concern to others.

Gas heaters cost far more to operate than other types, usually between $300 and $500 per month due to the need for gas power. Installation and up-front costs may be cheaper, but the expenses add up over a period of months or years. Gas heaters also may have a shorter lifespan than other heater types.

Choosing Proper Size

No matter which of the options we’ve listed here you end up choosing, pool heaters will be sized based on British Thermal Units, or BTUs. The greater number of BTUs your heater is rated for, the faster it can heat your pool – this means larger pools require higher BTU ratings, generally.

In most cases, pool heater output should be rated for 50,000 BTUs for every 10,000 gallons of water present in the pool. If your pool holds 40,000 gallons of water, then, your heater’s BTU output should be at least 200,000.

For more on choosing the ideal pool heater for your new swimming pool, or to learn about any of our pools or custom spa builders, speak to the staff at Packman’s Pools today.

Swimming Pool Heater Basics, Needs and Types, Part 1

There are few things worse than stepping into an ice-cold swimming pool you weren’t expecting, and you might be surprised how often this can happen even when the weather outside is beautiful and warm. Outdoor air temperature does not always match up with the water temperature in a given pool, and this is why many pool owners, even in warmer states like Utah, choose to add a heating element to their swimming pool.

At Packman’s Pools, we’re happy to discuss pool heaters and numerous other components during our custom pool construction consultations and design sessions. Does your swimming pool need a heater, or might other basic water-heating alternatives suffice? If you do decide on a heater, which of the three primary types should you choose? This two-part blog will cover each of these topics to help you understand everything you need to know about swimming pool heaters.

swimming pool heater basics types

Does My Pool Need a Heater?

Here are some very basic questions to ask yourself that will help dictate whether you should install a pool heater in your new pool:

  • Is my preferred swimming temperature relatively high?
  • Will children, older adults or anyone with temperature sensitivity be using the pool?
  • Is the pool indoors or often closed-in?
  • Do I enjoy an extended swim season that includes late winter or early fall months?
  • Do I have room for a pool heater in the budget?

If you answered in the affirmative to at least one of these questions plus the final one, you should at least consider heating possibilities. Even if you’re unsure about the answers but want to learn more, you should investigate further.

Pool Heater Alternatives

Now, some pool owners find they can adequately heat their water without spending on a pool heater. Some basic DIY methods here include:

  • Ensuring optimal, prolonged sunlight on the pool
  • Using a solar cover rather than other types
  • Keeping the pool shielded from wind
  • Placing solar rings over the top of the pool to help absorb warmth
  • Using heating mats and water circulation (most valuable in smaller pools)

Solar Pool Heater

If you do choose to go with a pool heater, the most environmentally-friendly option available is solar-powered. While these options are on the pricy side to install, they make up for this cost by providing tremendous value and low-cost operations for years and even decades, generally lasting 15-20 years with proper maintenance. They also tend to come with solar tax credits, which benefit you even further financially.

Now, solar pool heaters may be a bit more laborious in terms of installation in addition to their higher up-front cost. They are also dependent on the sun, so there can be days or periods where they aren’t as efficient. Generally speaking, though, their benefits tend to far outweigh their drawbacks.

For more on swimming pool heaters, or to learn about any of our custom swimming pool design or construction services, speak to the staff at Packman’s Pools today.