I am Roger and I run PoolBuilder.co.za. I am not a pool builder, I am a website developer. My goal with PoolBuilders.co.za has been to help people find reputable pool builders and to help them along their way to a fun filled and stress free swimming pool experience. Now I get to experience this journey for myself and I want to share my journey with you. What will follow in my blog will be a "warts and all" journal of my plans and experience and I hope that it will help you as you plan your own swimming pool.

What's changed in 20 years of swimming pool construction?

As a young family we built our first pool about 20 years ago and the technology used in that pool was identical to the technology used in my dad's pool built 15 years before that. What has surprised me most is that most of the new pools built today use exactly the same technology used in my dad's pool built 35 years ago. What a shocker. Don't people know about the exciting new swimming pool technologies or does it just boil down to budget? Is it shortsightedness or ignorance? Are builders doing enough to inform people of their options? I will let you know what I discover.

In the beginning

Our pool before home renovation

We have been renting our home for many years and at last we have been able to buy a home and make it our own. The new house has a pool but it is very small, shallow and old. The fiberglass is looking flaky and ugly and it does not gel with with our plans for a beautiful garden and pool area that is visible from every bedroom and living area. The paving is also looking terrible and the position is not right. We are starting over.

 

As I touched on earlier there are many exciting new technologies that I would love to try out in our new pool. Products that will make our pool healthier for people, the environment and my wallet. I am also hoping to test out products that make the pool more fun to use and simpler to maintain. I have started approaching companies to make products available to me to test and to give you honest feedback on them. So far I have had positive responses from two exciting companies. I will share the details with you a little later.

This is what I have been thinking about while planning our pool:

How are we going to use the pool.

There are just three of us living at home at the moment. My wife Louise, 11 year old son Luke and myself. Louise and I will use the pool mainly to cool off but Luke is a real fish. Luke needs more space to enjoy the pool, practice water polo and play pool volleyball.

Pool Size

The current pool is too small but I don't want the new pool to be too big. I am very conscious of the need to conserve water and electricity plus our garden is quite small. In the end we decided on a lap type pool of 3m by 7m.

Pool Shape

Straight lines seem to work well in our small space so that is what we will be going for. Spend some time looking through photos and consider your space when deciding on your pool shape.

Pool Surface

Choosing the type of pool for us was quite simple but this is what we though about:

  • Pre-moulded fiberglass pools: This is a great option for a cost-effective small to medium sized pool. We are not able to use this type of pool though due to restrictions in getting the pool into the back garden. I have seen them use a crane to get a pool over a wall or roof but this is not practical for us.
  • Custom fiberglass pool: This works well for many people but the builders in our area don't specialise in custom fiberglass pools.
  • Standard concrete pool: A good option for us but a little plain.
  • Chip tile pool: A chip tile pool is a very popular choice here in Port Elizabeth. I am not sure why but it seems to work really well. The pool at our current home is a chip tile pool and it is fantastic and it has aged really well. This is what we will be going for.

Filters

I have been quite surprised at the lack of options when it comes to pool filters. Most people opt for a standard sand filter but I hate the idea of this old tech. Sand filters need to be regularly back-washed to keep them working efficiently and most people simply waste that water. You can use a backwash tank to store all your back-washed water and then return most of that to your pool. You simply flocculant to separate out all the dirt but the tanks are large and costly.

The only other commonly used filter option is a canister filter. We will be using a canister filter because it is only slightly more costly than a sand filter but we don't need the bulky back-wash tank to save water. All we need to do is clean out the filter cartridge from time to time. This saves water, money and space. One other major benefit is that a filter cartridge is far more efficient at filtering out small particles than a sand filter.

Pool Pump

Pool pumps have at least evolved a little since our first pool. Energy efficient variable speed pumps cost a bit more but seem to pay for themselves within a year or two. We will be opting for a variable speed pump.

Pool Pipes

I will be insisting on using a thicker than usual pipe for our pool plumbing. Thicker pipes result in less friction and pressure within the pipes and therefore more efficient circulation. I believe that the small cost difference in the beginning will pay for itself in the long run.

Pool Cleaner

I was given the opportunity by Zodiac to test out their Zodiac MX8 Elite in our current pool. I love this machine. It looks great, it's quick, it's tough and it cleans brilliantly. I would be open to testing out other cleaners but this one is definitely coming over to the new pool. Its one possible drawback is its price. It does cost a fair bit more than its competitors so I would be open to testing less pricing cleaners.

Water Sanitation

I still need to make up my mind on this one. We are currently using chlorine via an HTH Floater+. It works really well in our current pool but I would really like to look at healthier options. My idea would be to go totally chlorine free.

Learn More: Keep Updated

Stay updated on the progress of my pool. Learn from, and be entertained by, my mistakes and triumphs.
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PoolBuilders.co.za is not in any way associated with Jaap Diederiks. Mr Diederiks has been known to operate under the business names of Platinum Pools and also Pool and Pave. Please exercise caution if approached by him.