Over the years, pool finishes have become more durable and attractive. Diamond Brite, for example, is made with quartz aggregate for a resilient finish, while Beadcrete uses glass beads in the mortar, creating a smooth yet non-slip surface with a distinctive reflective appearance. Tiles are also a popular, though more costly, option with many pool owners choosing glass tiles over ceramic. However, tiled pools may require regrouting as the grout tends to discolour over time.
There are numerous options when it comes to pool surrounds. Mike Shields, owner of Pool Patrol, says brick pavers remain one of the most popular options, while faux stone products made from cement are also common. Pool owners can use a product such as Spray-Crete, in which the existing concrete deck is sprayed with acrylic based cement. This can then be stamped with a finish or smoothed before sealing. Natural stone can also be used for the deck, depending on the desired effect.
An increasing number of homeowners are choosing to add water features to their pools. From beach entries to infinity edge, there are various options to create a unique and user-friendly pool.
“A lot of pools we’re now equipping with laminar jets, which are arched water features so water shoots out of a fixture in the deck in a large arc into the swimming pool,” Mike says.
Water and flame features are an emerging trend. These can involve a bowl with water overflowing into the pool with a propane flame in the cauldron, adding light and motion to the setting.
Installing a saltwater pool with a chlorine generator is a popular option for homeowners as it improves the feel of the water.
“It generates chlorine at a pH level much closer to the pH level of the human eye,” Mike explains. “A lot of people think that it is the chlorine product in the water that causes the stinging of the eyes but it’s really the pH of the water that gives a lot of people problems.”
A saltwater pool also removes the need for the storage of hazardous chemicals, which makes it an attractive option for families with young children.
To reduce the level of chlorine in the water even further, an ozone generator can be added to the system. The ozone will take care of the sanitisation of the pool, which will allow the chlorine to be kept to a residual level.
Modern pool pumps include on-board computers that calculate the minimum flow rates required for various tasks, saving between 60 and 90 per cent on the cost of an older single-speed model.
It is important to match the size of the pump, the piping and the filter to the size of the pool.
“You’re going to wreck your equipment unless you size the pump to the piping and size the filter to the pump,” Mike explains.
The ability to control the speed of the pump allows the water to move through the filter more slowly, increasing the efficiency of the filter.
Traditionally, there have been three main types of filters used in swimming pools – sand, diatomaceous earth and cartridge. Diatomaceous earth gives the best filtration, although this type of filter also requires more maintenance.
“Cartridges are becoming a little more popular as it does not take as much water to clean a cartridge filter as it does a diatomaceous earth or a sand filter, as these rely on back washing the filter,” Mike says.
With so many exciting pool features at your fingertips, it’s time to dive in.