Frequently Asked Questions

 













FAQ’s

· What is an insulated pool structure? Why would I want one?

· How does building with this technology and this method benefit me?

· Will building with this insulated pool wall system save me money?

· Can I build this myself? Do I need to hire a contractor?

· What are the costs associated with building a pool, spa or spool? What is a spool?

· How sturdy are the pool walls and how are they constructed?

· Can I use the insulated pool wall panel to renovate or restore an existing in-ground pool? 

· Are there any depth restrictions? How is the bottom made or shaped?

· Do I need steps?   Yes

· Do I need a main drain? Should I drain the pool or do I need to change the water?

· What can I use for pool coping?

· What coatings or interior finished can be installed over my structurally plastered and concrete floor? Which type of interior finish should I choose? Can I get different colors?

· What size pump do I need? What are equipment operating or running costs & times?

· Can you customize my pool equipment? What other equipment can I get?

· What is a salt water chlorinator and how will it affect a pool?

· What about a diving board or slide?

· What are my options to heat a pool?

· Should I insulate the bottom of the pool?

· Do you have a comparison of this pool building system with another pool system?

· What about freeze/thaw concerns in colder climates? How is the pool winterized?

· How long does the pool last? What are the warrantees?

· Are there any more designs than what is on the web site? Can I get a customized design?

· How much is shipping?

· How do I get my project started? Is there any support?





FAQ’s

What is an insulated pool structure? Why would I want one?

The technology incorporated into our pool building system is done for reasons that need to be explained. What most people don't realize is that the ground in which they are putting a pool in, even in the southern part of the United States, is generally about 56 degrees even in mid-summer. As you move north into the central parts of the country, the ground temperature might be 52 to 54 degrees, and as you move farther north into the northern part of the states, the ground temperature becomes, of course, colder. In the construction of a swimming pool, the walls and the bottom of a pool are generally in direct contact with the surrounding ground.

Other pool structures; metal wall, acrylic wall, fiberglass pools, and Gunite concrete pools do not deal with the fact that they are building structures that virtually have no insulation value to the pool water allowing the ground temperature to infiltrate the pool structure thus keeping the water uncomfortably cold within the pool. Eight (8") inches of concrete or Gunite has a factor of R-0.68. Any metal wall, acrylic wall or fiberglass pool would have a similar R factor, less than 3/4 of 1%.  Our 4" insulated pool panel system has a factor of R-20. If you are using our insulated pool panel system to restore an existing pool, we offer a 1" polystyrene foam insulation panel, which has an R-5 factor or a 2" polystyrene foam insulation panel with a factor of R-10.

The actual heat loss on the average pool (15’x30’) is 70 percent through the wall and the bottom of the pool, and 30 percent off the surface of the pool. The heat loss from the surface of the pool may be acceptable in warmer climates, but there are ways to restrict that heat loss, such as: 1. a floating plastic solar bubble pool cover or (blanket), 2. an automatic cover system, 3. and of course, there are the standard winter covers.


How does building with this technology and this method benefit me?

This is new energy efficient, eco-friendly, green building construction technology for a naturally warmer pool. In non-heated pools it will increase the usability of the pool by at least 35 percent and in a heated pool it will reduce the heating costs by 70 to 80 percent. It’s cheaper, easier and faster to save energy than it is to buy or produce it.

Will building with this insulated pool wall system save me money?

Pools built utilizing this construction method can generally be built less expensively than other types of construction methods and types of pools. Also, the heating costs saved over time will actually pay for the construction costs of the pool when heated.

Can I build this myself? Do I need to hire a contractor?

The pool wall system is made of polystyrene foam panels 48” tall, 40” long, 4” thick and the panels are notched for assembly and numbered for placement in the desired pool design. The actual time for erecting the panels is approximately one (1) day, and working time on the pool is about 10 days during a 2-3 week period of construction from start to finish. An instruction manual with supplemental instructions, engineering calculations & specifications, and a Construction demo CD come with every kit. When you purchase a kit, you can either build it yourself and/or contract out the work as listed below that you don't want to do yourself. We have excellent telephone support for all who purchase our kits by calling our building consultant before and during construction of the pool. If you want to work with a local contractor, we would be happy to speak with them about our pool building system. You can also refer to our contractor list on the Contact page on this site.

What are the costs associated with building a pool, spa or spool?

The additional costs associated with building a pool, spa or spool are to take the cost of the particular kit being purchased and to double that cost to figure the approximate total cost of your project (this will vary based on how much of the work you do yourself and how much of the work you might hire out), which would include:

1. Excavation
2. Gravel (which needs to be placed and compacted in the excavated area prior to setting walls panels)
3. Plastering the foam panels (with two coats of structural plaster with a polystyrene mesh embedded between the 1st and 2nd coats). The plastered panels need to cure for about 5-7 days and the panels should be sprayed or misted down with water on both sides for the first 3-5 days.
4. 3/4" Pea-gravel for backfill, which is placed around the outside of the pool in the excavated area (which is self compacting and allows the pool to be in its own environment and helps the pool to be resistant to free active earth movement).
4. Install floor insulation barrier over entire area of gravel bottom of pool (especially in colder climates)
5. Pour a 4" concrete floor and ring-beam around the pool along with the equipment pad
6. A small amount of plumbing and electrical is needed for setting equipment
7. Install pool coping and decking
8. Apply the EVM Coating (roll-on or spray-on) interior finish (and install pool tile border around the top of pool)
9. Installation of pool equipment, establish power to equipment pad.


The following is a list of the additional materials and the amounts estimated for just one of our pool designs that would need to be sourced to complete this particular design:

Materials specifically for the #5/3 pool design

4 Yds - A/B Road-base
5 Yds - Concrete
240 Ft - 3/8" Re-bar
9 Ea. - Tri-Stakes (steel fence posts)
12 Yds - 3/8" Pea Gravel
550 Ft - Plaster
60 Ft  - Arch Aid
30 Ft  - Bull-nose Aid
  2" PVC Schedule 40 Pipe and Sweep 90s for plumbing

(We can provide the Arch Plaster Aid, Bull-nose Plaster Aid and Corner Plaster Aid if needed.)

What is a Spool?

A spool is a small pool that has been converted into a large spa by adding a heater, 2-stage pump, air blower, and venturi jets. Now you have a combination pool and spa that you can utilize all year long.

How sturdy are the pool walls and how are they constructed?

The pool wall system is made of expanded polystyrene styrofoam (EPS) panels 48” tall, 40” long, 4” thick, which are bonded together with a foam adhesive (Dow Ener-Bond or similar) in the desired and ordered shape of the pool. The glued panels are then plastered with a structure plaster (two coats with a polypropylene mesh embedded between the 1st and 2nd coat). The pool walls are engineered and structurally designed, and tested to support six times the amount of load that the earth normally would exert on the wall system, indefinitely (when the pool is empty). Once water is in the pool, the load on the outside and inside of the pool wall is approximately the same.

Can I use the insulated pool wall panel to renovate or restore an existing in-ground pool?

Yes, you can!  We offer an insulated pool panel system to retrofit and renovate any type of pool structure whether it's a Gunite/plastered pool, metal wall, acrylic wall or fiberglass pool structure (pools must have 3-1/2" concrete floor). This product comes in two thicknesses, 1" with an R-5 factor or 2" with an R-10 factor. The panels are attached to the entire interior wall surface of the pool utilizing Ener-bonder adhesive by Dow or lock-tight adhesive by Permatex or any other styrofoam adhesive. Any voids, cracks or seams should be filled with expanding polystyrene foam after installing panels.  See additional information on the Pool Restorations page. Then you can apply the EVM Coating.

Are there any depth restrictions? How is the bottom made or shaped?

The depth of a pool is based on the width of a pool. The wider the pool is, the deeper you can build it. All pools generally have a shallow end of 40 inches of wall and 36” to 38” of water. The bottom can be formed when you slope the shallow end to the deep end of the pool. You can also build a sports pool bottom by having the deep end in the center of the pool. We generally figure that a pool 15’ wide by 30’ long will support a depth of 6’ to 7’ deep.

Most residential pools are not built to safely dive in because they do not generally have enough room to follow the NSPI and ANSI/APSP Standards and be built for safe diving as in commercial pools. It is our business to inform our customers of the NSPI and ANSI/APSP safety standards. We also recommend, as should most pool companies, NO DIVING in residential pools.

Diving pools have minimum depth and width requirements, which must be at least 8 feet deep and have a width at least 16 feet.

An example would be that a pool with an 8 ft. bottom depth should go 24 ft. long at that depth before it changes in slope, and the slope of the floor from that point to the point of the shallow end shall not exceed 1 foot in 3 feet (30 cm: 91 cm).

Do I need steps?

Yes, under BOCA Codes and under NSPI Standard Pool Building Codes, steps are required within the pool structure. Ladders should be provided at the deep end or at minimum a bench or seat, which would also allow for an exit at the deep end of a pool.

Do I need a main drain? Should I drain the pool or do I need to change the water?

Commercial pools require main drains, but residential pools do not normally require one, although most builders install them. Our pools are built without main drains. The water in a pool can be circulated through the sides of the pool via the skimmer and most pools require at least a suction side cleaner, which moves about cleaning and circulating the pool water.

With the passing of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act there are new requirements for the installation of main drains on new pools. If main drains are installed in the bottom of a pool, you need to install at least two main drains four feet apart and plumbed in such a way that the blocking of either drain will not cause entrapment and install a compliant safety vacuum release system (SVRS), or a suction-limiting vent system, or a gravity drainage system or other approved remedies. We recommend that you convert the main drain to an inlet at the equipment pad in such a way that it can never operate as a main drain again. This will facilitate in reducing energy-cost to you or your customer. Suction outlet covers on main drains should be checked often to prevent entrapment. (see PSN article for VGB Requirements for Residential Pools)

Should I drain the pool or do I need to change the water?
Generally speaking, the answer is no, you should not drain the pool or change the water. Under normal situations, the water in a pool never needs to be changed. Whatever changes occur in the water can usually be dealt with by adding specific pool water chemicals.

If the pool interior needs to be refinished, then you would need to remove the water from the pool. This should only be done in the summer and not under any circumstances when there is a possibility of a high water table. Building in a high water table, one needs to establish well points around the pool or install a drainage system underneath the deepest part of the pool. A separate pump would need to be connected to pump water from around or beneath the pool should the water need to be removed the pool.

What can I use for pool coping?

You can use a variety of material for coping, look for non-skid products. If you use a cantilevered concrete edge, we recommend a control joint 18” from and parallel to the water line around the pool. This control joint should have Deco-foam as the expansion joint material and should be caulked using Deco-seal (we recommend you sprinkle sand in the control joint to simulate the mortar joint to lessen the sheen of the Deco-seal).

12” Bullnose brick
Stone (sandstone preferably
Pre-cast concrete
Cantilevered deck coping kit*

(*such as the form offered by Stegmeier -- it can be used around the top of a pool when employing cantilevered decking)


What coatings or interior finished can be installed over my structurally plastered walls and concrete floor? Which type of interior finish should I choose? Can I get different colors?

After the panels have been plastered and the floor has been poured, the pool is ready for an interior finish. You have a few choices of types of interior finishes; Elastameric Variable Membrane (EVM) Coatings (Roll-on or Spray-on) (which is offered as one of the options for purchase with a kit), Pre-fabricated vinyl liners (not included—but can be made to order by contacting liner manufacturer), Epoxy coatings, and Fiberglass (sprayed or rolled on). The epoxy and fiberglass finishes are usually installed by a specialty coating contractor.

Depending on the type of interior finish chosen, a pool finish will last from 5 to 30 years. If you choose a Pre-fabricated vinyl liner, they are said to last 10 to 15 years, but might fade around the top over time from exposure. The EVM coating (can use pool tile at waterline) is said to last 20 to 25 years (by far the easiest for the DIY person). Epoxy coatings, and Fiberglass (sprayed or rolled on) are said to last 20 to 30 years (and costs twice as much and is also usually installed by a specialty coating contractor). Plaster finish (least recommended, as the chemicals used to keep the water sanitized breakdown that type of finish faster and is more likely to have problems with algae and also costs more) are said to last 5 to 10 years.

Of course, how the pool water chemistry and the pool are cared for will affect the life of the pool finish no matter what it is. White is the recommended color for most finishes, although you have choices of any color. The only difference between white and other colors is that white is the only color the company warrantees.

What size pump do I need? What are equipment operating or running costs & times?

Each pump and pool filter system is designed and sized so that all of the water in the pool will be cycled through the filtration system in 8 hours or less per day. Most of our pools, the turnover rate for the water would be 5-6 hours during the summer. In the winter when the water is cold, the circulation times can be reduced to a few hours per day. The average operating costs for a pool would be approximately $30 to $50 per month.

Can you customize my pool equipment? What other equipment can I get?

Yes, we can customize your equipment; we recommend all energy-efficient products and use the following name brands – Hayward, Pentair, and Sta-Rite. We can supply any combination of lighting, filters, pumps, heaters, salt water chlorinators, cleaners, and covers.

What is a salt water chlorinator and how does it affect a pool?

A salt water chlorinator converts pool salt (which has been added to the pool water) by passing the water through a device installed in the plumbing line that converts the salt molecule into an iodine molecule to produce chlorine. (The amount of salt in the pool water is less than half the salt in a tear drop). This means that any time the pool pump is running the water is being chlorinated. The only testing or other water maintenance that needs to be done is to monitor the alkalinity and the pH of the water.

Are there any safety issues or other things to consider if I want a diving board or slide?

Yes, there are and our company does not recommend either. Most residential pools are not built to the proper depths and widths that are needed for safe diving and should be posted to all “No Diving”. Slides are not a problem until you have two or more children trying to go up and then down at the same time, the one who falls usually falls on the deck. If you want to add something for the kids, we recommend a jump rock.

What are my options to heat a pool?

One option is use solar roof panels ($5,000 approximately) or you can heat utilizing solar tubing in the concrete deck ($8,000 approx.). Other options are: Electric heat pumps ($5,000), Propane or Natural gas heaters ($2,500), or geothermal energy (quoted for each job by specialty contractor).

Should I insulate the bottom of the pool?

If you are in a colder climate, we recommend that you insulate the floor of the pool. We suggest that you install a radiant foil barrier over the compacted gravel and below the concrete, this also works well in moderate climates. After the floor barrier has been installed then the four inch concrete floor is poured over that for the finished pool bottom.

Do you have a comparison of this pool building system with another pool system?

We used a comparison of a concrete Gunite pool versus an insulated pool kit, as they are the most accepted of the existing pool building methods. Gunite, metal wall, acrylic wall, and fiberglass pools are not insulated and do not have any insulating qualities to speak of and in most cases many of these wall systems are more expensive to purchase, ship and install than our insulated pool wall building system.

A sample of the heat loss has been provided by one of our major builders located in Central California (40 years in the business) of how even in a warmer climate it is very important to isolate the water from the cold ground that surrounds and is under the structure of a pool.

He has a standard Gunite plastered 15’x30’ pool approximately 15,000 gallons. The pool has full southern exposure and he has had the pool for approximately 14 years. In his area, the average daytime temperature in August is between 95 and 100 degrees with the nighttime temperature around 65 degrees. Under these conditions, the temperature of his Gunite pool was checked at 8:00 AM and was found to be 70 degrees and again at 6:00 PM and was only 6 degrees warmer at 76 degrees (too cold to swim in the middle of the summer). A similar pool he built utilizing the insulated pool structure for a customer a mile from his own pool was checked the same day at 8:00 AM and the temperature was 78 degrees ( 8 degrees warmer) and when checked again at 6:00 PM was 86 degrees (10 degrees warmer overall). The same two pools were checked again mid-winter, with the daytime temperature for the Gunite pool at 58 degrees and the insulated pool structure was 68 degrees. This is just one example in one area; the heat loss would be greater if one was building with one of the other pool building systems.

What about freeze/thaw concerns in colder climates? How is the pool winterized?

The pool wall is isolated from the cold ground with pea-gravel backfill that is placed around the pool structure, which also helps make the structure resistant to free-active earth movement. The pools are winterized like any other pool in any geographical area with extreme cold temperatures, which varies from climate to climate.

How long does the pool last? What are the warrantees?

Insulated Pool Kits warrantees the pool wall panel structure (when built per instructions and specifications) and that is for 30 years. It is estimated the lifespan of the structure is 150 years. Each equipment supplier warrantees their own products, as does each interior finish manufacturer.

Are there any more designs other than what is on this web site? Can I get a customized design?

Yes, there are more designs….too many to put on the web site. If you don’t find one that suits you, however, you can send us a scaled drawing by fax or e-mail as to what you want and we will custom design that water structure for you, at no extra cost. We can design any size and any shape imaginable.

How much is shipping?

Free!  Shipping within the United States is included. Additional costs for shipping equipment may vary on equipment if split-ordered and may be based on its final destination.

All Canadian orders will be shipped (at no additional cost) to closest U.S. Port of Entry/Exit to buyer's final destination where buyer can pick up or arrange shipping with a broker/freight-forwarding company (selected by buyer) to deal with use taxes and transportation to final destination. Shipping time is 10 to 15 days after receipt and confirmation of funds.

All orders leaving the United States will be shipped, at no additional cost, to the closest U.S. Port of Entry/Exit and where buyer will need to make arrangements with a freight-forwarding company/shipping broker regarding shipping to buyer from that Port of Call.

Shipping of the pool walls and the EVM Coating would require a container. The pool wall system comes in large blocks, each block is 96 inches x 48 inches x 40 inches (2.43 m x 1.21 m x 1 m) and would take about 3 to 4 blocks, depending on pool design purchased. There would also be the EVM Coating in gallons (approximate based on pool design purchased) and one or two pallets based on what equipment buyers purchase; this would require a total of 6 to 8 cubic meters of container space.

How can I get my project started?

First pick your design, then contact us by e-mail or fax for a pool quote along with your equipment wants and needs.  We'll give you a price quote for your individual project.   We accept Cashier's Checks or you can make your purchase through PayPal.

We like to put the "serve" back into service, so when someone purchases one of our pool kits, we make ourselves available to our customers and offer excellent telephone support and building consultation at no charge before and during the building phase of a project.   Our telephone building consultants are available from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST) and can be contacted on our toll free number 800-348-6916.

 


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