ICF Pools

What Is ICF?
ICF stands for Insulating Concrete Form and is the leading way to build a swimming pool. It is similar to the traditional pool building’s steps and procedures. ICF will also be around the same price range. ICF is leading in pool structures because it is easily shaped, light-weight, environmentally friendly, as well as aiding in a faster construction job. ICF pools are built to reduce the energy cost of your standard pool, as well as have lower lifetime maintenance costs.


When using ICF you meet or exceed standards set by building codes. This is because you are integrating and embedding a high-density plastic web in between two pieces of foam. There is a water barrier installed for the waterproof protection essential. Typically the EPS or XPS foam block size is 4’ X 16”, but since they are foam they do come in different shapes and sizes to accommodate custom jobs, along with providing a consistent finish.


How to Build ICF
1. First you’re going to dig up the location and footings.
2. Once the location is empty, footings are poured and then the stacking and layering of ICF walls begins.
3. The plumbing and any reinforcing steel or braces, per engineer specifications, are now added and the ICF walls poured.
4. The bottom is then filled with a non-compacting solution, fine gravel, or sand, leveled and smoothed.
5. A moisture barrier is installed beneath the under-floor insulation foam, typically the foam is a 4” cut of foam.
6. The steel rebar reinforcement is installed, per specifications, and the bottom slab is poured.
7. A cove transition piece is installed to ensure the wall and floor line up. If the pool has a slope, to create the slope desired, typically the two horizontal slabs are poured. After that the slope is poured, smoothed, and evened.
8. You can finish the pool off with either;
 a. Perma-Crete, a coating option that can be used horizontally or vertically.
 b. A Sider-Plast system by Sider-Crete which then will be finished with Sider-Proof Top Coat.
 c. BuildCrete Stucco, directly onto the ICF, at least a 3/8th” thick and embedded with fiberglass mesh.
9. If desired, you could use a pool liner as the final layer.
10. Foam-A-Drain or a similar system is installed. The drainage system, in order to keep the two water tables separate, needs to drain to a sump or to another location.
11. The pool interior is finished normally with decking placed, or white tile and coping.


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Posted By: Staff on Thursday, July 9th, 2015

How to Build Your Own Pool

Build your own pool – When beginning a project such as building your own pool, it is important to do your research. There any many steps and procedures to building an aquatic project. Pools are expensive, not just in terms of materials, but also in terms of building costs. Additionally, you have to have the essential chemicals and tools that will help maintain the quality and life of your pool.


The first steps in acquiring pool designs is determining what kind of pool will fit your needs. To do so evaluate:
1. Purpose of the pool
2. Shape
3. Size
4. Shell and materials
5. Pump and plumbing
6. Aesthetic Enhancements
7. Decking and coping


Yard size, shape, and conditions all factor into the pool design process. Consider your budget when choosing as well. Pools kits are available for purchase for people wanting to build their own pool. (You will still need to hire contractors and other sub-contractors.) It is always recommended to consult a professional to determine if it is a good fit.


Vinyl liners are the most common and the cheapest in terms of up-front cost. The next option fiberglass is the lower maintenance choice, but very limited in sizes. ICF ends up being used most typically because of the speed to build and convenience of being able to access difficult backyards. Lastly, concrete is your standard style, this is because it is 100% customizable and durable.


After you have the pool design, architectural pool plans, and materials chosen, you will be able to obtain city permits. (When you have the correct design and pool construction plans these permits can be very easily obtained.) These permits are required before the building of any project is to begin. Permission from your local utility company is required as well. Once permits are approved the project can begin (excluding select states.)


Upon starting construction you’re going to want to excavate the location. Be sure you excavate deep and wide enough, but be sure not to any underground utility lines. You’ll also want to make sure you have enough room for the liner/shell and enough room to work.


Once the area has been dug up, you’ll want to make the ground as level as possible where the bottom of the pool will be. You’ll either want to get the liner to fit the best it possibly can or you’ll want to grade the ground the best you can to the shape of the pool floor. Next, lay down your liner and begin the wall support. Wood, steel, or other materials might be used for support, instructions come in the kit for this process.


Now you can begin establishing with the pool walls, steel rebar, and wood framing. The walls all need to be kept even and in line with one another. Often the walls are made with block or poured concrete. After the walls are established, you’re going to lay down the plumbing. If your city requires a hired plumber, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DO IT YOURSELF, hire a plumber. You need to have a supply and filtration system that meets your city code.


Run the electricity for the filtration system and if needed, lights, and anything else needing power. Having this wired appropriately is extremely important, as you don’t want it to short circuit, not work, or possibly worse. Hiring a professional electrician is always recommended.


After the plumbing and the electricity are complete you can begin the backfilling. The perimeter of the pool’s location needs to be backfilled with sand, gravel, or dirt. It is recommended to use gravel where the bottom of the pool will be. You’ll want to get the liner to fit the best it possibly can or grade the ground the best you can to the shape of the pool floor. You’re going to want to lay down your liner and begin the wall support. Wood, steel, or other materials might be used for support. Instructions come in the kit for this process.


You’ll begin pouring concrete for the floor, smoothing, and grading, as it is being poured from the cement truck. Concrete or sand will be used for the bottom filling of the pool and any sloping areas. Make sure you keep a smooth surface and all slope sizes are exacted accordingly. (The pump and filter should be installed on top of the slab you had poured for the pool’s plumbing system.)


The pool will need to be cleaned at this stage, along with installing and securing all gaskets. Gaskets around the lights, pump, and skimmer will need to be checked again. Once it is all secure and ready you can then lay down the hang liner. This process will take multiple people. You’ll start at the deep end and work your way out trying to eliminate any creases or bumps. The hang liner needs a vacuum to help create the suction between the concrete and liner.


Check the water filling allowance in your area. Droughts can cause restrictions. Otherwise, you’re ready to start filling. Chemicals and other materials will still be needed for pool maintenance purposes.

Posted By: Staff on Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Gunite Blog

Gunite is a dry mix compound of sand and cement. Gunite (or concrete) pools are generally speaking the most popular. One of the biggest determining factors of what type of pool you choose for your build (concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass) is determined by the pool shape and size. Gunite is the most highly customizable in terms of builds. It can be applied to any pool size and shape.


Gunite also varies the most in terms of cost, but is comparable to a fiberglass build. However, long term is it going to require more maintenance and in turn have more costs associated. At some point, although indeterminable, it will require renovation! Gunite material is porous, this makes it more algae prone. Costs will be incurred from needing extra chemicals for this exact reason. Additionally, you will have to watch the calcium levels of the pool when you have gunite.


These pools can take longer to build on account of variables including weather. They are good in terms of durability and appearance, but are not compatible with salt water. Salt water pools and salt additives are currently huge in the pool industry. If salt water is an amenity you find desirable, you will likely want to steer away from a gunite pool.


Some people cannot be swayed from wanting a gunite pool, as it can be a popular choice. When deciding take into account its flexibility, design, durability, and the coarse texture. When deciding what kind of pool is right for your build there are so many factors to take into account, but ultimately it is up to you!

Posted By: Staff on Thursday, July 9th, 2015