Your home’s pool is an oasis of relaxation, giving you and your children a place to have fun, cool off or just float and let the cares of the day wash away. However, safety must be taken into account, particularly if you have small children, pets, or live in a subdivision where other children might accidentally access your pool. Pool fencing provides both protection and better aesthetics, but it’s important that you know a few things before you install a fence around your pool.
In-Ground or Aboveground Pool
Your pool fencing options will hinge on the type of pool you own. For instance, if you have an in-ground pool, you’ll have more choices. Aboveground pools can be fenced, but the options are a little different. If you have a deck surrounding the pool, you can choose to install a fence around the deck itself, with a gated entrance in front of the pool. If the deck doesn’t surround the pool, a fence can be installed at the perimeter of the pool. The fence will need to be taller than it would if installed around an in-ground pool, to account for the additional height of the pool off the ground.
One of the most important considerations when choosing pool fencing is the material in question. There are several different choices out there, including metal, wood and vinyl. Wood can be both strong and beautiful, but it will weather, meaning that it comes with higher maintenance costs.
Metal will also eventually weather, but it will last longer than wood fencing. When it comes to metal fencing, you can choose from iron, steel or aluminum. Aluminum is lightweight, but it is more easily damaged. Iron is very strong, but can be subject to rust if not properly sealed and maintained. Steel is very strong, but it can be more expensive, and it must also be properly maintained over time.
Mesh fencing is another option. These fences use flexible but strong mesh panels to protect against pets or unsupervised children from entering the pool. Mesh doesn’t have the longevity of metal, or even a high quality wood fence if left in place for long periods, but the panels can be removed for storage when necessary. The mesh is made from vinyl and actually designed specifically for use in pool areas. The mesh is fine enough that the fence cannot be climbed, and panels are also transparent, meaning that you can more easily keep an eye on the kids while they enjoy the water.
Pool fencing installation is a crucial consideration. Incorrect installation can leave your fence weak, reducing the value of your investment or even eliminating the protection offered by fencing entirely.
A Note on Safety
As a final note, whatever type of pool fencing you ultimately choose, it is imperative that it enhances safety. This goes deeper than just preventing unwanted access by creating a barrier around the pool. Some types of fencing (split rail, hurricane fencing, etc.) should not be used around a pool because they are easily climbed by even small children. Other types of fencing can block your view of the area, making it that much harder to keep an eye on children in the water. Make sure that the pool fencing you choose offers good visibility into the area, and that it cannot be climbed (if using rails, there should be 48 inches between the top two rails to keep them from being used in a ladder-like fashion).