Earl's Pools Incredibly Informative Pool Blog

Buyer Beware: Cheap Price Pool Dealers!

Posted by Josh Bush on Fri, Mar 23, 2012 @ 08:03 AM

Vinyl Liner Pool Nightmare

There are three different options when buying a swimming pool: Fiberglass, Vinyl, and Gunite.  This statement is true but you also have a fourth option that is the most important one of all when building a swimming pool, The Contractor.  We at Earl's Pools specialize in the installation of fiberglass swimming pools, because we believe that they are the best pool offered to consumers.  Not all fiberglass pools are created equal so do your research because the manufacturers of fiberglass pools across the nation have different practices when it comes to the making of a fiberglass pool.

There are a lot of pool dealers that believe the only way they can sell a pool is by being the cheapest.  This doesn't require any selling knowledge of their product but only that they can install a pool cheaper than anyone else.  There are a couple of major reasons they can accomplish this. One, they sell a cheap pool that is manufactured with lower standards on the materials used to make the pool in uncontrolled work environments.  With fiberglass pools, they are mostly made up of resin and with anything there are different grades of resin that can be used to manufacture the pool.  The lower the grade the cheaper cost to manufacture, so the cheaper the pool is to buy.  Two, the contractor cuts corners during installation.  This can be seen by a contractor using something as backfill that has no place around a swimming pool, like sand or even the dirt that is excavated from the hole.  They may also skimp when it comes to the pipe or pipe fittings that may be used underground that the consumer may never see.  They may also cut costs by installing a lower grade filter, pump, lights, salt chlorinator, or automatic cleaner; or they may charge you later for some of these items that aren't included in the initial quote.  Some contractors elect to get the pools they install outfitted from the factory with the skimmer, returns, maindrains, and even perimeter tile because of their lack of experience of installing or pure laziness of not wanting to do it themselves.  During the shipment of the pool any of the fittings may be jarred loose and cause a leak that may be undetected until months after the installation is complete.

Installing an inground pool is not cheap.  Quality is much better than cheap.  When people invest their hard earned money in a pool project they want to be sure they can trust their dealer to use the the best pool and  best materials to construct their backyard paradise.  Don't be afraid to ask questions about the construction of the pool and the process of installation used by different dealers.  Check out the dealer by checking references, insurance, and license.  Feel secure in knowing the installer you decide to use will be using the best pool and materials available for your installation.

Tags: fiberglass pool cost, fiberglass pools, Pool Installation Process

Retaining Walls and Swimming Pools

Posted by Josh Bush on Wed, Dec 07, 2011 @ 10:12 AM

Elegance 40' w/ Retainer Wall

When are Retaining Walls Really Neccessary?

  • Many yards that pools are installed in are not your typical flat area.  We deal with many differences in elevation throughout our area that we install in.  Obviously a pool has to be level, and to achieve that in a lot of cases a retaining wall is needed to level off the desired area where the pool must go.
  • Some installations can be managed with just tractor work and changing the grade of the area, but in many situations we may build a wall of two feet or less at times for the cosmetic enhancement that comes along with the wall and the look it adds to the project.
  • Drainage is one important factor you must consider when installing a pool.  When the pool builder changes grades in a backyard the existing drainage flow goes out the window, so to enable proper drainage away from the house or pool area a retaining wall is needed.

There are many different types of retaining wall materials that are used throughout the nation by different builders.  The main thing that needs to be remembered with retaining walls is that some walls work better for different applications.  For instance, if I were to be installing a vanishing edge pool to where the pool is situated up close to the wall i prefer using a solid poured concrete wall.  If a stacked block wall were used in this process grid is required in accordance with the wall, so therefore I may not be able to place the pool as close to the wall as desired to make sure that my wall was built properly.

Retaining walls do add cost to the overall project, but are sometimes just needed.  They add the curb apeal is some applications, but in some cases add the ability to actually install a pool in some backyards.



Tags: Pool Installation Process, Pool Upgrades, Retaining Walls

Fiberglass Pool Installation - Winter Advantages

Posted by Lynn Bush on Wed, Dec 07, 2011 @ 10:12 AM


Fiberglass Pool w/ Rock Waterfall

      Anytime is a good time to install a fiberglass pool, but with temperatures not very warm and wet conditions in the winter months the installation of certain pools can be challenging.  Cold weather is not a good time to hang a liner in a vinyl liner installed pool.  Cold and wet weather is not a great time to install a concrete pool because of the curring process and the time it takes.  Anytime is a good time to install a fiberglass pool, due to the elements of weather not delaying or changing the installation process. 

Advantages to Installing your Fiberglass Pool

1.  Installers are generally not as busy and can have more personal time with the buyer.

2.  The buyers have time to have their yard ready by the spring to start enjoying their newly        installed fiberglass pool.

3.  Buyers have more time to think about extra projects such as water features, outdoor kitchens, and fire pits.




Tags: fiberglass pools, Pool Installation Process, fiberglass pool advantages

What type of equipment works best when excavating a fiberglass pool?

Posted by Josh Bush on Mon, Apr 04, 2011 @ 14:04 PM

trackhoe resized 600

We here at Earl's Pools of Alabama have used many different types of equipment throughout the years when excavating a hole for installing a swimming pool.  We use a trackhoe excavator to install our pools in our installation department for a few different reasons.

  1. This excavator is on a track system, which allows us the oportunity to work in areas that a tractor with tires wouldn't.
  2. The 360 degrees of motion with the cab of the excavator allows you to sit in one area and dig as well as load a dump truck with ease.  This speeds up the excavation of a swimming pool hole dramatically.
  3. The weight of the machine we use is about 33,000 pounds and can be used to compact fill dirt outside of the pool area by walking it in.
  4. The legnth of the arm on the tractor that we use is long enough to pick up all of the fiberglass pools that we carry, so we use the excavator to actually set the pool in the hole once the hole has been dug and gravel placed in it. 

Contractors across the nation use several different types of equipment to accomplish the installation of swimming pools, but a trackhoe excavator works best for us. 

Tags: fiberglass pools, Pool Installation Process

Can you install a fiberglass pool inside an existing pool?

Posted by Josh Bush on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 @ 16:03 PM

Would you like to have this situation in your backyard?

Liner Pool Problems

Unfortunately one of my customers had this unpleasant site in her own backyard, and with the site of this she asked me if there was any hope.  After assessing the situation, I let her know that my recommendation was to install a fiberglass pool inside of this nightmare that she currently had to deal with.  We discussed a few things initially she needed to consider.

  1. What cost am I looking at for this type of project? -  To install a fiberglass pool in this situation she basically was looking at a whole new install.  Even though there was an existing hole there, the cost of additional gravel to fill in the area around the new pool would offset the cost of not having to excavate a new hole. 
  2. Will you be able to tell there was another pool here before?-  When we finish the job you will have no idea that there was anything here before.  We actually set the grade of the new pool a bit higher and poured new concrete on top of the existing patio area that was there before.
  3. Do you think it is worth the investment?-  One of the first questions that you must consider is if you intend on living there for a while or not.  In her situation this is her retirement home and wanted to fix things up to enjoy for years to come.  Even though the cost is high upfront to transform your backyard, by installing a fiberglass pool you save as you go.  The chemical consumption on a fiberglass pool was cut down to about 15% of what she was spending with the liner pool she already had.  Power usage also was cut to less than half of her existing pool, and the overall look that we created in her backyard for years of excitment and pleasure to come outweighed those years of frustration that she had dealt with before.  Her new pool that we installed requires about 20 minutes a week maintenance, and that is the one thing that has meant the most to her.

So in closing can you install a fiberglass pool inside of an existing pool, why yes you can.  You must weigh out what is best for you and your family of course, but it is worth the investment down the road.

Tags: fiberglass pool cost, fiberglass pools, Pool Installation Process, fiberglass pool advantages

Are fiberglass pools too slippery for comfort?

Posted by Trent King on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 @ 15:03 PM

   This is starting to become a concern to some customers, because of the new age pools are not having the traditional hand rails or ladders being installed. This has really been the trend for Leisure pools and their higher end luxurious looks for a number of reasons. Now days people are not only having pools installed for swimming, but to enhance the pool area as a showpiece used for entertaining before swimming season and when it is over. Whether its a get together or just to sit out and relax, people tend to gather around something. This is where your back yard oasis comes into play with the endless options of landscaping, outdoor fire places or pits, outdoor furniture, lighting and water features, etc. Some tend to think ladders and handrails are an eyesore and takes away from the pool or just get in the way. Although in some applications they are necessary for some people, it should not be much of a concern getting in and out of these pools. Leisure makes a non-slip surface on all the pool and spa bottoms, seats and steps. This textured surface does not take away from the colors or sparkles and is barely visible when water is in the pool or spa, but does create secure standing areas on the bottom of the pool.  If you may have any questions or concerns with the bottom texture of a fiberglass pool please feel free to contact me.  Here is a close up picture of the texture with no water on it.

Non-skid pool surface

Tags: fiberglass pools, Pool Installation Process, fiberglass pool advantages

What size fiberglass pool is best for my family?

Posted by Josh Bush on Mon, Mar 14, 2011 @ 14:03 PM

One of the most common asked questions is, "How big of a pool do you think we need to accomodate my family?"  This question is only answered by myself when talking with others after I have spent some time with them getting to know them and their family a little better, with understanding some of their hobbies and listening to what they intend to get by installing a pool in their backyard.  Let's face it most installs now days are done to provide that backyard escape for families that allow them to stay at home as a place of vacation.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing which style and size pool are best suitable for you and your family.

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  1. One thing to consider is the option if my family needs a diving board or not on the pool.  If so, then in order to have a diving board installed on a pool it needs to meet a depth of eight feet or more.  This can limit your choices to sometimes only a few different styles.
  2. If you are the type that loves to have company over and entertain others, then you may want to consider a gradual slope pool, due to the fact that if the pool only goes to six feet or so then most can utilize the entire pool.  Depending on the size of the backyard you want to choose a pool that is small enough that you allow yourself to provide adequate patio spacing to enjoy furniture for lounging and entertainment around the pool as well as within the pool itself.
  3. If you have smaller children like I do then one of my concerns is finding a pool that provides a play area for little ones incorporated into the design that I choose.  One of my favorite designs in this situation is the Riviera made  by Leisure Pools USA due to the large seating area on the shallow end of the pool that is ideal for smaller children to enjoy.
  4. You may be one that requests some customization to a fiberglass pool, whether it be a tanning ledge, spillover spa, water features, or even a negative edge pool.  If this is the case then with the availabilty of many shapes that are provided in today's market you open yourself up to many different options to incorporate that special look you desire around your investment with a pool.

In closing, we here at Earl's Pools of Alabama look forward in assisting all of our customers in meeting their needs whatever they may lead to be when choosing which pool meets their needs the best.  If you would like to receive more information about the fiberglass pools that we install here at Earl's Pools please fill out one of our contact forms, and we will get back with you as soon as possible.

Tags: fiberglass pool cost, fiberglass pools, Pool Installation Process, fiberglass pool advantages

Few reasons why gravel is best to set and backfill a pool with.

Posted by Josh Bush on Tue, Feb 01, 2011 @ 16:02 PM
  • gravel

We here at Earl's Pools of Alabama have been installing pools for the better of thirty years and have used many different types of materials with the construction process.  The last decade we have used gravel as our source of backfill with all of the pools that we install.  Here are a few reasons we prefer gravel above all others.

  1. 89 stone is used as the base to set the pool on and backfilling the step and seating areas of the pool.  It's smaller size is great for filling in those tight areas that may try to leave a void area of material during installation, and a solid base for the pool to be placed on.
  2. 57 stone is used to backfill the side walls of the pool during installation.  The size of this stone is about half an inch in size, which works well locking together for greater compaction when it is dropped into the overdig area around the pool.
  • Gravel itself compacts really well, and it is far greater than sand or dirt that may be used in place of it.
  • Gravel is a permeable material, so pretty much what you are doing by using gravel around a pool is installing a french drain system around your pool also.  Gravel helps in this area to relieve water pressure that may build up behind the pool.  Sump lines are always installed behind every pool we build to help in this area also.
  • Gravel speeds up the installation process drastically because you don't have to wash it in behind the pool like you would sand or let dirt sit for weeks or months until it may reach a desired compaction rate.

We here at Earl's understand that not all areas in the nation have an abundance of gravel like we do in our area, but after many years of experience with pool installations we feel that gravel is the best choice when backfilling a pool.

Tags: fiberglass pools, Pool Installation Process

Negative Edge/ Spillover Fiberglass Pools

Posted by Josh Bush on Mon, Dec 13, 2010 @ 15:12 PM

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I have been in the pool business for almost thirty years.  The last fourteen years I have been installing fiberglass pools.  The mindset in the beginning was to put in pools as fast as you could and as many as you could.  In the last seven to eight years people have gotten away from just pools to backyard paradises.  In the beginning no one was doing much custom work with fiberglass pools.  Since now fiberglass being the best pool you can install for longivity and ease of maintenance, we have adapted other ways to customize these pools.  Negative edge and spillover pools can be installed using fiberglass pools.  Obviously there are certain types of yards that need to be used for these installations to the get the best result of the negative edge or spillover effect.  These are not the type of installs that you will do in volumn, but are the type that make you proud of the work and imagination involved to create them.  This also allows you to get into the yards of some of those that were before restricted to only gunite pools.

As far as the flow and catch basin sizes on these pools there is a lot of information available to use when making this type of install.  We install fiberglass pools manufactured by Leisure Pools out of Texas.  We have been able  to talk with the manufactures to produce a pool that is built to our specifications on projects such as these. 

The bottom line is fiberglass can be used in negative edge/spillover applications.  Not only does the customer have cutting edge designs but pools that are the easiest to maintain hands down.


Lynn Bush


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Tags: fiberglass pools, Pool Installation Process

What type of cover should I install on my pool?

Posted by Josh Bush on Mon, Dec 13, 2010 @ 10:12 AM

safety cover resized 600

We have installed many different types of covers here in the past, and this is our opinion on a few.

Safety Cover

Easy maintenance with the removal of leaves

Structurally sound to hold up our most prized possesions (our children)

Different colors available to blend with your patio

Automatic Pool Cover

Provides a solid structure above the pool

Covers the pool with a push of a button

Price of installation is somewhat high

Solar Blanket

Inexpensive way to generate heat for the water

Not a safety cover by no means and should only be installed for the purpose to heat the water temperature and expect nothing else

Tags: fiberglass pool cost, fiberglass pools, Pool Installation Process