How It’s Done: Installing a 16x37, 8 ft deep pool shell
We get asked a lot how our fiberglass pool shells are installed. Generally, the pool shells, which are manufactured just south of Atlanta, arrive on-site on a flat-bed truck. We either use a lull forklift to lift the pool shells off of the trailer, and down into the hole, or a crane. (This depends on the site and amount of space available). One of our larger pool shells is the Atlantic. It is one of the Freeform models and is 16 ft wide and 37 ft long and 8 ft depth. The pool shell weighs 2800 pounds. Pictures below are of the steps involved in transporting a shell this size from trailer, up into the air, and finally down into the pre-dug and pre-prepared pool hole …
Step 1 - The pool arrives
The pool arrives on the trailer and pulls in with as much proximity to where the crane sets up as possible (dependent upon the lot and space available).
Step 2 - The crane sets up and hooks up to the pool shell
The crane will set up next, setting up its four outriggers for support and extending the boom into the air. With four straps, it will pick the pool up off of the trailer. Small chains are placed at four corners of the pool shell and the straps are shackled to the chains at the four corners.
Step 3 - The pool is picked up off of the trailer and transported
In the pictures above, you can see the pool being lifted. For this particular installation, this large pool shell was lifted high in the air and actually up over the corner of the house.
Step 4 - Pool is lowered down into hole
The pool is finally lowered into the hole. Once it is determined that the pool shell is level, the chains are unhooked. The trailer returns to Atlanta and the crane returns to the yard. The backfill process is ready to begin the next day.
The finished product
This is what the finished product for the 16x37, 8 ft deep Atlantic model looks like. This picture was taken on the same day as the concrete deck was poured. This pool shell is in the Pearl White finish and has concrete cantilever coping
How It’s Done: Building a Fiberglass Pool Shell - part 5
Part 5: Shell removed from the mold and sanded and buffed
Finally, our pool shell is nearing completion. Once the shell is constructed and each layer of the surface has been added, the pool shell can be removed from the mold. With machinery, the shell lifts straight up off of the mold and is stored on site, ready for delivery. After each shell is removed from the mold, prior to delivery, workers at the manufacturing plant walk around the shell searching for any blemishes. If any are found, they are sanded and buffed out, so by the time the pool shell arrives in your backyard, it is in pristine condition. Pictures below are of the shell being removed from the mold and stored, workers removing any blemishes from the pool shell in the construction process, storage of completed pool shells at the Tallman property just south of Atlanta, and a pool shell loaded and ready for delivery. Will the next pool shell to leave the lot be coming to your home?
How It’s Done: Building a Fiberglass Pool Shell - part 4
Step 4 - Applying the black sealer coat
The pool shell is now nearing completion. The gel coat has been applied and layers of the fiberglass woven cloth has been applied, layer on top layer on the high traffic areas of the pool, sealed in with the vinyl ester resin. Last, added to the pool shell is a special sealer coat. This black sealer adds a final layer of protection against any possible moisture penetration entering the structure of the pool shell from the outside. Picture below is of a pool shell after having a fresh coat of the black sealer applied …
How It’s Done: Building a Fiberglass Pool Shell - part 3
Step 3 - Strengthening the Stress Points
In addition to the standard layering of the fiberglass cloth that is added throughout the entire pool shell, additional layers of the special material are added on the stress points throughout the pool. Extra cut pieces of the glass fabric are added to the step areas, as well as to coping areas and any benches, seats, or swim-outs along any of the pool shells. These extra layers ensure added strength and sturdiness along points of the pool where one would walk or sit. Pictures below are of the actual material being cut, as well as the fiberglass cloth being applied to the stress points, with the vinyl ester …
How It’s Done: Building a Fiberglass Pool Shell - part 2
Step 2 - Adding the vinyl ester and woven fabric
Once the gel coat has been applied, multiple layers of vinyl ester and woven glass fabric are added to give the pool shell the waterproof barrier and extra stability and durability. The vinyl ester resins used by Tallman Pools are extremely resistant to even the strongest chemicals. Not one, but two layers of the 24 oz. glass cloth are added across the perimeter of the pool shell. This extra layer of fabric, uncommon amongst most fiberglass pool shell manufacturers, gives this particular brand of fiberglass pool shell added reinforcement and the utmost structural integrity. Pictures below are of the glass fabric being hand-laid across the pool shell and the vinyl ester resins being shot along the perimeter of the pool …
How It’s Done: Building a Fiberglass Pool Shell - part 1
In another installment of our “How It’s Done” series, we will show you how a fiberglass pool shell is actually constructed. We are the Charlotte area dealer for Custom Fiberglass Pools (aka Tallman Pools). Their office and plant are located in Jonesboro, Georgia, just south of Atlanta. On site, they build all of the fiberglass pool shells that have been delivered and installed, and could be installed in your backyard. Over the next series of posts, we will show you step by step how a fiberglass pool shell is built, and the quality with which Tallman uses in their construction. With their brand of pool shells, you can feel confident that you are getting one of the most well-built, sturdiest pool shells in the industry …
Step 1 - Applying the gel coat finish
Each pool shell that is offered has a mold. The first step to constructing a new pool shell is to apply the gel coat finish - this can either be in the Pearl White finish or the Diamond Tech color finish. As seen in the pictures below, with a spray gun, the gel coat finish is being applied to the mold to create the first layer. 36 mils of coating are applied in this step, giving an extremely sturdy base of gel coat …
How It’s Done: The Salt Water chlorination system
In the next installment of the “How It’s Done” series, we will explain to you how the salt water chlorination system operates. Due to the popularity of these systems, we now provide the salt water systems in all of our quotes, unless the owner explicitly states they want to stick with a standard chlorinator. The salt water system consists of two parts - the cell and the power center. The cell is pictured above. First, we pour in enough 40 pound bags of salt at time of installation to get the system up and running (depending on the size of pool, 8-12 bags). Once the salt is absorbed in the water and circulates through the pump system, the salt water generator begins its work. As water passes through the cell above, through the pipe on the right, it passes through an electric grid, housed in the blue cell. As water passes through that electrified grid, the chlorine is extracted from the salt water (salt being sodium chloride, NaCl). The grid produces a chlorine gas that infiltrates the water and circulates back into the pool, cleaning the water. When the system is operating, you can actually see the chlorine being produced in the cell, on the left side of the cell - the water will look cloudy in the cell, which is the chlorine being produced.
In this next picture, you can see the power center that operates the salt system. The power center is very user-friendly. Small green or red lights indicate whether or not the system is operating properly, or if you would need to add more salt. Super-chlorinating the pool, or shocking it, can be done very simply with the push of one button on the power center.
We now furnish salt water systems in about 90% of the pools we install. Having a salt water system eliminates the need for costly chlorine tablets or bags of shock. Most pools will use about 3-5 40 pound bags of salt over the course of a year, at about $10 per bag - a fraction of the cost of chlorine. In addition to the ease of use and the financial benefits, the salt water leaves your skin feeling very smooth, like baby powder, much the same benefit of a water treatment system in your home. The salt water system is also very friendly to ladies’ hair coloring.
Helpful Tips: Install a winter safety cover
One of the great ways to keep your pool as maintenance-free as possible over the non-swimming months is to install a winter safety cover. The winter safety cover has two primary benefits: keeping the pool covered, so leaves and other debris cannot will not fall into the water; and the cover is a safety feature, strong enough so humans or any other four-legged creatures cannot fall in. The pictures below will show how a winter safety cover is installed:
1 - The picture above shows the hardware included with the winter cover. You’ll see the springs, screws that are drilled into the concrete that the springs latch onto, an Allen Wrench used to bring the screws up from the concrete (and to screw back down when not in use), and a pry bar used to stretch the cover into place.
2 - Spaced every 3 feet or so apart on the perimeter of the cover are straps. The next step is to attach the springs to those straps. The straps enable you to loosen or tighten up the cover, depending on how tight you would like the cover
3 - The set screws are drilled into the concrete. Next, take the Allen Wrench and screw up the internal screws and pull the springs tight with the pry bar. Latch the end of the springs onto the internal screws, going from side to side of the cover. Complete this process until all springs are latched tight. When the cover is not in use, the internal screw can be screwed back down to where it lies flush with the concrete.
4 - The finished product.
With a winter safety cover, your fiberglass pool can keep that maintenance-free appeal, as no leaves and very little debris can enter the water. Also, having a cover can give you peace of mind, knowing your pool is covered against any living thing falling into it. Contact us for pricing, but typically the cover (with all hardware, box and bag for storage, and complete installation) ranges from $950 for smallest pools to $1300 for largest pools.**
** Prices are indicative of fiberglass models sold by us - concrete or vinyl liner pool sizes, and prices, may vary accordingly
How It’s Done: Installing a Fiberglass Swimming Pool, before & after
To wrap up this particular “How It’s Done” series of posts, we thought we’d show you the before and after shot. Maybe we can do this in your backyard as well?
How It’s Done: Installing a Fiberglass Swimming Pool, part 5
Now, on to the final step in the installation process - pouring the decking. Most people choose a concrete finish, however, we have installed pavers as decking before as well. The pictures below are of a standard broom-finish with cantilever concrete coping. We have two prep pictures that show our concrete company preparing the form boards, as well as the cantilever forms that are installed to create the bull-nosed coping. And, last, we have a picture of the completed installation. Note that various concrete finishes are available as well, including stamping, staining, and special sealing.
In the pictures above you can see the deck forms and the Styrofoam cantilever deck forms. In this particular deck, the concrete had to be pumped from the front of house because there was no access to the back. A completed picture is below …