The Worst Safety Advice We’ve Heard About Pool Fences

Installing a swimming pool this year?  If so, congratulations, you’ve now joined the more than 8 million Americans who own a swimming pool.  Swimming pools afford owners a great resource for exercise, personal enjoyment and a way to add value to their property.  One of the most important considerations for installing a pool is safety, and common practice pool fence regulations. In addition to owning a pool, you need to think about safety and how you’ll protect your small children and animals from entering the pool area unattended and how you’ll deal with keeping unwanted guests from taking a dip in your pool when you’re not around or you’re asleep. 

aluminum pool fence

Having a good, strong pool fence with a locked gate can put your mind at ease.  Before you purchase a fence, however, do your research on pool fences as there are many things that go into selecting a pool fence for your home.  We’ve installed many aluminum pool fences in our more than thirty years of doing business in the greater Washington, DC area and we’ve learned that many homeowners rely on the advice of their friends or family—some who do not even own a swimming pool—to help them decide what type of fence to get and how to install it.  To save you a bit of time in your research, below is some of the worst advice we’ve heard when it comes to installing an aluminum pool fence and what you really need to do to make sure you make an informed buying decision.

You don’t really need a pool safety fence at all

Can you believe this one?  We actually get calls from people in the local area who say they spoke with their neighbors, friends and family and they’re convinced that they don’t need any kind of barrier to surround their pool.  One of the reasons, which makes us smile a little bit, is that a fence is not needed since “I live in the middle of nowhere so no one will know that I own a pool.”  That may be true, but every state in the nation has some requirements or pool fence regulations when it comes to pool safety and most cities, counties, insurance companies (yes, you also NEED insurance!), and homeowners associations require you to have a fence.  In fact, many insurance companies have strict pool fence regulations, including not insuring you if you do not have a fence surrounding your pool area!

You can do whatever you like when it comes to putting up a pool safety fence

Again, before you purchase fencing materials to build your own aluminum pool fence or work with a professional fence installer like Frederick Fence, you need to check with your local government to learn the requirements for pool ownership as well as the guidelines for installing a protective barrier.  While some foreign countries have enacted legislation for pool ownership, the U.S. doesn’t have a federal pool law or national standards related to pool installation and fences for pools. This won’t absolve you from not knowing the law so do your homework and learn the minimum pool fence regulations or requirements. you need to meet for putting a safety fence around your pool.

One of the best resources to help you understand the need for pool safety is the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, located in Bethesda, Maryland.  They offer a free guide that you can download that explains why having a pool safety fence is important as well as the best types of fences to consider for protecting your loved ones and property.  You can visit their site at www.poolsafety.gov for more information.

Your fence just needs to go around the pool, that’s all you need to care about

Try telling that to your neighbors when your fence ends up situated on their property!  You’d be surprised, but this happens a lot when homeowners forget to have their property professionally staked out by a surveying company or by using a plat to determine their property line. If you install a fence on someone else’s property, you will incur all costs to remove it and reinstall it.

As long as the bottom of the fence is close to the ground, it’s okay

Would you believe that one of the most common reasons why pool fences fail an inspection is because the bottom of the fence is not built to code?  Yes, it’s true.  I think many DIYers look at the pool code and once they see the basics, they no longer pay attention to the rest of the details.  And yet, time and time again, homeowners find themselves having to fix this one problem that can cost lots of money.  Panels have straight edges, your ground may have a bit of a slope. This means it’s not always easy to determine if the fence’s bottom is close enough to the ground to pass code.  If you make this mistake, either you can drive the fence closer into the ground or you can build the ground up.  You can also add pavers underneath the fence.  In any case, this can result in a costly fix.  Make sure you know what you’re doing if you install the fence on your own!

If you have a metal fence, it doesn’t matter where the fence goes

Anything metal within 5 feet of the pool’s edge requires bonding.  Bonding is the process of removing any stray voltage from your pool components that could deliver a small shock should you touch them.  You can do this by attaching a bare copper wire to the metal pool fence component. If you’re installing an aluminum fence it is best to place it more than 5 feet away from the water’s edge.

The Best Pool Fences for Safety

If safety is your primary concern, two of the best options for creating a solid barrier to protect your children and small pets while keeping unwanted guests from visiting your pool are a vinyl fence or high strength aluminum fencing.

Vinyl is long-lasting, requires hardly any maintenance and comes in amazing options when it comes to color and patterns.  If your wish is to design a fence that showcases your pool and meets code, vinyl gives you the widest array of design options.  If privacy is something you want in addition to safety, vinyl privacy fences are truly the best option as it allows you to enjoy your yard without being on display and even offers you a bit of noise reduction.

vinyl privacy pool fence

Aluminum fencing, much like vinyl, also offers you a wide array of fencing styles and colors, meaning you can design a unique fence to meet all your needs.  The beauty of aluminum is that it has a fade and scratch-resistant powder-coat finish that offers twice the strength of typical acrylic finishes – and never requires painting. If safety is your main concern, aluminum fence is one of the strongest products on the market.

Ready to Get a Pool Fence For Safety?

If you have a pool or plan on installing one in time for the summer heat, contact us today and we’ll work with you to design a fence solution that meets pool code and stays within your budget.

Image Credit: ©2015 Frederick Fence Co. All rights reserved.