Cost of Swimming Pool Fencing
The purpose of this blog article is not to chastise pool owners to install correct pool fencing, but to address the issues of pool safety, so that you can enjoy your swimming pool and prevent a tragedy.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love swimming pools! In fact, if I could spend the summers out by the pool instead of working, that’s where I would be!
When I think of fencing for swimming pools, many of my homeowners want to make a statement with their vinyl pool fence or aluminum pool fence. I on the other hand, prefer to talk them out of a preconceived notion of fencing and like to walk them through the process.
Swimming Pool Fencing to most homeowners is an afterthought, after the pool is in, after the decking is down, after the landscaping is completed and just before the final inspection is due.
If this is you, don’t worry, it happens all the time, and fence contractors are used to it. It is nice to be on the front end of the project, so if you are planning your pool now, go ahead and call the fence man.
When I see a beautiful new sparkling swimming pool, I think of jumping in, relaxing in a chaise lounge, football saturday parties, taking in the pool and landscaping. The last thing on my mind is the fencing…and I am the FENCE MAN.
You should consider this also. I encourage my homeowners to choose quality maintenance free fencing that complements and blends in with the pool and landscaping. We want to encourage the swimming pool fencing to be like crown molding in a home. When visitors come over, it is part of the decor but it does not overwhelm and you don’t expect someone to complement you on how nice your crown molding is!
BOCA POOL SAFETY CODES
I have been building fences for backyards and swimming pools for over 32 years and I hear these question fairly often so I thought they would make a great blog article.
Over the years, a great concern over swimming pools safety and prevention of drownings and near drownings (even legislation in Congress) has produced a concise set of regulations that many communities now follow.
These regulations are call the BOCA pool codes, and are pretty much universal across the country. Now your specific community may end up adopting these codes as a starting point and then add more restrictions to them so the best advice is to follow up with your local building code inspectors as to the correct specific requirements for your swimming pool safety.
Most communities do not have the excess resources or want to allocate scarce resources to develop their own set of regulations so they opt to adopt already existing nationally recognized building codes authority BOCA. These BOCA CODE books are revised annually, however, most communities will adopt newer versions every few years.
That is why when you check for the building codes requirements and your community is still on 2006 or 2007 they haven’t adopted the latest versions. Now, they may have included regulations that will in effect be equal to newer versions so it’s always best to check with local codes enforcement for specific regulations relating to your swimming pool.
What is all this fuss about fencing in a swimming pool?
One of the most tragic events is a preventable drowning of a child. When you see and understand the code regulations for swimming pools, it is not there to penalize you for having a swimming pool, these regs are established because a drowning has occurred and this is the best way we have to prevent future tragedies.
CLICK ON THE DIAGRAM TO THE RIGHT FOR A LARGER VIEW!
Swimming Pool Fencing is ONLY one part of an overall strategy to secure your pool and keep it safe for small children and infants.
The main objective of pool fencing is to prevent these small children from becoming a victim.
Your building codes authority will advise you of other methods to insure child safety, such as pool safety drains, pool motion detectors (for 20 pounds disturbance), alarms on doors entering pool areas alerting you to possible problems.
How is that accomplished? The pool fencing has some basic requirements such as a minimum height of 48″, maximum spacing between fence pickets to prevent children pushing their head thru the fence (if the head goes thru then so will the body), gate requirements.
Swimming Pool Fencing
So the main emphasis of swimming pool fencing is the safety of infants and small children.
Also benefiting from this are pets wandering thru the back yard at night, elderly people wandering out at night, and basic security for the property.
Swimming pool fencing by code MUST be a minimum of 48″ high, check local authorities for tighter restrictions.
The spacing between the pickets should be close enough so as not to let a 4″ sphere pass thru. Now what is that code about? The 4 inch sphere is representative of a child’s head. If the child can get his head in between the pickets, he could be hurt, suffocate, or die. This is the same code application for stair railings. Remember, this HAS occurred before and that is the reason it’s included in the regulations…child safety! Also, if the child can push his/her head thru the fence then the body can follow and now the child is actually trapped inside the pool area! See the BOCA CODE NOW!
Most builders, contractors, and even pool companies and fence companies miss this next part, the
distance between the top of the bottom rail and the top of the next rail MUST be 48″!
That is what is known as a NON CLIMBING RAIL. If a small child can get a foot up on the bottom rail and manages to scale your fence (highly unlikely…but remember, it only takes one time) he/she will be trapped inside the pool area!
Many aluminum and vinyl fences will pass code except for this particular part, and even if your building code inspector passes you on inspection, that does not release you personally from any liability. A code inspector can pass you on inspection, and even if something is missed, they or the community is not responsible if something was missed on inspection.
A quality attorney however, will quickly pick up on this code violation and your homeowners insurance company may possibly refuse coverage based on this. As a matter of fact, I always encourage my pool fence customers to contact their homeowner insurance agent to see what the insurance company requires for fencing, many times they are more rigorous than the codes as to what they will accept.
Swimming Pool Gates
What is all the fuss about gates? I keep my gate locked all the time!
Great point! Many customers who have never had a pool do not realize how quickly an accident can happen. All it takes is one mistake and you could have a tragedy on your hands.
Gates are the point of entry for the pool fencing and children will watch adults enter here.
Pools ARE considered ATTRACTIVE NUISANCES by attorneys (and the LAW) and therefore also your homeowner insurance company. That means that YOU are responsible to provide safety precautions for anything on your property that will entice children to enter your property. This list includes things such as trampolines, basketball goals, swing sets, jungle gyms, playhouse, tree house, fort, putting green, and of course the BIG KAHUNA … swimming pools.
By code (BOCA) gates are required to be 48″ in height from the outside grade. The gate release latch is required to be at least 54″ in height from the outside grade. CHECK THE PHOTO OF THE CHILD AT THE GATE.
How can this be? Well, for 48″ gates, there are special magnetic latches in long tubes that will extend above the fence and increase the distance to 54″ creating a child resistant latch. Notice I said child resistant, not child proof! Children can be very creative at times and show a great tendency like the Marines to improvise and overcome. The point of the 54″ release latch is to keep the pool gate latch out of arms reach of small children.
Next, the gate IS REQUIRED to open outward, away from the pool area. The reasoning for this reg is that if a child can manage to open the gate and it opens inside to the pool then they can fall inside the pool area. This is exactly where we do not want unsupervised children to be! If the gate is correctly installed, opening outward away from the pool area, it is possible that the gate will close back before they can manuvere inside the pool area.
Why would the pool gate close by itself and latch by itself? Pool code for swimming pool gates REQUIRES gates to be self closing and self latching! I can remember my children always running in and out of the house and never fully closing the door to the house. Living on a farm we always had pets for the children…and if the door did not close and latch, we had all kinds of bugs, cats, dogs, and other creatures venturing in. So even if adults enter or leave the pool area, the gates should be in good working order and self close and self latch. We use lifetime warranty spring loaded latches (adjustable tensioned) and self latching latches.
Why have ADJUSTABLE TENSIONED BLACK STAINLESS STEEL hinges? Because over time the springs will need to be adjusted to maintain a level of consist closure. Closure should not be considered for only for a wide open gate, but also for a gate that is 3/4″ from closure.
Why? Like when my children were in a rush and THOUGHT they had closed the door. So use adjustable tensioned hinges that are rated/tested at 10,000 closings for best results. The last item to end the gate section is that the hinge post AND the latch post should have a heavy post or a heavy reinforcement inside the post for the endurance of the gate.
BEST Pool Fence Material…Aluminum | vinyl | wood | chain link | Wrought Iron?
What is the best material for a swimming pool gate? Think about the purpose of the gate and you will quickly rule out any natural product such as wood. Why, You ask? Great question! Wood is a great fencing material, natural material and great for fencing. Wood fencing will warp, twist, crack, split, and all of these natural characteristics (blemishes) add to the attraction of a wood fence. However, these same characteristics also prevent the wood as a good candidate for pool gates. Why? Gates for pools are the POINT OF ENTRY and as such serve as the primary entry point for small children. Since wood gates are negatively affected by the weather, they do not CONSISTENTLY CORRECTLY OPERATE OVER TIME! A sticking wood gate, wood gate that doesn’t close properly is a disaster waiting to happen.
Wrought Iron has superior strength to most fence materials, yet has a couple of major draw backs. First, the wrought iron gate will rust, and that will require high maintenance to clean, sand, prime and repaint every couple of years. Second, the weight of the wrought iron gate overloads spring loaded conventional hinges. The better wrought iron hinges are barrel hinges with ball bearings for swinging. These hinges require regular maintenance for proper movement, and the gates are still to heavy for spring loaded actuators. After all, the pool gates are required to self close and self latch. Outside of the swimming pool area, the wrought iron gates will function and require you to close manually.
Gates that warp, gates to heavy for the closures is the reason we only use a manufactured product for our gates and gate posts, aluminum, vinyl and chain link are acceptable alternatives. Chain link is not allowed in many HOA’s (homeowner associations) so that leaves aluminum and vinyl pool gates.
Both aluminum pool gates and vinyl pool gates will retain their structural integrity and last for many, many years. Ask your fence contractors for the warranty on their pool gates, and if they do not warranty the gates for closure…find another fence contractor that will. The gates will cost more, but then again you get what you pay for. Our welded aluminum gates have a two year warranty, our vinyl gates have a lifetime warranty (we actually manufacture our own vinyl gates).
What Colors does my fencing come in?
Aluminum pool fencing has a powder coated paint and will come in many colors such as black, white, hunter green, tan. Black is by far the most popular color for the aluminum fencing (looks like wrought iron without the maintenance).
Most homeowners will want to check with their fence contractor for colors that will blend in and complement the pool, house, and landscaping. We keep an extensive inventory of black aluminum fencing, and so it is a quick fix when a repair is needed (such as an attack from a tree, car, golf cart…).
Other colors that are not as common may need special ordering for replacement parts, and freight, and long lead times.
Vinyl swimming pool fencing colors should be solid completely through the extrusions, and will come in common colors such as white, tan, adobe, as seen in the photo on the right. All premium vinyl fencing will have TITANIUM OXIDE compound in the vinyl fencing. If your contractor does not know about the TITANIUM OXIDE…time to get a new fence contractor knowledgeable about your fence.
Darker colors in the vinyl (TAN & ADOBE) require more UV stabilizers(Titanium Oxide) and therefore will cost more.
Your fencing contractor should have LARGE SAMPLES for you to view and take home to compare with your home and yard colors. W e offer a FREE TEST DRIVE of your Vinyl pool fence or Aluminum pool fence. By viewing these samples at home you can compare fence colors with your home colors, check fence heights, and get a feel how that particular fence will look around your home.
What does swimming pool fENCING cost?
This is a great question and is usually the first question on our customer minds. The pool fencing is usually the last part of the project completed along with irrigation and landscaping. Before we look at the pricing however let’s look at the whole fencing picture and decide what you actually want the swimming pool fencing to accomplish.
Do you want to only include a fence around the pool deck area or will you include the entire back yard? Also, how many gates and what sizes of gates, and do you need access panels for future vehicle entry?
For our purposes here I will address some maintenance free fencing of aluminum picket pool fencing, vinyl picket pool fencing, and vinyl privacy pool fencing.
Aluminum pool fencing has many options available (links below) so we will work with a 48″ aluminum picket fence with a 4′ walk gate and a secondary 5′ landscape gate and an access panel. Prices on the aluminum pool code fencing will range from $23 to $32 per foot installed and gates ranging from $400 to $600 depending on the gates. Access panels are installed at no additional charge and are designed for vehicle entry once a year or less.
Vinyl pool picket fencing also has a multitude of options so we will use the same parameters as the aluminum picket above. You will expect the vinyl fencing to range between $26 to $38 per foot depending on color, style, and other factors. Gates will range from about $400 to $900 with the lifetime warranty. Why would gates cost so much? Check out the gates on any fence that is at least a year old and see if it still opens, closes, and latches easily. A well built gate is more than worth the money over the long run.
Vinyl pool privacy fencing also has a huge range of options so we will stick with the basics. Vinyl pool privacy fencing will range between $30 to $48 per linear foot depending on colors, post stiffeners, and materials. Gates will range from $450 to $900. Most of our vinyl pool fencing projects will stay in the $30 to $38 range with gates from $450 to $600.