Pool problems, do it right the first time.

imgres-5Lately it seems, we have been getting lots of calls to sort out pool leaks and plumbing issues. While we do not want to turn away work, it poses many problems for us, when we do not know how the installation was done.  For some reason, problems most often crop up in tiled pools. Not sure why that would occur, unless it is easier to hide a bad pool build under the layer of tiles. If you are using a contractor that does not have a lot of experience building pools, you had better make sure you are watching carefully. We are just working on a leaking pool where the “contractor” buried the piping for the jets under the cap of the pool, in concrete. That is bad enough in itself, but in this case one or more of the jets were not installed properly and were leaking. It is not easy to find a leak or repair one, when it is under 12 inches of concrete. Not only that but this particular pool appears to have more than one leak, which makes the whole process a slow and methodical check of levels to find leak sources. With tile pools we most often drain the pool completely and let it dry, we look for areas that remain damp much longer than surrounding surfaces. Most often water has become trapped beneath poorly bonded tiles or the tile is covering a crack in the pool surface. Now we fill it again and look for bubbles rising out of the tile joints, indicating that air is being displaced by water penetrating cracks and crevices. The other way we check for leaks, is with a special dye that can show water migrating into the pool surface at areas of cracks or leaks at fittings. Once the leak is located we use various methods to repair the issues. If it is a plumbing leak, that is an easy fix, provided it is not under concrete. If it is a leak in the pool itself, that is a much larger issue and if the pool is tiled, most often we need to remove all the tile to see exactly how the pool was finished and then re finish the pool in a specialty product we use called Pool Master. This prevents future issues being hidden under tile and we can warrantee our job, providing the pool itself is soundly built.

If a pool is constructed properly, the plumbing is done right the first time and the plumbing components made of quality materials, it should last many years without any issues, other than routine maintenance.

Pool water a little cold?

imgres-3It is getting to the time that time of year, when the days are getting pretty hot, but the water in the pool has not kept up. You are hot and need some relief and step into the pool. With every step down,  your arms get closer to your body and you stand there debating the final step. We all do it, standing there thinking, wow that water is colder than I thought it would be. But it doesn’t have to be, sure you can buy fancy expensive pool water heaters, but that is just one more thing to go wrong or use energy. There is a way however, to keep the pool considerably warmer and have the added bonus of keeping leaves and other things out of the pool as well. We all know the sun warms our pools. Pools gain heat from the sun, absorbing 75%–85% of the solar energy striking the pool surface. A pool cover will decrease the solar gain contribution to some extent, depending on what type you use. A transparent bubble cover may reduce pool solar energy absorption by 5%–15%. But what you lose in absorption you gain back in lack of evaporation and then some. Sun absorption is also an important consideration when building a pool, where is the sun going to be? Will it be obstructed or at a low angle behind a high wall for example.

Swimming pools lose energy in a variety of ways, but evaporation is the main source of energy loss. Evaporating water requires tremendous amounts of energy. It only takes 1 Btu (British thermal unit) to raise 1 pound of water 1 degree, but each pound of 80ºF water that evaporates takes a  1,048 Btu of heat out of the pool and that is a lot of heat loss. If you are at the beach in the Yucatan you usually have a nice constant breeze. However, every square centimetre of your pool’s surface gives up heat  to the wind by evaporation. The stronger the wind, the greater the heat loss. Evaporation alone accounts for 60% of the heat loss from your pool. Another 30% of the loss radiates into the air from the water surface and 10% goes into the ground. So by simply putting on an inexpensive pool cover, you can reduce heat loss by close to 90 percent.

Pool covers are light and easy to handle for your average pool. They keep the pool cleaner, they certainly keep it warmer and they also retain pool chemicals longer. So next time you are up to your knees in your pool thinking this water is freezing, call us to get a pool cover.

Cool pools to beat the heat.

Summer is coming  build your cool pool now!

Thinking about building a pool, to keep cool? Well now is the time, in 5 or 6 weeks when things really start to heat up, you can cool down in one of our custom pools. The gallery below is just a few of our customers ideas to beat the heat.

Our latest terrace design

Although living at the beach has its benefits, there is one drawback. Sand gets everywhere, especially if you have sand next to a pool area. Pools are magnets for sand, which makes the pool hard to keep clean and is hard on pool cleaning equipment as well. Our latest terrace was designed to keep the sand out, while providing an area for lounging. The terrace is finished in Roman Slate stamped concrete with contrasting highlights. A pool side stone wall blends into the terrace area and functions as a sand trap and wind break. The end result is a nice combination of utility and protection combined with a stunning look.

Checking the first slab

Checking the first slab

Getting it right

Getting it right

Why a rock pool is a better choice

When you are getting quotes for pool construction make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Block is fine for smaller dipping pools, but if you are building a larger pool, rock is better.

Rock is also more labor-intensive. As you can see in the first photo, block has parallel lines of mortar which can create a place for the pool to fail over time, especially with large volumes of water and its pressure.

pool blocks
Pool being built with block

Rock on the other hand is none linear and is structurally stronger as it is not hollow. Notice on the rock-constructed pool below how the rebar reinforces the wall, which is not possible in a block pool. So if you have a small dipping pool on a solid surface like in Merida, block is fine. If you are building on sand at the beach, block may be an issue in the future.

Rock-built pool
Pool being built with rebar and rock

Not all pools or pool construction quotes are apples to apples, so read the specifications carefully.

Casa Kaana

New pool and outdoor kitchen, were just the beginning. We have completely remodelled interior sections of this house and will soon be adding a second story addition.

 

Casa Amarilla Project

projectxyz pool and patio

gorgeous pool and patio

This custom pool and Mayan temple waterfall was designed to utilize the available space, but make the area seem larger than it is. Separate outdoor BBQ and shower area complete the concept.

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