How to Choose a Pool Fence: Things to Consider When You're Choosing Swimming Pool Fencing

by Pool Builders on 05-03-2011 in Articles

While pools are an iconic part of American summers, owning one takes a lot of work and is a major responsibility. Daily cleanings and chemical checks are important, but the perhaps most vital tool for maintaining a safe pool environment is quality pool fencing. It's true--a simple barrier around your pool, whether it is above ground or in-ground, could make the difference between life and death, especially for young children. If you're interested in installing a swimming pool fence, be sure that you're choosing one that complies with local laws and that you will be content to look at and maintain for years to come.

Local Safety Rules

Every municipality has slightly different regulations regarding pool fences. Some common rules include:

  • Height of the fence--Over four feet tall is typically considered to be an ample height to prevent unsolicited pool access by children.
  • Lack of hand or foot holds--This prevents children from being able to easily climb the fence.
  • Space between vertical slats--Many municipalities ask that fence slats be no more than four inches apart to prevent children from squeezing between them.
  • Gate construction--Gates are generally supposed to be installed so that they swing outward, making access more difficult should a child manage the latch. Latches should also be self-closing and located at least three feet below the top of the gate on the side that is facing the swimming pool.
  • Space between bottom of fence and grade--A maximum clearance of less than one and three quarters inches between the fence and the ground is required in order to prevent children from entering the pool area by maneuvering below the fence.

Exact safety measurements and other regulations are entirely based on your local legislation, so be sure to read up on your swimming pool fence ordinances if you've decided to add a beautiful in-ground or above-ground pool to your backyard. It is also imperative to seek prompt fence repair if you have any reason to believe that your current pool fencing may be too damaged or aged to keep children safely out. Doing so can save you a hefty fine--and even prevent a tragedy.

Fence Materials

Safety is a key point when installing fencing, but other factors should also be taken into consideration, including your personal aesthetic tastes, the amount of time and energy you're willing to commit to maintenance, and more. Below are some common pool fence materials and some of their corresponding pros and cons:

  • Ornamental aluminum--This choice is popular among those who are interested in showing off their beautiful pool and landscape to anyone who happens upon their property. It is durable, installs quickly, and does not require heavy maintenance in order to keep up its effectiveness or appearance. It is, however, a poor choice if you're interested in a pool fence that can also double as a privacy fence.
  • PVC--This low-maintenance material can add a touch of privacy to your property while also protecting against intruders and helping maintain safety for young children. However, without diligent attention, this fencing material may be subject to mildew growth. It typically also comes in only a few select styles.
  • Wood-- Wood fencing comes in myriad different styles and can be easily customized to match your changing tastes. It is also one of the least expensive fencing installation options around and provides your property with a degree of privacy. However, wood fences require more maintenance than other materials in order to stay attractive, strong, and durable.

These are just some of the factors to consider before committing to your new pool fence. Be sure to educate yourself on your local ordinances and honestly ask yourself how much work you're willing to put into maintaining your fence.

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