There are over 10.4 million residential in-ground and above ground pools in the US. The most popular states for above ground pools are California, Ohio, Florida, Illinois, and Texas. Pools make great additions to any yard because they tend to help gather friends and family together. They’re also great for low impact exercise. Swimming is even known to help increase lung volume in asthma sufferers.
Above ground pools often make for a smarter investment than an in-ground pool. That’s because above ground pools are cheaper and easier to install. They’re also safer because an above ground pool safety fence must be installed.
If you’ve been thinking of getting an above ground pool for your yard, keep reading. We’re sharing with you everything you need to know about why you need a pool fence.
The Law Requires You to Install an Above Ground Pool Safety Fence
The US Consumer and Product Safety Commission (CSPC) has a few stats every pool owner should be aware of. Owning a pool is not just about exercise and good times. It’s a huge responsibility.
Out of all the nonfatal drowning injuries between 2015 and 2017, 73% involved children under the age of five. Between those same years, 64,000 kids under the age of 15 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for nonfatal drowning injuries.
Most Accidents Happen at Home
About 74% of all reported fatal drowning incidents happened in residential locations rather than public pools.
As a result of accidental drownings, there are now laws requiring pool owners to take proper precautions in an effort to bring down those terrible statistics.
Local Laws Apply
The St. Louis County Department of Public Works Division of Code Enforcement requires that all homeowners install an above ground pool fence. Homeowners must apply for a swimming pool permit in the following situations:
- Equal or exceed 24″ in water depth
- Wall depth equals or exceeds 26″
- The volume of pool equals or exceeds 5,000 cubic feet
In order to obtain a permit, you must indicate the type, location, and height of the pool fence you intend to install. You must provide them with four separate copies of an elevation drawing that shows both the gate and the fence.
You must also provide a sectional drawing of the fence and gate enclosure along with your application request.
What to Know About Installing an Above Ground Pool Safety Fence
While you can use your home as the fourth side of a fence, it’s typically not a smart idea. A fence that completely surrounds the pool ensures that no one has access to your pool unless you want them to, including your own children.
A fence should also be at least four feet high. In most municipalities in the St. Louis area, if the spacing between the pickets of your fence is greater than 1-¾”, you must have a minimum dimension of 45” from the top of the bottom rail (where a child could put their foot) to the top of the next rail (where the child could grab with their hands) so the child can’t use the rails as a step ladder to climb over the fence.
Install Self-Closing Gates on Your Fence
Always make sure the gates to the fence are self-closing and use self-latching devices or locks. These latches should be high enough that they’re beyond the reach of small children so the kids can’t open the gate themselves.
Do not install any handholds or footholds on your fence. This prevents kids from easily climbing over the fence.
Use Safe Fencing Materials
While you have your choice in fencing materials, opt for the safest and most durable materials.
Here’s what to look for in a pool fence:
- Design of fence must meet local pool codes
- Uses child-proof safety latches, self-closing hinges, and swing gate away from the pool
- Use materials with no sharp edges to prevent children from getting cut
- Needs to withstand the chemicals contained in swimming pool water
Not only will you and your kids stay safe, but the fence will also last longer as well.
Where to Place Your Pool Fence
Most pool fence installers recommend placing your fence a minimum of 5 feet from the water’s edge. Allowing that much space makes it safer for everyone to walk around safely inside the fence.
That amount of spacing between the pool and the fence also allows you to easily continue maintaining your pool and/or to retrieve a person or object from the pool. At the very least, do not install your pool fence any closer than 18 inches from the water to ensure everyone stays safe.
Your swimmers need some space in order to pull themselves safely out of the water.
Allow It to Conform to Your Yard
Aesthetics are also important to fence installation. While fences in a straight line are the preferred method, it’s not always the best option.
Often bends or gradual turns are necessary to conform to the curvature of your above ground pool. During installation, the fencing company should try to avoid the following turns, if possible:
- Tight turns
Not avoiding them can create odd and opposing angles in tension-based fences. Instead, a fencing company should opt for 90-degree turns, 45-degree turns, and gradual turns to ensure your fence not only looks amazing but is also safer and stronger.
In most yards, there are many areas where there is only grass or dirt. In this situation, you will be required to install concrete footings around every fence post interval.
A concrete footing can be installed at every eight feet or less. However, the gate needs to be installed into firm deckings, such as paved stone or concrete. This ensures the gate area remains strong and solid, especially when it gets a lot of foot traffic.
What Else to Consider in a Swimming Pools Fencing
You should work with a fencing professional to make sure your fencing will last a long time. Here are a few other things to consider before it’s installed.
The surface of the fencing area should be consistent. A graded yard that is uneven isn’t as safe since dogs and children could escape under the fence where there are gaps between the fence and the ground. Also, uneven fences do not look very nice.
Look for Potential Hazards
Make sure you take note if there are any steps in the pool deck that the fence will cross. This will change how the installation process progresses.
Check to make sure there aren’t any of the following hazards lurking beneath the ground’s surface before you start installing your fence:
- Sprinkler lines
- Electrical lines
- Gas lines
Call 811 before you begin digging to make sure everyone stays safe.
Consider the Natural Landscape
Many yards have peaks and valleys. If the fence is installed over areas where there are large dips in the surface, it could mean that a child or animal can crawl underneath and access your pool. Make sure there are no vulnerable spots where kids or animals can easily dig and crawl their way underneath. If there are, consider filling the area under the fence with dirt, mulch, or decorative rock.
Look around to see if there are windows, doors, and even pet doors that a kid or pet can easily open and gain access to the pool area. If there are, the fence should be installed where all potential access points are blocked.
Be Aware of Nearby Structures
You should also look to see if there are areas where the fence is too close to a structure that a child can use to climb the fence. Look for these common structures that could create a potentially dangerous situation:
- Pool pumps and furniture
- Air Conditioning Units
- Potted plants
- Bar area
- Cooking area
Find the safest route. To make sure you and your family stay 100% safe, it’s best to keep your fence at least 48 inches away from all permanent backyard fixtures, such as barbecue areas and natural rocks and trees.
Pool Fence Options
There are two main options with pool fences, permanent and removable. Most people choose a permanent fence, especially if they have kids or pets.
There are also more options in the types of materials permanent fences offer versus removable fences.
Benefits of a Removable Pool Fence
Removable pool fences are best for homes with no children or pets. There are quite a few different choices in fence materials. In fact, it’s often easy to be able to match the decor of your yard and patio furniture to your pool fence.
Most removable fences are made from:
- Mesh – Less expensive option
- Glass – High visibility factor for increased security
- Iron – Highly durable
- Wood – Very versatile and can fit any pool shape
- Vinyl – Vinyl is more durable and requires less maintenance than wood
You can then take it one step further to choose the style, design, and even color to make your backyard look amazing.
Ask Us About Our Most Popular Pool Fences
Aluminum Pool Fences
- 54” high residential grade EFF-20 Aluminum – Matte Black & Matte Bronze
- 48” high commercial-grade Lifegard Aluminum – Matte Black & Matte Bronze
Vinyl Pool Fences
- 48” high Baron Vinyl – White
- 48” high Princeton Vinyl – White
Maintaining Your Above Ground Pool Safety Fence
Certain materials require more maintenance. With glass and metal fences, you’ll need to wash them regularly to keep them looking clean.
Wooden fences require staining and painting. Over time, the board may need replacing.
With tubular, stone, or brick fences, some maintenance and repair may also be necessary.
Cost of Pool Fencing
There are several factors that make a difference in the overall cost of installing a pool fence, such as:
- Height of fence
Taller fences mean more materials used, which means a higher price. Temporary and removable fences are cheaper because there’s less work involved in the installation process.
Any additional work to remove potential safety hazards, such as slopes in the land or if mason work is necessary, will also raise the price. In order for a pool fence to be strong and secure, you may need to have dirt removed and concrete poured in its place. That extra work will cost more money.
Get a Free Quote on a Pool Fence
Whether you know which type of above ground pool safety fence you want or you still need more information before you decide, we can help.
We have different fencing options to suit your needs and budget. Click here to get your free estimate today.
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