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Hydrofloors, The Hidden Pool Feature Homeowners Love

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Hydrofloors are the Hidden Pool Feature Homeowners Love

One of the coolest inground pool features these days that has taken social media by storm are Hydrofloors. These incredible movable pool floor systems enable you to achieve the ultimate hidden pool. Hydrofloors were first introduced to the pool industry back in 2007. Since then they have slowly been gaining traction with builders and homeowners alike.

Movable pool floors have been around for decades. If you’ve ever seen the pool from ‘It’s Wonderful Life’, you’d recall a memorable scene involving a dance floor opening up to a swimming pool. Technology has certainly come a long way since George Bailey took the plunge. These movable floors vertically rise to fill in the pool area with usable space within minutes.

What are Hydrofloors? Twinscape Group is the visionary behind these incredible movable pool floor systems.
Twinscape Group is the visionary behind these incredible movable pool floor systems.

What Are Hydrofloors?

Twinscape Group is the pioneer behind this revolutionary technology that is enabling homeowners to reenvision their pool area as a dual-purpose space. It is now possible to go from an indoor gym to an indoor pool in an instant using Hydrofloors. The movable swimming pool floors can be lowered to varying depths. It can also be elevated to ground level to be utilized as a flat-top surface.

The James Bondesque pool feature isn’t just becoming more popular with luxury homeowners. Hydrofloors are also becoming a big hit with aquatic centers. The ability to raise and lower the pool floor makes it possible to hold infant swim classes at 10 am, an adult lap swim at noon, and a swim meet competition at 3pm all in the same pool.

Transforming the pool to different depths happens all by pressing a single button. Hydrofloors also have applications for creating better therapy pools. Slip-resistant, movable pool floor systems can be easily adjusted. This allows swimmers of any physical condition to enter and exit the pool with greater ease. Hydrofloors eliminate the need for slings, hoists, and access ramps.

Movable Pool Floors Are Attracting More Pool Builders

Builders like Paolo Benedetti of Aquatic Technology out of Morgan Hill, CA, have become a big fan of Hydrofloors. They enjoy the ability to do multiple depth floor systems that can accommodate popular finishes (i.e., tile, glass-mosaic, and even marble). That is accompanied by Hydrofloors’ enormous load capacity. Hydrofloors surpass a home’s conventional floor strength rating of 55 lb/ft when lifted.

Benedetti recently shared one of the most recent projects he collaborated on with Panorama Pool Builders of White Fish, MT. This incredible over the top luxury inground pool exemplifies what can be achieved in the backyard with Hydrofloor movable pool floor systems.

What is also remarkable is that a Hydrofloor pool is a 100% safe pool cover that can convert into a usable patio space within minutes. This provides the versatility to create unique pool environments that are multiuse spaces. That is perhaps the most appealing aspect for pool builders.

How do Hydrofloors work? Multipurpose space planning has gotten a whole lot easier with movable pool floors.
Multipurpose space planning has gotten a whole lot easier with movable pool floors. Photo Credit: Clear Water Revival

How Do Hydrofloors Work?

A series of cables and a pulley system with a water-based hydraulic cylinder comprise much of the technology behind Hydrofloors. Locking pins that automatically slide in the pool shell walls help achieve an incredibly high load capacity (250 kg/m2). Buoyancy packs are installed underneath the structure, which floats the pool floor to the surface. The floor is pulled down with a cable and pulley system with water-based hydraulic cylinder to the desired depth. Water passes slowly enough so that the water percolates above the floor to quickly drain away from a small gap around the perimeter.

Separating The Fantasy of Movable Pool Floors From Reality

There have been plenty of moving pool floor system videos being shared on social media lately. Some of these time-lapse videos are incredibly entertaining to watch. Quite a few of them show pool floors that disappear within seconds. Realistically you’re looking at around 8-10 minutes for a complete transformation from patio to pool.

Let’s also set realistic expectations about market penetration on these systems. While the videos are becoming popular on social media, and homeowners might be wondering if they can have one of their own; this is still a pool feature reserved for the elite. The movable pool floor system alone can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars; which can be pricey – even in terms of luxury inground pools.

How Much Does a Hydrofloor Pool Cost?

Each square foot of the movable floor system can cost anywhere from $300 to $550. This makes movable pool floors a unique but very expensive pool feature. Construction costs considered, a hidden pool with a Hydrofloor can cost millions, according to Alan Crownover of Paradise Pools and Garden. Crownover is a San Francisco-area pool builder, who’s designed at least one Hydrofloor pool so far. He said the starting price for similar projects would run someone about $2 million.

Crownover is working on another exciting Hydrofloor project. This one involves a private yacht that wants to land a helicopter on the roof. He is planning a dual-purpose landing pad/pool. The owner will be able to convert into a swimming pool and back again whenever guests drop in. Truly a unique project that we can’t wait to see get off the ground (no pun intended).

Luxury Pool Feature With a High Price Tag

The high cost associated with this particular pool feature puts it out of reach for all but the most affluent homeowners. Real estate agents have reported an uptick of homes with hidden pools hitting the market in recent years. However, this doesn’t indicate they’ve become more affordable yet. Most regular inground pools typically start at around $50,000. The starting price for a Hydrofloor is $230,000. This makes this a unique pool feature that you’ll still find in only a finite amount of residential homes.

A movable pool floor system such as this is a luxury pool feature that can exceed several million dollars.
A movable pool floor system such as this is a luxury pool feature that can exceed several million dollars.

Twinscape Group is definitely setting the bar in movable pool floors when it comes to finding exciting and innovative new ways to conceal a swimming pool. They are also pushing the envelope with movable benches, pool covers, and submersible walls and bridges.

Inexpensive Hidden Pool Projects

Want a hidden pool but can’t afford a Hydrofloor system? You might want to try the DIY approach. You can try and build your own. Gil Klar, an Israeli electrical engineer, spent three months and around $10,000 building his own hidden pool. One that is quite similar to the sliding dance floor shown in “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

Photo Credits: Twinscape Group

Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of PoolMarketing.com, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email info@poolmagazine.com or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to submissions@poolmagazine.com

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Pool Builder

Pool Designs – 50 Luxury Pools That Will Inspire You

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Pool Designs - 50 Luxury Pools That Will Inspire You

When discussing the world of luxury pools and pool designs, one can’t go very far in the conversation without bringing up gunite pools. Unquestionably, concrete inground pools offer the most versatility in terms of customization. Homeowners go all out tricking out their backyards with the latest outdoor living amenities to take their backyards to the next level. Consequently, they want their pool designs to have the latest state-of-the-art technology. Builders are constantly being asked to push the envelope and incorporate pool features that complement the aesthetics of the home.

Tranqulity of Moving Water

Luxury inground pool with sheer descents - retaining wall
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This luxury inground pool with multiple sheer descents coming from a raised retaining wall offers the tranquility of moving water and provides a tasteful and elegant focal feature in the pool area.


Outdoor Pool & Patio Design

Simple and elegant outdoor pool patio design
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A simple and elegant backyard that makes excellent use of the space provided to offer a classic-looking outdoor pool and patio. Cohesive and tasteful throughout the entire space.


Personal Backyard Oasis

Backyard resort. Pool design with tanning ledge, bubblers, sheer descents.
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This space backyard resort had room for a huge pool design with a large tanning ledge. Bubblers and sheer descents add to the atmosphere of complete relaxation.


Covered Patio & Pool Vibe

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When the summer is hot, you’ll want a covered patio area to relax and beat the harmful rays of the sun. This hangout has an outdoor wet-rated ceiling fan to help circulate the air while lounging poolside on hot days.


Beach Resort Pool

Beach resort pool design with raised spa
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This quaint backyard beach resort comes complete with a raised spa. Guests lounging poolside will want to dive right in. Nothing screams beach vibe like a giant crab on the wall.


Perfect Pool Design For A Beach House

Beach house pool design with elegant pool and lounging area.
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Everything about this beach house says pool party. The minute you pull up to the house, the side entrance leads right to an elegant pool with a neatly appointed lounging area.


Classic & Contemporary

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The classic look of the home with its brick columns demands a simple and contemporary pool design. Large format pool tile at the waterline of the pool help gives it color and dimension.


Freeform Designer Pool

Designer pool - freeform pool design with travertine coping.
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This designer pool features a huge freeform design with a raised spa and travertine coping all around the perimeter of the pool. Smartly appointed umbrellas offer multiple shaded areas.


Enclosed Inground Pool

Enclosed pool design with rain curtain and laminar jets - raised spa.
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Enclosed pool designs are extremely popular in Florida. This homeowner opted to install a rain curtain feature in the center of the pool for a breathtaking centerpiece.


Fire & Water Features

Fire and water features in pool designs are popular. Sheer descents and laminar jets with spillover spa.
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There is nothing quite so captivating as when fire and water come together. The firepots complementing the sheer descents and laminar jets work beautifully with a spillover spa.


Outdoor Living At It’s Finest

A firepit conversation area by the pool is a classic design.
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This perfectly appointed outdoor living design features a firepit conversation area right next to the pool. One of the most popular outdoor living trends you’ll see this year.


Gunite Is The Way To Go

Gunite pools offer the most flexibility in terms of shapes and materials.
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Homeowners that want a truly custom luxury pool design 9 times out of 10 will choose a gunite pool because of the flexibility it offers pool designers in terms of materials and shapes.


Raised Wall Sheer Descents

Pool elevations with retaining walls are a high end feature homeowners love.
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Pool designers are opting to add elevations by building retaining walls that step down to the pool area. Adding a sheer descent that provides the sense of moving water throughout is a classic pool feature folks tend to ask for again and again.


Large Format Tiles Are Popular

Large format pool tile is enormously popular this year.
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One popular trend that continues to dominate pool designs is large format tiles. Homeowners are opting for beautiful grout lines and textured interesting patterns that pop.


Modern Pool Design With Retaining Wall

Modern pool design featuring multiple sheer descents from a huge retaining wall.
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This modern pool design features multiple sheer descents from a huge retaining privacy wall that keeps prying eyes and nosey neighbors from checking out the raging pool party going on.


Luxury Pool Design With Mosaic Tile

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This beachside mansion features a luxury pool with a perimeter overflow to a smaller pool below. The entire wall of the pool is covered in gorgeous mosaic pool tile throughout the whole length of the pool.


Southern Mansion Pool

Mansion pool with covered seating areas on multiple levels.
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This quaint southern mansion features a neatly appointed luxury pool area with paver tiles throughout the entire deck area. Seating is available under covered porches on multiple levels.


Garden Pool Design

Garden pool - outdoor pool design is perfect for small backyards.
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Homeowners looking for the perfect garden pool design need to look no further. This exemplifies an ideal outdoor pool design down to the doll-sized change room in the garden.


Poolside Shade With Pergolas

Pergolas for pools are a popular outdoor living feature
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One smart way to add a permanently shaded area is to build a pergola. This homeowner opted to build one running the length of the pool. A raised spillover spa provides the perfect accent.


Perfectly Simple Inground Pool

Simple inground pool that is perfect for most regular homes.
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Not every pool design has to be overdesigned with a million dollars worth of water features in order to be the ideal perfect pool. Sometimes simple is better when it comes to designing a pool and patio. The paver decking throughout is a classic and sophisticated look.


Picture Perfect Backyard

Picture perfect backyard with swimming pool.
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This picture-perfect backyard has all the outdoor living amenities one could want. An outdoor fireplace, pergola, and outdoor kitchen complement a freeform pool with raised spillover spa.


Elevations Are Popular

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Homes with a sloped backyard are a prime candidate for creating tasteful pool designs that incorporate exciting elevation changes. This modern pool design does that handsomely.


Luxury Outdoor Living

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When discussing outdoor luxury amenities that add value to the home, a beautiful beach entry pool is definitely one that is adding to the sale price of a home. Completed backyards with a swimming pool like this one are going for top dollar in today’s real estate market.


Private Waterfront Pool Area

Luxury pool on waterfront property with easy access to guests dropping in for a dip.
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Luxury homeowners could want nothing more than a private waterfront pool area with easy dock access for any guests that may want to drop in for the occasional dip.


Vanishing Edge Pools

Vanishing edge pools are a luxury that homeowners investing in an inground pool seem to want.
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Vanishing edge pools are a luxury that homeowners investing in an outdoor pool seem to want. They add a sophisticated modern design aesthetic to areas that open up to a view.


Spillover Spas a Popular Pool Feature

Popular Pool Features - Raised Spillover Spa offers a complete overview of the pool area.
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Pool designers that opt to include a raised spillover spa to a complete view of the pool area will create a relaxing detached area away from children playing in the pool. This design is popular with homeowners that want an elegant pool design but still want to keep an eye on their kids.


Crafting Outdoor Living Environments

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Crafting the ideal outdoor living environment that speaks to a homeowner’s lifestyle and design aesthetic can be a challenge for pool builders. The best pool designs think about the entire backyard as a whole. Considering the flow from the main home to the patio area, homeowners frequently opt to add an outdoor home theater system and seating area. This beautifully appointed outdoor fireplace is the perfect place to lounge poolside.


Pool & Firepit Area

Firepit by the pool filled with crushed blue glass is the same color as the pool interior.
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One of the most popular backyard amenities homeowners are adding to their swimming pool is a separate fire pit area. This beautiful stacked stone fire pit with crushed blue glass perfectly accents the pool interior. Using color to combine design elements is a method outdoor living experts use to create a cohesive palette in the backyard.


Complement Your Natural Canvas

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Homeowners that already have an impressive natural backdrop to build against are eager to add a pool. Adding a custom luxury pool completes the transition from the indoors to an impressive outdoor canvas. Adding small touches like moving water features creates the serenity that homeowners seek after a trying day at the office.


Add Natural Rock To Your Pool To Create An Outdoor Oasis

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Natural rock immediately gives you the sense that you’re in an outdoor oasis. Pool designs that incorporate a chatter fall feature where moving water rushes down the rocks are very popular. Multiple entries are also a pool feature that creates a resort-style pool.


Rustic Southern Style

Contemporary meets rustic with this southern style backyard.
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This beautiful freeform pool with a raised spa is the focal point of the backyard. A huge paver patio has an outdoor fireplace with Adirondack chairs. A covered pergola and barbecue setting area make it easy to serve food and drinks to guests poolside. Incorporate the right landscaping, trees, and plants pulls the whole pool design together in this beautiful rustic southern-style backyard.


Sheet of Glass

Perimeter overflow pool designs create the aesthetic where the pool becomes a sheet of glass.
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This pool is literally a sheet of glass. A perimeter overflow pool design with a small gap around the entire pool area allow the water to continuously recycle back into the pool. If you look closely you’ll notice a spa area got the same treatment on the other end of the backyard. Truly a modern pool design aesthetic that homeowners are gravitating towards.


Designing Pools For Narrow Spaces

Narrow pool design for side of house.
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This homeowner opted to build a beautiful and luxurious inground pool and spa on the side of their house instead of in their backyard where they had less square footage. It’s a unique pool design that makes the most out of the usable space.


Pool Entries Are Important

Stairs are an important design aspect in an inground pool.
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When planning a pool design, builders will often recommend a pool entry that flows seamlessly into the rest of the backyard area. Making it easy for swimmers to enter and exit the pool is important. Backyards that are on a slope are best suited for stair entry pools.


Geometric Shaped Pools

Geometric shaped pool designs are becoming increasingly popular.
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Modern pool designs tend to lean more towards geometric shapes. This simple L shaped pool design is perfectly suited with a retaining wall at the far end that creates a walkway with garden boxes on each side. The concrete decking here blends in seamlessly with the coping.


Adding a Ledge Lounger

Adding a ledge lounger to a pool is easy and a beautiful design aesthetic.
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It’s amazing what adding a ledge lounger can do to really give the pool a backyard resort style look and feel. The fact that loungers now come in a wide variety of colors make it easy to add one on and coordinate it to the rest of your outdoor palette.


Creating Seating for Guests

Create seating for guests to lounge poolside and for swimmers to enjoy as well.
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Creating seating for guests to be able to comfortably lounge poolside is one design element that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you do a lot of entertaining in your backyard, you’ll want to consider adding a few lounge chairs by the pool which will require a deck to place them on. Adding a tanning ledge to the pool allows swimmers to lounge in the water without actually getting in the water. Definitely a pool feature that homeowners want these days.


Poolside Pergola

It's amazing what a pergola can do to pull the entire pool design together and make the backyard feel complete.
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Pergolas consistently remain one of the top outdoor amenities that homeowners add to their swimming pool area. This simple outdoor seating area has a beautiful pergola that perfectly accents the home. It’s incredible what adding a Pergola can do to help bring the entire backyard together. A massive tanning ledge in this pool can easily be equipped with a ledge lounger.


Raised Spa With Large Format Tile

Raised spa with large format tile has a seamless tile line above the waterline.
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The pool designers paid attention to creating a continuous line above the waterline throughout the pool. Adding a raised spa with large format tile was a smart touch here. A huge spillover into the pool creates that waterfall sound that really makes this backyard resort feel like an oasis. A beautiful pergola and outdoor kitchen are the perfect addition to really complete this outdoor living environment.


Massive Tanning Ledge

Massive tanning ledges create an expanded shallow area for younger swimmers.
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One of the most popular pool design features that homeowners are requesting these days is a massive tanning ledge. A tanning ledge is a particularly useful feature for homeowners that have small children. Parents want a larger than average shallow area for splashing around with infants and toddlers.


Retaining Wall Water Features

Smart use of retaining walls means incorporating water features.
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The sound of moving water creates the sense of tranquility and an atmosphere of elegance. Homeowners opt to add retaining walls for a number of reasons. Whether it’s for holding the earth back from the pool area, or creating privacy, or forming elevations; builders that are able to incorporate water features into them are pushing the envelope on their pool designs.


Making The Most Of Travertine

Making the most out of travertine decking by incorporating it into a raised detched spa.
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Travertine decking is one of the more high-end materials that homeowners are choosing for their patio. Using that material on the raised detached spa was smart. Creating a channel for the water to flow into the pool and create a moving water feature was even smarter.


Popular Water Feature to Add – Deck Jets

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A popular pool feature that homeowners are adding to their pool design – deck jets. The jets can be aimed to shoot a stream of water a certain distance or height and can even incorporate LED lighting to create a colored stream of light into the pool at night.


Cascading Sheer Descents & High Retaining Walls

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If privacy is an issue, a high retaining wall solves a lot of problems and a good design solution if you have a lot of earth to hold back in your yard. A popular water feature these days is adding a cascading sheer descent to your pool. Water appears to flow from the top of the wall into the pool below.


No Deck Needed

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Not every pool needs to be surrounded by a slab of concrete or travertine decking. Some outdoor pool designs look just as beautiful without a deck. This homeowner opted not to build a deck and has their pool surrounded by a lush green lawn. The pool design itself is very simple but stylish with a sunken channeled spillover spa.


Cabo Ledges

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Lounging poolside, swimmers may opt to need breaks in the pool. Builders will frequently opt to create shelves and ledges in these areas of an inground pool. This particular pool design does exactly that with a tanning ledge running along the entrance of the pool as well as along the perimeter.


Caddy Corner Spillover Spa

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A popular design feature that looks spectacular on geometric-shaped pools is caddy cornered spillover spas. Positioning them smartly so that the water flow goes directly into the pool creates the sound of peacefully moving water. This is something you’ll appreciate the moment you enter the pool area.


Location, Location, Location

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Having a beautiful backdrop to build a pool against creates the ultimate canvas for luxury outdoor living designs. The pool designers were inspired to create a backyard design that would handsomely complement the sprawling outdoor space and blend seamlessly with the exterior of the home.


Classic Outdoor Living

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It isn’t very hard to see that this homeowner was going for a classic outdoor living environment with this pool design. This roman shaped pool design is popular with more traditional homes. The plants and landscaping the homeowner chose beautifully accent the perimeter of the pool area throughout. A pavilion towards the back of the property line provides a smartly appointed entertainment area.


Pool Design For Your Outdoor Living Environment

Pool Design For Your Outdoor Living Environment
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Cameron Rhodes, the lead designer and co-owner of Southern Poolscapes has been designing high-end outdoor living environments for the better part of a decade. When it comes to selecting a pool design, Rhodes said “It’s important to meet with a pool builder that understands your vision for the space. Many times, it takes a while to help homeowners articulate that into a design plan that accurately represents what their dream is.”

As one of the leading luxury pool builders in the South, Rhodes has his fingers on the pulse of what pool design features homeowners want in their inground pool. “Moving water is extremely popular,” said Rhodes, “There is something truly serene about coming into the backyard and hearing the sound of a waterfall or sheer descent running. That ambient sound is very peaceful and adds to the overall atmosphere and ambiance in a high-end custom pool.”

In terms of what luxury homeowners are adding to their pools, Rhodes replied, “We’ve seen more and more homeowners requesting massive tanning ledges. Many of these folks have a family with small children and these ledges provide a larger shallow area to enjoy time in the pool with younger more inexperienced swimmers. Plus when coupled with a set of ledge loungers, the effect is pretty impressive,” said Rhodes. 

“We are also seeing more homeowners looking for a cleaner more refined look to their inground pool,” said Rhodes, “We’re doing a lot of perimeter overflow projects where you get that seamless sheet of glass look when the waterline is flush with the coping.” 

As far as outdoor living amenities go, Rhodes says that homeowners are going all out on high-end materials, despite the rising costs that we’ve seen across the board this season.

“By and large people want a beautiful outdoor living environment,” said Rhodes, “we’re seeing more customers add on Pavilions, outdoor kitchens, firepits, and go all out on their landscaping. It goes to show their mindset; that if they’re stuck at home, they are going to make sure that their home is definitely someplace that they want to be.”

Photo Credit: Southern Poolscapes

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Hot Tubs

Hot Tub Party Bus Ordered To Shut Down

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Hot Tub Party Bus Forced To Shut Down Due to Lack of Permit

The owner of one of Nashville’s famous and popular party buses, Music City Party Tub, has been ordered to stop operating a public pool without a permit, according to a complaint. The business has been operating as an alternative to traditional party buses and limo rental services.

The Tennessean reported that in a lawsuit filed last week, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville requested that the mobile tub be temporarily shut down. Next Wednesday is the date of their hearing.

Popular Hot Tub Party Bus Operating Since 2019

According to the complaint, health regulators sent a notice to Music City Party Tub on August 11 informing them of the infraction. For the past few years the party bus has been a regular sight in Nashville’s entertainment sector, boasting that it can accommodate hot tub parties of up to six or seven people at a time.

Hot Tub Party Bus Ordered To Shut Down
Officials ordered the popular Nashville party bus to shut down due to a lack of proper permitting.

The health department claims Guy Williams visited in that month and was urged by regulators to submit pool design plans and apply for a swimming pool permit, which he did. When the trailer-mounted party tub was inspected, the inspectors told Williams a number of items needed to be fixed before it could be authorized. However, according to the lawsuit, he never returned.

The suit claims that in September 2020, health department employees saw Williams driving the party busy again and asked him about not having a pool permit. He claimed he was excluded since his hot tub lacked the “minimum volume” of a public pool by 50 gallons (190 liters).

According to the lawsuit, such exceptions do not exist. The business also has not registered with the state and has no business license, according to the complaint.

Photo Credit: Music City Party Tub

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Pool Service

Diagnosing a Pool Leak Isn’t Always So Cut & Dry

Think you may have a pool leak? Finding the source can be a challenge.

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Diagnosing a Pool Leak

Diagnosing a pool leak can put some pool owners in over their head – it’s a fact. No matter what type of pool you own, every swimming pool naturally loses some water due to evaporation, splash-out and backwashing. However, when you find yourself watering your pool way too often, it’s cause to stop and think. If you find yourself routinely adding more than two inches of water to your pool, you may just have a pool leak, according to experts.

A pool leak is a very common problem but does require some time and effort to diagnose properly. Swimming pools are designed to be waterproof, but sealants can and do deteriorate over time. Components inside of your pool can shift, settle, or just plain wear out. It’s not uncommon for older swimming pools to have multiple leaks in multiple locations.

Early Pool Leak Detection Can Prevent Costly Repairs

Pools can leak through any of the fittings, equipment, plumbing, or even the pool shell itself. Neglecting to fix a pool leak can cause incredible damage in both inground and above ground pools. Pool leaks are serious business and can actually compromise the sub structure of the pool itself. It’s not common for a leak to systematically wash away the backfill which supports the pool walls and deck.

Diagnosing a Pool Leak is a Specialty Service for Pool Contractors

The process of identifying and diagnosing pool leaks come and how to fix them is a highly specialized area in the pool industry. While many pool service technicians may specialize in cleaning and maintaining pools, only a portion actually specialize in leak detection. You need specialized equipment and training to properly perform a leak inspection.

Pool Leaks Can Cost Homeowners Thousands

A pool leak can ultimately result in a slew of bills and repairs if not addressed quickly. One thing homeowners notice right away is a surge in their water or electric bill. Rising utility costs could suggest the need for a repair elsewhere in your home, but your pool should be towards the top of your list of things to look into. If you do have a pool leak, the surge should be obvious and significantly higher than the general spike in utility costs seen throughout pool season.

Just to put things in perspective, a pinhole leak can waste up to 970 gallons of water each and ever day. In terms of water consumption that is roughly four times the amount of water that an average family consumes each day.

DIY Pool Leak Detection Methods

Bucket Method

If your swimming pool, spa, or fountain is losing half an inch of water each day, it could be due to evaporation or it very well could be a leak. Evaporation and splash out is the most likely cause of a quarter-inch to a half inch of water loss each day. Any more than that, and you may want to do the bucket test to make sure you don’t have a leak.

The bucket test is a reliable method of determining whether you have a pool leak. - Photo Credit: Pinch A Penny
The bucket test is a reliable method of determining whether you have a pool leak. – Photo Credit: Pinch A Penny

Leak Detection – Bucket Test

  • First, start off by filling your swimming pool to it’s standard level.
  • Next, fill a 5 gallon bucket with water up to 1 inch from the top.
  • Submerge the bucket in the pool to a depth of about 5 inches, place it on the first or second step of the swimming pool.
  • Mark the water level inside of the bucket with a magic marker as well as the water level outside the bucket.
  • Return in 24 hours to compare the inside to the outside water level. If the water level outside of the bucket has substantially dropped more than the water level inside the bucket, it’s quite possible you could have a pool leak.
Think you may have a pool leak? You could be in for some expensive repairs.
The dye method is another popular leak detection method. Photo Credit: Hightech Dad

Dye Method

Using the dye method will involve using a pool leak detection kit. This method is really only effective if you have a pretty good idea of the general vicinity where the leak may be.

To perform this test, all you do is squirt the dye close to where you suspect the leak is. If the leak is there, you should notice the dye being sucked through the source of the leak. This test may require being underwater for some time. You may want to use a pair of goggles to see better. You’ll also have to stay pretty still so as not to disrupt the dye during the test.

The most common pool leak usually occurs in the skimmer
The most common pool leak usually occurs in the skimmer throat

8 Questions To Ask If You Think You Have a Pool Leak

appears to be a crack, put some pool leak test dye near it while the pump is turned off and the water is still running to check if the dye gets sucked into the crack. Underwater lights can and do leak as well. One of the most common leaks occur around the conduit that connects the light niche to the junction box.

Is the soil around the pool area damp all the time?

Do a thorough inspection of the perimeter around the pool deck and between the pool and the equipment pad. Examine the ground for moist soil and deterioration. If your pool slopes down hill, stroll around to see if there is any water weeping down the hillside.

Is the shell leaking?

Some sources of leaks are the result of structural design flaws. These types of pool leaks are the most serious type of leak and most expensive to repair. Leaks can cause settling of the pool shell. A leak can create conditions for unpredictable ground movement that is likely to produce cracks in the walls, floor, or both. In concrete pools – high slump concrete, low cement content, or poor craftsmanship and curing are all likely to generate low quality concrete that allows water to travel right through it. Thermal or shrinkage stress cracks can occur. Cold joints or weak construction joints can create leaks as well. Improperly sealed joints can create conditions for structural pool leaks as well.

Is the skimmer leaking?

The most common pool leak usually occurs in the skimmer throat at some point. The skimmer does has a tendency to move somewhat when the pool and deck expand and contract. This movement can break the sealant between the pool wall and the skimmer over time. The skimmer can be dye tested (with the pump turned off) to see if there is a leak pulling water into the cracks surrounding the skimmer opening.

Is the pool leak coming from underground plumbing?

Honestly, it’s very rare that a pool leak is going to happen in the subsurface plumbing. That’s not to say that it doesn’t happen though. From time to time a leak can occur at a pipe junction beneath the pool deck or beneath the skimmer. These types of repairs rarely necessitate having to hire a team of pool builders to dig up the entire backyard in order to find the source. The simplest approach to check if the pipes are leaking is to turn off the pump and stop all of the lines. If it continues to leak, it’s probably not the pipes. If the leaking does stop, the plugs can be removed separately to determine if the leaking resumes, though some pools only leak when the pump is running. Once a complete leak inspection has been performed, a pool plumbing pressure test on the pipes themselves can be conducted to determine if any are leaking.

If there is an underground leak, in 90% of cases a very small 3’x3′ hole in the deck can be cut to fix the break, but it’s rarely ever necessary to replace a complete run of pipe.

Is the pool leaking when the pool equipment is running?

If you find that the pool is leaking when the equipment is running, this could be a very good indication that there is a pressure-side return leak. The piping on the pressure side (after the pump) is under pressure when the filter pump is turned on. This can cause little drips to turn into spraying gushers. Checking the waste or backwash line for water that is constantly flowing can tell you if you have a leak.

One inch of pool water is equal to 500 gallons. Look for weepers where subsurface leaking is trickling downhill from the pool. Examine the yard for soft or moist places, particularly on the pool’s side where the plumbing returns water to the pool.

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Does the pool leak when the pool equipment is turned off?

If the pool is leaking when the equipment is completely turned off this usually implies a suction-side leak or a problem with the plumbing itself. When the pump is turned on, air can be brought in via voids that would otherwise leak. If you have a clear lid, you usually see air bubbles in the pump basket. You’ll also observe air bubbling out of the return lines, or air repeatedly building up inside the filter tank.

Cost for Pool Leak Detection

Testing an average residential pool, including both the plumbing and the structure, typically costs $400-$500. It’s not always necessary to empty the pool in order to diagnose and repair many types of pool leaks. However, expect to pay upwards from $500 if a scuba dive is required in order to properly detect the source of the leak.

Pool Leak Detection Being Conducted With Scuba Gear
Pool Leak Detection Being Conducted By Technician With Scuba Gear

Cost of Pool Leak Inspection & Repairs

Labor and materials for most basic leak repairs typically start anywhere from $500 to $1,500, not including the expense of draining and refilling (if needed). If the problem is determined to be coming from the pipes themselves or the structure of the pool, anticipate opening up your wallet for major repair costs. The entire cost of repairing a major structural leak in the shell or in underground plumbing is determined by the severity of the damage, the location of the leak, and the difficulty of the repair work.

Pool Plumbing Repair involving  underground plumbing can be costly.
Pool plumbing repairs involving work to underground plumbing can be costly.

Pool Leak Detection Equipment

It’s not always necessary to hire a pool contractor to diagnose a leak. Use the tools the pros use for finding out where a leak is coming from in your own swimming pool.

Pool Leak/Pool Plumbing Pressure Tester/Pool Leak Detector/Swimming Pool Leak Detector

Pops Pool Tools – Swimming Pool Pressure Tester Kit is a quality, affordable leak detection tool for the do-it-yourself homeowner.  This kit allows pool owners to test their own swimming pool plumbing with the same results the pros get.  This kit will confirm whether or not you have a pipe leak causing water loss or air bubbles in the filtration system.  Great kit that comes with step-by-step photos and instructions that makes this tool easy to use.

Atlas Pool Leak Detection Kit – Swimming Pool Leak Dye (Yellow) Syringe & 8oz Refill Bottle – Atlas White Putty Epoxy Sealer

Now you can easily locate precise swimming pool leak locations and fix them yourself with the Atlas all-inclusive pool and hot tub leak tester kit for DIYers

  • ENOUGH LEAK DYE FOR THE WHOLE POOL
  • PROFESSIONAL-GRADE POOL LEAK SEALER
  • STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS

Fix a Leak – Pool Sealer

FIX-A-LEAK is a blended concentrated material designed to seal leaks in virtually any material. It can be applied for leaks in the shell and works equally well in plumbing. Will seal holes 1/8″ in diameter. Will form a permanent seal. Use 1 quart per pool up to 22,000 gallons. Do not use in excess of 1 quart per 5,000 gallons of water.

All Fix H20 Underwater EPOXY Putty Pool Marine Repair Cracks Leaks Seal Bond (48 oz. Unit)

  • Permanent repairs to filters, PVC, skimmer boxes, inlets, jets, lighting, drains, cracks, splits or chips.
  • All-Fix Premium Pool & Marine Epoxy Putty can be applied above or below the water line, or in wet environments.
  • Cures Underwater! – Great For Underwater & Wet Areas Rock Hard Cure – Drill – Sand – File – Sculpt – Shape Tintable To Infinite Number Of Colors !
  • All-Fix will adhere to just about any surface or material: Concrete, Tile, Plastic, Gunite, Wood, Ceramic, Metal, Stone…and just about any other material!

Featured Photo Credit: Gulfcoast Pool Pros

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