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Are You Cut Out to Work on Pools?

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Are You Cut Out to Work on Pools?

Every employer knows the disappointment that comes with training new staff members. In most instances, a good percentage of employees look for greener pastures only after you train them. In the pool industry, most young and new employees are hesitant to give their all to your company. Consequently, the turnover and dropout for new employees is incredibly high. Back in the day, it was different. When crew members received training, there could be a long line of customers in most showrooms that would extend even after closing hours. Even so, this can be overwhelming for staff members. I mean, who wants to work in an environment where sparing a few minutes to go to the bathroom is a challenge? If you think you are cut out to work on pools, here are a few things you should know.

Are You Cut Out to Work on Pools?

Working on a half-day basis

Today, when your employer tells you that you will work on a half-day basis, you will probably be home before lunch. However, this is different for the pool industry. Working half-day means that you are working for 12 hours.

Unstructured working environment

Undoubtedly, it can be fun to work in a structured environment. I mean, you are sure of the time you have to clock in and clock out of work. As a result, you can always plan your schedule and even do a side hustle on the side. If you think you are cut out to work on pools, forget about the structure. In the pool industry, you have to complete the day’s work regardless of the time. Some days you will have to extend your work hours, and some days you might be home just in time for lunch or dinner. But it’s a challenge for pool contractors and technicians to keep up with this unstructured system.

Specialize in everything concerning pools

Being an expert pool industry worker will require you to be a multitasker. You need to be familiar with pool electrics, plumbing, designing, excavating, pool maintenance, among others. Not to mention, you have to portray professionalism and excellent customer service, especially if you are starting your own company. It would be best if you are knowledgeable on everything surrounding the pool industry.

Constant trends and innovations in the pool industry

Like most industries, there have been numerous changes in the pool industry over the years, from new pool designs, equipment to new installation techniques. And this requires you to keep up with all the trends to remain relevant to your target population. Always look out for any changes in the pool industry.

Working under pressure

Swimming pools are indisputably costly investments. Therefore, if you think you are cut out to work on pools, be mentally prepared to deliver nothing but the best. No one wants to lose thousands of dollars just because you made a mistake during construction. Besides, most homeowners will do anything to safeguard the property. It will help if you listen carefully to your customer’s requirements. Also, take time to explain to your customers the whole pool construction process. If you make a mistake during pool construction, you will have to pay huge penalties. Be careful when dealing with the customer’s property.

Self-directed learning

It can be hard to balance work and learning when working in the pool industry. Remember, the job is already time-consuming. Thus, you may not be able to pursue a professional course. So, you’ll learn most things from your immediate bosses or co-workers. But note that self-directed learning is essential. It helps you become more creative with your work. Fortunately, a lot of information is all over the internet. Spare some time to learn about the new trends in the industry if you work on swimming pools. And in turn, you’ll find yourself more productive and efficient in your job.

Hazardous equipment

Is it dangerous to work with bulky equipment? Indisputably, you will have to work with sizeable electric equipment and dangerous chemicals when working in the pool industry. Therefore, it is good to be careful when dealing with pool and electrical equipment. Also, the workplace should issue all the safety guidelines to adhere to, especially to new employees. However, it can sometimes be unavoidable to escape injury if you are cut out to work on pools.

From this article, it is clear to see all the challenges involved in the pool industry. But does this mean there are no advantages of working in the pool industry? Well, not really. One of the best things about the pool industry is that you can work overtime. If you have an excellent self-drive, you can work up to 100 hours weekly. Of course, this means more income.

Additionally, working in the pool industry is not boring. There are always new industry trends, and you spend most of your time outdoors. Thus, even though the work pressure might be high, you often work in a serene atmosphere. All in all, the pool industry is for people who dislike comfort zones and love working hard. Working in the pool industry can be incredibly rewarding.

Pool News coverage brought to you by Pool Magazine's own Marcus Packer. Marcus Packer is a 20 year pool industry veteran pool builder and pool service technician. In addition to being a swimming pool professional, Marcus has been a writer and long time contributor for Newsweek Magazine's home improvement section and more recently for Florida Travel + Life. Have a story idea or tip you'd like to share with Pool Magazine? Email mpacker@poolmagazine.com your story idea.

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Industry News

Automatic Spa Covers

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Automatic Spa Covers

Over the years, automatic pool coves have increasingly become popular among most homeowners. These safety features protect pools from dirt and help pool owners save energy. At present, there is an increased demand for automatic covers, especially among spa owners. Indisputably, spa owners are also looking to protect their investments. Automatic spa covers are therefore becoming popular in the pool industry. The best thing about these features is that they are user-friendly; you can operate them with the simple touch of a button. Ultimately, homeowners don’t mind spending on these features.

Automatic Spa Covers

The increased demand for automatic spa covers

Several states make it compulsory for all pool owners to have safety covers. Consequently, almost every pool owner is familiar with automatic pool covers. Once spa owners see how this feature works well, they’ll always want to purchase one for their spa. Allan Horwood of Pool Patrol in British Columbia concurs, and he states, “Before, using safety covers in spas was quite odd. However, it is now common to protect your spa using a cover.”

“There has been a steady rise in demand for automatic pool and spa covers in the United States.”

VP of sales for Automatic Pool Covers, Mike Shadoan

Nonetheless, Shadoan says that automatic pool and spa covers are costly. But people are always willing to buy products that offer value for money. There’s, therefore, a golden opportunity for pool professionals who wish to sell these safety features.

Is selling automatic spa covers a good idea?

A good percentage of pool owners love automatic spa covers because they are simple to use. I mean, no one wants to struggle to remove the automatic pool/spa cover after a grueling day. With auto covers, you can open and close the pool using a remote.

A unique opportunity for pool contractors

Last year, the industry experienced a surge in demand for pool services. Homeowners were looking for ways to upgrade their backyards. Consequently, they installed swimming pools, among other outdoor features. Automatic pool and spa covers were therefore in high demand. Pool contractors who sell these safety features are often privileged. When they go onsite to provide installation services, they will most likely sell other pool products and water features. For example, high-end customers may request an additional water feature like a spa. And this helps pool contractors to increase their revenue. Ultimately, there are so many golden opportunities that come with selling automatic pool covers.

Installing automatic spa covers

Is there a difference between automatic pool covers and automatic spa covers? Well, yes. The major difference between these features is space and aesthetics. Automatic spa covers are more versatile since they are smaller. Thus, they tend to provide more aesthetics. Pool contractors can install auto covers on spas that are above the deck or flush with the deck.

Suppose the spa is above the ground; you’ll have to raise it by approximately 20 inches above the deck. It would help if you also placed the cover box above the deck. Nevertheless, note that the installation process is different for existing spas. In such instances, there’s usually limited space to work with. Consequently, there might be insufficient space to install the housing for the cover mechanism.

Dealing with such projects requires you to be innovative. You may decide to flush mount the safety cover on the paver. Doing this helps you create a nice, clean look. You can also add a storage space along the edge of the spa; here, you can store your cleaning equipment, among other products. Subsequently, you end up making the most out of your space.

Balancing between functionality and aesthetics

You have to find the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality when installing an automatic spa cover. Most clients prefer using concrete lids on their pool covers so that they can walk around the cover. Also, concrete lids are more popular because they provide more aesthetics. Meeting the customer’s requirements will require you to use a heavy-duty bracket. This way, it can handle the weight of the concrete lid. Even so, always tell your clients to minimize their movement on the cover. At times, the stone can move, and this can lead to serious accidents.

Shadoan says, “Pool contractors should explain how these features work. They should inform their clients that lifting the stone from time to time is important. Also, let them know that walking, standing, or sitting on the lid can lead to serious accidents.”

Are automatic spa covers worth the purchase?

Currently, there is a broad spectrum of automatic spa cover designs. Therefore, every spa owner can find something that caters to their needs. Needless to say, automatic spa covers are not for everyone. They are ideal for pool owners who want to match their pool cover and spa cover more often than not. Ultimately, automatic spa covers offer excellent functionality and aesthetics.

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Industry News

Large Format Pool and Spa Tiles: Installation, Advantages, and Disadvantages

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Large Format Pool and Spa Tiles: Installation, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Large-Format tiles have increasingly become popular among most homeowners. They come in different shapes and sizes. Besides, these tiles offer exceptional aesthetics. Nonetheless, installing large-format pool and spa tiles is relatively complex. This article outlines a few tips that help with large-format tile installation.

Large Format Pool and Spa Tiles: Installation, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Choose non-slip pool and spa tiles

Large-format tiles should be slip-resistant. Keep in mind that a slippery pool surface can lead to severe accidents. Swimmers can fall and break their body parts. Even worse, they could die. The most recent award-winning poolscape by Chafey incorporated large dark tiles that had a blend of various surface materials. Some were textured, glossy, and matter. Chafey used the glossy finish on the vertical pool surfaces. He did, however, use the matte for the horizontal surface to add extra safety.

Come up with a solid plan before installation

Every pool contractor should have a solid plan of how the pool and spa tiles should fit the surface. It would be best to know all the surface measurements since you’ll be dealing with bigger tiles. Plan how you want to layer the corners and steps. Doing this helps you know if you have enough material.

Select a flexible material for easy installation

Another thing to consider is the adaptability of the material. At times, you won’t be able to fit full-sized tiles across the whole pool. Some sections might require you to cut the large tile into two. For example, if you are using a 12 by 24-inch material, you would have to cut it into a six by 24-inch material to fit the waterline areas. On the flip side, areas like the back of a vanishing edge wall would need full-sized tiles.

Use a blend of large-format tiles and mosaic for best results

Incorporating a blend of mosaic and large-format pool and spa tiles makes the pool more appealing. The mosaic design is often meant to underscore water features or any other breathtaking areas of the pool. Co-owner of Alpentile, Amy Denny, says that they usually combine large format with mosaic in a variety of numerous projects. Doing this is also cost-effective since you get to balance your costs.

Through-body tiles are the best

Selecting a through-body tile is also essential. These pieces often have a consistent color. And this makes it less challenging to surface the pool, unlike glazed tiles. Subsequently, through-body tiles simplify the installation process.

How do you install large-format tiles?

The process of installing large-format pool and spa tiles is more or less the same for different designs. Co-founder of National Tile and Stone Authority, Greg Andrews, states, “It would be wrong to think that installing larger tiles takes a shorter time.”

Allow sufficient time for proper curing

During installation, you should always give large-format pool and spa tiles enough time to cure. Ensure the thin-set cures properly before you proceed to the next step. Typically, thinset needs air to cure Thinset typically requires air to cure. While the area between the separate tiles can quickly cure, the area behind the tiles will need more time. Dealing with larger pieces is actually worse because they need more time to cure. Pool experts report that the back center of the tile can take months to cure. Even so, experts don’t give it as much curing time. On average, large-format tiles will need 21 to 28 days to cure. “It would be best to inform the pool owner that they will have to wait 3 to 4 weeks for the tiles to cure,” says Amy Deny.

Prevent the formation of voids

Large-format tiles are more vulnerable to getting voids. So, be careful when applying the thinset. Use the correct troweling methods. Installers should not use the spot bonding method. This technique can form a lot of voids beneath the material. Voids often act as a travel medium for water, among other fluids. In turn, they affect the pool’s structure.

Reduce lippage and work with the warpage

Large-format tiles are more susceptible to warping. Luckily, you can use spacers to protect the tiles. Spacers regulate the elevation of each tile; in such a way, one tile piece is higher than another. This helps in preventing lippage. Pool pros advise offsetting the pool tiles by not more than a third of the tile. Remember, you don’t want the end of the tile to connect with the highest point of the crown.

Pool and SpaTiles

Large-format pool and spa tiles offer excellent aesthetics, functionality, and durability. As a result, they are becoming a popular tile option among most pool owners. However, before purchasing these tiles, there are several factors to consider. Also, during installation, ensure you prevent voids, control lippage, and allow proper curing.

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Trichlor Shortage in the Pool Industry

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trichlor shortage

Trichlor is essential for maintaining clean pools. Unfortunately, trichlor is in short supply in the industry. The main reason for this trichlor shortage was the factory fire in Lake Charles that happened a while back. The fire damaged the only primary source of trichlor production. But does this affect the pool industry?

Trichlor Shortage in the Pool Industry

Fortunately, most pool companies will remain unaffected. The majority of pool owners use other pool sanitizing options, like sodium hypochlorite and baquacil. However, some pool owners will be affected by this shortage. As we speak, manufacturers are increasing the prices of chlorine tablets. And this poses a considerable challenge to commercial pool owners since the peak season is approaching.

How to deal with trichlor shortage

Pool supply companies and service providers came up with several strategies to help them deal with the situation. President of Patio Pleasures Pools & Spas, Rene Huston, began piling up on tabs. She says, “Immediately we heard about the tragedy, we bought tabs in excess, and we continue to do so. At some point, everyone is going to need chlorine, and the supply will probably be limited.” Well, piling your stock is not such a bad idea. However, you have to find a safe storage space for the stock. Moreover, you need a lot of cash to pay your suppliers.

The first sign of trichlor shortage

Before the global pandemic, trichlor used to cost about $70 to $75 per bucket. The prices started increasing gradually from 2019 to 2020. At this time, pool service techs bought this chemical for about $85. However, all this changed from around year August. The market prices rose to $125 per bucket. And this was frustrating for most pool owners. Trichlor prices are still expected to increase this summer. On the flip side, suppliers are placing a limit on all their purchases.

Preparation for the upcoming swimming peak season

The owner of Richard’s Pool Service, Richard Garnai, says that trichlor shortage is not a major problem for them. He has a solution to the problem. He states, “Based on my supplier’s report, I’m sure there will be enough tabs to make it through summer.” And even if things go south, Richard is not worried. He plans to make his mix manually. “If the shortage becomes too much, I’ll use chlorine and cyanuric acid to achieve the same results.” He also recommends limiting tab use during this period so that you can have enough during summer. Although bromine can be an alternative, this chemical is susceptible to degradation when exposed to sunlight.

Keeping it real with customers

All pool service techs need to educate their clients. By now, most pool owners are already bothered by the surge in trichlor prices. Be honest with your customers and explain to them exactly what’s happening in the industry. But don’t stop there. Tell them how you plan to handle the situation. Also, assure them that you will do your best to support them this summer. Most customers will respond well to this.

Customers are starting to stock up as early as now. Pool experts advise that it would be better to purchase the tabs as early as now because there’s a possibility they won’t be available from July. The same goes for pool equipment. Pool companies are now encouraging pool owners to conduct all their replacements and repairs before the peak season.

Consider using non-chlorine pool systems

Aside from stockpiling, there are other ways to deal with trichlor shortage. Consider using chlorine alternatives. Fortunately, you don’t have to use chlorine to keep your pool clean at all times. Furthermore, by maintaining balanced water chemistry and using preventative algaecides, you can reduce your use of chlorine. Keeping all your pool equipment in good condition also helps you reduce the pool’s dependence on chlorine.

Moreover, consider using UV light systems to operate swimming pools. This helps you lower the demand for chlorine in pools. Salt chlorinator systems also enable you to reduce the use of chlorine tablets.

Luckily, most pool owners are embracing these systems positively. All you need to do is explain to them the benefits offered by these systems. Some companies send email campaigns to inform clients about salt and UV systems. Installing these pool systems helps pool owners save on energy and provide a safe swimming environment. As a result, putting up UV and salt systems is a great way to deal with the trichlor shortage.

Trichlor Shortage

Nobody knows how long the trichlor shortage is going to last. But pool professionals report that the shortage is likely to increase this summer. Generally, 2021 will be no different from 2020. Nonetheless, things should start getting better next year. Industry veterans say that there won’t be any shortages in supply and labor in 2022. Things will start going back to normal gradually. Even so, everyone in the pool industry should prepare themselves for the 2021 summer.

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