Above ground pool: the questions to ask



In an above ground version, the pool becomes accessible to all budgets. A boon when you do not want to embark on big jobs.

The benefits of above ground pools

The different models and materials allow to enjoy the joys of swimming in very few square meters, even when the terrain has a difficult configuration. The price of an above ground pool is much lower than conventional models: from around € 400 (Ø 3m, steel or PVC) and up to € 14,000 for larger models and high-end versions . The other great advantage of these pools is their ease and speed of installation (editing in a weekend). Lastly, there is no special procedure (neither building permit nor declaration of works) for models not exceeding 20 m2. For larger models, a prior declaration and a permit application must be filed in the town hall (urban planning department).

The disadvantages of above ground pools

Proposed self assembly kits, the above ground pools are delivered by truck in the form of voluminous pallets, which assumes that access to the house is easy. The kit is often unloaded at the door: it is necessary to envisage 2 or 3 people to transport and to raise the swimming pool. Instructions for use are often provided with a videotape or CD to visualize the different steps, but you must have the soul of a handyman to carry out the operation without spending too much time. It is therefore better to join several people. For large models and those made to measure, it is better to use an installer sent by the manufacturer or the dealer.

Which form to choose?

Often round or octagonal to fit best in a limited space, aboveground pools are also shallow. Their height varies from 1.10 m to 1.60 m maximum. In PVC or steel, they are usually between 3 and 6 m in diameter or up to 8 m long. In wood, they are particularly rectangular or octagonal and have slightly larger dimensions (up to 10 m long).

Where to place it?

The pool must be in the immediate vicinity of a water point (filling via a garden hose) and an external electrical outlet (connection of the filtration system). It must also be placed so that it is in full sun on three quarters of the day, from spring to autumn. Finally, the law imposes to leave a distance of 3 m between the limits of the garden and the swimming pool. Places exposed to the wind are to be avoided because drafts cool the water and carry debris that pollute it. Finally, the pool must be at a safe distance from tall trees, especially deciduous hardwoods and conifers, which means leaves, needles and resin on the ground.

Semi-buried or above ground: what's the difference?

For the same wooden model, many manufacturers give the choice between an above ground or semi-buried installation, which makes it possible to adapt perfectly to the specific constraints of the ground. Thus, if the garden is steep, the pool may be partially buried, partly above ground. This type of implantation makes it possible to better integrate the pond in the garden, to create an elevated terrace ... And to make its use even more pleasant: we sit on the curbs, we enter more easily into the water, etc. Only constraint: when it is semi-buried, the pool requires a declaration of prior work.

Which material to choose?

- Wood represents 74% of the above ground pool market. A success that can be explained by its naturalness and its ability to integrate into all environments. Offering good weather resistance, it is guaranteed for 10 or even 15 years at some manufacturers (Bluewood): species treated in autoclave (pine, acacia) or exotic (teak, bangkiraï). It is advisable to favor wood from managed and renewed forests (FSC or PEFC label).

- Composite wood. A blend of compressed wood fibers and recycled PVC, it is becoming more common ("Brasilia" from Nortland, "Davao" from EDG) and cheaper than solid wood. As for comfort, its perfectly smooth appearance eliminates any risk of splinters.

- The wood effect reinforced concrete is a patented process (Christine Caron Pools). Combining aesthetics and reliability, it does not require any particular maintenance. The panels are assembled by hand (without lifting gear) and are adjustable.

- Steel is a very strong material and guaranteed for 10 years. Formerly "raw", its appearance is today the subject of many improvements from manufacturers: dressing with friezes, resin, etc. (EDG).

- The dynalon textile is also a patented process (Zodiac). It is a stiffened textile (profiled wooden bars) and, therefore, extremely resistant, which allows to have "flexible" pools of large dimensions. A dressing can be made using a wood or stone facing (Zodiac).

- PVC. The self-supporting PVC models consist of a triple-layer canvas with inflatable belt. This is by far the cheapest and easiest option to install for small pools. The filling tends to the wall: the basin rises at the same time as the water level. There are models in all sizes (up to Ø 5,40 m and 6,50 x 3,60 m, Aquasphère). Larger pond models are reinforced with stainless steel support bars.

How to mount it?

- First condition to respect: have a perfectly flat and stable floor. For PVC models, all stones, roots and other asperities must be removed before placing the protective felt under the pool. Steel models require a layer of sand under the liner. The wooden models assume the creation of a concrete slab to provide more rigidity to the support.

- Mounting is relatively simple, provided you follow exactly the advice provided by the manufacturer. The use of a professional is justified if the swimming pool is a model to measure or if one opts for a semi-buried establishment.

- PVC models come in half an hour. Those in steel ask for a morning, by putting themselves in two people. The wooden structures to be mounted in one day (to avoid any risk of swelling or cracking parts), it is advisable to put in 3 or 4 people.

How to secure it?

The law requiring the owners of a private pool to secure (fence, alarm, tarpaulin ...) does not apply to models above ground.However, the risks of drowning are unfortunately not reserved for underground pools. This is why caution remains in place. Some manufacturers (Nortland, Aquasphère) offer retractable outdoor ladders locked by a padlock, preventing young children from accessing water unattended. Blankets that enclose the edges also provide security, provided that they are routinely installed after each swim. The alarm systems (Aquasensor's "Sensor Premium", "Sonarguard" by Netaxis) are only applicable to stable pools: wooden structures with a rim of at least 25 cm. They are recommended for all pools above ground surrounded by a deck or terrace.

What accessories?

In addition to the structure and equipment, the kits include all the equipment needed to operate the pool: floor mats, filtration system, skimmer (skimmer surface), pump, indoor or outdoor ladder (stainless steel or wood) and coping for wood models. According to the manufacturers, several other accessories can be included in the basic offer: cleaning kits, summer and winter covers, projector, programming clock to activate filtration, etc. Finally, comfort can be improved with a heating system, swimming against the current, a decorative liner frieze, a wooden deck to enter and exit more easily from the water, etc.

What interview?

- The cleanliness of the water is obtained thanks to the filtration system, to be completed by a manual or automatic cleaning of the walls. In small pools, a manual vacuum cleaner is enough to remove small and large debris ("Speed ​​Kleen" Mareva). For medium and large models, robot cleaners are often offered with the kit or available from manufacturers of cleaning products ("Cleaner G4" Zodiac, "Cobra" Pontoon).

- The disinfection of the water passes either by a chemical action with chlorine, or by products with active oxygen. Chlorine tablets purify the water and clean the filter ("Varitab" from Bayrol). Active oxygen acts more gently: it is odorless and irritates neither the eyes nor the skin ("Bayrol Duo Tab", "Shock Treatment" of The Blue Bubble, "Mimi Swim" of Eotec, "Oxygen Kit active "de Mareva).

- The water line is cleaned with a non-polluting product ("Pool liner cleaner" by Star Brite), which can also be used before impoundment on the entire liner.

- An insect repellent based on essential oils ("Buzz'Off" tablets from Impact Water, in garden centers) is certainly optional, but it is a guarantee of additional comfort.