10 Tips for Choosing the Best Above Ground Pool Fence
Few additions turn your home into an outdoor oasis quite like the addition of an above ground swimming pool.
They’re ideal for transforming a drab backyard into a go-to hangout spot all year round. Yet, while they provide hours of entertainment and good-hearted fun, it’s important to treat them with respect.
Though these statistics can be staggering, they shouldn’t steer you away from installing a pool on your premises. They simply drive home the fact that while you’re setting up your pool, you should add safety features, including an above ground pool fence, as well.
Taking this step can help safeguard your pool and ensure that no one wanders in without supervision. However, with so many models on the market, it can be difficult to discern where to start shopping for your pool fence. After all, this is an important, life-saving decision and you want to make sure you get it right.
To this end, today we’re exploring 10 tips to help you choose the best above ground pool fence available. These criteria can help you narrow your selection and find the solution that best meets your needs.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
1. Take a Walk Around Your Pool
Above ground pools are unique in that their sides are exposed. Your skimmer can be found on the side surface, as can your uprights.
Before looking into a fence, know where each of these elements is located. You want to make sure the design you select won’t interfere with your ability to access and protect these areas.Â
2. Understand Your Local Regulations
Regulations on how high an above ground fence should be will vary by both country and municipality. As such, before installing an above ground pool and associated fencing, it’s best to speak with your local building and zoning departments to get an accurate report on how high your fence will need to be, as well as any other safety specifications.
In most cases, a fence surrounding a pool will need to be at least four feet high, regardless of whether the pool is in-ground or above-ground. Most areas will also mandate that the pool is surrounded by a gate on all four sides rather than leaving one or more sides exposed.
You can double check your local guidelines by state, then contact your representatives to learn more.
3. Remember Gates and Ladders
For your above ground pool fence to be accessible, it must also include a gate. Most areas will require that this gate be self-closing to help prevent the possibility that someone might accidentally leave it open and allow others to enter behind them. Gates should be self-latching, too, for this same purpose.
Your ladders or steps should be at least three inches wide to ensure against slips and falls. If your stairs are not retractable, they too must be gated.
You’ll need to have your steps and ladders checked regularly to make sure they’re still intact and reliable. Depending on your style preference, your ladders and steps can be as ornamental or simple as you want them to be. You may prefer the simplicity of an A-frame ladder, or you may want to invest in a set of grand, drop-in steps.
4. Look for Handrails
You can research safe pool fences all day long, but unless yours comes equipped with a handrail, it will fail to serve its purpose. The reality is that the steps in and around a pool get slippery very quickly as wet feet trample over them. As such, a slick ladder or step can cause someone to lose their footing.
When this happens, they could fall into the pool or onto a nearby surface, neither of which is the desired outcome. Look for sturdy handrails that help balance and steady users. Keep in mind that these aren’t just a nice-to-have feature. Rather, pool fence handrails are often required by local building laws.
5. Ensure Against Footholds and Handholds
When you’re shopping around, you’ll come across myriad pool fencing options. As you peruse them, look for any areas that might offer a foothold or handhold for curious little grabbers.
While you want to assume the presence of a fence alone will be enough to ward off any wanderers, they can offer an exciting adventure for pint-sized daredevils looking to peer out from a higher vantage point.
Can anyone hop on your fence and stay there? Is it designed in such a way that anyone could slip their feet or hands onto the rails, then jump into the pool or the ground below? If so, avoid those design options altogether. Instead, invest in a pool fence with vertical bars that are impossible to climb.
6. Choose a Material
Pool fences come in a range of material and design types, each with its own pros and cons. Some will be sturdier than others while some may offer cost-saving advantages against their counterparts. The five primary types you’ll have to select from including ornamentalÂ aluminum, PVC, wood, mesh, and glass. Let’s review these in more detail.
Above ground pool fences crafted in ornamental aluminum are coated in a specialty powder that makes them weather-resistant and long-lasting. As such, this is a popular choice among many homeowners.
While they’re an attractive and durable option, these fences do not offer total privacy as there are spaces between the aluminum slats. Thus, if you’re looking to totally block out the surrounding view, you may want to opt for a different material.
PVC or Vinyl
Second, in durability only after ornamental aluminum, PVC fencing is an ideal addition to your above ground pool fence. This material looks like wood in most cases but is built to withstand the elements and not rot. The PVC is actually a hardened form of plastic vinyl, which allows it to be molded into almost any shape or design you prefer.
You can design and install PVC fencing to be decorative in nature or to serve as a privacy fence, depending on your unique setup.
Decades ago, wood reigned supreme in the world of pool fencing. It was easy to come by, simple to use and did the job. However, while you can still find many wooden pool fences on the market today, they are less resistant to the weather than other available options. They can also splinter and chip and require routine maintenance to keep them in top shape.
Still, wood is one of the more affordable fencing options and, like PVC, can be crafted into almost any design you prefer. If you’re on a budget and just need a basic fence that does the job, wood will work.
Though some areas deem mesh pool fences usable and legal, it’s not the safest pool fence material around. The mesh will fit inside square pieces of fence framing, though it can easily be destroyed by weather, flying debris or roughhousing. The one upside to this kind of fence is that you can see through it relatively well, though you’re better off sticking to a sturdier and safer alternative.
If your budget allows, glass pool fencing can be an attractive, albeit costly, addition. These designs work in much the same way as mesh ones do, only the spaces between posts are comprised of glass.
Especially if you’re concerned about blocking the view into or away from your pool, glass fencing offers the ultimate in visibility. However, if you live in a climate that frequently sees severe weather, these can be vulnerable to destruction in heavy winds or otherwise inclement conditions.
7. Look Into Modular Sections and Adapter Kits
As above ground pools come in a variety of shapes and sizes, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for an above ground pool fence with a gate. In most cases, you will have to buy a separate adapter kit to add modular pieces and other required hardware.
Rather than attempting to make a standard fence work around your pool, you should always take the time to ensure the one you choose is custom-fitted to meet your specifications. Otherwise, you risk leaving even a small section open, making your pool vulnerable to anyone who climbs the ladder and peeks inside.
8. Opt for Professional Installation
While you could gather the necessary tools and accessories and attempt to install your pool fence yourself, it’s a wise move to hire an expert to take care of this step.
Your local swimming pool company will have a team of professionals on staff to take care of the installation process. Going this route gives you peace of mind that every component was attached and secured correctly and that your fence is as safe as possible.
If you do decide to install the fence yourself, be sure to read the step-by-step instructions carefully to ensure you don’t miss a step or leave out an important piece.
9. Schedule Regular Maintenance
Your above ground pool fence is an essential part of your swimming pool installation. To make sure it’s always in safe, working condition, go ahead and establish a regular maintenance plan with your provider. Fences, steps, ladders, and gates should be checked every few months to ensure against cracks, loose joints, fractures, and other damage.
By maintaining an upkeep schedule, you’ll be one step ahead of the game when it comes to keeping your pool area safe, clean and protected.
10. Remember, Safety First
You want an attractive pool fence that offers an ideal amount of both visibility and privacy. While it can be fun to read pool fence reviews and take in all your options, keep in mind that no aesthetic consideration should take the place of a safety one.
For instance, if you invest in an ornamental aluminum fence, make sure that the slats are close together and do not allow even the slightest chance for a toddler to squeeze through. If you opt for a mesh design, make sure the material is sturdy enough that a child can’t rip a hole in it and climb through.
Though it’s never easy to think about a drowning happening on your property, you can help prevent this occurrence by keeping safety top of mind during your search for the perfect above ground pool fence.
Find Your Above Ground Pool Fence Today
Are you ready to turn your landscaping up a notch or two? Do you love the idea of hanging out in your own backyard haven? If so, an above ground pool fence fits the bill in more ways than one.
However, no pool is complete without the addition of a fence around it. Today, homeowners have more fencing options than ever before, and you can find a style that fits your design preferences while still being as safe as possible.
Not sure where to start your search? That’s where we come in.
Our team has done the research and perused the options so you don’t have to. Whether you’re looking into hot tubs, swimming pools or other related accessories, you’ve come to the right spot.
Feel free to browse our product reviews and industry advice for ways to keep your systems in top condition. Ready to close up your pool for the winter? We’ve put together a list of the best pool covers and safety nets to help you get started!