Make a splash this summer

Make a splash this summer

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Make a splash this summer

At the end of a long day at work, how about relaxing with a splash in your own private pool. Now, we’re talking luxury, aren’t we? But you can still incorporate a pool at home, without incurring a lot of expenditure, writes Swati Kapur

Kaviti just did not like driving to the gym every day to stay fit. A pool in her very home would have been just right for her. And that’s what she ended up building – a private pool. “Just a couple of laps every day are all I do to stay fit. There’s nothing like a dip in the pool after a tiring day at work. It has a magical de-stressing effect and a great recreation for kids,” she says.

Kinds of pools

The main difference between the different types of pools is in the way their basin is constructed. 

Above-ground pools are the cheapest among the construction options and the easiest to build.

They can be easily put together with the help of pre-fabricated kits. Level off the ground to form a flat building surface and assemble a perimeter track to support the outer wall. Next, spread sand in the pool area and do the necessary plumbing. 

Finally, secure the vinyl liner over the pool walls, fill the pool with water, smooth the liner and fasten it into place. Hook up the pump and filtering system and the pool is ready to jump in.

It’s easy to disassemble and move. US citizen Anjali Verma’s recent investment in an above-ground pool is an attraction for friends and family. “We recently celebrated my son’s birthday party at the swimming pool and it was great hit. Now, my kids’ friends come over just to swim. Plus, it’s a great work-out for the whole family,” she says. 

Fiberglass pools are made from fiberglass-reinforced plastic, molded into a basin shape. To install the pool, a construction crew digs an appropriately sized hole, lays the necessary plumbing, adds some sand filler and lowers the preformed pool structure into the hole. 
Usually, the pool is surrounded by a concrete deck structure. Sachin Bhatia, partner, Latitude 30 N, Rishikesh, says, “We wanted to provide our guests with a fun water play area with a serene look and therefore chose aqua blue tiles to add to the effect.” 

Vinyl-lined in-ground pools are developed by digging a hole and assembling a metal, plastic or wood frame wall around the perimeter. Sand is laid along the bottom of the hole and the vinyl lining is secured to the structural wall. These pools are a lot cheaper than other in-ground designs, but not as durable. Typically, the liner needs to be replaced every ten years or so.

Gunite pools are the most popular. A framework grid is assembled with reinforcing rods which are secured together with wires. When the grid is in place, a heavy coating of gunite is sprayed over. Gunite pools can also have tile, exposed aggregate or even fiberglass finishes.

Pool floors 

Non-slip: Make sure that the tiles you choose are durable and slip resistant. Ceramic tiles are one of the most popular swimming pool materials nowadays. Nitco offers tiles in a wide variety of sizes, textures and colours for swimming pools. The floor of your swimming pool will occupy a significant portion of your field of view, so be sure to spend the extra time picking flooring that works with the rest of your theme. 

Absorb less: The tiles should not absorb a lot of water in order to last long. Less than 0.5 per cent absorption is a good parameter. 

Ambience: Choose from relaxing and fun colours like aqua green and blue, lapis lazuli and turquoise. Do match colour and texture to your architectural style. Create a mosaic or choose a pre-designed format to create a visual effect. Since you are working with tiles, it’s not difficult to cut and format almost any type of design. Keep the colour palette light to reflect natural light and lend a clean vibrant effect. 

Accessorise 

Once you’re done with your pool, it’s time to make it your favourite relaxation place. To add to your list of basic feel good elements, choose from underwater light, pool ladders or underwater steps, over flow grating, skimmers, pool covers, water heater and pool thermometers. 

Then highlight with poolside table and chairs, colourful garden umbrella, relaxing couches or pre-swim shower cabins. Ritika from Bangalore loves to incorporate the Feng Shui element in her house with an indoor swimming pool. “The mere sight of the pool is cool and refreshing and helps me unwind,” she says. A skimmer is handy for quickly scooping up any debris that makes its way into the pool. And a cover is essential for keeping debris out when the pool isn’t in use. It’s also a good idea to drain, clean and refill the pool every three months (depending on how big your pool is).

Can you smell it?

If you can smell chlorine, the swimming pool hasn’t got enough - strange, isn't it? What you can smell are chloramines. These are formed when insufficient levels of free available chlorine react with ammonia and other nitrogen-containing compounds like sweat. 

Dropping disinfectants like chlorine in the pool is a good thing. But keep in mind that they meet certain demands. They should be harmless and non-irritating to swimmers. They must be active in small concentrations and remain their activity for a long time. Contrary to drinking water disinfectants, swimming pool disinfectants must be active in the pool itself, because pollutions and pathogenic micro-organisms are constantly added to the water. 

Check the chemistry

Depending on how frequently the pool is used, you may need to check the chemistry a few times a week to maintain the proper pH and chlorine levels. A good rule of thumb is to check it before and after you use it. Every swimmer adds 1,000,000 to 1,000,000.000 microorganisms to the water. The water itself contains microorganisms, as well.  Now if you still call your pool a clean place, take a test. Test kits are very useful for any time check up. 

Buy yourself a kit to check for pH, alkaline and chlorine levels. Alternatively, you can take the pool water to a pool shop, get it tested and follow the prescribed solution. A green pool means your free chlorine is either non-existent or ineffective. 

Great care has to be taken if you want the pool to go on for years. “As an everyday routine the pH levels are checked, additives applied to maintain the balance, the floor is vacuumed and floating particles are removed with a net,” adds Bhatia from Latitude 30 N, Rishikesh. Clean filters

A regular filter cleaning is probably the most important step. To avoid any downtime with the spa, it’s a good idea to have an extra filter on hand. 

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