Swimming Pools: Plan Now for Next Summer

swimming pools

If you want to dive into your own, private swimming pool next Memorial Day, you’ll want to start planning and building a swimming pool now as it can take anywhere from three weeks and three months to install.

Getting Started

This much you know: In Arizona, it’s hot enough during the summer to want to dive into a nice, refreshing swimming pool. However, planning and building a private swimming pool or for that matter, a spa isn’t something you should do on a whim. Pool building is a major addition to your property and lifestyle. Questions to ask yourself include:

  • Is my backyard suited to a pool?
  • What’s my swimming pool budget?
  • Am I prepared for the upkeep a pool requires?
  • What is my reason for wanting a pool (e.g., recreation/relaxation, exercise/therapy, entertaining, or a combination of all three)?

Types of Swimming Pools

Swimming pool types fall in one of two categories; fiberglass or concrete.

Concrete: If you have your heart set on a beach entry, then you probably want a custom-built, concrete pool. This material is the most popular option among Arizona homeowners because of its reputation for durability and longevity (50+ years!). It typically takes between three weeks and three months to install a concrete pool.

Fiberglass: These pools are factory-molded and set into pre-excavated holes by a crane. As a result, the size and shape of these pools are considerably more limited. Fiberglass pools feature a smooth finish that’s both durable and stain-resistant. It typically takes between one and two months to install this type of pool.

Other things to consider are local availability of materials and regional zoning regulations.

Styles of Swimming Pools

The following are just a few styles available:

  • Spas
  • Lap pools
  • Modern pools
  • Natural pools
  • Tropical pools
  • Traditional pools
  • Mediterranean pools
  • Infinity or vanishing edge pools

Many of these styles can be custom-built indoors or out. There is also a wide variety of optional features that are designed to suit all members of the family, including sun shades, waterfalls, lazy rivers, changing-color LED lights, rock slides, fire woks, and more. Contact Platinum Pools & Spas for a free consultation and our monthly specials.

Planning a Summer Pool Party

summer pool party

With temperatures rising throughout Arizona, one activity most people can’t live without is slipping into their swimsuits, and taking a dip in the cool blue waters of a swimming pool.

The only thing that beats diving in on a hot day is a summer pool party. There’s nothing like inviting some friends over, eating some amazing food, and lounging poolside. We have some great suggestions for invitations, decorations, food, games and of course, music.

Invites

Looking for a way to really wow your friends and family? Write your summer pool party details on an inflatable float or beach ball using a sharpie. You can choose any color sharpie you’d like. Be sure not to smudge the ink. For detailed instructions, click here.

Menu

No summer pool party would be complete without everyone’s summer favorites: burgers and hot dogs hot off the grill. Sandwiches, sliders, and chicken and pineapple kabobs are all low-maintenance options. Also, a refreshing snack, sliced watermelon. Don’t forget desert; perhaps a mixed berry cobbler or classic strawberry shortcake? Be sure to have lots of bottled water available to help your guests stay hydrated.

Activities

For fun activities that are family friendly, set up a few lawn games, such as Twister, Tic Tac Toe Frisbee and Jumbo Jenga. A quick Pinterest search will yield many other fun games. Additionally, a pool party can never have too many pool floats or pool noodles for guests to float around on, especially if there are children in attendance.

Decorations

If you’re hosting the party by the pool, be sure to set up a shady area or two for guests who prefer to relax in the shade. Add color to your pool by throwing in some balloons. With a little imagination, you can also create mini beach ball garland using paint, nylon string and Styrofoam balls. Get the tutorial here.

Songs for Summer

  • Firework by Katy Perry
  • School’s Out by Alice Cooper
  • Summer in the City by the Lovin’ Spoonful

Opening Your Pool

opening your pool

As the days get a little warmer and a little longer, it easy for our thoughts to turn to shedding those extra layers, and spending long afternoons lounging poolside. Opening your pool for the summer season, however, requires more effort than just filling it up and jumping in. In business in Arizona for more than 25 years, Platinum Pools and Spas knows the importance of opening your pool for the season correctly. If a pool is properly opened, you can be assured proper operation and chemistry levels.

Get your summer season off to the right start in six easy steps.

Step 1: Check Supplies

While many swimming pool chemicals stay good for years if stored correctly, some pool-maintenance supplies like test strips and reagents expire more quickly, depending on the brand. Old supplies can give inaccurate results. If your supplies are expired, it may be better to discard them and replace them with new when you reopen your pool.

Step 2: Remove Leaves and Debris

Before removing the cover, remove leaves, dirt and general debris from the pool cover and surrounding deck or patio. For maximum cleanliness, with minimal effort, we recommend using a leaf blower. Any standing water should be removed as well. This will prevent dirt and debris from working its way into the pool.

Step 3: Uncover the Pool

Once you remove the cover, you will want to take the time to properly clean, fold and store it. Spending a few minutes now will save you money on the cost of a new cover. If you have the space, spread out the cover, spraying it off with the highest pressure your hose allows. Let dry. Then fold and store. The cooler the storage, the better.

Step 3: Check the Water Level

If you have an automatic water leveler, you can skip this step. For the pump to function properly, the water needs to be in the middle of the skimmer opening or halfway up the waterline tile. Add water accordingly. While waiting for the pool to fill, check and test all equipment including handrails, diving boards and slides for loose bolts.

Step 4: Check the Water Chemistry

It is important to test the water early. After a mandatory 24-hour run time, check the water’s pH level, total alkalinity, hardness of water due to calcium, and so forth. You can do this using test strips or take a sample of your pool water to your nearest pool supply store. Safe and proper levels should be:

  • Total Alkalinity – 80 to 120 ppm
  • pH Level – 7.4 to 7.6
  • Free Available Chlorine – 2.0 to 4.0 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness – 200 to 400 ppm
  • Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid) – 30 to 50 ppm

*PPM – part per million

Step 5: Brush and Vacuum the Pool

Thoroughly brushing your pool’s walls is one of the most effective ways to keep your pool clean. Vacuum weekly to keep the water squeaky clean, increase the efficiency of the pool’s circulation system, and reduce the amount of chemicals you’ll need to add to it. Cleaning out strainer baskets at least once a week also helps to keep the pool clean.

Step 6: Clean Outdoor Furniture

Whether it looks like it needs it or not, you should make a point of cleaning your outdoor patio furniture regularly to prevent it from becoming weathered and faded by the elements, therefore making it last longer. Just fill up a bucket, get a sponge, and go to work. Let dry. Replace any furnishings that are unstable, torn or rotted.

Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy!

Backyard Improvement Projects in the New Year

 

backyard improvement

Despite our best intentions, only a tiny percentage of us follow through when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, such as losing weight, eating healthier foods, becoming financially secure, making more time for self-care. In fact, according to Statistic Brain, only 9.2% of people are successful at achieving their New Year’s goals.

How about adding a New Year’s resolution that provides numerous benefits including increased property values? Now – while it is still cold outside – is the perfect time of year to start planning backyard improvement projects for you and your family to enjoy during the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

Backyard Improvement Ideas

Swimming Pool: Nothing else can transform your backyard quite like an inground swimming pool. Whether you envision a tranquil lagoon or exotic oasis, building a swimming pool gives you the most opportunities to customize, therefore ensuring your creativity is expressed. Adding pool and landscape lighting can extend the time you get to spend with your loved ones outdoors well into the night.

Patio Decking: One of the biggest trends in outdoor design today is a custom pool deck. You can create a beautiful, albeit simple space for lounging using any number of popular material options including travertine, stone, pavers, cement, and composite. These materials are available in a wide variety of textures, designs, and colors. Best of all, these materials are designed with your safety in mind, as they are slip resistant.

Outdoor Fire Pits: Imagine sitting outside surrounded by your friends and family on a cool Arizona winter night, gazing up at the stars, embraced by the warmth of a crackling fire. Now imagine enjoying this picturesque evening in the comfort of your own backyard. A fire pit is one of the most common fire features homeowners choose to incorporate in their backyard improvement projects.

Built-in Spas: Built-in spas offer a relaxing element to your swimming pool, and can be used year ‘round, thus maximizing your return on investment. The benefits to these spas, however, don’t end there! A custom spa provides countless benefits including health, relaxation, family time, and romance. The design options for in-ground spas are as varied as the options for a custom swimming pool.

Trending Swimming Pool Design Ideas

swimming pool designs

So you’re thinking of having a swimming pool professionally installed? Planning the perfect oasis has never been more exciting, as innovations in swimming pools continue to expand into luxury pool options, such as natural and infinity pools. Here are six ideas that represent the cutting edge in swimming pool design for 2016.

Natural Pools

Natural swimming pools have a lot of advantages over traditional pools – which is why they’re quickly garnering more and more attention. Natural pools imitate ponds in nature, blending into the surrounding environment seamlessly. A variety of plants filter the water and keep the pool clean versus standard filtration systems. These pools are both environmentally friendly and chemical free. They also have low ongoing maintenance costs. You can also choose to use a salt water filtration system.

Infinity Pools

Infinity pools, also known as vanishing edge pools, are designed to produce a visual effect of water extending over the edge. These pools often provide a spectacular view, particularly a water view. The infinity pool design is said to have originated from Bali, Indonesia, where its inspiration was drawn from the island’s ubiquitous terraced rice paddies. While beautiful, infinity pools do require a different level of construction than traditional pools, which lends to their expensiveness.

In-Ground Spas

In-ground spas have always been a favorite addition to any pool – as they conserve space and share resources. Spas surrounded by rocks and plantings provide a tranquil setting for relaxation. In-ground spas can also be crafted with a simple ledge that allows water to spill into the pool or with a glass zero edge that makes the spa and pool look like they’re one. The options for in-ground spas are seemingly endless! Be sure and discuss the available options with your preferred pool builder.

Freeform Pool Designs

Freeform pools live up to their name – particularly since their contours don’t have to obey the rules of geometry, they can be designed any way you’d like, making them ideal for homes in more natural, tropical, or rustic settings. A freeform pool can imitate a tropical lagoon or a tranquil oasis. These pools are excellent choices for homeowners limited on space, you can make them as small or big as you’d like, as well as for those who wish to incorporate a pool into an existing asymmetrical space.

Glass Tiles

Glass tiles add immense beauty and allure to swimming pools. They are available in a wide variety of shapes, colors and finishes, and can be used to accent any pool design. Glass tiles provide the perfect way to set your pool apart from the ordinary. Common applications include waterline, pool steps and edges, raised spas, water walls, pool interiors, and mosaics. Imagine creating a true masterpiece at the bottom of your pool with glass tiles.

Custom Pool Decks

One of the biggest trends in outdoor design today is a custom pool deck. Travertine, pavers, Trex, cement, are just some of the material options for upgrading your pool’s deck. Not only are materials, such as these, attractive they go a long way towards complimenting the exterior of your home and melding with the outdoor environment; all without sacrificing your safety as they can be designed to be slip resistant. The choices for designing a custom, functional, and affordable pool deck are at your fingertips.

Best Mosquito Repellents for Your Backyard Oasis

Mosquito-Repellents

With summer in full swing, what’s your favorite thing to do? If it’s to spend time outdoors, frolicking in the pool or enjoying scrumptious food from the grill, then I’m sure we can all agree that pesky insects – especially mosquitoes – are an unwelcome sight.

Yet, as I’m sure most of you are already aware, this summer has brought one of the worst mosquito infestations. Not only do we fear getting eaten alive – but mosquitoes are a legitimate cause for health concerns. 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control, saw an estimated 2,200 cases of West Nile Virus.

So, what’s a person to do? Stop entertaining? Forget about backyard barbeques? Avoid the pool like the plague? No, no, and a resounding no! You don’t have to hide inside. A variety of mosquito-repelling tools in every price range (even DIY friendly) options exist to keep the mosquito population – and their dinner party – at bay. Here are a few effective solutions on how you can do exactly that:

  1. Homemade Citronella Candles

Citronella candles are one of the most effective mosquito repellents in the world. These candles use Cymbopogon (lemongrass) as the active ingredient. The best way to take advantage of citronella? Use citronella essential oil, and soup cans, to make a DIY version of the candles. This ensures an natural alternative to the store-bought candles. Click here to learn how to make them.

  1. DEET: Spray-on Repellents

Off, Jungle Juice, or Repel are three popular insect repellents that utilize the chemical DEET. DEET is a safe chemical that repels insects away from the body. Many of the repellents available today carry the additional benefit of softening the skin – while others provide sun protection. These valuable products can be purchased rather inexpensively.

  1. Mosquito Misting Systems

Mosquito misting systems aren’t your average misting systems. These systems are designed to spray pesticides in a fine mist to kill mosquitoes and other outdoor insects. Much like traditional misters, these systems include spray nozzles that can be mounted around the perimeter of your backyard oasis, to eliminate pesky mosquitoes and other insects.

Most of market’s currently available systems are either tankless or drum-based; they can be activated by remote control or set on a timer. Active ingredients, which are EPA approved, include permethrin; pyrethrin; and piperonyl butoxide. These ingredients are safe around people and pets. The downside to the systems is the price as they range from $1,300 and up.

  1. Portable Traps and Systems

A less expensive, yet still effective, option for you is to invest in a portable trapping system. Many of these systems run off of propane and batteries (or 12V power). These traps are designed to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as this is what will lead to the effective breaking of the mosquitoes’ breeding cycle. It’s important to note that it typically takes 7 to 10 days to see a noticeable difference.

Swimming… Benefits for Asthmatic Individuals!

Platinum Pools

In The Swim: Blog

There is a huge number of people who use swimming as their main form of exercise. It’s easy on the joints, and fun to do! For individuals with asthma, you can assume that a physical exercise, like swimming, could be detrimental to an individuals health. Something that requires intentional and controlled breathing, seems like a terrible idea for someone who deals with asthmatic troubles.

Although, interestingly enough, there are no studies that have proven that swimming causes issues for someone with asthma. Which is good news! In fact, the warm and humid atmosphere can actually help improve and ease breathing troubles. Swimming is one of our favorite forms of exercise, but the general rule is, ANY exercise is ideal! It can help with several areas, such as sleep, energy, and most importantly, respiratory and circulatory systems. Backyardpool

Typically, swimming is not linked to triggering asthma attacks. The natural moister in the air, from the pool, makes it easier to breathe, compared to other land-based activities. Obviously, we advise you to take caution while using swimming as your form of exercise. We recommend being very careful about the pH and chlorine levels. This can cause breathing issues, if there isn’t a proper balance.

Let us help you improve your exercise life, and your home aesthetics, by walking you through the process of installing a new pool. For any other questions, you can contact us at: PLATINUM POOLS AZ or call us at: (480) 888-9200

Building Luxury Outdoor Living Environments

Platinum Pools of Arizona New PoolsAt Platinum Pools, we hold ourselves to a rigid standard of pool building. We’re committed to making sure the pools we build not only meet home-owners expectation, but rise above it. As we often say, with a Platinum pool, luxury comes standard. But the pool is only one part of creating an outdoor environment. When considering a new pool or even a pool remodel, we encourage our clients to look beyond the pool and consider the entire area around the pool. Here are some additional services we provide that can help transform your backyard into a luxurious outdoor living environment.

Landscaping
What’s the point in having a great looking custom pool built if the area around the pool doesn’t reflect the same quality. Adding trees, plants, and bushes to the area around the pool can greatly enhance the overall look and feel of your backyard, and even provide shade. Many homeowners choose to convert grass lawns to desert landscapes for a more natural, desert environment and to help conserve and offset the pool water use. Others like to keep a lush, green lawn around their pool. Lighting features throughout the landscape can help create a nice ambiance at night around your pool.

Patios and Hardscapes
Your patio is most likely where you will spend most of your time when you aren’t in your pool. We can help you transform your old, hot concrete patio into a beautiful stone or tile paved area that’s perfect for entertaining or just lounging around. Installing shade structures such as pergolas, ramadas, or even shade sails will help you escape the heat when you need to. Couple that with a misting system and you’ll have a patio that’s comfortable even during the hot Arizona summers. Fountains and firepits are always a nice added touch to backyard patios as well.

BBQ and Outdoor Kitchens
If you love grilling and having friends and family over for barbecues, adding a built-in BBQ grill or full outdoor kitchen is a must. It’s also a great way to complement a new or remodeled pool. Custom outdoor kitchens not only look great, but have the added benefit of convenience when you are trying to feed your hungry guests. Add an outdoor TV, and you may never leave your patio!

Synthetic Putting Green
If you live an Arizona, you probably have a least one golfer in the family. Synthetic putting greens are very popular and add great deal of entertainment value to your backyard. The fact it’s synthetic means no watering and very little upkeep. Also helpful to keep you on top of your putting game and bring your gold scores down!

Obviously these are just a few ways to enhance your pool environment and we offer many more services to help you create a backyard oasis. So if you are thinking of adding or remodeling a pool, give Platinum Pools of Arizona a call. We will help you design and build the backyard of your dreams!

What to Consider Before Building Your Custom Pool

custom pools azHaving your own custom pool is great. Custom pools look great, add value to your home, and are perfect for hosting friends and family for summertime get togethers. But before you jump head first into designing and purchasing a pool, there are things about pool ownership you need to take into consideration.

Maintenance
Unless you hire a pool company to come and take care of your pool, there is a certain amount of maintenance that is required to keep you pool clean and running smoothly. Expect to check your chemicals often and replace them when necessary. Brushing and vacuuming are also duties that you can expect to perform on a fairly regular basis, especially during the windy, dusty monsoon seasons in Arizona. Filters will also need to be cleaned on occasion to keep them performing at their maximum efficiency.

Financing
Purchasing a custom pool is a serious financial commitment, especially if you want it done right. There are many options for financing but we highly recommend you explore those options before committing to building your custom pool. Make sure all costs are determined before building so there are no surprises down the road.

City Codes
Be search to look into any local building codes that may come into play in your neighborhood. Pools must be placed a certain distance from field lines and septic tanks so make sure you know exactly where you can dig before starting.

Space
Make sure to design a pool that does not take up too much space or areas that you may utilize for other activities. An in-ground pool will be a permanent structure so utilize your property space wisely.

Insurance
Many times adding a pool will require you to have additional insurance. Check with your insurance agent to see if a pool will increase your premiums.

Water Usage
Expect a higher water bill when you have a pool, especially during the summer months. You may want consider adding shade elements or using pool covers to help reduce evaporation from you pool. Shady vegetation around your pool can also help keep it cool when it’s hot.

Taxes
Check with local taxing authorities about possible property tax assessment increases.

It’s worth noting that Platinum Pools will help you every step of the way when it comes to building your custom pools. Our designers will work directly with you and can give guidance regarding guidelines, safety, and any local codes. Call us to get started building the pool of your dreams today!

What To Know About Sunblock

So you’ve had your new custom pool installed and you are ready to splash away the summer in your new pool. Not so fast. Spending time in the sun is not without it’s repercussions, especially in Arizona. It’s a well know fact that long-term exposure to the sun can significantly damage your skin and lead to more serious health problems. Therefor it is essential that you protect yourself from the sun by using sunscreen or sunblock. But how do you know which sunblock to use?

First, its important to understand how sunblock works. Sunblock protects your skin by absorbing and/or reflecting UVA and UVB radiation from the sun. Sunblocks are rated by a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number. The higher the number, the stronger the protection.

How long sunblock protects can vary from person to person. One method of determining how effective a sunblock will be is by taking the time it takes for a user to burn and multiplying it by the SPF factor of the sunblock. For example, if it typically takes a user 10 minutes to develop a sunburn without sunscreen, then a SPF of 15 will protect the user for approximately 150 minutes. The general recommendation from the American Association of Dermatology is to use a sunblock with a minimum SPF of 15 , and reapply every two hours.

There are two basic types of sunblocks. Chemical Sunblocks work by absorbing UV radiation energy before it effects the skin. Physical sunblocks work by reflecting harmful UV radiation away from the skin. Some manufacturers combine the two types of sunblock to both absorb and reflect the sun to protect your skin.

Physical sunblocks are typically zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. We’ve all probably have seen the image of the lifeguard with the white zinc oxide on their nose. This type of sunblock is very useful for those that have extra sensitive skin and need full protection.

Chemical sunblocks are made up of many different active ingredients. That is because there is no single ingredient that can block the entire UV spectrum. But by combining ingredients that block different regions of the spectrum, sunblock can effectively protect skin from a broad range of UV radiation energy.

Sunblocks come in different forms such as lotion, gels, sprays, and oils. Which application you use is largely personal preference, but some with sensitive skin may develop allergies to certain types of sunblock. It’s recommended to try several different sunblocks to see what works best for you. Note that if you will be spending time in the water, it’s important to use a water-resistant sunblock for best results.