Popular Pool Finishes

Popular Pool Finishes

Homeowners can choose from a wide variety of popular pool finishes, including plaster, PebbleTec®, BeadCrete, and glass tiles when either building or remodeling their pool or spa. Explore the different options available to you below. However, it’s a good idea to talk with your pool or spa designer, before deciding on a pool finish.

Here are four of the most popular pool finishes:

Plaster is the most common, and least expensive, pool finish. Typically applied over concrete, plaster is made up of white cement, white marble aggregates and water. It can be dyed to complement different pool shapes and styles, surrounding materials, and landscapes. Plaster should last eight to twelve years before requiring re-plastering.

PebbleTec® is made of natural, polished pebbles that create a durable, slip-proof texture. There are sixteen color options to choose from. For a dazzling finish, you can also choose to add pool enhancements, such as shimmering sea or luminous to any PebbleTec® pool finish. Should last fifteen to twenty years with little maintenance.

BeadCrete is a pool finish that becomes iridescent under both natural and artificial LED lights. Available in a range of designer colors, this option is composed of solid glass beads, locked carefully into polymer-modified cements. This creates a unique three-dimensional effect. BeadCrete is stain resistant, long lasting, and low maintenance.

Glass Tile can add immense beauty to both swimming pools and spas. Available in a wide variety of shapes, colors and finishes, it can enhance any pool style. It is also the most durable of all finishes. Glass tiles can be installed in a pool’s waterline, steps and edges, water walls, sun shelf, and interior or on the outer walls of a raised spa.

Stone Tile is a popular choice for finishing natural swimming pool designs. Like glass tile, it is also available in a variety of shapes, colors, and finishes. Large stone tiles can be used on a patio or deck, while smaller stone tiles can be used in a pool’s waterline, steps and edges, and sun shelf. Stone provides a textured feel that is slip-resistant.

Note: Maintaining proper water chemistry is vital for ensuring longevity.

Understanding Pool Heat Pumps

Pool Heat Pumps

How They Work

A heat pump is one of the most popular devices for keeping pool water warm during the winter. Using trace amounts of electricity, pool heat pumps warm up your swimming pool’s water by drawing up water into a filter and heater, and then pumping the warm water back into the pool. This constant exchange of warm and cold water keeps your pool fit for swimming even during the winter.

Selecting a Pool Heater

There are two types of heat pumps: water-source heat pumps and air-source heat pumps. A water-source (geothermal) heat pump transfers heat from a body of water and moves it from one place to another, whereas, an air-source heat pump operates by capturing heat in the air to warm your pool’s water.

Some air-source heat pump models are capable of both heating and cooling the pool. Alternatively, universal heat pumps give you something most other heaters don’t – dual right- and left-hand connections for your water, gas, and electricity. It’s a good idea to discuss your available options for heating with your pool builder.

Benefits of Installing a Pool Heat Pump

Pool heat pumps, while slightly more expensive than natural gas pool heaters, have much lower annual operating costs because of their higher rate of energy efficiency. They give you the ideal water temperature while using 80% less energy! These heat pumps are also more durable than other available pool heating options.

If you’re looking for total-body regimen that burns a lot of calories (without having to brave the cold), while being joint friendly, swimming in a heated pool should be your new go-to form of exercise. You may also find the water to be calming – water has long been a symbol of renewal and clarity.

These benefits seem well-worth investing in a pool heater!

How To: Winterizing Your Pool

Winterizing Your Pool

Temperatures are cooling down. For most pool owners, this means that yet another swim season has come to an end, even in the Valley of the Sun – unless there is an existing geothermal heating unit. While it’s perfectly acceptable to leave your pool open year-round, there are several benefits to be gained by properly closing your pool, including preserving water quality and protecting the surface.

Follow these tips for successfully winterizing your pool.

Balance Water Chemistry

Approximately one week before closing the pool, adjust the water to the recommended levels of pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and chlorination. Use a test kit to ensure proper levels of each. Proper levels are as follows:

  • pH: 7.2 – 7.4
  • Alkalinity: 80 – 120
  • Calcium Hardness: 180 – 220 ppm
  • Chlorination: 1.0 – 3.0 ppm

Clean the Pool

Using an automatic cleaner (if applicable), remove any leaves, insects or dirt from the pool. You can also fish debris out with a net. Thoroughly brush and vacuum the sides – not just the bottom – of your pool to remove scum lines.

Remove All Accessories

Remove all pool accessories, including (but not limited to) skimmer baskets, ladders, wall fittings, and automatic cleaners. Put these in a safe location until spring. This helps secure your equipment. It also ensures your pool cover fits snugly.

Add Winter Chemicals

Once your pool is balanced, cleaned and all accessories have been safely stored away for the winter, it’s time to add the winterizing chemicals. These include pH increaser, chlorine tablets, chlorine shock, and winter algaecide. Follow all manufacturer directions when adding any chemicals to the pool’s water. You can also buy a chemical kit – ask your pool builder or retailer for more information.

Cover Your Pool

Place the cover over your pool. If you don’t already have a pool cover, look for one that provides a tight fit, as this will ensure no debris or insects can get in between the gaps. If you have children or pets, it is recommended to use a safety cover; consult your manual on how to put this on.

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.

Spring Maintenance Tasks for Your Pool

spring maintenance tasks

The weather is slowly but surely heating up, which means it’s almost time for one of the most relaxing activities in the world – lounging poolside with a glass of ice cold lemonade (if you aren’t already). By performing these few spring maintenance tasks, you can ensure that your experience will be sheer perfection.

Check Water Level: If you haven’t already, spring is a good time to check your pool’s water level, which should be in the middle of your skimmer opening or halfway up the waterline tile at all times. If it’s too low, the pump can suck-in air, lose prime and stop pumping. Add water accordingly using a garden hose. You could save a lot of time and money by investing in an automatic water leveler.

Check Filter Pressure: Every pool filter has a pressure gauge located near the top of the tank. The gauge, with its round face and 0 to 60 numbers, indicates system pressure in pounds per square inch (psi). Ideally, you should’ve recorded the normal operating pressure of your filter at installation, so you have a benchmark for all future readings.

Normal pressure signifies good pool circulation. This is the sweet spot, where you can sit back in that lounge chair, relaxing on a warm summer’s day. If the pressure gets too high, you will need to backwash the filter and clean the cartridge, or hire a professional pool cleaner to do this for you.

Check Pool Cleaner: An automatic pool cleaner can save a lot of manual cleaning of dirt and debris, but they do require regular attention, like all parts of your swimming pool do. Cleaners built with their own cartridge filter systems require frequent cleaning: just open the cleaner, remove and rinse with a hose. Pool cleaners can also stop moving/pulsating, get stuck behind a pool’s safety equipment, or their hoses coiled-up; requiring attention. If there seems to be a problem, have it professionally looked at.

Skim the Pool: Want a clean pool? Skim the surface of your pool water daily! Skimming helps to keep algae, stains, and cloudy water from occurring. To begin, you will need a skimmer net attached to a telescopic pole, making it easier to reach the pool’s bottom. You can choose between a flat skimmer or a bag skimmer – just make sure it’s durable. You won’t believe how many times we’ve seen a cheap skimmer break.

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!

Winterize Your Pool

winterize your pool

A swimming pool is a great backyard feature that will add years of enjoyment to your home. It provides many benefits, one of the most important being an increase in property value, especially in the Phoenix metropolitan area. A swimming pool can provide families with the opportunity for exercise, rest and relaxation, and a place for socializing, all amplified by the convenience of stepping into your own backyard oasis. However, even in Arizona, there comes a time when you should take some steps to winterize your pool.

Use these tips to winterize your pool.

#1. Clean Out the Pool

The first step is clean out any leaves, insects, dirt and debris. Use your pool vacuum – or just fish them out with a net. It is also recommended that you brush and vacuum the sides, not just the bottom, of your pool in order to remove scum lines.

#2. Balance Water Chemistry

This protects the pool from corrosion or scale buildup. You will want to do this at least a week prior to actually closing the pool. Using a water test kit, adjust the water to the recommended levels of pH, total alkalinity, calcium (hardness), and chlorination.

Proper levels are as follows:

  • pH: 7.2-7.6
  • Alkalinity: 180-220 ppm
  • Chlorine levels: 1-3 ppm

#3. Add a Winterization Kit

Thinking of adding a winterization chemical kit? Do it now. These kits put high levels of chlorine and algaecide in the water to prepare it for the cold months ahead. Ask your pool builder or retailer about these kits today!

#4. Remove Pool Accessories

You will also want to remove any and all pool accessories. This includes ladders, wall fittings, hand rails, automatic pool cleaners, and diving boards to ensure your pool’s cover snugly fits therefor keeping out debris and insects.

#5. Cover Your Pool

Finish winterizing your pool by covering your pool with solid cover that keeps out debris. When shopping for a pool cover, look for one that will provide a tight fit, so that no debris or bugs can get in between the gaps.

#6. Prefer to Use Your Pool Year-Round?

If you would prefer to keep using your pool in the winter, you have a few options, including geothermal heating. Geothermal heating works by collecting heat from the ground, which remains a constant 70˚F, concentrating it and applying it to your pool’s water. This ensures a consistently warm temperature year-round.

Experience Total Control with Pool Automation

pool automation

How would you like to put your pool on cruise control? With an automated control system, you can automate maintenance functions like sanitization, heating and filtration, and control ambient features such as lighting and water features using only your smartphone or tablet. An automated control system can also save you money – often reducing energy costs by as much as 70 percent. *

Whether you include pool automation in the construction of a new pool or the remodel of your existing pool, you’ll make it easier than even before to spend more time with your friends and family, enjoying the many benefits of pool ownership. Pool owners considering pool automation have a number of different automated control systems available to them. Here are a few simple ways to get started with pool automation:


OnCommand® is an affordable automated control system that can be installed on existing pools. It lets you control your pool’s pump, filter, heater, lighting and more, as well as set schedules for totally hands-off operation. OnCommand® can also be connected to an optional floating wireless remote for the ultimate in poolside convenience (sold separately).

Total Control with E-Command® 4

The technology and programming flexibility afforded by the E-Command® 4 ensures equipment runs at peak performance for minimum energy usage and cost. You can set schedules for your pool’s equipment or control them manually from a wireless remote (sold separately). With a built-in subpanel, this system is the easiest, most cost-effective way to incorporate time-saving automation when building a new pool.

Manage Your Pool and Spa’s Chemistry

Homeowners barely have to lift a finger to ensure a clean, chemically balanced pool ready for use at any time, with the Total Pool Chemistry® management system. With the ability to integrate Sense and Dispense, the Total Pool Chemistry® management system continuously monitors chlorine and pH levels, and automatically adjusts the water chemistry as needed. It doesn’t get any more convenient than that!

Add-Ons That Make Maintenance Effortless

System add-ons such as Hayward’s AquaConnect Interface give you the ultimate in streamlined control and monitoring. Compatible with Hayward’s line of automated control systems, this interface gives you the freedom to access, control and monitor your system from a smartphone, tablet or computer – anywhere and anytime. Just think how amazing it would be to have total control at your fingertips.

Are you ready to simplify your life with pool automation? Contact Platinum Pools & Spas today for more information on all of our available automated control systems and receive a FREE Hayward ColorLogic® LED Pool Light with any new or remodeled pool. *

*Free ColorLogic® LED Pool Light with the purchase of a new or remodeled pool project over $10,000 and if purchased by 10/31/16. Does not include homebuilder pool programs and/or previous discounts or offers.

Labor Day Backyard Bash

labor day backyard bash

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Labor Day may indeed by the official end of summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t soak up the last days of summer with one last backyard bash.

Labor Day, observed Monday, September 5, 2016, is a holiday devoted to honoring American workers and their contributions to the strength and well-being of our country. For most of us, Labor Day also means a day off from work and with school already back in session, the unofficial end of summer.

There’s a lot to celebrate about this Labor Day including American workers, the end of summer, and a new school year. So before you press the send button on summer, fire up the grill, throw some noodles into the pool, and invite your friends and family over for an enjoyable Labor Day Backyard Bash.

Here’s what you need to do for a memorable Labor Day Backyard Bash.

Send Invitations in Advance. With Labor Day just around the corner, literally, you’ll want to send invitations out via email or social media for the fastest response. It’s always a good idea to get a final head count at least a week before any event; but three days will suffice when you’re short on time.

Plan Your Menu. Labor Day is a great day for grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, and ribs served up with classic favorites such as potato and fruit salads. Don’t forget the chips and sodas/bottled waters. Need inspiration? Search Pinterest for “Labor Day party recipes”. Plan your menu in advance according to your tastes and budget. Prepare salads and marinades a day in advance.

Plan Fun Pool Games. Set up your volleyball and/or basketball hoop for lively fun. Plan to play games like Marco Polo, Watermelon Push Relays, Lap Races, and more. You might be surprised to find the adults having just as much fun, if not more, playing these games as the kids. For more pool game inspiration be sure and check out Pinterest.

Make Sure Your Pool is Swim Ready. Before your guests arrive, it’s a good idea to check your pool’s chemical levels, and run its filter for eight hours (this is something you should already be doing daily). After the party simply brush or vacuum your pool, add chlorine, and clean your filter to prevent the algae growth.

How to Kill Green Pool Algae

green pool algae

With 110 degree days just over the horizon, there’s no better way to combat the heat and have fun, than to spend the day relaxing poolside. With towels in hand you head out to your pool…only to find that the water’s turned a murky green. Any hopes of having fun are then quickly dissipated – as you find yourself battling against green pool algae instead.

So what exactly is algae? Algae, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is…

“A plant or plantlike organism of any of several phyla, divisions, or classes of chiefly aquatic usually chlorophyll-containing nonvascular organisms of polyphyletic origin that usually include the green, yellow-green, brown and red algae in the eukaryotes and especially formerly the cyanobacteria in the prokaryote.”

Green algae is the most common type of algae there is. As the name implies, it’s green, slimy and unfortunately grows extremely fast given the right conditions. Conditions such as warm temperatures, sunlight, out of balance water, and the presence of nitrates and/or carbon dioxide can quickly lead to your blue water’s demise.

Of course, the best way to avoid encountering a green pool, is to destroy the algae spores before they get the chance to develop into full-on algae blooms. Good circulation, proper sanitizer levels, routine brushing of the pools walls and floor, and weekly shocking can help you avoid problems with this type of algae.

If your pool’s water has become infested with algae, you have to find ways to fix it, before your able to use your pool. While algae itself does no harm to swimmers, it may harbor pathogens such a E-coli that can. Chlorine shock is one of the most effective treatments for algae.

Getting Rid of Green Pool Algae by Shocking

How Much Shock Will I Need?

  • 2 pounds of shock = 10,000 gallons of pool water
  • 4 pounds of shock = 20,000 gallons of pool water
  • 6 pounds of shock = 30,000 gallons of pool water
  • 8 pounds of shock = 40,000 gallons of pool water

Tips for Shocking Your Swimming Pool

  • Always use protective eye wear and gloves.
  • Always wear clothing you don’t mind getting ruined.
  • Add 1 pound of shock to a 5 gallon bucket of warm water that is 3/4 full (warm water dissolves shock faster than cold).
  • Always add shock to water NOT water to shock!
  • Using a wooden stick slowly stir in the shock. Make sure it is completely dissolved before proceeding.
  • Slowly pour the bucket of pre-dissolved shock into your pool on all sides. If you find some dissolved shock at the bottom of your bucket, simply dip your bucket into the pool water, and gently agitate the bucket before pouring the remaining shock into the pool.
  • DO NOT mix all the bags of shock together in one bucket.
  • Always shock in the evening or night time hours so the sun doesn’t burn off the chlorine. If you have a pool cover, keep it off on the nights you shock.
  • Use your pool skimmer or filtration system to help mix, speed up the oxidation process, and distribute the shock treatment for best results.

Happy Swimming!