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    Inground Pool Fencing Options

    December 20, 2012


    When planning to build your own inground pool, one of the discussion points with customers is about pool fencing options. Even if you are in a rural area, with no other houses in sight, your county or city permit and inspection officials will insist on seeing a proper and safe pool fence.

    Inground Pool Fence Codes

    Definitions of proper and safe pool fences vary somewhat in different regions of the country. The CPSC has produced a great pool fence guideline. Standard safety code will require the fence to be a minimum of 48" tall with no more than 4" between vertical slats. For latticed or chain link fences, the opening can be no more than 1-3/4". On the bottom of the fence, the gap between the fence and ground must be 4" or less. It can't have any protrusions or holes which are large enough to get a toe-hold, and help someone climb over the fence; it must be non-climbable.

    Some cities or counties want the fence to be 60" tall, or have a certain number of gates. In a few areas, local ordinances may require gate alarms.

    To meet pool fence codes, self closing and self latching gates are usually required. This means that the hinges on each of the fence gates will have a spring that automatically closes the gate with enough force to secure the latching mechanism. Location and total number of gates is based on optimum accessibility to your pool area, but your inspector may have an opinion.

    it is important to check with your local building inspector before purchase and installation to verify that your new fence will meet all of your local safety codes, and in some cases, inspector preference. You may be able to find the requirements by searching your local government website, but before ordering, check with your inspector to be sure that your fence plan will be approved.

    3-sided or 4-sided pool fence?

    A four sided pool fence is one that completely surrounds all sides of the pool area. Three sided pool fences encompass three sides of the pool using a natural or man made barrier such as your house for the fourth side. Your city or county may allow either a 3-sided or 4-sided fence, with certain restrictions or rules regarding both.

    For increased safety with a 3-sided fence, a fourth wall or fence around your patio can provide a layer of protection between the pool area and the patio. A run of removable fence is a nice option to keep small children from reaching the pool area.

    4-sided pool fences are certainly safer, and may be required in your area. If the thought of a 4-sided fence around your pool paradise is distressing, you may be able to design a mix of materials to accomplish the same goal. Mixing different fence types, adding a small pool cabana or pavilion, brick kitchen / bbq area, or using lengths of stone wall or pillars can break up a long and boring fence line. Large planters or large bushes can be positioned to soften the view, along the far side of the pool.

    Creative pool fence plans definitely need to be presented to the inspector before you get too far along. In many cases, an inspector will entertain and approve such atypical fence plans, as long as it does the job as an effective and non-climbable barrier, without blocking a view to the pool.

    Inground Pool Fence Options

    This choice can be complicated, pool fences come in so many different styles and material options. it is important to try to find a product that fits your budget while still meeting your needs for local pool fence codes, safety, privacy and design. Here's some more information on some popular pool fence types.

    Wood or Vinyl Pool Fences

    Wood offers many different style options, and you can paint or stain to match your particular decor. Pickets are typically 1"x4" and the top can be flat, dog-eared or gothic in style. Cedar is popular choice, and redwood, ash and pine are also used. Wood will require more time and energy to maintain because of the need to paint or stain periodically.

    Vinyl fencing will offer you a maintenance free product but you may be limited in selection of styles and colors. Installation is a bit easier for vinyl pool fence. Both wood and vinyl are among the cheapest pool fence options, with a large number of contractors offering installation services.

    wood and vinyl pool fences, pool fence codes

    Steel or Aluminum Pool Fences

    Steel or Aluminum fencing is popular due to its durability and ease of installation. Modular designs are quick to assemble, with pre-assembled sections. Steel fences are very strong and durable, but not so common due to their shipping weight and cost to purchase. Aluminum fences have replaced most wrought iron fences, except on very high-end pool projects. Aluminum fences also require no painting and won't rust like steel fences.

    aluminum pool fences, steel pool fences - pool fencing codes

    Mesh Pool Fences

    Also known as removable fencing, mesh fencing is often used as temporary fencing while children are young, to completely enclose the pool. It can also be used to create a fourth wall, blocking access from the house to the pool. Holes are drilled in the pool deck, and fence posts lock in place every 3-4 feet. Once installed, it can be put up or taken down in 10 minutes. Less durable than the other pool fence types, and the mesh material may begin to degrade after 10 years or so.

    mesh safety pool fences, codes for pool fences

    Glass Pool Fences

    Very popular on modern, trendy homes, glass pool fencing offers a lot of advantages. See through panels have unmatched visibility. Installation is fairly easy, just secure the bracket or post on each side of each panel. Glass pool fencing is expensive, but less than wrought iron in most cases. The nearly unbreakable glass panels are thick, 1/2" or so, and are fingerprint "resistant", which means they'll need occasional cleaning to keep them looking new. Acrylic panels are also made by a few manufacturers, at a slightly cheaper cost than glass.

    glass pool fencing codes

    There are more types of pool fencing, such as lattice or chain link. Stone or brick fencing can be used, as well as solid wood privacy fences. As you make your decision on which type of fence to install around your pool, think about what sort of plantings or landscaping you may use, if any - around your fence.

    One more reminder to check with your local building and zoning people on pool fence codes for your area, and present to them any plans or ideas you have that may be non-conventional.

    When you have questions about pool fence codes, selection, installation or maintenance, feel free to call our pool fence experts at 800-983-7665.

    Debbie Farnan
    SPP Pool Expert

    Blog Author