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    Serving Central Arkansas


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Our Blog | Advice on In Ground Swimming Pool Construction and Maintenance

Inspiration for Small Swimming Pools

Posted by Larry Rogers on Tue, Jan 19, 2016


A swimming pool can be a fantastic addition to your yard. To be able to walk outside and cool off in your pool on a hot day, or sit pool-side and read or relax is truly a luxury. Some homeowners may dream of adding a pool to their yard, but fear that their yard is too sloped, or too small, or that the soil would make construction difficult. 

We've written about how to design and build swimming pools that accommodate yard slopes, and about different soil types in Arkansas that can make construction more complicated, and how experienced pool builders can construct a pool amid less than ideal soil conditions so that no issues arise down the road. But, what about small yards? If you have a petite yard is a swimming pool out of the questions? Not necessarily. 


While it's true that a small yard cannot usually accommodate a large pool or a diving pool, that doesn't exclude you from having your own backyard escape. Before gunite (concrete) pools, you were more limited to the sizes and shapes that liner and fiberglass pools were available or commonly made in. If they didn't fit your yard you were just out of luck. Unlike pre-designed liner and fiberglass pools, gunite pools are completely customizable and offers almost unlimited options. These pools can be easily designed to fit even small yards, or a small portion of your yard so the rest can be used for other purposes. They can also have several built-in features added to them like benches, swim-up bars and bar stools, spas and waterfalls. 


You may be wondering if a pool that fits your small yard will also fit a smaller budget. A pool half the size of a larger pool will not necessarily be half the price of that pool. You will save on some of the materials because less of them will be needed, but things like the pool equipment (pump, heater, lighting, filtration system, etc.), the cost of getting the excavation and construction equipment to the site, and the labor cost will not greatly vary. 

If you think a small swimming pool might be a good option for your yard, give us a call and we'll be happy to take a look at it with you.


Tags: pool builders Little Rock, Custom Swimming Pools, swimming pool design, small pools

Ozone: Should you use it in your swimming pool?

Posted by Larry Rogers on Wed, Jul 9, 2014


Recently we shared with you about chlorine generators (also known as salt water pools). We told you how they work, what people love about them and what the drawbacks are. If you missed that article you can read it here. Today we have another type of system to share with you, one that is a little less well known – Ozonators.

These systems, as you probably guessed, generate ozone. Using an ozonator in your pool can result in:

1. A lower level of chlorine needed

2. An absence of irritating chloramines

3. Less fussing with pH

4. Water that is bright and clear

As with all systems though, there are also disadvantages, but before we get into those let's talk about what ozone is and how ozonators work.

What is ozone?

Ozone molecules are three oxygen atoms stuck together (O3). Normal oxygen in the atmosphere is two oxygen atoms (O2). While there is ozone in the air around us it is fairly uncommon. Natural generation of ozone can occur during a lightning storm and gives the air that fresh, clean smell that follows the storm.

So why use ozone in your swimming pool? Ozone is a very strong oxidizer, much stronger than chlorine. An oxidizer is a compound that burns something up very slowly. For example, a leaf that has fallen in a chlorine pool will be oxidized after just a few days, and the leaf will be almost completely consumed by the chlorine. Even though ozone is not an oxidizer and sanitizer like chlorine, it is such a strong oxidizer that it basically accomplishes the same thing. When ozone comes in contact with particles in the water (algae, viruses, bacteria etc.) the 3rd loosely attached oxygen molecule breaks free and attaches to the particle, which is then destroyed.

How is ozone made?

Now that you know what it is, here's how it is made. There are two basic types of ozone generators:

UV – A system that uses ultra violet light to create the ozone

CD – Uses something called corona discharge to create ozone (this is electricity, like in a thunderstorm)

Both methods serve the same purpose, which is splitting up O2 molecules and recombining them to make O3 (ozone). The CD systems are advertised to make much more ozone than the UV systems which appear to be on their way out. After the ozone is made, it is sucked through a low pressure point in the jet where it is mixed thoroughly with the pool water.


What are the disadvantages? 

The biggest drawback to ozone also happens to be it's greatest strength: it is highly reactive and volatile. It is quick to attach to, and destroy all types of things that may be living in your pool water. Because it is so quick at what it does, it also isn't around very long. The system has to run almost constantly because there is no ozone left in the water soon after it stops. It completely dissipates. This leads us to another problem. It you have an algae colony growing on the opposite side of your pool, chances are the ozone will never make it there. The ozone is almost completely consumed shortly after it makes its way out of the jet, if not before. The solution is simple though. A small amount of chlorine, like what is introduced through a floating tablet is enough to keep the algae growth at bay.

So why use an ozone system at all?

Why not just use chlorine? To keep it simple, when chlorine is introduced into the pool it creates two types of compounds. The proportions of each is determined by the pH level. One of these two compounds forms chloramines when it is combined with sweat, makeup, sunscreen, body oils etc. The chloramine, as we've stated previously, is responsible for skin and eye irritation and the “chlorine” smell. Since ozone is such a powerful oxidizer all of the chloramines present are quickly oxidized.

In conclusion, ozone generators are not an end to your swimming pool maintenance. You'll still have to test your water on a regular basis, and do the standard cleaning. You will have less chemicals to buy though, and dramatically lower levels of chlorine. You will also have a pool that is chloramine free with brighter crisper looking water.


If your interested in talking about or converting to saltwater, ozonation or even traditional chlorine systems, give us a call at (501) 664-6861. We would be happy to provide you with the information you will need to make an informed decision. 

Tags: pool builders Little Rock, Custom Swimming Pools, swimming pool maintenance, ozonators, using ozone in your swimming pool, pool companies in little rock arkansas, pool contractors in little rock

Measuring Cost of Swimming Pool Ownership

Posted by Larry Rogers on Tue, Oct 8, 2013

We have constructed many pool projects that cost around 35K and some 70K.  Believe it or not, the 35K project may have a higher "cost of ownership" vs. a 70K project. Let me explain.  Many clients just want a pool in their backyard.  Open it up in May and close it down at the end of September.  Five months of fun and then winterize and cover it up until next year.  No more going out to the poolscape and taken in the scenery.  

Some clients who wish to have a spa combined with their pool project, continue to use their poolscape to enjoy the thermal water of the spa all year round, and more often than not, end up with a firepit to take the chill off in the cooler weather.  All new pools today have freeze protection built in, so if you choose not to winterize you are protected from pipe freeze up.  So let's break this down in terms of monies invested.  If you use your spa twice a week during the "off" season, continue to enjoy the backyard living space for the next seven months before it gets warm enough to go swimming, how much is that 70K project really costing you in terms of ownership. Less than the 35K in terms of "usage and enjoyment".  

Ex.  Over a five year period (60 months) and usage is for five months out of the year for five years, then 25 Months divided into 35K = 1400 / year cost of ownership.  Same peroid, 60 Months divided into 70K =1,166 / year cost of ownership.  You can see how this plays out in your backyard project.  You don't always have to bear the cost of owning a spa either, you can add water features, firepits, even a small cook center to enjoy the outdoor living space at a small cost to your overall project.  These add ons will allow the family to continue going outside to enjoy their investment once the cooler weather arrives.  It just needs to be planned / designed on the front end of your pool project so everything looks custom to the project and not "piece milled" or "backed in".  

Planning and designing pool projects for Arkansas weather conditions takes experience and better yet, having an understanding of how our clients really live their lives.  This is a balancing formula that allows Parrot Bay Pools to design your backyard oasis in a manner consistent with your lifestyle and budget.  This 3D video below is an example of a backyard project we designed which illustrates year round features, and lowers their cost of ownership as it allows year round enjoyment.   



Tags: pool builders Little Rock, Pool Builder, Pool Designs, Pool Cost, How much does an inground pool cost, swimming pool companies

Buying a New Home and Considering an Inground Pool

Posted by Larry Rogers on Tue, Sep 24, 2013

I receive calls from many perspective home buyers who want to have an inground pool built in their backyard.  Sometimes putting in a pool is NOT possible due to easements, sewer mains, bill of assurance issues, and most of all, not having enough distance between the house and the back property line.  Some cities require a distance of ten feet off the house, and ten feet off the back property line.  If your total distance is thirty five feet from house to property line (fence), that only leaves you fifteen feet width to place a pool in your yard.  


Survey for Inground Pool 

My best advice is to ALWAYS obtain a legal survey from the builder and /or seller at closing, or better yet, before you make an offer and move forward with the purchase of the home.  This survey will depict any easements on the property, building setbacks, drainage easements if applicable, etc.  More often than not, the survey is NOT conveyed over to the buyer at closing by the seller.  Generally because the seller did not have one in the first place.  A typical residential survey cost around five hundred dollars or so depending on the property.  A cost the seller does not want to have to pay.  This can be negotiated between buyer and seller as well.  Additionally, your pool contractor will need this survey to obtain the proper permit with the city.  If you live outside the city limits, a permit is generally not required.  As an aside, you can always contact your pool builder before you decide to purchase the home to assist you in your efforts to obtain whether or not a pool can be built in the yard.



Tags: Little Rock pool contractors, inground pools, pool builders Little Rock, swimming pool builders, buying a new home

Somethings To Look and Watch For When Hiring a Pool Builder:

Posted by Larry Rogers on Fri, Mar 16, 2012

So your thinking about building an inground pool.  You may want to ask your prospective pool builder the following questions:
  • How long have you been building pools under this company name
  • Which type of pools do you build and how long have you been building them.
  • Are you an Arkansas Corporation, if so, when was your date of incorporation. (This is public record)
  • Where is your place of business.  Go there and look around
  • Do you have a financial reference, i.e, bank letter in good standing
  • Are you a member of the APSP (Association of Pool & Spa Professionals)
  • Do you build to their (APSP) Standards & Guildlines for Pool Contractors
Just to name a few.
Often you will find "pool" builders who perform other disciplines such as, concrete finishing, landscaping, carpentry, and even home building to name a few.  These contractors are what's referred to as "jack of all trades", master of none.  Beware of "pool" contractors who participate in multiple facets of operation.  Becoming a professional pool contractor takes experience and dedication, industry training, specialization in design and company structure set up as a bona fide pool company with a place of business.  This information is easy for one to validate.  With companies coming and going in and out of business these days, you do not want to be left holding the bag as they say.

Tags: Little Rock pool contractors, pool builders Little Rock, Pool Contractors, Pool Planning, Custom Concrete Pools in Arkansas, swimming pool little rock, Larry Rogers

In-Ground Swimming Pool Considerations

Posted by Larry Rogers on Wed, Nov 9, 2011



Question Your Intentions

Its a simple beginning, but why do you want a swimming pool? Pools come in all shapes and sizes. Ask yourself how you will use the pool: for swimming, lounging, exercising? Will you need space for grilling and entertaining? Will young children use the pool? How important is the visual appearance of the pool versus its functionality? How much time do you want to devote to maintenance?

Whether you decide to contact a contractor yourself or work with a landscape professional to develop a custom pool to fit your landscape, if you're armed with answers to these questions as well as examples from books and magazines of pools that appeal to you, you’ll be better prepared to articulate your desires. And that means you’ll be more likely to invest in the pool that's right for you.

"People tend to focus on size, shape, and depth, but these factors only become relevant after you've determined the role the pool will play in a family's lifestyle."

Picking a Location

Pools can slip into backyards, front yards, and even side yards of all shapes and sizes, so the perfect location can vary greatly by site. A good place to start when evaluating a site is the interior spaces of your house. You'll spend 50 hours looking at a pool from inside for every hour you spend in it, so the view inside-out is important.

 Other factors include zoning codes, existing utility lines, and ease of access. Zoning codes can impact the safety features surrounding your pool, moving existing utility lines can add to the expense of a project, and convenient pathways to and from your home can impact how much you use a pool and spa. The pool's visibility from the house may also be an issue with children. 
Don't forget to evaluate sun and shade patterns. A pool shrouded in shade all afternoon may languish unused or, depending on your climate, it may be the perfect place to cool off.

Pool Plan


Interior Looks

Most in-ground swimming pools are made from concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass. Concrete (gunite) is most popular because it offers many design possibilities. It is generally sprayed over steel-reinforced rods on-site to form a seamless surface. A finish is then applied on top of the concrete. 
Plaster is the most commonly used finished it has an average life of ten to twelve years. Exposed aggregate, which is made from crushed pebbles or a mixture of concrete and crushed quartz, is more expensive but gaining in popularity. Its prized for its durability, array of color options, and textured, nonslip surface. At the top of the line is ceramic tile. It can finish an entire pool or just be used along the water line for decorative detailing. 
Color combinations are varied, and maintenance is minimal. Preformed fiberglass shells and vinyl liners offer less design flexibility, but their smooth surfaces are nice. Vinyl liners are supported by manufactured wall systems made from steel, aluminum, polymer, concrete, or wood.

Exterior Surrounds

Highly visible and highly trafficked, the surface (deck) that surrounds a pool also deserves serious consideration. Plain concrete offers a smooth, non-slippery surround and is an inexpensive, reliable option, but it can lack pizzazz. A stamped concrete finish can add charm inexpensively, but watch out for dark colors, as they can quickly become toasty underfoot. Bricks or concrete pavers make a classic, colorful choice and are easy on bare feet and on the eye. 
For earthy tones and a natural look, fieldstone, slate, flagstone, and marble are beautiful, non-slippery surfaces but carry a hefty price tag. Wood and new synthetic woods can also play a role poolside.

Features of Fun

A decade ago, the bigger the volume of water in an in-ground pool, the better. But today's pools tend to downsize gallons of water, investing the saved money in accessories that add aesthetic and functional appeal. 
Popular accessories include waterfalls and fountains that add soothing sounds of moving water; beach entries that offer space for young children to play and easy access for disabled or elderly visitors; swim-in-place jets that allow fat-burning exercise in pools too small to swim laps in; and LED lighting to illuminate steps, plants, and water features for a spectacular night time show. There are also underwater barstools for happy hour, umbrella supports inside the pool for instant shade, and shallow underwater sunbathing ledges to host those who want to get only a little sun.  There are so many exciting things happening in pool design, that there's no reason to opt for a plain (blue) hole in the ground when you could add tremendous features without necessarily busting the budget.


Tags: Little Rock pool contractors, pool builders Little Rock, In Ground pools AR. Pool Designs, Pool Designs, Pool Planning

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