A swimming pool is not just a place to relax but a sanctuary where we take our bodies and minds to have some relief from the long, busy workdays. But at times, these sanctuaries can turn into a risk to the kids. Because of this, a pool fence is a legal requirement in the US.
If you have concrete pavement and want to install a pool fence to meet the requirement, you don’t have to think about it too much. Why? All you need is to decide between core drilling into the concrete or bolting the fence post with a base plate into your concrete flooring. After this, the installation is straightforward.
And remember, you’ll still need to decide on the materials of your pool fence. Do you go with wrought steel, mesh, aluminum, or steel and wood? Your decision has to come from your style and the around-the-pool décor.
Understand this; you’ve to mount a barrier that meets your local and international pool fence requirement. You find everything under International Residential Code Appendix G and International Building Code Section 3209. The document contains a clear need for pool fences and barriers.
Now that you know what you’re getting yourself into, can we jump to the article’s central part now? I guess we can!
Things to Do Before Installing a Pool Fence
Before you can jump to the pool fence installation, it’d be best to understand the fence type or style to go with, check the fence mounting location, and pick the best option for the installation. It’ll also best to gather the tools and materials you need for the fence setup.
What is the Best Pool Fence? (Pool Fence Styles to Choose From)
Before installing your pool fence, you will have to think about the type or style to go with. Many pool owners constantly grapple with choosing the best pool fence, with the answer depending on the materials used.
Although it might seem like a lot of work, knowing the best pool fence to use can help you understand your investment better and go for the best value. Here are the few options available:
You might come across mesh pool fences in your neighborhood. If you have and in multiple homes, don’t be surprised because a removable mesh pool fence is the only fencing system explicitly built for pool safety.
That’s why if you asked your fellow pool owner the best pool fence for safety to buy, you might get this suggestion.
Most people love the mesh fence because of its cheap cost, durability, versatility, look and style, and removability convenience.
Like mesh pool fences, chain link pool fences are cheap to buy and install. However, they are prone to rust. Furthermore, if you’re protecting your pool from children, this isn’t the best option.
It’s easy for the kids to climb over and get access to the pool. That is why it’s only a few people using the chain-link fence.
Another disadvantage is, it inhibits visibility into the pool area, thus putting the kids at the risk of drowning.
Wrought iron might be the best in sturdiness but not reliable safety and a security barrier for kids.
The small kids can use the spaces left between the bars to get through or use the bars to climb over them.
Another thing, it’ll become tedious and close to impossible to DIY remove the fence if you ever need extra space around the swimming pool.
Compared to chain link and mesh pool fences, wrought iron is the mode expensive.
Wood fences are an excellent home fence for privacy but shoddy fence pool fence because of lack of visibility.
The wood slats make it nearly impossible to watch the kids from the other side. The kids might also climb over it without alerting you.
If you’re looking to improve your pool area aesthetics, a glass fence can be your best option. However, even though it enhances the look, it does come with various challenges.
It poses the risk of kids, guests, or pets running into the glass and potentially getting injured. Besides this, you’ll have to dedicate a lot of your time to clean it to keep it spotless.
If you were to consider cost, this is the most expensive option here. It also has no versatility, and its complicated installation makes it challenging to remove; no DIY pool fence installation here.
The last option you have is the aluminum pool fence. But it’s only helpful in marking the pool and not safety.
It’s one of the rust-free and highly durable among the sturdiest pool fences you can pick. But it’s the last option if you want a fence for child safety and pool aesthetics.
So, what’s the Best Type of Pool Fence to Buy?
The best pool fence is a mesh fence. However, the option will depend on your needs and the available budget.
What is the safest pool fence? If you have kids and need a long-term pool barrier that keeps them away from the pool area and maybe a budget-friendly option, a mesh fence is the best choice.
It offers clear visibility to the pool, is challenging for the kids to climb, and convenient to install. Besides all this, the option is cheap.
However, if there are no kids in your home or you’re looking for an aesthetic solution, especially a short-term thing like when selling a house, the glass pool fence has the best qualities.
What are the Options of Installing a Pool Fence on Concrete?
Unlike soft ground, concrete is meant to stay solid for an extended period, and that is why contractors use cement and gravel to make pool pavements.
Because of this, the pool pavement flooring leaves you with limited installation options. You can either core drill holes into the concrete or bolt the fence posts into the concrete using a base plate.
The foundation or the fence footing must be solid and solid to hold the whole extra setup. The right post footing depends on the site condition and loads the post will bear.
Core Drilling into the Concrete
Core drilling is my favorite option of installing a permanent fence and gate on concrete. However, it would be best if you had a core drill, a highly efficient, robust hole-boring machine that can cut through blocks, reinforced concrete, stones, and more. You can buy one and be renting it, or rent it from somebody who has it.
This option gives you practical, non-vibratory ways of drilling installation holes on reinforced and non-reinforced concrete. It will help you create the holes without aggressive demolition or strain.
And since you will be cutting through a solid surface, the best drill tip is the diamond tip core. It’ll give you a clean, neat hole through the concrete. That way, you can be confident you’ll be getting precise, accurate circular cuts.
Once you’ve drilled the core holes, you can remove the sand to your required depth. Once you insert the post, you will need to pour concrete to hold the bar in place.
If you want a more seamless, clean finish, you can use posthole covers. They will help cover the core holes.
Bolting the post Onto the Concreter with a Base Plate
If you’re installing your fence on a concrete pavement with existing underground services like drainage or something, bolting the posts to the concrete might be your best option. However, the concrete has to be superbly solid.
It has to be strong enough to support your fencing and gates, if there will be any. You’ll need to follow an array of fixing procedures, and you might use some construction adhesive to make the setup reliable.
What to Check for in a Pool Fence Location
You will want to make sure the pool fence location doesn’t have any inground fixtures like electric cables, water lines, or a gas line.
That will help you know the best DIY pool fence installation option and avoid hitting the underground cables and pipes when installing the pool fence.
What Tools and Materials Do You Need For Pool Fence Installation on Concrete?
Your toolset should include:
- Electric drill
- Posthole digger
- Tape Measure
- Marker (Pencil or Chalk)
- Sprit Level
- Concrete Mix
- Core drill (if you choose core drilling)
Once you’ve everything listed above, you can start the DIY pool fence installation steps. Keep in mind that these steps might vary depending on your pool type or style.
Pool Fence Installation Steps to Follow
Of course, there is more than one way to install a pool fence. But I will try and simplify the process for you as much as I could. Here are the steps to follow.
Step 1: Plan and Setup Your Installation things
Start by checking the local and international requirements and regulations on pool fence setup, installation, positioning, height, gaps, and gates.
The next thing you can do in this step is to clear the area. Remember to measure the distance from the pool according to the above requirements. While at it, measure the site to know the number of materials you need.
Make markings with your chalk where the posts or the base plates will go. While at it, run a string to make the perimeter.
Once you mark, you can start to dig out the holes. Use the core drill to drill the concrete out. Once the concrete is out, dig the ground with the posthole digger. They should be 600mm deep from the top surface.
If you decide to go with base plates, take the post and mark the spaces for drilling the holes for the screws.
Step 2: Attach the Posts and Panels
In this next step, position your posts inside the holes you dug and fill them with some concrete mix. Once fixed and the concrete is dry, you can attach the brackets over the fence rail ends and screw them to the posts.
When doing so, remember to keep a checklist of the gaps requirements in Appendix G and Section 3209 of the pool fencing requirements.
And to make the gaps uniform, you stand your fence on wood blocks. Repeat this for all the sides and remember the gate position. While at it, make sure everything is level using the spirit level.
If you decided to use the base plates and screws, place the post with the base on the markings and screw in the supports. Make sure to tighten them for extra support.
Step 3: Install the Pool Safety Gate and the latch
The fence is up and finely standing. What’s missing? A gate!
Fix the gate hinges too on the fence post and ensure the gate opens away from your pool. Using the same Appendix G and Section 3209 requirement guide, measure your entrance’s gaps and height.
You can place them on a wooden stand too to keep them uniform. Now you can fasten your gate to the post. Attach the gate lock and test if it closes right and auto locks in place.
Step 4: Do the Finishing Touch
Everything is up and set. It’s time to do some cleaning. Remove all your unwanted pieces of building materials, including your supporting wood blocks and stand. Keep the area clear to allow the cement to dry.
How to know if Your Pool Fence on Concrete is safe and compliant
As a pool owner, it’s crucial to check if your newly installed fence is safe and compliant. Thankfully, today you can find a self-assessment checklist to check if it’s compliant.
But, apart from the self-assessment, you still need to get a comprehensive pool inspection. It can be done by an accredited pool or a local IBC representative.
If you decide to go for a private certifier, go for somebody who understands the compliance regulations and requirements in IBC Section 3209 and IRC Appendix G.
Why do you have to have a fence around a pool?
A swimming pool creates a perfect, fun spot for everyone. But unfortunately, the same sanctuary, without the proper safety, can turn into a tragic site.
According to Consumer Products Safety Commission, approximately 400 kids under 15 years drown in residential pools, with 67% of this being toddlers between 1-3 years. A thousand others suffer injuries, moderate to severe.
A pool barrier or fence can help mitigate and prevent your swimming pool from being a tragedy. The existing pool fence regulations under International Building Section on pool barriers were set to help ensure your fence is useful.
What Types of Residential Pools Need Fencing
If you’re swimming pool is an in-ground type, wholly or partially, you must enclose it with a fence.
For an above-ground pool, the need for a fence depends on the water depth. Typically, the minimum depth is between 18-24 inches.
An outdoor spa or hot tub, on the other hand, must have a cover or fence in most settings, but again it depends on the water depth.
If you have a portable pool, you don’t need to install a fence. But, you need to cover or empty it.
And that’s precisely everything you might need to install a pool fence on concrete. There are multiple fencing options you can go with and two installation options. Ensure you follow the set IBC and IRC code and regulations when planning to install your pool fence.