An unsecured swimming pool can be a death trap in your house. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the number one cause of accident-related deaths among children ages 1 to 4.
Simple safety fences can make the difference between happy and tragic days. CDC even concluded that installing proper fences around your private pool can reduce drowning risks to 83 percent.
Safety fences come in various materials and types. However, proper fence installation requires an understanding of legal and building codes, requirements, and understanding about material types. Here is everything you must know about installing pool fences.
Safety Codes for Installing Pool Fences
If you live in the US, there are safety codes you must follow to install pool fences. The details may differ between states, but the general rules include:
Proper clearance and height
Ideal fences must be at least four feet tall. The same size applies to the bottom fence clearance.
No climbing aids
The fences must not have any holds or other prominent parts that kids can use to climb.
Ideal safety fences must have a self-closing system, which prevents accidents from neglect or forgetfulness. Good fences must also have a self-locking system.
Aside from fences, pool owners are advised to have high pool visibility, stable pool barriers, and safety latches. Adding security features such as alarm, net, and sturdy cover can further reduce drowning risks.
Types of Popular Pool Fences
Which type of fences should you have at home? Here are the explanations of several popular fence types.
Mesh fences are temporary measures, but they are favored because of the visibility and lightweight material. You can install them yourself with some handyman skill, although proper installation requires professional service.
Mesh fences are easy to assemble and store, and they have good visibility. Supervising swimming kids become easier. The material is also cheap.
Despite the lightness and easy installation, the mesh can be dangerous if installed poorly. Mesh fences may trap kids, especially when they lean to the fences with the weak installation. Weak posts also don’t prevent kids or adults from falling into the pool.
Wooden pool fences provide more privacy and can blend with your backyard. They provide better protection than mesh. Kids cannot go through the slats, so you can just close and lock the fences. Wood is also flexible; you can choose any shape and color that complements your yard.
However, wood fences require replacement every several years. The wood may become weak, washed, or chipped. You must maintain the wood by coating and painting, but there will be times when you need to replace some parts. Depending on where you live, your neighborhood may have really string codes regarding fences.
Metal pool fences are more expensive. However, they provide solid protection. Metal also does not wear out easily, and you can keep the fences for many years. Wrought metal also has interesting designs, and you can match them with your house exterior. However, if you cannot afford wrought metal fences, chain links can be cheaper alternatives.
Aside from the expensive cost, metal fences often involve massive replacement when damaged. You must prepare extra costs for repairing a huge part of the fences, even if the damaged areas are small.
Vinyl is another easy material for fences, with slightly more expensive cost than wood. Vinyl is easy to install and maintain. Depending on the design, vinyl fences can look more beautiful than regular wooden slats. They are also durable, lasting for 20 to 30 years (depending on quality).
Despite all these benefits, vinyl fences usually cost more than wood when bought in panels. You also need more vinyl panels to cover the same area with wooden fences. Also, when need replacement, you often have to replace large chunks of areas instead of individual slats.
Glass fences are the most expensive among the common fence types. They are sturdy, beautiful, elegant, and give good visibility around the pool. If you have unique or luxurious pool design, glass fences will showcase it. They also make the small pool look bigger.
If you want to install glass fences, get ready to spend a huge amount of money. Unless you are a professional, installing heavy glass plates is not a DIY-type work. You must also pay for a full glass panel when the fences need replacement. Also, you must make sure that the panels are sturdy, or kids will get additional injury risks.
Which Safety Fences Do You Need?
Despite differences in characteristics, pros, and cons, these pool safety fences can offer specific functions to different owners. For example, if you need visibility, choose mesh (for cheap option) or glass. If you have equal concern toward privacy and design, try wooden or vinyl fences. Metal fences are ideal for those with slightly high fence budgets and more concern toward visibility.
Pool safety fences are important features in any houses with swimming pools. Make sure to study all your options before ordering the right ones.
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