Category Archives: Swimming Pool Kits

A Guide to Swimming Pool Coping Stones

Just about every in-ground swimming pool has coping stones around the edge. Over the years they deteriorate and need replacing. This article will tell you what your options are for replacing them.
Until recently all Swimming pool coping stones were sourced from UK manufacturers but now a nice range of Mediterranean style copings are available in the UK. The traditional UK made coping stone comes  in 2 foot lengths and are either 9 inches or 12 inches wide. There are two stlyes and two colours available. The two stlyes are called “bullnose” and “flat top”. Bullnose have a built in backward slope and flat top do not. The colour choices are White or Buff. The most popular choice by far is White Bulnose.

Flat top coping stone

Bullnose Coping Stone with backward slope

White swimming pool coping stone

Traditional White Bullnose Pool Coping

As well as the standard straight coping you can also get what are known as “specials”. These are the corner stones for internal or external corners and “radius” copings for going around roman ends (as shown in the image above).
The traditional copings always stand out from the paving surround and many people like the way they define the edge of the pool but others prefer the copings to match the surrounding paving. This matching style is typically Mediterranean and now there is available in the UK a Spanish pool coping that is not only great looking as a stand alone coping but comes with matching paving slabs if you want them.
The Sahara coping has the built in back slope while the Ardoise coping is a flat top. Ardoise has a riven finish while the Sahara is smooth.

Ardoise Coping Stone – Flat topped with riven finish and 330mm wide

Sahara Coping – back sloping, smooth and 270mm or 330mm wide

Surprisingly these Mediterranean swimming pool coping stones are not more expensive than their UK counterparts.  Below are the prices for a 12ft x 24ft rectangular pool for comparison.

Traditional 9 inch £820 .00
Traditional 12 inch £1,000.00
Sahara 270mm £760.00
Sahara 330mm £820.00
Ardoise 330mm £1,010.00

For more information on the coping stones and matching paving slabs featured here follow the links below
Click here for Traditional Swimming Pool Coping Stones
Click here for the Sahara Range of Swimming Pool Coping Stones
Click here for the Ardoise Range of Swimming Pool Coping Stones

A review of the Zodiac range of salt chlorination products

This article is about the Zodiac range of salt chlorination products and it is assumed that you know what salt chlorination of a swimming pool is and you are aware of the benefits of salt chlorination. If this does not apply to you then have a read of our article on How Salt Chlorination Works and The Pros and Con of Salt Chlorination

Zodiac are a leading manufacturer of salt chlorination products and dosing systems and we stock four of their products, We will explain here what each of them and how they work together (or not).

The Zodiac EI

The Zodiac EI is a great product. It is an easy to install retro-fit salt chlorinator. It is the entry level, manual control, salt chlorinator and is the only unit most pool owners will need.

The Zodiac TRI

The Zodiac TRI can be retro-fitted but it involves alteration to the pipework whereas the EI does not. The TRI is very easy to install on a new build pool. The TRI purchased on its own works exactly the same way as the EI so if all you want is a basic salt chlorinator then get the EI. The advantage the TRI has over the EI is that you can add modules to the control panel to turn it in to an automatic controller. You can add a pH control unit that will automatically regulate the pH or the “pro” unit will automatically regulate the pH and Chlorine level in your pool.

The Zodiac pH Expert

The Zodiac pH Expert is a stand alone pH dosing unit that can be used on any swimming pool to regulate the pH. If you have an EI unit you could add this product to make sanitising and regulating the pH easy. You don’t have to have a salt chlorinator to use the Zodiac pH Expert

The Zodiac Chlor Expert.

The Zodiac Chlor Expert is  also a stand alone dosing unit and is a bit of red herring in the context of salt chlorinators because you will not need this unit if you have a salt chlorinator. The Chlor Expert regulates the Chlorine level in your pool by injecting liquid chlorine when required. So a pool without a salt chlorinator could be fully automated by installing this unit as well as the pH Expert.

We hope that this article has given an insight into the four Zodiac product that we sell but if you have any questions then please call our experts on 0800 690 6288

Is my swimming pool pipe 1.5 inch or 2 inch?

One thing that always confuses swimming pool owners is the size of the pipe work on their pool. This is because pipes that are called inch and a half are nearer 2 inches when you put a tape on them. With this article we hope to clear up the confusion.

The first thing to know about the pipes used on domestic UK swimming pools is that they have not gone “European” yet. Everything is in imperial. On the continent everything is in metric and metric pipes will not fit together with imperial pipes without an adaptor. The vast bulk of existing domestic swimming pools in the UK will have been constructed using “inch and a half” pipework. Some may have been built using 2 inch but they would generally be bigger pools. Nearly all pool equipment, pumps, heaters, filters etc are made with inch and a half fittings on them. But not all. Some pumps have 2 inch fittings as standard and so need to be adapted down to inch and a half.

So you would think that if you put a tape measure on your pipes you would see the pipe line up with the 1.5 inch mark on the tape – but it doesn’t.  I have to say that we don’t know why this is! What is known industry wide as inch and half pipe is actually just over 1 and 7/8ths wide on the outside diameter and about 1 and 5/8ths on the inside diameter.

"Inch and a half" pipe is actually nearer 2 inches

If you are looking at a coupler for inch and a half pipe then the inside diameter is a fraction under 2 inches and the outside diameter is 2 and 3/8ths inches. So a typical inch and a half fitting like a 90 bend is nearly 2 and a half inches wide!

To make matters even more confusing there are two types of pipes, one white and one grey in colour. The white ones are the most commonly used and they are made from ABS material known as “Class C ABS”.  ABS stands for Acrylonitril Butadiene Styrene. The grey coloured pipe is PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) but you can get white PVC also. You can join ABS to PVC but you need to be careful in your choice of glue. Some glues are ABS only, some glues are PVC only and some, like the one we sell, are suitable for both ABS and PVC.

Swimming Pool Design Awards

The 2012 Swimming Pool “Masters of Design” Awards have been announced in America. The awards are split in to various categories and are only for pools in the United States. We thought you might like to see some photos of the pools. Some of them are not designed with sober European taste but they are all spectacular in their own way.

This pool is on the edge of Lake Michigan

Built in to a hillside with landscaping all around

This pool is a masterpiece of clever construction

This pool overlooks the Hollywood hills

Built in to the side of a mountain

This is a fibre glass pool

Water falls, water spouts and lights are the main feature of this pool

Maybe a bit over the top but an interesting design

I’ve bought an above ground pool – what else to I need?

So you have bought an above ground pool for the garden, you have errected it and filled it with water – what now?

Well, first of all jump in and enjoy it! But you will need chemicals to keep the water clean and maybe you will want to warm the water up as well. This article will tell you what you should get.

Firstly when we say above ground pool for the garden we mean this sort of thing.

An Intex 16ft round Ultra Frame Pool

An Intex 16ft round Ultra Frame Pool

An Intex 18ft Easy Set Pool

An Intex 18ft Easy Set Pool

A pool with its own filter pump and paper filter cartridges. Although the pools above are the bigger type the advice here applies just as well to a pools down to 8ft round.

Keeping it clean

You are going to need to put chemicals in the water to keep it clean.  The easiest way to treat the pool with chemicals is just to drop a floating dispenser in the water. The Ficlor 5 Bouy is ideal. Turn the lid until the holes line up for your size of pool, drop it in the water and that is it. Take it out when you swim, put it back in when you have finished. Inside the 5 bouy are two types of chlorine and a clarifier to kill bacteria and algae and help the filter keep the water clear and clean.

The 5 bouy is ideal for the smallest pools up to about an 18ft round pool. From about a 15ft pool up to the biggest garden pools available you might want to put multifunctional granules in the pool. The granules come in  5kg tub and one tub should last a whole season. The granules contain chlorine to kill bacteria, an algicide and a clarifier to keep the water clear and clean. You will have to test the water to find out how much chlorine is in there and for that you need some 3 way test strips. They also test for pH (acidity) and alkalinity. For a small pool you don’t need to worry too much about the other two. Putting chlorine in a pool is a bit like putting petrol in a car, when the fuel gauge is low you put more in. Test your pool every day and when the reading is low put more chlorine in.

Multifunctional Chlorine Granules

3 Way Test Strips

3 Way Test Strips

Fi-Chlor 5 Bouy

Keeping it warm

Left alone the water in your pool will warm up and cool down each day with the warmth of the day and the cool of night and as the weather generally gets warmer so will the pool.  If you want warmer water than nature gives you then the first thing to buy is a solar cover. This is made with bubbles to make it float on the surface, it insulates the water and has a greenhouse effect of letting the sun’s ray penetrate to warm the water but retaining the heat at the same time. A good solar cover will keep the water about 3 to 5c higher than it would have been without one but the water temperature will still rise and fall with day and night and warm and cool weather.

If  you want your water to always be warm no matter what the weather then you will have to have a heater as well as a solar cover. For pools up to 12ft this is quite easy. You can buy the Intex 3kw heater or the better quality Elecro 3kw heater. 3kw is as much as you can run from a plug socket in the wall so the 3kw heater is a popular size. If your pool is bigger than 12ft then you should buy the 6 or 9kw heater. These have to wired in by an electrician. Above 9kw you will struggle to have enough electric capacity in your house for a bigger heater. Once you get in to the realms of the 12ft x 24ft you should be thinking about a heat pump. These things consume less than 3kw and so can be plugged in to the wall but they generate up to 12kw of heat.  Although they are much more expensive than an Elecro heater they will pay back in electricity savings in two years or less.

Intex 3kw Heater

Intex 3kw Heater

Elecro Heater 3 to 12kw

Ecowarm Heat Pump

See the next article for how to connect a heater to the flexible pipe of your pool (if there is no article below this then the  link to it is above the title of this article).