Monthly Archives: February 2014

Pool Details: Five Ways to Know If a Pool Is Right for Your Home

Pool Details, Five Ways to Know If a Pool Is Right for Your Home

The following is a guest post

So you finally decided you wanted a swimming pool. It is a big decision, but how do you know which one is right? Making a mistake by choosing the wrong one could be a costly error you will live with for many years. Here are five tips you can use to find the right pool before making that literal plunge.

Pool Usage

If you want a pool for yourself and a handful of others, going with a smaller pool would be a better idea. Likewise, if you envision lots of guests coming over to use your pool, you would want to go for a larger one. It all depends on what your usage predictions are. Just be sure to think about all possibilities, including family, friends and frequency of holidays. No one wants to jump into a small pool when 15 other people are already in it.

Rectangular or Curved

The choice between a plain rectangular pool and a curvy eye-catching pool comes down to cost and space. First, realize that a rectangular pool is the most cost-efficient design, so you will maximize your value going that route. Of course, it will not look as nice as a pool with rounded edges and an interesting shape, but beware, curved pools take more space and cost much more to create.

Fiberglass, Vinyl or Concrete

Vinyl liner pools are cheaper and have a larger range of options, but they are not as durable as other pool types. Expect to pay a considerable amount to replace the liner every five to ten years. Fiberglass pools are the quickest to install, usually taking just a few weeks, but customization options are thin on the ground. Concrete pools are the most expensive, but offer infinite customization options since you will work with a contractor to realize every facet of the design. Working with an experienced crew of pool specialists, like those with Edge Leisure and a number of others, can help you make the right call.

Patio Size

A larger pool will eat into your available space, which could compromise room on the patio for things like grills, outdoor fireplaces and furniture. If you feel like running a great barbeque is more important than having access to a pool, you may want to sacrifice pool size for more room to work your outdoor culinary magic.

Above Ground or Below

Above ground pools are the cheapest option and are simple enough to install for just about anyone. Since the pools jut out of the ground, they are not as durable and do not add much value to a home. An in-ground pool is more of a commitment and more costly, but will last longer.

The Right Pool for You

Even with these tips, making that final decision will be tough. A pool is a long-term investment that requires lots of upkeep and careful attention. It can provide hours of enjoyment for you and your family, just do your research to avoid falling into the deep end.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here. This article uses information from the pool designers at Edge Leisure.

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Restoring History: Five Keys to Renovating Your Historic Home

Restoring History, Five Keys to Renovating Your Historic Home

It’s often said that they just don’t make things like they used to. This is apparent in homes where elegant wood trim has given way to thin molding and the ornate finishing touches have been abandoned in favor of quick finishes that don’t require an artist’s touch. If you’ve been drawn to a historic home because you want that old-world craftsmanship and attention to detail, then you may have to put some extra work into the home to make up for the ravages of age and neglect. Before you start working on a historic home, here are a few tips you should keep in mind.

Get a Full Inspection

Before you start working on the home, it’s important to know exactly what you’re dealing with. Projects like this have a way of snowballing because you find one problem after another. You may start out upgrading the electrical panel only to discover that the wiring throughout the home needs to be replaced. With a full inspection, you can learn about these problems ahead of time and make smart changes. Rather than addressing something one challenge at a time, it may prove more cost-effective to do a larger renovation and take care of everything at once.

Remodeling and Restoration are Two Different Things

When you remodel something, you are essentially changing it to make it better in some way. When a home is restored, you will take steps to make it like it once was. However, you can combine the methods to create the home of your dreams. Electrical and plumbing systems should be remodeled to bring them up to current standards. However, you may want the wood trim and other decorative elements restored to bring historic feel of the home to life.

Watch the Red Tape

The idea of owning a home on the National Register of Historic Places may appeal to you, but have you considered what’s really involved with this? If this is the case, you’ll be limited on what renovations you can do. You may have people driving by just to look at your home. This can be more than you bargained for, so find exactly what’s involved in living in such a home.

Know Your Personal Limits

You may have a talented hand when it comes to stripping and refinishing the gorgeous wood trim, but the electrical system and plumbing should be left to professionals. Other projects, like removing wallpaper and making other decorative changes, are ideally suited to homeowners and can help you save money.

Be Patient

Restoring a historic home is going to take time. You’ll want to pace yourself to protect your sanity and your wallet. Start with the most pressing matters first, such as replacing a rotting roof, and then do a few projects each year to gradually restore the home.

Your efforts will be worth the hard work, and professionals are available to help. With people who know their way around historic homes working with you, the process won’t seem so overwhelming.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here. This article was cowritten by the brick and concrete experts at D&G Cement Co. Visit us here to learn more about bringing your historic home back to life.

Image Source: Oracio

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Exotic Custom Pool Designs

The following is a guest post

There are a lot of ways to design a pool that is not just a rectangular space in your back yard. Choosing the design that works best for the pool owner depends on several factors.

What does the location indicate? The first thing to evaluate is the type of pool that best fits the space. If the pool looks out over a lake, the owner may really want to heighten that view with an infinity pool. The pool with a water level wall on the side of the view makes a stunning visual effect where the water in the pool and the lake blend seamlessly. This type of pool will also be a great choice when the house is on a hillside, overlooking a great view. First look at what will work well in that space.

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Image from www.hickoryhollowlandscapers.com

What will the pool be used for? If the homeowner has children who have a lot of friends, and they will be using the pool a lot, then possibly rock formations along the side of the pool might not be the best choice. While using rock walls to enhance the pool is great visually, with children, it just looks like a place to stub and cut toes. With kids, maybe a more functional design would work better, where pool toys and games like a basketball hoop at one end of the pool can be set up.

What will the owner use the pool for? Consider the case where the pool will be a peaceful retreat for the owner without children after a long day at work, and there’s a small space available. Look at the possibility of adding an 8 to 10 foot wall at one end of the pool, with fountains cascading into the water. Using accent lighting to gently shine on the wall – soft blue lights that glow up from the base – provides a calming and soothing effect can create that calm space for the owner. The wall can also serve as a privacy element, blocking the pool from nearby houses. Imagine sitting out by that pool after a hard day at work, allowing the gentle sound of the waterfall to let stress fall away and replace it with a peaceful state.

Does the space allow for curves? If there’s enough room in the back yard, a pool with several curves along the sides can provide a nice visual effect for the owner. Walking out into the back yard to a view of gentle curves around the pool can make the pool itself a calming and relaxing view. Is there room for a hot tub? If so, the curve pattern can be replicated in the design of the hot tub, which provides a blending of concentric circles. It also doesn’t have to be just curves – allow for ovals to allow that same effect. In designing this type of pool, first look at what type of curved pool will be eye catching for the owner.

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Image from ecmgroup.net

Make the most of a small space. One homeowner had a very small back yard, which had a long relatively narrow strip of grass behind the house. In a very creative move, a pool was designed which had a square component off the patio, and at the back end, a lap pool extended behind the house along the narrow space. Now the kids could have a place to play, and Dad could get in some lap swimming, all while using a relatively restricted area. When looking at the layout of the back yard creatively, some interesting ideas come up to fit the space.

With ingenuity and creativity, a pool that both pleases the eye and the needs of the homeowner can be designed, providing a lot of smiles when walking out into the back yard.

Carol Atkins enjoys writing freelance articles for poolcenter.com. She has 3 kids with her wonderful husband – two boys and a girl – and two lovely black Labradors. When she’s not overseeing pool maintenance and adjusting chemicals, she spends hours at her family swimming pool, watching the kids and dogs play and have fun. She is also a dedicated runner, and diligently training for her first half marathon.

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