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What you need to know about Salt Water Pools

When you hear the word salt water you immediately think of the Florida ocean. However, pools can also have salt water, and they offer a variety of benefits. When investing in a pool it is important to weigh the pros and cons of saltwater pools vs. chlorine pools to decide what is best for you.


A difference worth noting for saltwater pools is the number of reduced chloramines contained in the water. Chloramine is a by-product of oxidation and is the main cause for eye irritation, as well as that pungent chlorine scent we are all familiar with. Having reduced chloramines in a saltwater pool serves as a prime advantage alone. Saltwater pool systems use a process known as “electrolysis”, through this process the water is able to produce only enough chlorine to disinfect the water, unlike chlorine pools which require constant vigilance to kill excess bacteria within the water. In addition to having less eye irritation and no pungent smell, saltwater pools are also known for being better for your skin and hair, and they also require less maintenance than traditional pool systems.


Negative drawbacks of saltwater pools are the heightened initial investment,  and special equipment you will need to purchase for your pool, the set up is more expensive but within a few years, they pay for themselves. Spending the extra dollars in the early days will pay off!


Jillian Russo Guest Blogger

Dec 5 2018

Florida Winters- How to Maintenance your Pool

Florida is known as the “Sunshine State”, however, when temperatures begin to lower from December on we do experience colder temperatures. Today I am going to inform you what steps you need to take to ensure your pool is properly taken care of, as well as tips to make sure you get the most use out of your pool.



  • Clean your pool as usual


      1. Clean the filter of your pool and continue to vacuum it as normal, although you begin to use your pool less frequently in colder months, it is still important to continue your usual cleaning routine.


  • Prevent algae build-up


      1. Due to fluctuating temperatures and weather conditions in Florida, it leaves pools prone to algae build-up. It is important to test the water and keep it circulating through the winter months. You can test your pools water chemicals in order to ensure that they are adequately balanced, and adjust them as needed. You should also run your pools circulation pump for 4 to 6 hours per day for optimum circulation.


  • Monitor water levels


      1. Winter months in Florida equate to less rainy days, and the water in your pool will begin to evaporate. Water within your pool can evaporate as quickly as 1-2 inches per week, keep an eye on your pool levels and continue to fill it with additional water as necessary.


  • Use a swimming pool cover


      1. Although it may seem unnecessary, investing in a swimming pool cover will help to reduce some of the cleaning, filtering, and chemical chores. There are different types of covers that you may consider looking into such as a standard winter cover, mesh cover, solid vinyl cover, and an automatic cover. The type you choose to invest in will vary based on the needs you are looking to fulfill.


  • Invest in a pool heater


    1. Investing in a pool heater is the best way to get optimal use of your pool year round. It is important to be educated on different types of heaters to make the best decision on what one is best for you.
      1. Heat pumps: these are most useful for large bodies of water such as a large-sized pool, they will allow you to heat your pool in a more cost-effective way.
      2. Gas heaters: these use more energy than heat pumps and are typically used in smaller bodies of water such as hot tubs or spas.


Jillian Russo- Guest Blogger

Dec 4 2018

Deck Options History and Now

The swimming pool design and back yard deck types have changed over the years. I have seen a lot of changes in the industry. The original pool deck was either broom finished concrete or some type of wood decking. The concrete deck went from broom texture to fancy designs cut in with stencil tools to broom stipple and rock salt pock hole textures. The next wave of pool deck selections was the introduction of Kool Deck. Kool Deck is compromised from ground marble , white cement, and color. It could be installed with various texture such as splash deck to trown and stipple along with stencil cut with patterns. The one great  trait it did have is that it actually kept cooler than the typical pool deck before. The secret was the Marble aggregate. The marble stone had the traits you find with all natural marble. Its cooler. It had allot of downfalls also. The ground marble is now hard to find and it was very porous and subject to becoming dirty. There are people also installing it with mason sand and calling it Kool Deck without the cool characteristic because it’s less expensive than marble. Most of the builders and swimming pool deck remodelers are now installing a coating over concrete decks that is compromised from polymer modified cements. These products are either colored then clear coated or painted with a concrete stain at the final stages. You can stamp fancy patterns, stencil shapes, and create custom designs with these. The end coating is better stain resistant than the Kool Deck . Some are easier to repair down the road. Concrete does crack. You will generally have repairs with any coating. There are a few brand names in this segment. Uro-Tile, Sun Deck, Spray Deck, Knock Down Deck, Stamped Concrete, ect. The art of controlling cracks is not exhibited by a lot of pool companies with heavy work loads.Controlling cracks is an art in itself and there are formulas set in stone by the concrete industry. This leads me into the next segment of deck options. Concrete pavers. They come in thick (2.5 ish) and thin (1 inch ) . The thick pavers are used generally for New Pool Construction and the Thin Concrete Pavers are used generally for pool deck remodeling. There is also a vast array of coping available in concrete to go with pavers. You would use the thin pavers as a floating deck system for pool decks that have cracked. With this system I can guarantee your deck for a lifetime against cracks because the pavers do not transfer the cracks from the existing deck to the final product. In the thin paver line we also have a segment of natural stone to choose from. Travertine Marble comes in many shapes and patterns for another blog. These tiles exhibit the coolness you found in Kool-Deck. They look great and is now cost-effective.  There is also sand set porcelain tiles available to go over existing decks and for new construction. The last deck option for now is the pre cast stone option. These are stone decks custom made with any texture, shape, or color with mold guard additives.This is a great option for the high end project. Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions. I will post Blogs on each segment individually in due time.

Notice TO Owners / NTO

There will be times when customers see this form in their mailbox. Its customary for material suppliers, workers and sub contractors to send them out to the home owners. The reason for this is because the homeowner is not in privity with these people. It is basically saying ,”You don’t know me . I supplied labor or materials to your property. If I do not get paid I can place a lien on your property”. As the pool company it is illegal for us to ask them to not send them. They do not mean the bill is late or not being paid. The customer knows now to ask for a release of lien for the vendors that provided them with the NTO. If you have a large project you can expect to get one eventually. Its normal business operations.

Frank Russo

How to compare Pool Companies and Prices Part 1

I have been in the In Ground Pool business for years in all aspects of the projects from bidding to completion of projects.I do follow up with leads and get allot of feedback on pricing and sales performance. I understand because it’s tough from a consumer’s standpoint to know who is telling you the truth when you have Swimming Pool Companies at you residence.

Let’s start with the first aspect of comparing prices.The most important is the company. Does the pool company you are looking at do business from their home? Do they have staff that answers the phone? Do they have a warranty-service department? Are they insured and hold a local and state license? If they have insurance , what are the coverages(Min 1 mill)? How many years are they in business operating as the company they represent (Not worked for others)? These basic questions rule out the swimming pool companies that are practicing the pool business. It’s impossible for companies that are legitimate to be the same price as the fly by night companies operating from their homes. To compare prices the companies must me chosen wisely. After all , do you really want to wonder if the company will be around when you need them for an issue down the road? The costs to do business with a reputable company are more. It’s just that way in all aspects of life. There is no way a good company can operate on a shoestring budget and stay in business for long. Remember there is a reason last time you went to the car dealer and bought what you did. You did your research and found a dealership you trust with a service department you can use. I can not understand why some people loose all rational when picking a contractor then wonder why their project made the news channel for being left not complete. Be smart is all I can say .;


Once you picked your contractors it’s time to start bidding the swimming pool products and services for your in ground pool construction or renovation project. You have to make sure all the products are the same you are looking at. You can not compare prices for different plans and sizes of swimming pools and expect to make a rational decision. Look at the details such as the interior plaster the company is using. PebbleTec / Wet-Edge would be more than Diamond Brite or Florida Gem. Some companies include standards that others do not . Look at the allowances for the products you are getting. It’s a common trick to include very basic items like tile and Pool Deck Surfaces.After the contract is signed you realize you are paying more at selection time so pick your selections pre purchase.

Swimming Pool Plaster New Pool and Resurface Choices Explained

I  want to explain a little about the interior surface choices available for in ground swimming pool restoration . (pool Plaster). Our company likes to offer all choices of pool surfaces available rather than just assume you want the less expensive choice. When we offer you the choice we do not care which one you choose but want you to make an informed decision.

The first choice we offer is the standard exposed aggregate line. This product line includes the brand names such as Diamond Brite, Florida Stucco(Florida Gem), Premix Marbletite Marquis Series and CLI Krystalkrete. This series is exposed after steel trowel with a brush wash then final acid wash before filling and is a one day installation for the plaster application. This type of surface has the 10 year Material warranty from the manufacture for residential pool applications and 5 year warranty for commercial swimming pool application. It is a great swimming pool surface and is widely accepted. It is compromised from silica sand and white portland cement . Some of the sand is dyed and fired with ceramic tile dye for color. (Color Quartz) This surface is a great starting point. The surface is roughly 20 percent cement on the surface and 80 percent sand.

The second options we offer are pebble surfaces. The brand names you see in the industry are Wet-Edge Technology, Pebbletec, River Rock, Sun Stone, Hydrazzo, and Stonescapes. We primarily use the Wet-Edge product line for our pebble line. The line has colors that are mixes with glass ( Prism Matrix ) for bling , large pebble mixes (Serenity Stone ) ,  Pebble mixtures ( Signature Matrix ) , and polished pebble ( Primera Stone ). This option comes with a full warranty of 15 years that includes material and labor for the failure unlike the prior option that has up to 2 year workmanship.The installation of this product is different from the prior selection  because it is spray barred and compacted over 2 times during the installation . This allows the rock to be compacted tightly. The key benefit of this type of installation is a 3 – 5 % of cement on the surface vrs the 20 percent of standard exposed aggregate interiors surface. The cement is what is porous and can take on the unwanted colors and stains you see in swimming pools. The Wet_Edge Pebble we install is installed by factory trained crews. We have the top in ground pool plaster installation crew in the state of Florida .

There are a few choices we do not offer and I will l explain why. We will not install a color background interior standard exposed aggregate finish. These are contractor grade dye lots and are not color fast no matter what the sales guy tells you. If you want a color interior go with a high quality pebble like Wet-Edge. The dye is color fast and remember what I said above there is not much cement showing because of compaction and these do not streak.Cheaper over the counter pebble interiors are typically installed by crews that brush wash and do not compact . They also have cheap dye made of carbon and thallow that will streak and fade. We do not typically install Marcite in our area. Although Marcite still is predominantly the biggest seller in the United States it is not here. In the early 80’s the FDA made us remove asbestos from the product and it just has not been as strong. It was not uncommon for a customer to say my marcite pool interior lasted 20 years . I knew it was asbestos reinforced. Please do not hesitate to call or email us with questions. I have been in the pool plaster industry for 30 years.

Frank Russo

President Family Pools Inc

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