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The Ultimate Guide to Pool Enclosures

by Matt Giovanisci | Last Updated: July 8, 2020

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You might be breaking the law. No, it’s not failing to tell the neighbor that some of their sprinkler heads partially face your yard and water your grass, though that’s just not neighborly. And it’s not failing to go back through the drive-through when you find an extra taco in your bag, though technically, you didn’t pay for it. It’s not having a barrier around your pool.

Some cities and municipalities require fences around residential pools, and if you’re found not to have one, you can be fined. Aside from the potential fine, a fence is just a good idea for safety. But you know what? Pool enclosures keep your pool area even safer, and keep your pool safe from external hazards as well.

What Are Pool Enclosures?

They’re exactly what their name suggests. They’re much more than just a fence. They’re structures that actually enclose the pool, usually in large panels of glass or polycarbonate.

The panels are held together by metal beams, which are usually made from high-grade aluminum alloy. Some higher-end enclosures use wood for the frame. The end result is something similar to an atrium that lets in plenty of sunlight, unlike a pool cover, pergola, or other barrier you might put over the pool.

Pool Enclosure Benefits

Do you really need to enclose your pool rather than simply putting a fence around it? Maybe not. But pool enclosures offer numerous benefits you just can’t get from fences.

Legal Compliance

If you live in one of those places that requires residential pools be fenced in, you may go above and beyond that requirement with a pool enclosure. Be sure to check with your local coding authority or other government office before you begin construction.

Even worse than a fine for no fence would be having to tear down an enclosure you had built without knowing whether it would comply with your local ordinances.

Safety

You may be thinking about putting up a pool fence to ensure the safety of your kids, and the other kids in the neighborhood. But you know what? Kids are industrious, and many of them won’t be stopped by a fence they see as a challenge to climb.

But a pool enclosure? There’s no climbing over it to get into the pool area, and you can have a good lock put on the door. Add a pool alarm—just in case—and you’ve made doubly sure kids and pets will stay out of the pool area without your supervision.

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Privacy

Sure, the pool enclosure’s panels are transparent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some privacy in the pool area. You could install shades to keep out the neighbors’ prying eyes.

Or you can put up window film that gives the look of etched or even stained glass. It’s easy to install, and will provide both privacy and beauty.

Pool Protection

How often do you have to fish leaves, twigs, dead bugs, and other debris out of your pool water? Weekly? Daily? Well, don’t throw away the leaf skimmer just yet because you never know when it might come in handy. But a pool enclosure means you’ll have a drastically reduced amount of debris in your pool, which means less work for you.

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Extended Pool Season

Pool enclosures essentially create indoor pools. They also trap heat, keeping your pool warmer and more comfortable in cooler weather. Put up an enclosure, and enjoy swimming well into fall, or maybe even winter, if you live in a milder climate.

Reduced Evaporation

The number one reason for water loss in a pool is evaporation. Water evaporates no matter what, but a pool out in the open will lose water more quickly due to wind. A pool enclosure removes wind from the equation, meaning you’ll have to replace and balance the pool water less often, which can save you money.

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Reduced Bugginess

You love your pool. But so do wasps, mosquitoes, water bugs, frogs, and other critters you’d rather not have hanging around your pool.

You’ll still get the occasional fly or other nuisance insect in your pool area, just like you do in your house. But you’ll be able to swim in peace without worrying about being stung, bitten, or just grossed out.

Enhanced Night Swimming

Do you love swimming at night, but hate the lack of light? You can install pool lights, sure, but sometimes installing and changing lights below the water line can be a huge hassle.

Instead, run string lights along the beams over the pool. You’ll get more light, be able to enjoy your night swims, and not have to worry about doing maintenance work under the water.

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Increased Property Value

This one’s a little iffy. Pools do sometimes add value to properties. But you also have to consider how much it cost to install the pool or pool enclosure, and whether that’s covered in the sale price.

Also, some homebuyers see a pool as an undesirable chore, even if it’s enclosed. So if you plan to sell your home in the future, think carefully before you spend the money to install an enclosure around the pool.

Aesthetics

Pool enclosures range from very basic metal and polycarbonate structures, to gorgeous showpieces worthy of inclusion in the toniest of neighborhoods.

Depending on your budget, you may be able to create a veritable paradise around your pool. But even if you decide on a more basic enclosure, it gives you more decorative options like window shades, patterned window film, hanging plants, and other things that an outdoor pool just can’t accommodate.

Saved Money

OK, yes, pool enclosures can be a little on the pricey side, especially if you get a fancier model. But you may be able to make at least some of that money back in a few ways.

The reduced evaporation will mean having to replace water less often, which gives you a break on your water bill. It also means having to add fewer chemicals to the water less often, so there’s a little money back in your pocket as well.

Then there’s homeowner’s insurance. You may get a bit of a break by installing a fence around your pool. But with the added security and safety a pool enclosure provides, your insurance provider may give you even more of a discount on your premiums.

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Pool Enclosure Types

You have a few options to choose from, depending on what you want your pool area to look like, and how much you want to spend.

How Much Do Pool Enclosures Cost?

Way too many variables exist for us to be able to give you any kind of accurate estimate. Pool size, enclosure materials, labor, location, and several other considerations will factor into the price.

Do your due diligence, get several quotes, and then choose the options that are right for your pool and your budget.

An Enclosed Pool is a Happy Pool

Whatever the reasons that lead you to consider pool enclosures, consider this addition an investment. With as much benefit as you’ll get from enclosing your pool, it’s worth considering before you settle for a simple fence.

Happy Swimming!

Matt Giovanisci, the founder of Swim University®, started in the pool and spa industry at age 13 and moved to bigger companies along the way, helping thousands of pool and hot tub owners every year. He wanted to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale, so he launched Swim University® in 2007. Since then, he's worked to make pool and hot tub care easy for over 10 million homeowners. And each year, he continues to help more people with water chemistry, cleaning, and troubleshooting.

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