Stay-at-home holidays a refurbishment catalyst, reports Steve Merrell…

NEW POOLS FOR OLD with projects like this one from Beyond Swimming Pools

One of the very few benefits of the pandemic, and particularly the lockdown in 2020, was an upturn in the demand for residential swimming pool restoration. With blanket instructions not to travel, owners of home swimming pools began to think about how they could invest in what they had. Money was not going on foreign holidays and the summer holiday was a stay-at-home affair.

With a significant nod to the boom of swimming pool installations in the 1980s, a good number of home pools, now 40 or more years old, are either looking tired, or are simply a redundant hole in the garden, collecting whatever blows into them. Pool restoration expertise was top of many wish lists proving to be the catalyst for a steady ripple of enquiries to swimming pool specialists.

Carl Enticott, from Coventry-based Progressive Pools, boasts more than 20 years of experience working with swimming pools and is a multiple award-winner including gongs for several of the firm’s pool refurbishment projects. “When it comes to refurbishment, there are no half measures,” advises Carl. “I never recommend patch-up jobs to clients. “I tell clients they are wasting their money and risking our reputation by cutting corners,” he emphasises.

WITH ITS TELL-TALE DOLPHIN MOSAIC, Progressive Pool’s refit of a 1980s pool became a glittering award-winning pool project

In early planning meetings with clients, Carl presents a scrapbook of ideas and uses Pinterest to assemble colours and themes that appeal. Carl will suggest upgrades of design and equipment, based on other projects he has worked on and encourages customers to see these projects ‘in situ’ as they look even better in the flesh than in a catalogue, he says.

“I like to get them thinking of a swimming pool as a water feature, not just a utility attached to the house. “For instance, I recommend the use of stainless-steel fountains and jets which can liven-up a flat unmoving stretch of water,” Carl adds.

He confirms that greys and greens are the most on-trend finishing colours of choice for Progressive customers and Carl reports that porcelain and granite are the most popular finishing touches of choice not least because they tailor-in with the new water features. Eco and energy-efficient swimming pool solutions have developed hugely since the 1980s.

WORK IN PROGRESS ON A RESTORATION PROJECT by relative industry newcomers Cheshire Pool Services.

With a plethora of systems to choose from, generating up to four times the electricity they use, air source pumps are the go-to option. Refurbishment means a whole lot more than a bit of regrouting and jet-washing the paving. A redesign can completely refresh a water feature, adding value to the property and a pool the family can’t wait to enjoy.

Much improved energy-efficient technology has also come into the mix with variable speed pool pumps, automated and computer-controlled dosing systems not forgetting the user-friendly APPs to monitor water quality, safety and security. “Old pools invariably have insufficient and over-worked filter systems,” Carl points out. “Additional main drains will usually need to be added to improve water flow.”

Blue is still the predominant finish choice for clients of David Burchett of Beyond Swimming Pools and Landscapes who carry-out design, build and refurbishment projects in the South-East of England. Like Carl, David is passionate about getting it right, not only for the customer but for the company too. “You often get a sense of what the customer wants from the first meeting,” David says.

“For some, it will be improvements for a low maintenance pool or it may be a complete overhaul and refurbishment to give the pool a new lease of life,” David continues. “You never ask the budget, first you say, what is your dream and then present the options,” David advises. The majority of pool restoration jobs start by rectifying leaks, fallen and cracked tiling.

But there is a plethora of new styles of pool construction and liner options as well as pool cover and accessory recommendations to throw into the refurbishment pot. Upgrades will include integral under water sound systems while modern colour-changing LED lights can add a unique feel to the installation but will also offer easy access for maintenance.

“Out-dated pools are invariably surrounded by tired, cracked paving slabs, often dull grey with family unfriendly steps,” adds David. “We need to get rid of the crazy paving that was a typical low-cost solution used in many installations from the 80s,” he says.

“On the other hand, we want to step away from the pool project looking like a high-rise hotel swimming pool.” “Things have to be installed in the right order,” explains David who reminds us that refurbishment can be complicated work with the unravelling of previous installed fittings that seem to have been thoughtlessly buried during construction.

AN INVITING POOL TRANSFORMATION carried out by Midlands-based Progressive Pools.

Offering fresh strokes, a relative newcomer to the industry, but already making considerable industry waves, Chris Shore made the leap from swimming instructor to entrepreneur when he invented the Aquaplane, buoyancy aid. It felt like a natural transition for Chris as he delved into pool maintenance forming his own company, Cheshire Pool Services, just months before Covid hit.

Three years on, around 50% of the company’s work is in refurbishing pools and several of the company’s projects have won industry awards. “I quickly learned it’s about surrounding yourself with the right team and setting yourself the highest standards,” says Chris. “The company now has three permanent employees and we sub-contract with specialised tradesmen for some aspects of the work.”

It is clearly a winning formula as Cheshire Pool Services is close to celebrating their 100th five-star review buoyed by a growing portfolio of top-drawer projects. ‘We certainly don’t do things by halves,” declares Chris who acknowledges the support of suppliers such as Orbro Pools and specifically their interlinking block system. “We have learned from experience that careful surveys prior to the job alongside getting top notch experienced advice, is proving to be a recipe for success.”

BEYOND SWIMMING POOLS give a new lease of life to a tired and dated garden pool.

Beyond Swimming Pools
Tel. 01622 862257

Cheshire Pool Services
Tel. 01925 348002

Progressive Pools
Tel. 01788 577005

A NEW LOOK for this Beyond Swimming Pools project.
BEYOND SWIMMING POOLS gave this tired and outdated pool a new lease of life.
LINING REMOVED, RETILED AND ROOF LOWERED, a complete renovation by Cheshire Pool Services.
THE CHESHIRE POOL SERVICES restoration of a Wilmslow pool includes the addition of a sauna and ice bath.