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Pool Structures Explained

pool structures, Vivo Pools

There are three main types of pool structures (Shotcrete / Gunite, Fiberglass, Vinyl Liner) with preferences often based upon region, economics, climate, length of swim season and even soil conditions.

A concrete pool is constructed by first building a rebar “cage,” in the desired shape. Gunite or Shotcrete, a high-tinsel concrete, is shot on at high velocity, then smoothed with trowels while still wet.

Tile and coping (stones on top of the structure) are applied. Decks are poured up to the shell. Then, the gunite is coated with either plaster or alternative such as an exposed pebble finish or other concrete blend.

A fiberglass pool is a pre-formed shell that is lowered into the ground.  It is then backfilled and decks are poured around it. The pool may or may not have a ceramic tile waterline.

There are a finite number of shapes, colors and sizes. However, installation is about half the cost of a concrete pool and a much shorter construction time.  They are also much easier and less expensive to take out if the homeowner no longer wants a pool in the backyard.

Fiberglass pools are relatively lightweight. Thus, once it is set into the ground and filled with water, draining can cause it to be dislodged from hydrostatic pressure (ground water under the shell). Be aware of high water tables and take great care in draining a fiberglass shell pools. Avoid long periods of time before refilling.

To build an in-ground vinyl liner pool, a hole is dug, walls made of fiberglass, metal, or concrete block are installed with a track on the top. The floor is covered with a special material to keep roots from breaking through.  It is backfilled and a custom-made vinyl liner is hung from the track. After it is filled with water, holes are cut for return lines, skimmer(s), light(s), steps, etc.  Vinyl liners stretch into place to pull out wrinkles. Once they are filled, they should not be drained until the liner is to be replaced – about every 8 to 10 years.  Otherwise the liner can shrink and not have the elasticity to stretch back into place.

Vinyl liner pools are not structures. They are also susceptible to hydrostatic pressure. Liners can “float” up off the floor, but usually settle back down after the wet season. Pets should NEVER be allowed to swim in vinyl liner pools because their claws can inadvertently cut the liner. Other sharp objects can also tear or cut the liner necessitating a repair or replacement. 

Fiberglass Overcoat: A process has been developed for existing swimming pools to have a fiberglass overcoat sprayed on and cured in the field. There are a few different methods, but essentially a mixture of resin and chopped fiberglass is shot on to the pool shell. It may or may not have a gel coat applied on top. It is then cured and filled with water.   This material can be used on concrete pools, fiberglass shells and even to replace an in-ground vinyl liner.

Chemical Balance Based on Surface:

Plaster is a porous material and reacts with water, expelling alkaline materials, particularly in the first three years; pH will run high. Adding acid every visit to balance the high pH will affect the total alkalinity. New plaster is also more susceptible to staining than plaster that is over 5 years old. Thus, it is critical that water balance is within acceptable range the first few year of its life.

Fiberglass and Vinyl Liners do not react with the water. Thus the pH of each chemical, such as chorine and conditioner, will have more of an effect on the pH of the water than in a plaster pool.  It is best to not use Trichlor in these pools.

Fiberglass pools should be maintained at at the higher end of the saturation index range than plaster pools to prevent a condition called cobalting, which is dark staining or streaking on the surface. If cobalting does occur, it can be treated with ascorbic (citric) acid.

Swimming Pool Maintenance – Proper Chemical Balance

water hemistry, Vivo Pools

We have previously discussed the three keys to safe and clean water.  Chemical balance is perhaps the most important element to maintaining water for both residential and commercial swimming pool accounts.  Poor water chemistry can not only cause staining and damage to the pool’s surface and equipment but can also cause swimmer discomfort and illness. Proper water chemistry should be checked for and maintained each week. Unbalanced chemistry can allow for algae growth and algae harbors and protects germs and bacteria, allowing it to thrive and putting your swimmers health at risk.

There are 5 main aspects of water chemistry to keep balances and to check for regularly. These 5 aspects are:

  • Free and Available Chlorine (FAC) – maintained at 3 to 5 ppm (parts per million)
  • pH Balance (Power of Hydrogen) – maintained at 7.4 to 7.6
  • Total Alkalinity (T.A.) – maintained at 80 to 120 ppm (parts per million)
  • Conditioner (Cyanuric Acid) – also called stabilizer, maintained at 30 to 50 ppm (parts per million)
  • Calcium Hardness – maintained at 180 to 500 ppm (parts per million)

There are a few other conditions that can also be checked, depending on your equipment and factors around your pool:

  • Salt, Salinity (Sodium Chloride) – Salt is used with Salt generated chlorination systems only and should be maintained at 3250 to 3500 ppm (parts per million) though different manufacturers will have some variance in their recommended salinity levels (with some up to 4000 ppm)
  • Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) – a measurement of all solids dissolved in a sample of water and a general indication of the waters age. Proper TDS levels and recommendations will be given on a TDS test kit.
  • Phosphates – a measurement of microscopic dead plant material and food for algae. Measurements for recommended phosphate levels will be given on any phosphate test

Three Keys to Safe and Clean Pool Water

safe and clean pool, Vivo Pools

We are often asked, what are the keys to maintaining clear, clean and healthy swimming pool and spa water. The primary requirements, whether it be for a residential or commercial swimming pool are Circulation, Filtration, and Chemical Balance. Whenever your water becomes cloudy, unhealthy or algae begin to grow it can be due to a breakdown in one or more of these three key conditions.


Circulation is the flow or current in the water. It is important to have turn over your water 1 time per day, which typically means your residential pump will run 6 to 8 hours per day for a pool, or 1 to 2 hours per day for a spa.  Pool pumps within a public pool will typically operate 20-24 hours a day. Water circulation is important to keep the chemicals in the water evenly mixed, regulate the overall temperature of the water and make it more difficult for algae to settle and take root. When a body of water is not circulating it becomes stagnant. Circulation also helps get any sanitized and oxidized material in the water to the filter to be collected, keeping the water clear.


Filtration occurs when water is pushed through the pool’s filter. The filter collects any dirt and debris that the pump pushes into it or is vacuumed up, sending the clear and filtered water back into the pool. There are three standard types of filters that you will come across in swimming pool and spa service. These three filters are Diatomaceous Earth filters which have a series of grids inside them that hold a fine powder filter media, Cartridge filters which have a large cartridge or a variety of smaller cartridges inside which collect the dirt and debris and Sand filters which are filled with a fine sand in a sectioned compartment and force the water through the sand with the sand collecting the dirt and debris. All of these types of filters should be cleaned and maintained regularly.

Chemical Balance:

Chemical balance is the most important key to maintaining clean, clear and healthy water. Bad water chemistry can not only cause staining and damage to the pool’s surface and equipment but can also cause swimmer discomfort and illness. Proper water chemistry must be checked for and maintained each week. Unbalanced chemistry can allow for algae growth and algae harbors and protects germs and bacteria, allowing it to thrive and putting your swimmers health at risk.

Better Business Bureau and VivoPools’ Pool Maintenance

You’d rather be splashing around in your pool than scrubbing it, right?
We’re really good at this…

better business bureau, vivopools

…so your family can enjoy more of this.

better business bureau, vivopools

And that’s only one of the many reasons to go with a reputable company for your pool maintenance needs.  You want your pool to be a place of fun, not a source of headaches.  As this article by the Better Business Bureau points out, it’s important that you do your research when seeking a credible pool maintenance company.  In 2012, the Better Business Bureau recieved 771 complains nationally regarding pool service and repair providers over alleged unauthorized charges, poor service and ignored service calls.  Don’t want that to happen to you?  Do your homework!


The BBB suggests several tips when hiring a pool maintenance service, such as researching the company and checking that they are a BBB Accredited Business.  We are really proud to a BBB Accredited Business.  Not only do we want you to enjoy as much hassle-free pool time as possible, but we want you to feel secure knowing there is a BBB Accredited Business behind the tech who is coming into your home to take care of your pool.  That’s the Vivo way.

better business bureau, vivopools

Make a Splash! Pool Safety

We are all ready for summer and hope you are too.  Schools are letting out.  Days are getting longer.  And nothing sounds better than taking the kids out for a fun and refreshing swim, right?

Well, only so long as everyone can be pool safe, and that’s not always the case.  Frighteningly, 70% of African-American children cannot swim.  The same is true for 60% of Latino children and 40% of Caucasian children.  But there are some wonderful people out there who are dedicating their time and efforts to, shall we say, turning the tides on this problem.  And that’s why we want to give a shout out to Cullen Jones and everyone else involved with Make a Splash!

cullen jones, vivopools

Cullen Jones is a really rad U.S. Olympic athlete who not only won gold, but is an ambassador for Make a Splash, a foundation dedicated to teaching kids to learn to swim, be safe in the water and even enjoy the experience.  We’d explain, but they do a much better job in this news video.

If you want to know more about Make a Splash, you can find them here.  And from all of us at Vivo, thanks for making pools across the country a safer and more fun place for kids!


2013 Talk of the Town Winner

VivoPools is excited to be selected a 2013 Talk of the Town award winner!  Ratings are calculated based on consumer-review websites and blogs, social networks, business rating services and other award information to determine the top companies across the country. Only those high ranking businesses with a 4-5 star rating win the Talk of the Town News Customer Satisfaction Award. Thanks Talk of the Town!


Talk of the Town, Vivo Pools

Our Service Committment

service committment, VivoPools

Consistent Service*: If we don’t come on our scheduled day of service or make arrangements to re-schedule service the next day due to unforeseen circumstances, you don’t pay.


Straightforward Pricing: No unexpected surprises! We will always carefully evaluate your situation and will provide you with an exact price for you to approve before any work begins.


The 97% Difference: We employ the very best in the business.  Only 1 out of 30 applicants will qualify to enter your property wearing the VivoPools uniform.


Repairs Guaranteed: If a repair fails in the first year, we will repair it again absolutely free.


Trustworthy: Our employees must pass background checks, and we maintain comprehensive liability insurance. Many of our technicians are Certified Pool Operators (as designated by the National Swimming Pool Foundation).


*Unforeseen circumstances may include illness, vehicle accidents, family and personal emergencies, etc.

Spotlight in AQUA Magazine, April 2013 Issue

We’re so excited to be featured in AQUA Magazine this month, and just had to share. Check us out!



Renovate Your Pool with Fun LED Pool Lights

Did you know? LED lights are the latest trend in energy-efficiency and fun. They last 5 times as long as regular incandescent lights. Being able to save money, have fun, and reduce your carbon footprint make updating to LED lights a no-brainer!

And we have some exciting news…we are currently running a special on LED light installs. From now until April 30, 2013, take $20 off an LED light install when you mention code “LED13″!

Colored lights are available as well. They can even be programmed and synced together. Click HERE to discover how colored LED lights can transform the look and feel of your pool!


I mean really…how cool does this pool look?? And it’s affordable and energy-efficient to achieve a personal, customized look for your pool at home.


Please call or email us with any questions, or to schedule an install! (888) 702-8486 or

Pool Fun for the Holidays!

Looking for a fun DIY holiday decoration using materials you already have at home? Check out this awesome idea re-purposing old pool noodles! From our friends at

Super simple instructions here!

holiday fun, VivoPools

Associations & Certifications

  • CPI
  • Pool Safely
  • NPC
  • APSP
  • CAA
  • IFA
  • Talk Town
  • CPO
  • Vet Fran

License #949660